Two Books that Every School Leader Must Read To Rethink Accountability and Student Achievement in Schools

Two Books that Every School Leader Must Read To Rethink Accountability and Student Achievement in Schools

Great School Leaders are Avid Readers

 

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple each month. Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on rethinking what accountability looks like in schools

We’ve heard from our subscribers that this content is being used as a leadership development curriculum. Kudos to you for investing in yourself as a school leader to grow and improve.  

When we think about accountability, a school leader’s mind typically races to state and federal accountability–state assessments, scorecards, and different measures and metrics. This month we wanted to take a different look at accountability, one that speaks to the heart of the work within schools and that drills down into the classroom. 

For that reason, we chose two books that get granular with very specific examples of what schools are doing and how to guide practice for improvement. 

Joe’s Pick: What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America

Featured Author: Ted Dintersmith

This is a unique book because Dintersmith visited schools across the U.S. and reported on some incredible schools doing great work. Very early on in the book, he introduces us to the key principles that emerged as he visited schools across America. He identifies them as P.E.A.K.:

  • Purpose
  • Essentials
  • Agency
  • Knowledge

Each of the four represents key aspects of high-level performance that can be implemented by school leaders. This is why this is a great book for accountability; it describes what is working and what may be very helpful in another school or district. Sustainability and replicability are as important as the identified practice itself. 

He also provides a  provocative overview of how we got to where we are in regard to schooling. His brief overview and a short history of state tests, rankings, and institutes of higher education are fascinating as he describes their impact on innovation in schools. 

Lastly, this book is filled with real stories from the field. You won’t be disappointed. Get your copy of What School Could Be today. 

T.J.’s Pick: Practice Perfect: 42 Rules at Getting Better at Getting Better

Featured Authors: Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, & Katie Yezzi

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

There are a few reasons why we love this book. One reason is that the journey to this book’s creation started in a high poverty school, detailed in the book that many are familiar with, Teach Like A Champion. Two, this book is about getting better through practice. Programs are great, but they are only as effective as the individual using them. In our accountability approach, we have a very teacher-centric focus

 

A common issue in education is our lilly pad approach to change. Too often, schools jump from one initiative to the next in search of a better program that will yield greater student learning. This isn’t due to leadership laziness in schools, but rather an attempt to find a solution in a short amount of time. However, true growth requires time and practice–Perfect Practice. As T.J. describes in his account, the authors detail key practices like Name It, Make It Fun, and Apply First then Reflect as key tools to improving. Practice also goes perfectly with feedback, which is an essential ingredient to improvement.

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Speed of Trust: The Single Most Important Book for School Leaders

Speed of Trust: The Single Most Important Book for School Leaders

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple each month. Our aim is to link our suggested reading to our theme for the month. This month we are completely focused on trust. Kudos to you for picking yourself to grow and improve.  

This month we chose to dive deep into the concept of trust and the one book that every school leader needs to read and read again is The Speed of Trust.

Featured Author: Stephen M.R. Covey

Featured Book: Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

Let us first say that we love this book and believe that should be on every leader’s desk. This is not a one time read but rather a book to refer to for guidance and inspiration. Some books deserve an annual read…this is one of them. You can also check out our blog on the topic of trust and our interview with Stephen M.R. Covey himself

An important aspect of the book for note taking and continual reference are the 13 Behaviors of a High Trust Leader. We love this chart from the University of North Texas Health Science Center because it crystallizes each behavior, what it is and is not. We particularly like the counterfeit column because it precisely describes the behavior of the individual who is not operating as a high trust leader. 

13 Hight Trust Behaviors

An additional element of the book that we discussed in our review was the final section. This part of the book deals with instilling and inspiring trust, which is desperately needed right now. Listening to fully understand people, what they’re experiencing, and gaining clarity on issues is crucial for leaders who want to inspire trust. This doesn’t mean that school leaders always have the answers to problems they’re willing to hear, but by understanding someone clearly, you are in a better position to make that determination. What you’ll often discover is that listening alone does help the situation. That said, if there is an opportunity to make a commitment and work toward a solution, then listening intently also provides a perfect opportunity to build trust by keeping and honoring the commitment. 

We always like to leave our audience with a #ReadThisSeries tip for readers, and this month we encourage leaders to read this book with your teams. Speed of Trust is not a book that school leaders should read alone. We encourage you to create a book study group and discuss the content and how to apply it with others.  

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Books You Must Read To Reclaim Your Purpose–It’s Easy If You Do It Right

Two Books You Must Read To Reclaim Your Purpose–It’s Easy If You Do It Right

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple each month. Our aim is to link the reading to our theme for the month, getting grounded this December, so you, the reader, are processing the information through a specified lens. We’ve heard from our followers that this content is being used as a leadership development curriculum. Kudos to you for picking yourself to grow and improve.  

