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The Principal's Companion
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The Principal's Companion
Strategies to Lead Schools for Student and Teacher Success

Fourth Edition
Edited by:


May 2014 | 408 pages | Corwin

The classic personal guide for principals, updated to address today’s challenges

As the leader and decision maker in your school, you know that the buck stops with you. But when you’re faced with issues that are unfamiliar or simply overwhelming, where can you turn for advice and experience?

For over a decade, the answer has been The Principal’s Companion. Pam Robbins and Harvey B. Alvy’s comprehensive classic remains a standard reference for principals of all experience levels, providing a wealth of ideas, techniques, and reflective opportunities.

In the fourth edition, new and updated content is delivered in an ultra-efficient format tailored to principals’ busy days. Topics range from big-picture considerations to specific tactics and strategies, including:

  • The principal’s many roles
  • Critical skills for effective leadership
  • Honoring the school’s mission
  • Working together to build a learning community
  • Starting effectively and staying the course

With an eye towards the future, The Principal’s Companion can be referred to over and over again to ensure the school’s most important executive is a strong anchor for educational success.

“This has always been one of the books I recommend to principals, and the latest edition makes it even more important and helpful to principals who face one of the toughest jobs in education today.”
—Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director
Learning Forward

"Robbins and Alvy's ability to explain the sophisticated and complex landscape of today's connected schools in a manner that is easily understandable to both a new leader and a veteran school leader is masterful. They truly understand the role of today's school leader in the classroom, the school, and the community.”
—Joshua Garcia, Deputy Superintendent
Tacoma Public Schools, WA

Kent D. Peterson
Foreword
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Part I. The Principal's Many Roles
 
1. Leader as Learner
Principal as Lifelong Learner

 
Learning in Many Contexts

 
The Expanding Role of the Principal

 
A Global Perspective

 
When Old and New Ideas Converge

 
Reflections

 
 
2. Leader as Manager
Instructional Leadership Requires Effective Management

 
Management Responsibilities and Strategies

 
Crisis Management Planning

 
A Final Observation Regarding School Management

 
Reflections

 
 
3. Leader as Shaper of School Culture
Core Values and Beliefs Are the Heart of Culture

 
The Physical Environment Reflects Core Values: Portraits of Practice

 
Rituals Display Core Values and Call Attention to What Is Important

 
Celebrations Call Attention to What Is Important

 
How People Spend Time Reflects Core Values

 
Norms Are the Unwritten Rules of Culture

 
Powerful Stories Communicate and Reinforce Cultural Values

 
Reading, Transforming, or Shaping a Culture

 
Final Thoughts on Culture

 
Reflections

 
 
Part II. Critical Skills for Effective Leadership
 
4. The Art of Human Relations: Getting the Job Done
Task and Relationship Behaviors

 
Differentiated Support

 
Personality Styles

 
Recommendations for Skillful Human Relations

 
The Role of Emotions in the Organization: Remembering the Heart

 
Reflections

 
 
5. Managing Time: Leading With Purpose
Brevity, Fragmentation, and Variety

 
Techniques for Time Management

 
Managing Bifocally

 
Multitasking: A Modern-Day Solution or Hazard?

 
Final Thoughts on Using Time

 
Reflections

 
 
6. Effectively Working With the Central Office: Coordinating Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development
Caught in the Middle

 
How Is the School District Governed?

 
Communication Between the Schools and the Central Office

 
The District Office as a Teaching and Learning Center

 
The District Office and Principal Evaluations: Partnering for Success

 
Management Tips for Working With the Central Office

 
Maintaining a Strong Relationship Between the Central Office and the School

 
Forging a School and Central Office Partnership: Putting Staff and Student Learning First

 
Reflections

 
 
Part III. Honoring the School's Mission
 
7. Understanding, Planning, and Implementing Change
Guiding the Change Journey: Three Questions

 
Understanding Change

 
Change Brings Loss and Resistance

 
Change Influences Individuals and the Organization

 
Failure, Risk-Taking, and Conflict: Ingredients for Change

 
Strategies to Promote Trust

 
Classical Insights Regarding Change and Continuous Improvement

 
Three Phases of Change

 
A Look at Change From the Individual's Perspective

 
Stages of Concern

 
Some Final Thoughts on Change

 
Reflections

 
 
8. Building a Vision and a Mission Together
Reflecting on Vision and Mission

 
Why Have a Shared School Vision and Mission?

