Much like many of the decisions that principals face every day, the world of “resources” isn’t as cut and dried as it used to be. A website offers a blog, a book has a hashtag, and some providers offer a little bit of everything: blogs, books, articles, conferences, twitter chats...you get the picture.
To cut to the chase, we offer the following list of 25 great resources for school administrators at all levels, in no particular order:
- Connected Principals ‒ This is a blog for administrators by administrators. There are numerous contributors from all types of schools. Articles cover a range of topics such as culture, school choice, and navigating change.
- TED ‒ Hours of amazing videos can be found here, many of which are great for mini-professional development presentations and reflections.
- The John Maxwell Co. ‒ John Maxwell has endured over the years as an expert on leadership. He has written a multitude of books on the topic. His blog is just like his books, but in smaller chunks. These are a great reminder for a busy administrator.
- Teacher Tech ‒ For any school using GAFE (Google Apps for Education), this site is a must. It is insanely helpful and practical. It’s also insanely current – constantly reporting anything new or changed in the Google Education world.
- Education Week ‒ This site posts numerous blogs every week from numerous authors. The topics are drawn from across the educational field. These are high-quality, research-based articles.
- Mimio Educator ‒ The contributors to this blog are experts in the field. Topics and viewpoints are wide ranging. If you have never poked around in the blog portion of the site, you should do so.
- A Year at Mission Hill ‒ This is a great site for Professional Development or just self-reflection. It can be described as a kind of documentary about a school and its teachers. Broken out into chapters that feel like episodes, it’s easy to watch and learn from.
- Achieve the Core ‒ If your state is a “Common Core” state, you should have already found this site. It provides a wealth of information and ideas about every standard at every level. Essential for teachers and for instructional leaders.
- Edutopia ‒ Originally founded by George Lucas, this site presents innovative ideas in all areas of education, but especially in technology, art, and project-based learning. The articles are great to share with staff members.
- What Works Clearinghouse ‒ If you want to focus on research-based strategies, this is the site for you. These resources come from the Institute of Education Sciences in the Department of Education. Any relevant education topic can be found here – with piles of research to support it.
- Track #leadership ‒ Twitter is a rich resource for leaders, so if you aren’t logging in regularly, start doing so today. Hashtags let you quickly see what is trending on a topic and/or take part in a “chat” or discussion with others around the world. Broaden your world past schools and classrooms, and it will make you a better leader.
- What Great PrIncipals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker ‒ This book is a must-read for any principal, but especially for new principals. The practical, common sense content focuses on doing the right things the right way.
- Dealing with Difficult Teachers by Todd Whitaker ‒ Another must-read book from Whitaker. Even though we like to think that all teachers are superstars and that they come to our schools for the right reasons, that isn’t always the case. Find out how to deal with the difficult ones.
- TeachThought ‒ This is one of those “hybrid” sites that provides blogs, articles, PD, and more. Lots of good resources to share with teachers, and articles to reflect on as leaders.
- Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement Learning by John Hattie ‒ This is the giant book of research that Hattie developed by researching research. His study of years of educational research discovered some hard truths about what we do and what really works. If the size of the book feels daunting, try starting with another of his books, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning..
- Teacher’s Encyclopedia for Student Behavior ‒ If you have ever sat in a meeting brainstorming what to do with a student with a behavior issue, this big book is extremely helpful to have on hand. It really should be used as a resource book, but it’s very helpful and very comprehensive.
- The Highly Engaged Classroom by Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering ‒ It’s hard to pick only one Marzano book to recommend because there are so many good ones. But The Highly Engaged Classroom is good for principals because engagement is a visible “look for” when we are in classrooms. This book also provides ideas for increasing engagement.
- Track #schoolculture ‒ This hashtag taps into the world of schools with great ideas about change and culture.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins ‒ This book is a mainstay in the area of leadership, change, and management. Read the book, but there are also great articles in a shorter format.
- Join NAESP/NASSP ‒ Personally, I believe that all professionals should be active members of their professional organization on some level. These national organizations, the NAESP for elementary principals and NASSP for secondary principals, have associations at the state and local levels. Participating in these organizations is a great way to network and meet colleagues in all areas of your profession.
- Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching (What Works for Special-Needs Learners) by Anita Archer and Charles A. Hughes ‒ This book contains a wealth of great teaching practices. The tools are structured, systematic, and highly effective, and can be especially helpful for new or struggling teachers. Have them plan instruction by tapping into the many examples provided at all grade levels.
- ASCD ‒ Join this organization if you strive to be an engaged instructional leader. The ASCD mission focuses on curriculum and development. They offer books, classes, and national conferences every year.
- Follow #edchat ‒ This hashtag is the go-to for everything having to do with education.
- Safe and Civil Schools ‒ Disciplining students is a large part of what administrators do, so having some resources to draw on is essential. This site looks at the school as a system, but it’s great for making practical change and solid improvements with students.
- Track #edleadership and #eduleadership ‒ Both of these hashtags, at various times, have interesting discussions and excellent resources.
Know Some Other Great Resources?
There must be hundreds more resources out there, but these 25 are a start. If you have favorite resources, please share them with us in the Comments below.
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