Recommended Resources for Academic Leaders

Vol. 15 No. 2

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It’s always important to continue pursuing your professional development initiatives. That could mean diving into a good book, listening to a podcast on your way to school, or watching a video between meetings or other tasks.

A group of private-independent school Division Heads recently compiled this list of resources, citing each as helpful for themselves and their staff. We highlight them here.

Gathering Student Feedback

One of the best ways to understand what’s working and what isn’t in your school is through feedback. Some educators are finding success with focus groups to help understand their students’ classroom experience. In these scenarios, students work with their peers and then bring their consensus to their teacher, encouraging a two-way dialogue.

It’s also important to survey your constituents about their experiences both inside and outside the school. Surveying your students, as well as parents and faculty, about their experiences can guide decisions made by academic leadership within the school.

Examining the Changing Education Landscape

Academic leaders are often responsible for incorporating the school’s mission into the curriculum, policies, and procedures. As you consider those elements, revisiting the history of the education system may be helpful in shaping your school’s future.

Sir Ken Robinson, New York Times bestselling author, TED speaker, and education advisor, discusses the changing paradigm of the education system and whether it meets the needs of today’s students.

Exploring Different Grading Viewpoints

If you’re looking for resources on grading, two books you may consider are A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades and How to Grade for Learning. Ken O’Connor authors both, sharing his viewpoint on grading, how it relates to measuring student achievement, and “standards-based” grading as an alternative. These are interesting reads that introduce many questions you can pose to fellow administrators as well as your school’s educators.

Spurring Innovation

If innovation is a top focus for you, here are two books you might find helpful.

The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros. He questions how your school can best foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, and inspire creativity among your students. The answers are different for every school, but Couros’ book is a great resource for School Heads, academic leaders, and faculty members to help them think about empowering students to become forward-thinking leaders.

Another recommendation is The Human Side of School Change: Reform, Resistance, and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation by Robert Evans. It's great to consider innovation and change within your school, but how do you move from concept to reality? Evans outlines a leadership model with management strategies that can help leaders cooperate with each other and communicate with their constituencies to create effective change.

As you explore these resources, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share!

Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 13 No. 10 2016 Summer Reading List for Division Heads
The Source for Private School News Vol. 16 No. 7 2017 Summer Reading Recommendations for Private-Independent School Administrators
The Source for Private School News
Vol. 15 No. 6 2016 Summer Reading List for Private-Independent School Administrators

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