Past Book Titles

Below are the books that have been summarized. Current subscribers have free access to all previous summaries by entering their password in the login box to the right.

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Next Steps with Academic Conversations: New Ideas for Improving Learning Through Classroom Talk

Jeff Zwiers (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019)

This book helps teachers improve the quality of academic conversations in the classroom so they can boost learning and deepen thinking. Students learn five core skills they will use in school and life and which also make learning more social and fun.

From Burnt Out to Fired Up: Reigniting Your Passion for Teaching

Morgane Michael (Solution Tree Press, 2022)

If you are experiencing burnout, you don’t have to stay stuck. There are concrete strategies you can learn to address it. This book helps you better understand how to get out of burnout. It hands you the tools and strategies you need to recharge.

Candid and Compassionate Feedback: Transforming Everyday Practice in Schools

Joseph Jones and T.J. Vari (Routledge, 2019)

School leaders must be honest and direct about where teachers need to improve and how to go about it. However, being “brutally” honest or inconsiderate of others’ feelings won’t work. Candor must be accompanied by compassion as well.

Principal Leadership for Racial Equity

Candace Raskin, Melissa Krull, and Antonia Felix (Corwin, 2021)

School leaders are uniquely positioned to forge a path toward racial equity in schools. By better understanding themselves, their schools, their teachers, and their students, school leaders can take the necessary steps to help replace inequitable and ineffective practices with those that benefit all students.

Trust-Based Observations: Maximizing Teaching and Learning Growth

Craig Randall (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020)

Because traditional observation models create a culture of fear, they do not improve teaching and learning. Trust-based observations work because they put relationships first. Teachers take inspired risks and achieve greater results when they feel safe and supported.

Deep Learning: Engage the World, Change the World

Michael Fullan, Joanne Quinn and Joanne McEachen (Corwin, 2018)

When schools transition to deep learning, they shift from a focus on college or career-readiness to life-readiness. Deep learning helps students develop the skills they need to thrive in a complex world: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking (aka ‘the 6Cs’).

PRINCIPALed: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve

Kate Barker, Kourtney Ferrua, and Rachael George (Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., 2020)

These veteran principals share concrete strategies and inspirational ideas to help any school leader navigate the challenging terrain of being a principal artfully and actually enjoy the job at the same time!

Leading the Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Restart Teaching and Learning

Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie (Corwin, 2021)

Leaders have an incredible opportunity to “rebound” from the pandemic and revitalize teaching and learning. This book points to 22 priorities to guide leaders in where to begin in re-starting school next year.

We Got This. Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be.

Cornelius Minor (Heinemann, 2019)

This book is for teachers who want to address inequities in their classrooms, with practical skills, now. By making your classroom radically student-centered, listening to students, and changing your mindset and pedagogy to bend the curriculum and strategies to work for students, you can ensure every kid has the opportunity to succeed.

The Influential School Leader: Inspiring Teachers, Students, and Families Through Social and Organizational Psychology

Craig Murphy and John D'Auria (Routledge, 2021)

School leaders are increasingly finding themselves confronted with complex challenges and issues in schools. This book incorporates lessons from social and organizational psychology to help leaders positively influence and change their schools.

The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make

Ron Lieber (Harper, 2021)

This book helps to demystify the cost and value when searching for a residential college or university. The tremendous resources and tips help families as they navigate the biggest financial decision of their lives.

Email Jenn for a PPT workshop school counselors can use, How to Understand & Appeal Your Financial Aid Award, and for the 1-pager: Top 12 Tips to Manage the Cost of College.

Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Futures of Promise

Larry K. Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern (Solution Tree Press, 2019)

This book provides a model of resilience that educators can use to connect with and reclaim youth at risk. The authors propose that rather than focus on behavior (the symptoms), we should focus on the basic unmet needs of youth at risk: ATTACHMENT, ACHIEVEMENT, AUTONOMY, and ALTRUISM.

Engaging Learners Through Zoom: Strategies for Virtual Teaching Across Disciplines

Jonathan Brennan (Jossey-Bass, 2021)

This is a 2-page overview with 30 strategies teachers can use to better engage their students through Zoom (or other video-conferencing platforms).

