Leading Good Schools to Greatness: A Guide-O-Rama for Reading

Written By smcneely

On March 16, 2012

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bookOne of the books I’ve been in and out of a lot the last few months is Leading Good Schools to Greatness: Mastering What Great Principals Do Well (Gray & Streshly; 2010). It initially was a text for my own leadership learning at Marian, but I recognized its value immediately and infused it into the work I’ve done with school leaders in Kentucky and Tennessee regarding school turnaround. The book is packed with content that ties directly to the four recommendations for achieving school turnaround: Signal Dramatic Change; Focus on Instruction; Achieve Quick Wins; Build a Committed Staff.

I’m including here a guide-o-rama of sorts (kind of like a guided scavenger hunt through a book) to guide your own preview of the text:

Page 4: Framework for the Highly Successful School Principal- this chart is the book in a nutshell. If you’re wondering whether you’ve got what it takes as a school leader, check your own attributes against the ones here

Page 7: A few points of interest here all related to Building a Committed Staff including: tips on using quick wins to build your alliance; securing commitment while driving change efforts; and hiring, redeployment, and releasing staff

Pages 19-21: Some really nice models for providing helpful feedback on instruction, which is valuable not only to keeping the focus on instructional issues, but strengthening the professional dialogue and trust among leaders and teachers

Pages 39 & 46: Important lessons about sticking to your guns while remaining humble, important to consider when signaling dramatic change

Page 55: Building a tolerance for truth in an effort to transform instructional practice… here is a PD plan for digging into data with faculty

Page 77: All about getting the right people on the bus

Page 94: Attributes of effective professional development in schools; a really useful list if your PD needs to step up its game

Page 103: The Hedgehog Concept explained (this connects to the unwavering focus a leader must have and how quick wins must be linked to a school’s mission)

Pages 148-150: Habits to acquire and avoid in pursuit of highly effective leadership…a must read which likely will prompt reflection and new goal setting