Winter Break Books for Principals

Catch up on professional reading over the holidays with these book reviews and recommendations.

Virtual Book Talks

NAESP’s Virtual Book Talks for Early Career Principals is a free professional learning community that lets principals discuss what they’re reading with the authors themselves. Click here to learn more about upcoming books and authors featured—and how to join the discussion.

December 2016, Volume 40, Issue 4

It’s winter break. In addition to spending time with family and friends, why not use the opportunity to catch up on some professional reading? Below is a list of recommendations based on recent Principal magazine book reviews.

Collaborative Common Assessments: Teamwork, Instructions, Results.

By Cassandra Erkens
Assessment is an established foundational element in education but, despite its pivotal role as a guide in teaching and learning, assessment often lacks energy and becomes mundane and common. To only compound the issue, educators often find themselves “data wealthy but information bankrupt.” It is that concern that author Cassandra Erkel seeks to address in her book. Read more

Breakthrough Principals: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building
Stronger Schools

By Jean Desravines, Jamie Aquino and Benjamin Fenton
“Breakthrough Principals” teaches us that sometimes it’s not about being “Superman” but about the right practices that can make any principal or school super. Read more

Grading from the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment
Through a Standards-Based Mindset

By Tom Schimmer
Standards-based grading (SBG) is a hot topic in education today. As schools transition to using a growth mindset in grading and assessment, many educators have found that we also need flexibility in our grading systems. This may sound simple, yet to implement this, we need a paradigm shift. In Grading from the Inside Out, Tom Schimmer gives principals the tools to undertake SBG. Read more

Schools That Deliver

By John Edwards and Bill Martin
This is a time for change in schools across America. The widely held belief that the work of transformative change can be undertaken by school leaders takes center stage in Schools That Deliver. John Edwards and Bill Martin use the text to encourage principals to deliver real change in the school systems. Read more

The Changing Landscape of School Leadership: Recalibrating
the School Principalship

By M. Scott Norton
The role of the principal is embedded in an ever-changing world. The challenges modern-day principals face scarcely overlap with those of decades past. The urgency of acknowledging this shift and embracing the needed change is the premise of M. Scott Norton’s work. Read more

Tapping Into the Skills Of 21st-Century School Librarians:
A Concise Handbook for Administrators

By Audrey P. Church
An entire book devoted to the school librarian when we only have one person in this role at our school? I honestly wasn’t sure that I wanted to spend time reading a book to expand my knowledge to improve my supervision/evaluation of just one person. But as I read this handbook for administrators, I was convinced of the impact this individual can have on an entire school. Read more

Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get
Better at Getting Better

By Anthony S. Bryk, Louis M. Gomez, Alicia Grunow, and Paul G. LeMahieu
The authors of Learning to Improve were tired of witnessing educational reforms implemented haphazardly as a result of countless new ideas. All too often, the reforms were not given time to work or were not data- or research-driven. Bryk and his colleagues decided to delve into some of the most trusted tenets of improvement science, found across a variety of professional fields, and break them down into how they can greatly impact the educational process—either with an individual student, or within a school. Read more

Interactive Student Centered Learning: A Cooperative
Approach to Learning

By Edward Spooner
“The great thing about education is that the mindset about teaching and learning is constantly evolving.” One might think that this is a quote from mindset guru Carol Dweck. It’s not—it is the premise of Interactive Student Centered Learning. Author Edward Spooner takes readers through the history of different learning and teaching styles (from traditional to constructivist), ending with what he feels is the best way to learn and teach: interactive student learning. Read more

Rac(E)Ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in
Schools and Classrooms

By H. Richard Milner IV
Race and poverty are widely held to be among the most impactful factors in public schools across the country. H. Richard Milner IV uses his new text, Rac(e) ing to Class, to promote his mission of helping districts to consistently pursue principles and practices that can make a difference. He encourages decision-makers to “work towards those principles even if they are not able to completely implement them.” Read more

This article is part of a series focusing on the learning continuum, brought to you with support from The Wallace Foundation.

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our
Kids for the Innovation Era

By Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith
What’s wrong with the American education system and how can we fix it? In Most Likely to Succeed, the authors explore the history of education in America and offer readers their vision on what needs to be done to improve teaching and learning. Tony Wagner, an educator, speaker, writer, and Harvard graduate, paired up with Ted Dintersmith, a Stanford-educated venture capitalist and technology innovator, to “explore the contradiction between what students must do to earn a high school or college degree versus what makes them most likely to succeed in the world of work, citizenship, and lifelong learning.” Read more

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