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

James Clear (Penguin Random House, 2018)

This book shows you how to build better habits in life and work. With four simple laws of human behavior, you can make any habit a regular part of your life.

100-Day Leaders: Turning Short-Term Wins Into Long-Term Success in Schools

Douglas Reeves and Robert Eaker (Solution Tree Press, 2019)

This book provides a framework to show educational leaders how to produce significant results in just 100 days. Yes, 100 days.

Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom

Rick Wormeli (Stenhouse Publishers, 2018)

In differentiated classrooms, teachers must develop ethical grading and assessment practices that lead to a clear and accurate report of what students know and are able to do. This book shares the theories and practices teachers need to make this happen.

The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K-12: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in any Setting

Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie (Corwin, 2021)

This book takes the research on what improves student learning, along with lessons from recent crises, and applies that to our current situation with distance learning. Each chapter reminds teachers of the pedagogical approaches that are most effective with students and which can easily be adapted for distance learning.

Unconscious Bias in Schools A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism

Tracey A. Benson and Sarah E. Fiarman (Harvard Education Press, 2020)

Leaders must build awareness about unconscious racial bias within schools. Uncovering the ways racial bias impacts our students is the first step in ultimately addressing and eradicating racial biases in our schools.

Culturally Responsive Education in the Classroom: An Equity Framework for Pedagogy

Adeyemi Stembridge (Routledge, 2020)

Culturally Responsive Education is more than a collection of classroom strategies. It is a teaching philosophy that embraces students’ cultural knowledge and identities to help them engage deeply and achieve more in the classroom.

Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives

Jennifer Abrams (Solution Tree Press, 2019)

School leaders need to lead through complex changes during challenging times. This book is for leaders who want to develop the personal side of leadership to help them manage the staff resistance that arises with these changes.

What Connected Educators Do Differently

Jimmy Casas, Todd Whitaker, and Jeffrey Zoul (Routledge, 2015)

When educators connect with other professionals through social media to seek answers, share insights, and spark innovations, it improves teaching and learning locally — and across the globe. This book shares specific actions to become a “connected educator.”

The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World

Jon Gordon (Wiley, 2017)

Positive leaders have a tremendous impact on their organizations, teams, relationships, and themselves! This book provides a framework with simple and practical ideas to help you become a positive leader.

Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times

Eric Sheninger (Corwin Press, 2019)

We must change the way we view leadership if we hope to engage and prepare students for success in a digital world. Sheninger introduces seven Pillars of Digital Leadership to help leaders make this change.

Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning

Pooja K. Agarwal and Patrice M. Bain (Jossey-Bass, 2019)

This book introduces four simple research-based strategies ALL teachers can boost student learning and retention.

Click here for PD ideas to introduce research-based learning strategies to teachers

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

Jon Gordon (Wiley, 2007)

This book shows you how to embrace positive energy to overcome obstacles and bring out the best in yourself and in those with whom you live, work, and interact on a daily basis.

A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades

Ken O'Connor (Pearson Education, 2011)

This book introduces 15 different “fixes” schools can make to ensure their grading practices are fair, equitable, and reliable.

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive

Marc Brackett (Celadon Books, 2019)

Our emotional state steers everything in our lives. Yet most children and adults have not learned the skills to deal with our emotions. This book provides a five-step process to identify and address emotions.

Messaging Matters: How School Leaders Can Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students, and Reach Communities

William D. Parker (Solution Tree Press, 2018)

School leaders have a unique platform that others do not – use it to proactively communicate positive messages to students, teachers, parents, and the community! This book shows you how.

Engagement by Design: Creating Learning Environments Where Students Thrive

Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Russell Quaglia, Dominique Smith, and Lisa Lande (Corwin, 2018)

This book shows teachers how to increase student engagement—and therefore achievement—by focusing on relationship building, teacher clarity, and student challenge.

Click here for PD Ideas & Handout for Student Engagement

Leverage Leadership 2.0: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Jossey-Bass, 2018)

The most exceptional school leaders succeed because of how they use their time – by spending it on what matters most: instructional and cultural leadership. This book outlines the 7 most important skills of instructional leadership.

Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race

Derald Wing Sue (Wiley, 2015)

This book provides practical strategies for conducting race conversations in ways that move the discussion, and our society, forward.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain

Zaretta Hammond (Corwin Press, 2015)

Teachers need to create classrooms that combines their cultural awareness with positive relationships, challenging content and a supportive learning environment. This book shows how.

10 Mindframes for Visible Learning: Teaching for Success

John Hattie and Klaus Zierer (Routledge, 2018)

This book describes the ten mindsets of successful, high-impact teachers.

Click here for: PD Ideas to Develop Teacher Mindsets

The Together Leader: Get Organized for Your Success–and Sanity!

Maia Heyck-Merlin (Jossey-Bass, 2016)

This book provides the tools and routines so busy school leaders can become truly organized, planned, and intentional.

The Impact Cycle: What Instructional Coaches Do to Foster Powerful Improvements in Teaching

Jim Knight (Corwin Press, 2018)

The “Impact Cycle” is a 3-stage process instructional coaches use with teachers to improve teaching and learning.

Click here for: PD Ideas for Instructional Coaches

Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom

Matthew R. Kay (Stenhouse Publishers, 2018)

It’s time for deeper conversations around race in the classroom. This book moves beyond why we need to talk about race and shows teachers how to do it.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (Quill, 1982)

This bestselling book describes common problems parents have with their children and provides clearly described strategies and language parents can use to make their relationship with their children more rewarding and less stressful.

Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff

Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf (Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., 2017)

This book helps school leaders tap into the passion and enthusiasm they felt when they entered the field so they can do the important work of transforming the lives of students, communities, and generations to come.

Unleashing Great Teaching: The Secrets to the Most Effective Teacher Development

David Weston and Bridget Clay (Routledge, 2018)

This book highlights three often-ignored aspects of professional learning: that it should be differentiated, happen in a cycle, and be evaluated.

Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

Elena Aguilar (Jossey-Bass, 2018)

Educators are struggling from the stresses of the job and burning out. This book helps educators develop the resiliency skills to feel more fulfilled, remain in the job longer, and be more effective.

Click here for PD Ideas to Help Teachers Improve their SEL Skills and Handout for PD

Effective Inclusive Schools: Designing Successful Schoolwide Programs

Thomas Hehir and Lauren Katzman (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

This book shows how leaders with strong visions for special education can influence and empower their staff. When done well, inclusion benefits students with and without disabilities.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler (McGraw Hill, 2012)

Much of the school leader’s job involves crucial conversations: when opinions vary, stakes are high, and emotions run strong. This book helps leaders conduct tough talks without damaging relationships.

Moving the Rock: Seven Levers WE Can Press to Transform Education

Grant Lichtman (Jossey-Bass, 2017)

Unfortunately, education is stuck in the past. This book introduces seven levers of change to help us unstick education and move forward.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Daniel Coyle (Bantam Books, 2018)

Great cultures can be built. This book shares the 3 key skills that organizations with extraordinary cultures have mastered – building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose.
Click here for: Discussion Questions & PD Ideas for The Culture Code

Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner

Jackie Acree Walsh and Beth Dankert Sattes (Corwin Press, 2017)

Classroom questioning has the potential to powerfully focus attention, boost cognition, and foster learning. To reap the instructional benefits of questioning, teachers need to plan ahead and be deliberate in their creation of questions, implementation, and follow-up.

Motivated: Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In

Ilana Seidel Horn (Heinemann, 2017)

Because secondary mathematics classrooms can be socially risky places, students are not participating in a way that deepens their mathematical thinking. This book provides a framework to help math teachers create the type of classroom climate in which students feel comfortable fully engaging in deep mathematical thinking.

Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had: Ideas and Strategies from Vibrant Classrooms

Tracy Johnston Zager (Stenhouse Publishers, 2017)

Real mathematicians describe math as playful, creative, and absorbing and yet students experience math in school as boring, stressful, and useless. The goal of the book is to close the gap between how math is taught in schools and math as it really is by providing teachers with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world of mathematics.

Now We’re Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership

Justin Baeder (Solution Tree, 2018)

The instructional leadership model introduced in this book relies on daily classroom visits as a way to gather enough information from the front lines to make the most informed instructional and operational decisions. The goal is not to supervise individual teachers into better performance. Instead, this model is about gathering information and sharing it with teachers through evidence-based conversations so they can reflect and make the best decisions about their own practice.