 
School Activities That Highlight the Mission

 
Mission-Building Activity

 
Developing Yearly School Improvement Goals to Accomplish the Mission

 
Reflections

 
 
Part IV. Working Together to Build a Learning Community
 
9. Enhancing Teacher Growth Through Supervision and Evaluation Practices Designed to Promote Student Learning
Issues and Dilemmas

 
Essential Ingredients for Successful Supervision

 
Effective Instructional Strategies

 
Brain-Compatible Teaching Practices

 
Guidelines to Successfully Navigate Through Required State and District Teacher Evaluations Frameworks

 
Increasing Teacher and Administrative Understanding Through Reflective Clinical Supervision

 
Tips for Conferencing and Observing

 
Walk-Throughs, Instructional Rounds, Snapshots, or Drive-Bys

 
Guidelines Related to Evaluation and Legal Concerns

 
Final Thoughts on Supervision and Evaluation

 
Reflections

 
 
10. Maximizing Feedback About Teaching: Differentiated Professional Growth Options
Reflections on Feedback

 
Creating the Environment for Maximizing Feedback

 
Building a Foundation: Getting Started

 
Moving Toward Collaborative Feedback

 
Differentiated Professional Growth Options: How the System Works

 
Sources of Feedback: Categories and Approaches

 
Self-Assessment: Establishing Benchmarks of Progress

 
Individual Reflection and Institutional Renewal

 
Reflections

 
 
11. Building a Collaborative School: The Power of Teacher Leadership and Community
Portrait of a Collaborative School: A Professional Learning Community

 
An Image of Reality: Obstacles to Collaboration

 
The Case for Collaboration

 
Moving Toward Collaboration

 
Necessary Conditions for a Collaborative School

 
Teacher Leadership and the Collaborative School

 
The Principal and Collaboration

 
Some Final Thoughts on Collaboration

 
Reflections

 
 
12. Fueling the Learning Organization Through Professional Development
Why Professional Development?

 
Professional Development Defined

 
Standards for Professional Learning

 
Creating a Context Where Professional Learning Thrives: Some Guidelines

 
Leadership Teams and Professional Learning

 
Optimizing the Individual's Professional Learning Experience

 
Central Office Support for Professional Learning

 
Final Thoughts on Professional Learning

 
Reflections

 
 
13. Faculty Meetings: A Tool for Capacity Building
Faculty Meetings as Learning Opportunities--Getting Started

 
The School Mission and Faculty Meetings

 
Increasing Teachers' Roles in Faculty Meetings

 
Some Successful Faculty Meeting Strategies: Stories of Practice

 
Faculty Meeting Strategies That Work!

 
A Final Thought

 
Reflections

 
 
14. Asking the Right Questions About Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Getting to Know the C.I.A.
We Live in Interesting Times

 
Asking the Right Questions

 
Continuing the Curriculum Discussion

 
Reflections

 
 
Part V. Starting Effectively and Staying the Course
 
15. First Days of School
Logistical Concerns

 
Beginning-of-the-Year Faculty Meetings Set a Tone

 
Departmental and Grade-Level Meetings

 
Orienting Teachers Who Are New to the School

 
Teacher Time in the Classroom

 
Welcoming Students and Parents

 
Be Visible on the First Days of School

 
Reflections

 
 
16. Tips: Ideas That Work and Align With the School's Mission
Organizing Your Time

 
Additional Helpful Ideas to Stay On Task

 
Tips From a Superintendent: What Makes a Successful 21st Century Principal

 
The School Budget: Common Sense Efficiency Tips Based on the Mission

 
Providing Experiences to Celebrate the School's Culture

 
Tips on Opening a New School

 
Tips on Using Technology to Enhance a Principal's Performance

 
Using Tips in Your Setting

 
Reflections

 
 
Part VI. Embracing Your Constituencies
 
17. Working With Parents and Partnering With the Greater Community
Effectively Communicating With Parents

 
Building Bridges With the Parent Community

 
Additional Ways to Bring Parents and Community Members Into School

 
Broadening School Support and Partnerships

 
Community-Based Organizations

 
Seeking School Support Through Educational Grants

 
Reaching Out and Working With the Media

 
A Reflection on Partnering With Parents and the Community

 
Reflections

 
 
18. Making a Difference for Students: The Heart of the School
The Challenge of Excellence and Equality, Social Justice, and School Leadership

 
"Those Kids" and Their Stories

 
The Right to Be a Child and to Make Mistakes

 
Maximizing Opportunities for Students With Disabilities

 
Response to Intervention (RTI)

 
School Discipline: The Principal's Role, the Discipline Gap, and Promising Options

 
Broad Disciplinary Guidelines

 
Reducing Bullying Behavior

 
Cyberbullying and Social Responsibility

 
Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth

 
Graduating America's Youth: Making Progress on a Long Road

 
Student and Teacher Resiliency

 
Final Thoughts on "Those Kids"

 
Reflections

 
 
VII. The Principal's Professional and Personal Worlds
 
19. The Newcomer to the Principalship
Problems That Challenge New Principals

 
A Profile of the New Principal

 
Helping Prospective and New Principals Make the Grade

 
Practical Suggestions for Newcomers

 
Final Thoughts on the Newcomer Experience

 
Reflections

 
 
20. Taking Care of Yourself
Achieving Success Over Stress

 
Taking Control of Time

 
Towards Realizing the Vision: A Personal Mission Statement

 
Gaining Perspective by Spending Time With Students

 
Body and Mind: Healthy and Ill Together

 
Reflections

 
 
21. Keeping the Professional Candle Lit
Institutionalizing Professional Learning

 
Reflection as a Tool

 
A Principal's Portfolio

 
Other Growth Opportunities

 
Reflections

 
 
22. Reflections on the Principalship
Serving the School Community

 
Where Do We Go From Here?

