August 2017 Instructional Leadership Must-Reads

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Welcome back! With the 2017-18 school year kicking off for most, we at TeachBoost wanted to extend a friendly welcome back with a round-up of insightful articles on: coaching with a growth mindset, tips for visiting every classroom, how to develop (and retain) your principals, using technology to foster collaboration, and many more. Enjoy!

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Advances in Technology Foster Collaboration Between Students and Teachers, via EdTech

The trend of using technology within the classroom, and/or amongst staff, has proven successful for numerous districts—as reflected in this article by superintendents, coaches, and CTOs.

"A strong, collaborative environment can extend well beyond the classroom. Corinne Treadaway, a fifth-grade teacher and the technology planning team lead at Emery Unified, says that her district will leverage its new network and collaborative tools to boost online professional development and mentoring opportunities for teachers."

Coaching With Growth Mindset, via The LaunchPad

Instructional coach, Dan Kreiness, shares his experience of coaching with a growth mindset and the power this frame of mind has to push people to continuously improve.

"Virtually all successful people possess a growth mindset around many of the things they do. Conversely, those who hold fixed mindsets will never get beyond thinking that no matter what they do, they can never expect to see change, growth, or improvement."

4 Things Districts Can Do to Find (And Keep) Good Principals, via Edweek

Turnover of personnel within a district, especially leadership positions, is not only a steep obstacle to overcome from a hiring standpoint—it's also very expensive from a monetary view. However, districts nationwide have proven that with hard work, high expectations, and on-the-ground support you can find and keep good principals.

"Unfortunately, finding and training new principals in effective school leadership has been a long-standing challenge for many districts. So it’s good news for districts and states focused on school improvement that six large, urban school districts have shown it is possible—and not expensive—to build principal pipelines that have a mission to produce a steady supply of effective school leaders."

Look for Growth, Not Gotchas, via The LaunchPad

When it comes to staff evaluations, the more frequently they are conducted helps shift the focus from a perceived "gotcha" moment—in the teacher's eye—to a developmental, professional growth exercise.

"Schools and districts who rely on a single, year-end evaluation to assess the competencies of their teachers are missing out on a critical piece of data: change over time. [....] Whether or not it is your intent, teachers who are infrequently visited and rarely receive feedback see observations as a “gotcha” exercise."

Helping Teachers Thrive, via Edutopia

Transformational Leadership Coach, Elena Aguilar, shares 5 ways principals can help boost teacher resilience for the upcoming school year to assist with teacher retention, build support structures, and create additional positive impact benefits.

"Resilience is about not just surviving but thriving in life. And school leaders should be committed to creating the conditions in which educators can thrive. This might help retain teachers, and it may mean they’ll continue to be dedicated to growing their practice, cultivating warm and inviting classrooms, and volunteering to support and guide new teachers."

Improving Teacher Practice Through The Evaluation Process, via Edweek

Discusses the importance of having an evaluation process within your school and/or district and the power it can have with improving teacher practice. This can be done with a standardized rubric, asking honest/open questions, and providing targeted feedback for your teaching staff to help them grow and develop.

"Knowing what will make a difference and how to encourage others to engage in the change process is the leaders' responsibility. Side stepping that responsibility in order to maintain the status quo or avoiding a conflict or a downward slide in morale ends with an observation and evaluation process that takes untold hours for no purpose other than accountability."

Visit #EveryClassroom The First Week of School, via The Principal Center

If you're looking for a "challenge" for the upcoming 2017-18 school year to get into the classroom more often as a leader, this article has some tips for you to get your feet wet.

"What's the most important thing for a leader to do in the first week of school? Among a zillion tasks, it's this: Visit every classroom."

Combating Fixed Mindset with Growth Mindset, via The LaunchPad

In part two in on growth mindset, instructional coach, Dan Kreiness, shares his experience of combating a fixed mindset with a growth mindset and how anyone can posses both mindsets based on the situation. He concludes that a growth mindset is the only way to positively impact students.

"Only when teachers embrace change as a means to build better relationships with their students and instruct them in ways that will get them to grow themselves the most, will they truly adopt a growth mindset."

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Topics: Teacher Evaluation, edtech, Must Reads, Collaboration, Growth Mindset, District Improvement, Teacher Development

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