Disrupting Thinking: Why HOW We Read Matters

Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst (Scholastic, 2017)

The way we teach reading is not only killing reading, but it is creating a generation of apathetic readers who have not learned how to engage in deep thinking. To avert our democracy’s impending crisis – lacking the literate and responsible citizens upon which we depend – we need to teach our students to be responsive, responsible, and compassionate readers.

The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry

Harvey "Smokey" Daniels (Heinemann, 2017)

Students will engage more deeply in their learning if we organize instruction around their curiosities and interests. This book shows you how to do just that by presenting 10 structures to help gradually introduce student-driven inquiry.

Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning

John Spencer and A.J. Juliani (IMPress Books, 2017)

The most powerful we can do in schools is to shift our mindset from compliance (students must follow our rules) and engagement (getting kids excited about our chosen content, curriculum, and activities) to empowerment.

The Trauma-Informed School: A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide for Administrators and School Personnel

Jim Sporleder and Heather T. Forbes (Beyond Consequences Institute, 2016)

This book shows how a team of staff members can put structures into place to address help change lives of trauma to lives of hope and resilience, one relationship at a time.

The Listening Leader: Creating the Conditions for Equitable School Transformation

Shane Safir (Jossey-Bass, 2017)

While principals may have many of the skills needed to be an instructional leader—creating curricula, observing teachers, running professional learning—they may lack a road map for working with adults. This book provides that road map. This book shows how leaders can use listening—as both a skill and a mindset—as a powerful tool to transform their schools.

Click here for accompanying: PD Ideas to Develop Listening Leaders

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Jessica Lahey (Harper, 2016)

Our overprotective parenting style in which we do anything to prevent our children from failure actually backfires by preventing children from developing the autonomy and skills they need to succeed. This book shows parents how to let go so their children can fail, learn, and become independent.


Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes—But Some Do

Matthew Syed (Portfolio/Penguin, 2015)

This book is about how, as individuals and organizations, we respond to and learn from failure. Success can only happen when we admit our mistakes, learn from them, and create a culture in which it is safe to fail.

Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love

Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis (Times 10 Publications, 2016)

Successful school leaders use educational “hacks” to move their schools forward through a combination of innovation, relationship-building, and modeling. The “hacking” leadership mindset focuses on empowerment and collaboration to address 10 problems school leaders typically face.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK, Passion Project Plan – template and Handout for study groups on Genius Hour, Makerspaces, & EdCamps

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

Shawn Achor (Virgin Publishing, 2011)

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard, we will be more successful, and if we are more successful then we will be happy. Recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Broadway Books, 2010)

Humans are creatures of habit, yet they are tremendously capable of change. To break our habits and create change, we must be primed to: (1) recognize the need for change, (2) feel the need for change, and (3) be placed in an environment that allows change to occur.

Blended Vocabulary for K-12 Classrooms: Harnessing the Power of Digital Tools and Direct Instruction

Kimberly A. Tyson and Angela B. Peery (Solution Tree Press, 2017)

The authors present an effective, research-based model of vocabulary acquisition with three key components. This book introduces a balanced approach to vocabulary learning – that integrates technology – so K-12 educators can implement a more thoughtful and systematic approach to vocabulary learning at their schools.

Click here for: PD Ideas to Improve Vocabulary Instruction and Teacher Packet for Vocabulary PD. Email Jenn for the PowerPoint version of the PD.

The Art of Coaching Teams: Building Resilient Communities That Transform Schools

Elena Aguilar (Jossey-Bass, 2016)

To truly transform schools, we need teams of highly functioning groups of teachers working together. This book provides the tools, tips, protocols, and theory needed to coach teams to become highly effective.

Click here for: PD Ideas to Develop Team Leaders and the Handout for Team Leader PD Session

Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Michele Borba (Touchstone, 2016)

Rather than being an add-on, ‘empathy’ is a vital skill for our students’ happiness, well-being, and success. Furthermore, empathy encompasses nine teachable habits that children use to help them navigate life’s challenges.

Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

William B. Ribas, Deborah A. Brady, and Jane Hardin (Ribas Publications, 2017)

The actions that teachers take every day can be used to develop social-emotional learning in students. Without introducing a new program, this book provides a practical guide for how teachers can develop social-emotional skills in their students within the regular classroom setting.


