Mentoring Matters for Assistant Principals: April

Leadership-life Fit:

Try these 7 Stress Stoppers to help improve your leadership-life fit!

Seven Key Factors Connected to Socioeconomic Status and Student Engagement and How to Mitigate Them:

Catch a quick overview of key factors that influence student engagement and note strategies that mitigate the influence of poverty in this brief article by Eric Jensen. Share your own successful practices at our Padlet site.

How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement by Eric Jensen


  1. What has been the experience of your teachers in working with students living in poverty?
  2. What training have you and your staff had in working with students of poverty?
  3. What successful practices have you used to mitigate the impact of poverty? Share your success on the padlet.

Building a Coaching Program: 5 Key Points from Jim Knight and 2 from Diane Sweeney = 7!

Benefit from the advice of instructional coaching guru Jim Knight and student-centered coaching expert Diane Sweeney regarding key attributes for building a quality coaching program:

  1. Jim says: Utilize both a top-down and bottom up approach. The principal should focus on school improvement efforts and high level practices to encourage all teachers to collaborate and interact with the coach (teacher leader/s); and the teachers should see themselves as equal partners with their coaches. Teachers should have choice and voice in what and how they learn.
  2. Diane says: Ensure teachers authentically engage with coaching by focusing on student work. “We're all candidates for coaching because we all have students with needs.” This student-centered approach helps coaches navigate those who may say coaching isn’t for them.
  3. Diane says: Communicate these expectations frequently and broadly!
  4. Jim says: Remove barriers and help make the new practice or intervention easier and more powerful. Coaches facilitate this through modeling, observing, and offering feedback. 
  5. Jim says: Tap into the power of a grassroots approach—encourage teacher leaders to share practices with the highest leverage for increasing student achievement and to model those practices as early adopters. Then, principals and coaches can establish more permanent structures to support the sustainability of the practice/s.
  6. Jim says: Identify coaches who represent both humility and ambition such that they cultivate effective working relationships with staff.
  7. Jim says: Develop the communication skills of teacher leaders such that they simultaneously build an emotional connection with staff and a thick skin to endure the adversity and resistance.

Check out more from Jim Knight.

Check out more from Diane Sweeney.

April Monthly Checklist: 

These lists are intended as a guide and are likely not all-inclusive! Process in your mentor-mentee team to identify other items that need to be addressed.