Mentoring Matters for Assistant/Associate Principals and Deans: December 2016

Leadership-life Fit: Meditation Isn’t Just for Monks

A daily practice of focus and awareness can help you give the gift of your best self! Learn some quick and easy strategies to get started or to support you as you continue your meditation practice!

Leading Learning—4 Attributes of a Great Assistant Principal:

George Couros reflects on his role as an AP and his work as a principal with his assistants—he shares the qualities and behaviors of his most successful assistants.

Read the full blog here.

Couros notes that in addition to caring more about what’s right than being right, the most successful APs demonstrate the following four attributes:

  1. Self-starters – Being able to recognize work that needs completing or issues that need to be addressed and to take action is invaluable to the overall effective functioning of the building.
  2. Determined - Acknowledging failures as steps toward success and persevering rather than accepting the defeat helps transform practice. Always be open to learning.
  3. Own what goes wrong; give credit to what goes right - Keeping the focus on the team/staff contributes to a positive, collaborative culture.
  4. Challenge authority – Being focused on what’s right and challenging ideas/actions that aren’t congruent with what’s right position the school for success. Raising questions and offering other possible courses of actions increases the probability of better outcomes for students and staff alike.

By developing these four attributes and always being mindful of the importance of cultivating relationships with the school community, Couros observes that an AP will contribute to an environment where all learners (staff and students) excel.

Leading Learning— Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Watch this eight and a half-minute video explaining the Why, What, and How of growth mindset, and then delve into the Growth Mindset Playbook! Process the reflective questions that follow in your mentoring partnership.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. We know that high expectations have a 1.44 effect size on student achievement, and we know that expectations include the belief by both student and teacher that the student can learn whatever standard is being addressed. How do you surface your teachers’ beliefs about students?
  2. When you notice incongruence between teachers’ behaviors and what they say they believe, how do you engage in conversation around that? For example, a teacher says she believes all children can learn at high levels, but then she consistently asks simpler questions of a particular student or settles for lower quality work from a certain student.
  3. Have you examined what you believe about your teachers’ ability to learn? How do you model and communicate a growth mindset with your teachers?
  4. What language shifts need to happen in your school to reinforce a growth mindset? (Example: Joe hasn’t learned that YET. What’s the next skill or content piece he needs to move toward the target? What does this mean for my instruction? OR Mr. Smith hasn’t implemented feedback YET. What does he need to do to begin moving toward our vision for effective feedback? What is my role in that?)
  5. What stories speak to the impact of a growth mindset in your building (or personally)?

Leading Learning: ESSA Toolkit

Just a reminder that this toolkit resource is available to help principals engage in informed conversations around ESSA!

Monthly Checklist

These lists are intended as a guide—we encourage you to process in your mentor-mentee team to identify other items that may need your attention!