We have found that this degree of focus helps achieve the aim we are after. This month we are totally focused on reclaiming our purpose because Covid19 and other societal issues have simply rocked our world. Although it is hard to declare causation, it is believed that isolation during the pandemic is likely the reason we’ve experienced an increase in various crimes. Schools are microcosms of the community, so what people are experiencing in their lives impacts our schools to a great degree. This is why we are focused on getting grounded to reclaim your purpose

Reclamation is powerful and right now we need people to reassert themselves and once again take control of their lives. This doesn’t diminish the threat we face, but rather it recognizes that we still can control many things in our lives. This is at the heart of this month’s post and the genius that is held within our first book recommendation. 

 A compilation of writings from some of the greatest thinkers who have walked this earth are found in Man and Man: The Social Philosophers. You will find Epictetus’ The Manual inside. You will discover a very practical approach to living that is designed to reduce suffering. This is one of our favorite quotes from the book:

“In walking about, as you take care not to step on a nail, or to sprain your foot, so take care not to damage your own ruling faculty; and if we observe this rule in every act, we shall undertake this act with more security.”

Featured Author: Compilation of Authors

Featured Book: THE SOCIAL PHILOSOPHERS MAN AND MAN (THE WORLD’S GREAT THINKERS SERIES)

Our second book this month is a terrific must read and something that we believe should be revisited from time-to-time. Todd Whitaker has become a force for educational leaders as they learn how to navigate challenges. We chose, What Great Principals Do Differently not only because it offers simple and sage advice for school leaders, but it also helps leaders reclaim their purpose. 

One aspect that we truly appreciate is how Whitaker describes that we must invest in people. And, we can’t think of a more important time than now to do so. As he describes, 

“We can spend a great deal of time and energy looking for programs that will solve our problems, but these programs frequently do not bring the improvement or growth we seek. Instead, we must focus on what really matters. It is never about programs, it is always about people.” 

Featured Author: Todd Whitaker

Featured Book: What Great Principals Do Differently

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Books You Must Read To Reclaim Your Purpose–It’s Easy If You Do It Right

The Debate Is Over: Two Books You Must Read To Become A Learning Leader

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice.The ironic part of rising to greater levels of leadership is that the skills, traits, and talents that got an individual to the new position, may not be enough for her to excel in the new role. 

 

This idea of being promoted to one’s level of incompetence was coined by Laurence J. Peter in The Peter Principle. The concept is fascinating because we’ve all experienced or have witnessed this in our own organizations–people who rise to great heights due to superior performance in their role, only to find themselves in over their head in the next position. 

 

This begs the question: how do we avoid this situation for ourselves and others? We appreciate the remedy found at Investopedia because it directly aligns with what our featured author, Michael Useem describes in The Edge, which is that leaders must continually learn to keep their organization succeeding.

A possible solution to the problem posed by the Peter Principle is for companies to provide adequate skill training for employees receiving a promotion, and to ensure that the training is appropriate for the position to which they have been promoted. 

The Edge is filled with real stories that leaders can learn from. Useem paints a very detailed picture of the challenges that many CEOs faced and the conditions in which they were operating. From Kroger to Tyco, he reveals what is adversely affecting the organization and how it was handled and how some CEOs evolved and rose to the occasion by realizing they needed to learn more. He willingly looks at both successes and failures, even within the same company. 

 

This is one reason The School House 302 loves his work, whether The Edge or other books like The Leadership Moment, Useem tackles the very difficult realities that leaders face. This is not a feel good book, but rather an instrument of learning if you are willing to invest the time. Additionally, the book has powerful figures like the one below that illustrates how the mighty have fallen. 

As Useem writes, this book is really “…updated leadership for a new era…” We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. And don’t miss our interview with Michael on the site

Featured Author: Michael Useem

Featured Book: The Edge: How Ten CEO’s Learn to Lead — And the Lessons for Us All 

The second featured book this month is an oldy but goody–Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization. This is a great, easy to read book, with clear strategies on how to raise the performance of individuals in a company. Make no mistake, easy to read and easy to do are not the same thing. Implementation is key, which is why we couple this book with The Edge

Blanchard and Bowles provide a step-by-step way to increase morale and really build a culture that is willing to learn and grow. Andy, the main character, demonstrates the opposite leadership characteristics than the bad behaviors that we wrote about this month

The three principles of Gung Ho are:

  • The Spirit of the Squirrel
  • The Way of the Beaver
  • The Gift of the Goose

You won’t be disappointed as you become Gung Ho! in your own organization. However, the question remains about actually doing the work; having knowledge and using knowledge are two different things.

Featured Author: Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

Featured Book: Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization


Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at
contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

 

This blog post was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Books You Must Read To Reclaim Your Purpose–It’s Easy If You Do It Right

Two Books that Shape School Leadership: Purpose and Vision

Growing as a School Leader is a Choice

Growing as a leader is a professional choice. The challenge is that trying to grow during a storm, or in the case of the last year and a half, a pandemic is difficult. Typically, in a storm, we seek shelter and hunker down to wait it out. Although this is great survival behavior, it’s not good leadership practice. Principal leaders, district leaders, and others in leadership roles do not have the luxury of waiting anything out and playing it safe until a time when things are easier. Actually, it’s just the opposite. The leader has to move forward in the storm and brave the elements. 

