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Best Books for...

School Leaders


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Are you looking for books to help you improve instruction in your school? Motivate teachers and students? Improve school climate? Increase parent involvement? Click the links below to see Our Editors' Choices of recommended books. Then it's your turn to share titles that you recommend. and tell why you value them. With your help, we will build the best list on the Web of Best Books for leading schools of achievement and caring.

 


Be sure to check out our other Best Book archives:
Best Books for Students
Best Books for Developing Teaching Themes
Best Books for Professional Development

 

INDEX OF BOOKS

This index identifies the books in our "Best Books" library for school leaders. Scroll down the page to learn more about each title.

  • A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook
  • A Survival Kit for the Elementary School Principal
  • The Administrator's Guide to School Community Relations
  • Being a Successful Principal
  • BRAVO Principal!
  • The Bully Free Classroom
  • Bullying at School
  • Case Studies for Teacher Problem Solving
  • Classroom Instruction That Works
  • Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance
  • Energizing Staff Meetings
  • Failure Is Not an Option
  • Family Math
  • The First Days of School
  • The First Six Weeks of School
  • The First-Year Principal
  • How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms
  • If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students
  • Mentoring Principals
  • The Morning Meeting Book
  • Motivating and Inspiring Teachers
  • No Contest: The Case Against Competition
  • 194 High-Impact Letters for Busy Principals: A Guide to Handling Difficult Correspondence
  • Parents & Teachers Working Together
  • Schools of FISH!
  • Shaping School Culture
  • The Sixty-Second Motivator
  • Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading
  • Teacher Under Construction: Things I Wish I'd Known!
  • Teaching With Love and Logic
  • 30 Reflective Staff Development Exercises for Educators
  • 36 Games Kids Love to Play
  • The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through: Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time
  • Understanding By Design
  • What Great Teachers Do Differently

  • BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

    The Administrator's Guide to School Community Relations
    By Education World columnist George Pawlas. The Administrator's Guide. is a treasury of practical tips and strategies with illustrated examples. Learn how to prepare successful newsletters, memos, and other forms of communication; use the media to your advantage; enhance parent and family involvement; work with other members of the community and local businesses; and deal with crisis situations.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Being a Successful Principal: Riding the Wave of Change Without Drowning
    This collection of insights, anecdotes, gifts, and guidance on shared leadership in schools is written by principals for principals -- the book, the authors say, "we wish we could have had when we began or careers as administrators." It's a book of theory evolved into day-to-day practice, with subjects that include trusting in yourself and others; learning to change; handling change without being swept away; assessing students, staff, and schools; the administrator as mediator; and standing your ground while maintaining your relationships.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    BRAVO Principal!
    By Education World columnist Sandra Harris. BRAVO is an acronym for Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others. Sandra Harris "reveals a great principle about great principals. They take the time and make the effort to build relationships in their building that value all stakeholders. Her writing reveals a hands-on, practical approach that will appeal to practicing administrators interested in making a long term, positive impact on students and teachers. A fun and informative read!"
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The Bully Free Classroom
    Subtitled "Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8," this useful volume provides well over 100 bite-sized ideas that are quick to read and common-sensical. Bullying, of course, is a terrible phenomenon in schools and famously hard to deal with effectively. So, a relatively brief (166 pages) resource that offers a wide variety of ideas and approaches is probably one of the most valuable items you can have on hand as a teacher in the modern classroom.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do
    Olweus is a renowned expert in the field, and Bullying at School is the definitive book on bullying/victim problems in school and on effective ways of counteracting and preventing such problems. Writes one reader: "Professor Olweus is without question the world's leading authority on the topic. His book is a succinct yet accurate and thorough statement of the problem and what educators and parents can do to alleviate it."
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Case Studies for Teacher Problem Solving
    With 37 detailed case studies, this book takes almost a Harvard Business School approach to illuminating the problems teachers must solve in classrooms every day. Certainly, reading this book would present a classroom teacher with a number of situations that, even if he or she might never encounter those situations exactly, should open up new avenues of thought concerning situations indeed faced regularly. An advantage to this approach is its open-endedness; the reader is inspired to think independently rather than prescribed definite solutions.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement
    For a book from one of the major education associations -- the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) -- this is a relatively compact book of under 200 pages that offers nine categories of instructional strategies, along with the research and statistics to back up their efficacy. Among the nine are Summarizing and Note Taking; Homework and Practice; Nonlinguistic Representation; and Cooperative Learning. The emphasis in the book is on elementary instruction. Written by Robert Marzano and others.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance
    Grant Wiggins is one of the most important education thinkers and writers because he has a unique and logical point of view on a fundamental aspect of school -- assessment. In this book, Wiggins attempts to envision what assessment reform would look like if it were to succeed, and then fleshes out his vision with strong logic and significant detail. Wiggins shows his ability to take the discussion to a higher level in the later chapters of this book by arguing that getting assessment right is not only an education priority but in fact a moral imperative.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Energizing Staff Meetings
    Could your staff meetings use a zap of energy? Do you want more participation and less reluctance when you gather your team? This sourcebook overflows with strategies, activities, and resources designed to bring these all-important qualities into the faculty meeting. Teacher leaders will discover the keys to improved collaboration, teamwork, and productivity -- and new tools to improve group processes.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Failure Is Not an Option™ - Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools
    Building on a foundation that identifies courageous school leadership and the professional learning community as the center of effective school reform, this powerful new book by Alan M. Blankstein offers six guiding principles for creating and sustaining high-performing schools. Case studies and vignettes, and techniques for addressing difficult issues, guide school leaders to learn how implementation looks when it's done right as well as when things go wrong.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Family Math
    If you're looking for a tool to help you help your students' parents help with math instruction at home, these lively activities -- 300 pages of them -- are sure to be valuable. This rich resource instructs parents how to employ common items such as beans, pennies, and buttons to teach estimation, logical thinking, probability, geometry, measurement, and more. Also a must resource for your K-8 teachers and for organizing a Math Night at your school. Check out its sequel too: Family Math II
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher
    Harry and Rosemary Wong are, of course, among the deans of education writing in America, and this book is evidence of why. In addition to providing a lot of practical advice -- brought to life with more than 300 photos and illustrations -- the book focuses on three essential characteristics of a successful teacher, namely, positive expectations, classroom management, and lesson mastery, as well as on basic and future "understandings" that are part of the teaching life.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The First Six Weeks of School
    The critical first six weeks of school is the focus of this practical book, aimed at building a strong foundation in terms of motivation, cooperation, responsibility and self-control. The book, published by the Responsive Classroom folks, includes daily plans along with commentary for K-2, 3-4, and 5-6, and adds an extensive collection of games, activities, greetings, songs, read-alouds, and other resources that can help make the goal of starting the year strong a reality.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The First-Year Principal
