|BOOK BLOG: Reviews of top education leadership books|
by Dr. Sara Johnson, Principal, McMinnville School District
Professional books – we love them and we need them! They hold the secrets; in them you will find the silver bullet and the missing link. But it takes so much time to read all of the books coming out by our favorite authors. Which one’s are worth your time? Which books should you buy and which should you borrow? How can I get the most out of a book?
COSA is here to help you once again! This Book Blog will give you a place to see the top-selling books and also provide you a brief review of several books written by a principal actively working in the field. Also, the blog will allow you to give your input on the books to help your peers decide which books to read!
This BN Logo takes you to the Barnes and Noble Website, where you may receive a 20 percent educator’s discount. As well, COSA receives a small percentage of each sale generated from a link in this blog.
Here are brief reviews of four of these books:
What Great Principals Do Differently, Fifteen Things That
Matter Most, by Todd Whitaker
Here are the things great principals do differently (drum roll):
Whittaker provides the reader with “how to” tips and a few stories. Although the book is a bit simplistic and narrow when viewed by the acting principal, it is a quick easy read and brings important details to the forefront. This is a great book to read at the beginning of August because it will remind you of all the important things you will need to think about as the school year begins.
All principals have limited time, so Marzano, Waters, and McNulty researched school leadership theories and practices across 35 years, and delivered a book that summarizes the findings into a useful tool for leaders to utilize in determining which practices make the most impact on a school. The research method used by the authors is called Meta-Analysis, which allows the researcher to take all of the available literature and run it through a statistical analysis to determine the practices delivering the highest degree of impact throughout all of the studies.
The comprehensive list compiled by Marzano, Waters, and McNulty identifies 21 responsibilities and their correlations with student achievement (table on page 42 of the book). The authors carefully define each correlate and then make recommendations. This book is research based and includes practical applications. A reader can skip around throughout the book and read portions, finding details on specific practices. This is a good book for the principal’s professional library.
Marzano has continued to utilize meta-analysis to research and write other books, many becoming top-sellers. This book was one of his first top-sellers and is perhaps the most meaningful for understanding the “big picture” of effective leadership. This book has remained on the top-selling list for over two years.
“Professional Learning Communities” have become essential to school improvement. DuFour, & Eaker identified collaboration of professionals in schools as “the most promising strategy for sustainable school improvement.” “Professional learning communities” as a practice is founded on the evolving knowledge base determined by continuous research and practice. It is the utilization of what the business world calls “collective intelligence.” The authors merge theory and practice in this book, their second book on Professional Learning Communities, providing case studies and examples of schools that have been successful in boosting achievement. This book follows Profession Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement, by Richard DuFour, & Robert Eaker published in 1998 by ASCD. It is helpful to read this foundational book first, because the essential components of establishing a professional learning community are defined in the first book. The second book is a problem solving manual for those who have begun to use collaboration in schools as a tool for school improvement.
This is a book in which I skimmed some parts and thoroughly read others. I found parts of the book useful in my work, and others irrelevant. It offers information for all levels of principals, elementary, middle and high.
This is the partner book to Schmoker’s book, RESULTS: The Key to Continuous School Improvement. Schmoker explains the process of school improvement clearly and utilizes a question and answer format. He answers the questions: What is the single most important event of the school year that will impact school improvement? How do you measure school improvement? This book provides tools to apply in your school. If you have the book, RESULTS, you might want this handbook. It is not a must, but is useful.
|This page was last updated on Thursday, July 31, 2008 .|