The two books that we feature this month will help leaders do just that–move forward by braving the elements. Consistent with our theme this month both books can be viewed through the lens of growing through the grind. Our first book, The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, was chosen because leadership success rises and falls on influence. During these times, leaders need the skill set to effectively persuade others to positively move forward, even when they are scared, worried, and uncertain. 

This book really is a relationship book. Richard Shell and Mario Mousa brilliantly break down the four steps to how Woo works.

  • Survey Your Situation
  • Confront the Five Barriers
  • Make Your Pitch
  • Secure Your Commitments

What’s refreshing is that the authors describe the steps in great detail throughout the book and remind us that the four pieces of the puzzle are always a progression. Don’t miss our interview with one of the authors, Richard Shell

Featured Author: Richard Shell and Mario Moussa

Featured Book: The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas

The second featured book this month is The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace. We chose this book because it focuses on culture, and leaders need to constantly tend to the culture of their school or business. Culture building isn’t an event, it’s a full-time experience. This book spends time on you as a leader and how you are responsible for the school’s culture and how you cannot leave it to “chance.” Lastly, the book finishes strong by demonstrating the need to have everything aligned to the overall purpose and vision. Check it out!

Featured Author: S. Chris Edmonds

Featured Book: The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace


Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at
contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

 We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 Joe & T.J.

 This blog post was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Two Books On Social & Emotional Learning That Are Bound To Make An Impact On Your School

Two Books On Social & Emotional Learning That Are Bound To Make An Impact On Your School

As school doors open this year to welcome back students, successful schools recognize that if they want to reach and teach all students, they need to touch their hearts and their minds. Amid the dual pandemics–Covid19 and the social and civic unrest–students are entering the school year with a host of needs that must be addressed to ensure that they are successful. 

These needs cover the spectrum from a deficit in mathematics to a family hardship. Regardless, in the end, we know that student achievement improves when students feel connected and safe, when relationships flourish in the classroom. There is no substitute for a student having a meaningful connection with a teacher, counselor, paraprofessional, administrator, or other educator at school.

Our blog this month focused on 6 different ways to build SEL in schools, and we hope you found them easy to implement. As educational leaders, we realize that one of the best places to start your learning is by reading great books, which is why we curate our lists of books to help you on your path to leading better and growing faster. 

This month, we recommend two books that we believe can make a difference where it matters the most—in the classroom. The first book is The Formative Five by Thomas Hoerr and the second one is Improve Every Lesson with SEL by Jeffrey Benson.

Featured Author: Thomas Hoerr

Featured Book: The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs

The Formative Five focuses on developing empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit . Each one of the five serves our students (and teachers) well as they strive to deepen their understanding and execution in each area. The five also have a unique way of focusing on the self and others. We found this to be practical for all educators. 

Focusing on others, having empathy, is something that we can all improve upon, and as we seek to understand others, we often learn quite a bit about ourselves. Lastly, Heorr recommends other reads throughout the chapters, which is a great springboard to other books that may be valuable. Don’t miss our interview with Thomas Hoerr. You can find it on our site at theschoolhouse302.com by clicking on the podcast button at the top. 

Key Feature of the Book:

Hoerr created self-assessment surveys for each of the formative five. We appreciate this style of writing that is designed to engage the reader, especially because these are areas that we can continually develop as leaders.

Featured Author: Jeffrey Benson

Featured Book: Improving Every Lesson Plan with SEL

Improving Every Lesson Plan with SEL demystifies the process of weaving social and emotional learning into your lessons. That last thing we want is for SEL activities to be taught in isolation or devoid of the classroom content. The more SEL can find a home within each lesson, the more students will understand the dynamic nature of so many of the topics we discuss. Consider Hurricane Ida that just devastated areas of the east coast, it’s important to know what a hurricane is, the various categories for example, but tying that to the human side of destruction and loss can teach empathy along with the content. 

Key Feature of the Book:

Similar to Hoerr, Benson explicitly outlines specific action steps that are aligned to the content in the book. He also asks the reader to reflect on their lesson plans through what they are learning about how social and emotional learning works for students. 

 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our next live event on this topic. Register here

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

 

This episode of our ReadThisSeries was brought to you by GhostBed, a family-owned business of sleep experts with 20+ years of experience. With 30K+ 5-star reviews, you can’t go wrong with GhostBed. Their mattresses are handcrafted, and they come with a 101-night-at-home-sleep trial. For a limited time, you can get 30% by using our code — SH302 — at checkout. And, even if you tell someone about GhostBed, you can earn a $100 referral reward. Go to Ghostbed.com today and use SH302 at checkout. 

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Learn how you can give practical praise each day as you lead your school to develop a better and more positive culture through this complimentary eBook we use in our workshops to help principals all over the nation and subscribe for more resources like this one delivered to your inbox. 

Congratulations on claiming your copy - you may download it here: https://theschoolhouse302.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Technical-Tip-Praise-Practice-A-Model-for-Specific-Praise.pdf