 
The Good School

 
Take Time to Smell the Roses

 
Reflections

 
 
References and Additional Readings
 
Index

"As educators we are so fortunate that Pam Robbins and Harvey Alvy continue to update The Principal's Companion.  It has always been one of the "must read" books I refer to principals, and this latest edition makes it even more important and helpful to principals who face one of the toughest jobs in education today.

Pam and Harvey combine research, practitioner expertise, and personal experiences to provide principals with a resource that will serve them well throughout their career.  The topics, insights, and reflection questions make it a text that principals will find themselves returning to when they are confronting a new challenge or opportunity and seeking new information and insights.

Give the gift of The Principal's Companion to your principals.  You will have given them a compact resource that touches their most pressing issues with suggestions, insights, and findings grounded in research, experience, and practice."

Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director
Learning Forward

"The revised and expanded edition of The Principal’s Companion will be a welcome addition to any principal’s professional library. The authors have crafted a vade mecum for the thoughtful, engaged… and busy! …principal. This is a user-friendly, accessible, and holistic compilation of educational philosophy, solid research, and practical, tested methodologies. It can be read from start to finish with great benefit. But due to its thoughtful structure, one can also dive into it from time to time for inspiration, expert opinion or a bit of challenge. Drs. Alvy and Robbins have made a wonderful contribution to our profession with this, their latest collaboration."

David Chojnacki, Executive Director
Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools, Aghia Paraskevi, Greece

"Alvy's and Robbins's ability to explain the sophisticated and complex landscape of today's connected schools in a manner that is easily understandable to both a new leader and a veteran school leader is masterful. They truly understand the role of today's school leader in the classroom, the school, and the community. Together, they have boiled down complex ideas to practical solutions that leaders can learn from and apply in their daily routines. Through years of research, new learning, and proven experience, they have modeled the way for leaders. This book communicates the need for today's school leaders to develop action plans that produce results. As they say, it is not a matter of 'either/or' but rather 'and' when addressing modern societal demands. Their guidance and reflections provide a road map for schools that will create positive student outcomes for the students they serve."

Joshua Garcia, Deputy Superintendent
Tacoma Public Schools

We used this book for our principal practicum. The students were able to implement what they learned as they engaged in campus activities. They loved it.

Dr Maria Roberts
Clg Of Arts Sciences Education, Texas A&M University-Texarkana
October 5, 2016
Key features

Features an interactive format with reflective questions at the end of each chapter and is intended to help principals feel as if there is an invisible colleague with whom to interact.

Each chapter reflects a topic that is important to principals and offers ideas, experiences, strategies, and techniques described in each chapter are grounded in research and practice.

Moral/ethical responsibilities of the principalship—Affirming that "Character is Destiny" as a key book theme. Embedded in this theme is the notion that school leaders cannot be successful if they lack credibility.

Principal Standards—Examining exemplary state standards and the ISLLC standards, emphasizing that standards offer a "compass" to guide leaders.

Curriculum and Instruction:

  • Addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the school principal's role in leading the CCSS implementation process with the help of Teacher Leaders
  • Noting the importance of feedback (referencing the influence of John Hattie's research) as a critical element of student empowerment and teacher growth
  • Presenting major curriculum shifts that have influenced supervision, instruction, assessment and professional development

Supervision and Instructional Leadership:

  • Supervising for growth in a non-threatening, nurturing culture that addresses new performance evaluation programs linked to federal and state mandates with principals and teacher leaders working together
  • Addressing difficult one-on-one conversations related to classroom observations and/or performance evaluation
  • Updating alternative observational strategies such as instructional rounds, walk-throughs and peer coaching with Teacher Leadership input

Social Justice—Revising, updating and adding sections related to race, poverty and the achievement and opportunity gap; bullying and cyber bullying, resilience and hope, and supporting and providing a safety net for homeless children and LGBT youth.

School Culture: Celebrating Teacher Leaders as partners that build teacher capacity, a culture of excellence, and serve to nurture newcomers

Technology: Highlighting the principal's collaborative partnership with teachers, in selecting effective resources to be used as an integral part of instruction, curriculum delivery and assessment within lessons

Updating the "From ESEA to NCLB: Implications for the Future" section

Updating "The Student Learning NEXUS Model"—this helpful supervisory and School Improvement Planning will be revised.

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

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ISBN: 9781452287591
£33.99