    By Education World columnist Pete Hall. Most administrative internships and educational leadership programs are thorough in providing theory and basic practice, but lack in preparing future administrators for the vast scope of responsibility in the principalship. Peter Hall wrote this book as a principal at the conclusion of his first year, thus the point of view comes straight from the trenches. This is a no-holds-barred, honest look at the pelting storm that awaits the rookie school administrator.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook
    This practical book can help not only first-year teachers, but also established professionals, with eminently useful ideas for classroom management, using technology, handling parent conferences, and many other topics. Especially handy for the early-career teacher are sections on teaching in rural and urban settings, education issues, and first day / first week / first month ideas.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms
    This book provides practical guidance in addressing the diverse needs of students in mixed-ability classrooms. Differentiated instruction provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product; and it is a blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction. The author describes actual classrooms that use strategies for managing differentiated classrooms and provides detailed how-to's for lesson planning. An appendix lists strategies, including pretesting for competence ("compacting"), independent projects, interest centers, and tiered assignments.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students
    This book's best joke may be its title, but it's still very refreshing to have a humorous approach taken to the endless supply of practical tips that the art of teaching needs. In particular, this is one of the best books for teachers to give to administrators as "presents..." well, a gift that hopefully will keep on giving back to the teachers. Lots of great stuff in here that teachers can make happen, but it's really a book that can give administrators ideas to help the staff in many human ways in this most human of professions.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Mentoring Principals: Frameworks, Agendas, Tips, and Case Stories for Mentors and Mentees
    By Education World columnist Paul Young. Mentoring new principals is a professional gift that leaders can give to incoming colleagues to speed them on the path to full effectiveness. This invaluable guide will help jump-start the process by providing an overview of the key components and phases of principal mentoring and adult learning. Contributed wisdom and tips from expert mentors around the country expand and enrich case studies. Intended to support the needs of mentors, mentees, and new principals, this indispensable handbook provides direction in the "art" and "how-to" of mentoring.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The Morning Meeting Book
    A very practical book -- step-by-step guidelines for implementing a morning meeting in any K-8 classroom; 45 greetings; 66 group activities; and ideas for adapting the morning meeting idea to classes with a lot of second-language learners. The essential concept is to make everyone feel that it matters that he or she is in school -- including the teacher! This book comes from the folks behind the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Motivating and Inspiring Teachers: The Educational Leader's Guide for Building Staff Morale
    For principals, teachers, team leaders, and all other educators, this book is filled with strategies to motivate and stimulate. Included are simple suggestions you can integrate into your current daily routines. This book will show you how to insert key phrases and specific actions; hire new staff and plan orientation; use the "gift of time" to stimulate and reward; get amazing results by not taking credit for them; and motivate yourself each and every day.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    No Contest: The Case Against Competition
    One of the most prolific education writers, Alfie Kohn is also one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking. This book makes perhaps the most profound argument Kohn has ever fielded -- that "healthy competition" is an oxymoron, that competition is not an essential or desirable aspect of human nature, but rather a part of our animal nature that we must transcend. Of course our educational system has a love-hate relationship with competition: we don't want kids to feel like losers, but our society demands that schools identify a small number of winners. A truly essential read!
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    194 High-Impact Letters for Busy Principals: A Guide to Handling Difficult Correspondence
    As the key communicators for schools, principals write a wide range of correspondence -- from thank-you letters and congratulations to best wishes and other personal notes. Yet, this critical responsibility can easily fall victim to every administrator's busy schedule. Marilyn Grady's updated and expanded collection of letters is truly a time-saving starter kit, with user-friendly and easy-to-personalize templates to revitalize every busy administrator's communications repertoire. This targeted collection will add a new level of organization, efficiency, and effectiveness to your communication tasks.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Parents & Teachers Working Together
    How can teachers build positive relationships with parents and work with them to support their children s learning? This book offers a wealth of manageable ways. It combines the voice of a master teacher with spotlights of a dozen other teachers in action in rural, urban, and suburban schools. Sample letters and forms throughout. Topics include working with diverse family cultures; setting the stage for a positive relationship; keeping in touch all year long; and involving all parents. Part of the Strategies for Teachers Series from the folks at the Responsive Classroom®.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Schools of FISH!
    As an educator, every time that bell rings, you face dozens of challenges. The FISH! Philosophy has helped educators around the world build more effective, fulfilling relationships that lead to better learning. Schools of FISH! is full of inspiring and instructive stories about the issues you deal with every day -- improving learning, respect and personal accountability, self-discipline and internal motivation, and finding ways to make learning more fun. See FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results too.
    Schools of Fish!
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Shaping School Culture: The Heart of Leadership
    Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson show how leaders can harness the power of school culture to build a lively, cooperative spirit and a sense of school identity. They draw from more their extensive work with school leaders to identify viable new strategies for effective school leadership. They show how a positive culture can make school reforms work and suggest antidotes for toxic cultures. Shaping School Culture provides an action blueprint for school leaders.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The Sixty-Second Motivator
    Okay, this isn't really an education book per se, but if there's any profession that faces motivation challenges, it's teaching: Principals have to motivate teachers who have to motivate students to learn, to behave, and maybe even to grow up a little bit. Seriously, self-motivation is a huge part of any job that requires a person to motivate other people, and this is certainly a useful approach to self-motivation for time-strapped teachers.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content-Area Reading
    A guide to developing ambitious thematic units, a "balance diet" reading list of 150 books of interest to teens, and special help tips for students who struggle with reading, all help make this book a strong candidate for becoming a core content-area-reading playbook for middle school and high school teachers.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    A Survival Kit for the Elementary School Principal with Reproducible Forms, Checklists & Letters
    For the new and veteran elementary principal, here is a unique "survival kit" packed with tested advice, practical guidelines, and ready-to-use materials for all aspects of your job gleaned from the author's 25 years of experience in both public and private schools. The Kit focuses on the issues, situations, and tasks that you face daily in your roles as leader, arbitrator, evaluator, chairperson, disciplinarian and more. It includes more than 150 letters, forms, and checklists that can be used as is or readily adapted.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Teacher Under Construction: Things I Wish I'd Known!: A Survival Handbook for New Middle School Teachers
    One of the books from the revived Weekly Reader presses, this handbook (it's only 110 pages) is a good, brief, practical guide for the middle school educator. Features such as a parent conference checklist, a "5-10-15-20" rule of time management, and other common-sense tips are indeed the kinds of things experienced teachers can usefully offer newcomers. A great balance between the nuts and bolts practicalities and the human aspects of the job, and a book concise enough to fit into your bag.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Teaching With Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom
    Jim Fay and David Funk embody their method of classroom management in the term "love and logic," and follow up this concept with chapters like "Apply Consequences with Empathy." Aimed ultimately at transferring the responsibility for maintaining order from the teacher to the student, this method is a "golden mean," a balanced approach that sees both teachers and students as real human beings. A treasure!
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    30 Reflective Staff Development Exercises for Educators
    Leadership expert Stephen S. Kaagan presents a unique guide for educators. The 30 reflective exercises have been designed to foster effective change; develop leadership skills; and identify and capitalize on staff assets. Each exercise include detailed instructions on process, appropriate group size, and contextual cues for best use. Questions for reflection help users explore the "what," the "so what," and the "now what" of issues raised in the exercises.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    36 Games Kids Love to Play
    The games in this book are designed to maximize fun and challenge while minimizing the risk of emotional and physical harm. Most appropriate for grades K-4, all the games are easy for teachers to teach and children to learn. Many of the games can be played either indoors or outdoors. Each game description includes clear, straightforward instructions and "helpful hints" for making the game run smoothly.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through: Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time
    The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through offers a practical, time-saving way to evaluate teacher performance as it impacts student achievement by cultivating self-reliant teachers who are continuously improving their practice. Easy to understand and adopt, this method will answer the questions most important to principals: Is the work of my teachers aligned with the district curriculum? Are my teachers using research-based "best practices"? Are they choosing the instructional strategies that will promote student achievement?
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    Understanding By Design
    Grant Wiggins is one of the most important education thinkers, with a unique and logical point of view on a fundamental aspect of school -- assessment. In this expanded second edition, Wiggins and co-author Jay McTighe convincingly turn the traditional assessment model on its head. Instead of creating curriculum and then figuring out assessment, they argue that we first determine what kids should learn, second how we're going to assess that learning, and only then design curriculum to enable students to pass. Not many education books crack the top 1,000 in Amazon sales, but this one does.
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.

    What Great Teachers Do Differently: Fourteen Things That Matter Most
    Todd Whitaker is one of the prolific education writers who continually remind us that teaching is primariliy an art, though it is surrounded by a lot of science (and pseudo-science). As such, Whitaker looks at great practitioners and focuses on what they do that distinguishes them from less-than-great teachers. Among the intriguing chapter headings are: "Restoring Trust," "The Angry Parent," "Handling the High Achievers," and "Treat Everyone As If They Were Good."
    Click to learn more or to purchase this book.


    Add your voice to our list of parenting books!

    The Education World Editors’ Choices above represent just a handful of the great books that might be used to support parents and improve parenting. Now we’re waiting for your review! Simply send us your review of a favorite book in 100 words or fewer and your review will be added to the other Readers’ Choices that appear below.

    kidztchr7 recommends
    Help! My Child is Starting Middle School!: A Survival Handbook for Parents
    by Jerry L Parks
    Help! My Child is Starting Middle School! is written to 6th grade parents. It includes virtually everything a parent should know. It also includes a couple of chapters for parents and kids to read together. Our PTO bought copies to utilize at orientation.

    Be the next to add your review to this page!


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    Updated 06/13/2008


     

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