Tell Me So I Can Hear You: A Developmental Approach to Feedback for Educators

Eleanor Drago-Severson and Jessica Blum-DeStefano (Harvard Education Press, 2016)

Effective feedback is at least as important today as it has ever been, and maybe more so.

Therefore, it is critical to understand that feedback cannot be a one-size-fits-all endeavor; instead we need to consider adult developmental theory in our approach to feedback.

The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students

Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012)

Often, educators’ typical responses to student misbehaviors—like punishments—trigger further inappropriate behaviors.

Instead, this very readable book advocates for understanding causes and patterns of difficult behaviors.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen (Penguin Books, 2015)

This book provides an organizational system that helps people with too much to do and too little time. The goal is not simply to help people get more done, but to do so in a way that decreases stress.

Click here for PD ideas to get yourself or your staff more organized: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

High Expectations Teaching: How We Persuade Students to Believe and Act on “Smart is Something You Can Get”

Jon Saphier (Corwin Press, 2017)

The primary determinant of any student’s academic success is effort. This is a “how-to” book that introduces 50 ways teachers should act and teach every day to help their students develop a growth mindset and a belief in the power of effort.

Click here for PD ideas to go along with the book: PD IDEAS TO HELP TEACHERS TEACH THE GROWTH MINDSET

From Leading to Succeeding: The Seven Elements of Effective Leadership in Education

Douglas Reeves (Solution Tree Press, 2016)

This book presents seven essential elements of leadership that, according to research, lead to improved student performance. The seven elements are: purpose, trust, focus, leverage, feedback, change, and sustainability.

Click here for PD ideas to help leaders improve seven key aspects of leadership: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

John J. Ratey (Little, Brown and Company, 2013)

Exercise is the single most powerful tool you have for maximizing brain function. We all know the research that exercise is good for the body, but this book argues that the impact of exercise on the brain may be even more important than the impact on the body.

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning

James M. Lang (Jossey-Bass, 2016)

“Small teaching” strategies, involving minor tweaks to lesson plans, can dramatically increase student learning. New findings in cognitive science, neurology and psychology have helped educators develop strategies that not only help students succeed in school, but also help them become lifelong learners.

Get Better Faster: A 90-Day Plan for Coaching New Teachers

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Jossey-Bass, 2016)

After studying thousands of effective leaders, Bambrick-Santoyo learned what it takes to develop new teachers quickly. As a result, this book provides clear guidelines for HOW to coach newer teachers and WHAT to coach them on so they develop more rapidly into master teachers.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond (Crown Publishers, 2016)

Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty in America. The lack of affordable housing is driving families to financial ruin and is one of the most important drivers of inequality in the nation today. Eviction is associated with heightened residential instability, substandard housing, declines in neighborhood quality, depression, and job loss. All of these issues deeply affect a number of students in our schools.

The Power of Teacher Rounds: A Guide for Facilitators, Principals, and Department Chairs

Vivan Troen and Katherine C. Boles (Corwin Press, 2014)

If we hope to move instructional practice forward, teachers need to work together and hold each other accountable at the school level. Teacher Rounds is an accessible yet powerful tool that engages teachers in school-based, professional learning to improve student achievement.

Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence

Laurence Steinberg (Houghton Mifflin, 2014)

Adolescence is a second time when the brain is undergoing rapid growth and development. The key skill to develop in adolescence is strong self-control, which has been tied to markers of success: academic achievement, mental health and even success in relationships with others.

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Daniel J. Siegel (TarcherPerigee, 2013)

Rather than seeing adolescence as a stage to be endured, Siegel shows that it is a transformative period that lays the foundation for healthy adult lives. Siegel argues that we should embrace four features of adolescence that occur through healthy changes in the brain during this developmental stage and shows why these are critically important to developing rich and fulfilling lives.

Talk Like TED: Tips for Powerful Presentations

Carmine Gallo (St. Martin's Griffin, 2015)

Powerful presentations can galvanize change. There are certain characteristics that create memorable and inspiring presentations.

Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance

Angela Duckworth (Scribner, 2016)

Grit is a key trait found in extremely successful people across a wide variety of fields, and more importantly, it is something you can cultivate. The two main ingredients in grit are: perseverance and passion.

