Mentoring Matters for Elementary Principals: 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—New Pathways for Parental Involvement:
What exactly constitutes parental involvement? The answer varies greatly among administrators and parents alike. Beyond homework help and volunteerism, recent research has identified a high-leverage opportunity for parents to contribute to their student’s success. Put your parents in the know!
Most mental models of parental involvement have revolved around support for students’ mastery of subject matter knowledge and skill acquisition, which has often translated into holding students accountable for completing homework and practicing math facts, for example. However, as the curriculum grows increasingly more complex and cognitively demanding, parents may feel less confident in their ability to “teach” or explain students’ assignments. In fact, this is why teaching is a profession—it requires a high degree of skill, strategy, and knowledge, not only about content and knowledge/skill acquisition but also about student growth and development.
The good news is that parents don’t have to know and understand the content their students are learning to be of greatest support. What they can give their students that offers much greater leverage in their student’s success is help in developing grit. William Russell, founder of Family Learning Exchange, in a recent article in NAESP’s Principal magazine notes the significance of non-cognitives to a student’s overall health and well-being. He claims, “parents are the best people in the world to foster their children’s growth in curiosity, perseverance, self-control, empathy, and the handful of other non-cognitive factors that are the bedrock of learning—better even than teachers.” These attributes lead to successful learning.
Russell suggests the following strategies for involving parents in cultivating their students’ non-cognitive skills:
Request that PTO/PTA’s devote a segment of their regular meeting to learning more about the power of perseverance, diligence, initiative, for example, and what the studies confirm about these attributes.
Resources to support parents and schools in nurturing non-cognitives:
Read Russell’s full article here.
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:
Leading Learning: ESSA Toolkit
Just a reminder that this toolkit resource is available to help principals engage in informed conversations around ESSA!
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!