Click here for 3 sets of discussion questions (for teachers, leadership teams, and parents) to use with the book: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR USE WITH GRIT

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.

Daniel Coyle (Bantam, 2009)

Coyle argues that talent is not something that springs from our genes. Instead, it is something that can be cultivated with a few key ingredients. This book shows you how to grow your talent with: deep practice, ignition, and master coaching.

Untangled: Guiding Teen Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

Lisa Damour (Ballantine Books, 2016)

Although the lives of teenage girls seem to be a tangled mess, in fact, their development follows a predictable pattern. This book introduces the seven typical stages adolescent girls go through, how to deal with each, and when to worry.

Every Teacher a Leader: Developing the Needed Dispositions, Knowledge, and Skills for Teacher Leadership

Barbara B. Levin and Lynne Schrum (Corwin, 2017)

This book helps to develop formal and informal teacher leaders at your school by outlining what they should know and be able to do.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS TO DEVELOP TEACHER LEADERSHIP

Dealing with Difficult Parents

Todd Whitaker and Douglas J. Fiore (Routledge, 2016)

As educators, all of us have had to deal with parents who are bossy, argumentative, aggressive, or even apathetic.
However, this book outlines effective ways to not only deal with difficult parents, but to turn around the situation so these interactions become productive.

Click here for PD ideas to improve home-school relationships: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK and Checklist (thorough) of EVERYTHING to do to increase parent involvement

To assess your school’s outreach: Family Outreach Self-Assessment

Finally, email Jenn for a PPT workshop to help improve relationships with families.

Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching

Jo Boaler (Jossey Bass, 2016)

Too often, students fear math and have a distorted view of it. This results in a nationwide dislike of math and a widespread underachievement in it as well. To counter these damaging views, this book shows teachers how to encourage students to develop a more positive mathematical mindset: math is reachable, enjoyable, and is about thinking and sense making.

Click here for: THE MAIN IDEA’s PD Suggestions for Math Teachers

5 Principles of the Modern Mathematics Classroom: Creating a Culture of Innovative Thinking

Gerald Aungst (Corwin, 2016)

We must create mathematics classrooms in which problem solving occurs daily and is deeply embedded in the culture. The 5 principles presented in this book will guide teachers in creating a modern mathematics classroom that supports this type of culture.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD Suggestions for Math Teachers

Collaborative Common Assessments: Teamwork. Instruction. Results.

Cassandra Erkens (Solution Tree Press, 2016)

Working in teacher teams to create and analyze common assessments dramatically improves learning for students and teachers alike.

Click here for PD ideas for the Collaborative Common Assessment process: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Leadership: Key Competencies for Whole-System Change

Lyle Kirtman and Michael Fullan (Solution Tree Press, 2016)

Successful district and school leaders move beyond a culture of compliance and create an environment that is exciting, vibrant and focuses on real continuous improvement. This book helps school leaders look beyond the myriad distractions and red tape in education so they can focus on the seven leadership competencies that matter most.

Click here for: PD Suggestions for Developing 7 Leadership Competencies Click here for: Self assessment using Kirtman’s Seven Competencies for School Leadership

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity

George Couros (Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., 2015)

Without innovation, organizations cease to exist. This book shows educational leaders how to foster the type of culture that leads to innovative opportunities that empower both students and educators to thrive.

Making Number Talks Matter: Developing Mathematical Practices and Deepening Understanding

Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker (Stenhouse Publishers, 2015)

Without much planning, Number Talks are a great, short routine that help students develop number sense through mental math and explaining their reasoning. Because of the real focus on math concepts (not math procedures), this routine has helped dramatically change teaching and learning in math classrooms.

Click here for: THE MAIN IDEA’s PD Suggestions for Math Teachers

Designing Effective Classroom Management

Jason E. Harlacher (Marzano Research, 2015)

Because classroom management is vital for student achievement and teacher retention, teachers should be using research-based practices to guide their approach to classroom management. This book outlines five research-backed practices in a clear and practical way so schools can set up proactive, positive systems of classroom management.

In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better

Richard DuFour (Solution Tree Press, 2015)

The current tendency to blame teachers and schools is extremely misguided. In fact, educators have made unprecedented strides in student learning over the past three decades. DuFour shows us how implementing PLCs is the best way to give educators the support they need to continue to improve student learning, ensuring that all students are prepared to succeed in today’s economy.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom

Kelly Gallagher (Stenhouse Publishers, 2015)

Educators have become so hung up on covering all of the Common Core standards, that they have lost sight of the key literacy skills our students need. Gallagher’s goal is not to help us fall in line with the latest fad, but to encourage us to think deeply about those literacy practices (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) that stand the test of time and truly help our students succeed as thoughtful, literate, people prepared for the modern world.


Blended: Using Disruptive Technology to Improve Schools

Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker (Jossey-Bass, 2015)

This book is about the tremendous potential of using blended learning to bring education into the 21st century to improve learning for all. It provides both the theory and the practical strategies to show us how blended learning makes learning more student-centered and real-world while also making teaching more engaging and fulfilling at the same time.

Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Schols

Ron Ritchhart (Jossey-Bass, 2015)

This book shows how to transform our schools and classrooms into places of true learning and thinking. The key to this transformation lies in the culture, and the book outlines the eight forces that shape that culture.

Click here for PD ideas to cultivate a culture of thinking: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson (Corwin Press, 2015)

School leaders face unprecedented challenges as they lead complex and unpredictable organizations. Mindfulness helps leaders respond more productively to the stress of dealing with these challenges. The result? They become more effective leaders and calmer and more focused people at the same time.

Go Blended! A Handbook for Blending Technology in Schools

Liz Arney (Jossey-Bass, 2015)

Blended learning is a powerful, purposeful model in which schools use technology to improve learning. In this model, technology is a tool, not an end in itself. Blended learning integrates – or blends – computer-based learning with more individualized classroom instruction in which students work independently or in groups with the teacher. This book helps school leaders – and you don’t need to be a technological expert – to lead the effort to go blended at your school.

Click here for PD ideas to begin to launch blended learning in your school: PD IDEAS TO INTRODUCE BLENDED LEARNING

Bringing Homework Into Focus: Tools and Tips to Enhance Practices, Design, and Feedback

Eileen Depka (Solution Tree Press, 2015)

Homework is often assigned out of habit, rather than as a thoughtful assignment. Research shows that homework can have a positive impact on student performance, if we design it well. This book helps teachers learn how to maximize the impact of homework.

Click here for workshop ideas to improve HW practices: PD IDEAS – Facilitator’s Agenda and The Main Idea’s Teacher Handout for HW PD

Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core

David T. Conley (Jossey Bass, 2014)

The Common Core is an important step on the path to college and career readiness; it is not just a passing fad. However, the standards alone are not enough. To prepare students for college and career readiness, schools need to teach a wider range of skills and knowledge encapsulated in Conley’s nationally known “Four Keys to College and Career Readiness.” This book provides a framework to organize classrooms, schools, and systems around the goal of college and career readiness.

Click here for PD ideas to help teachers better prepare students for college and careers: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen (Penguin Books, 2014)

We receive a deluge of feedback – from bosses, colleagues, friends, family – yet it rarely improves performance. The problem is that we’ve focused all of our attention and training on the feedback giver. Instead, it is the feedback receiver who decides whether to make use of the feedback and improve. This book takes a different approach by showing the feedback receiver how to best learn from feedback (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you’re not in the mood).

Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

Doug Lemov (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

Like the first edition of this book, Teach Like a Champion 2.0 is based on the premise that great teaching can be learned. To help teachers improve their craft, this book categorizes, describes in detail, and names the techniques used by top teachers.

Trust Matters: Leadership for Successful Schools

Megan Tschannen-Moran (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

Trust is the key to just about everything in schools, and yet principals often don’t prioritize it. This book shows principals how to be intentional and strategic about building trust among teachers, students, and families.

Designing and Implementing Effective Professional Learning

John Murray (Corwin Press, 2014)

Research shows that traditional PD (one-shot workshops, outside experts) is simply not effective in improving student learning. This book introduces eight of the most powerful forms of PD along with ideas for how to implement them.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment

Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, and Libby Wooden (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

This book presents a novel approach to assessment in which students are actively involved in understanding and monitoring their own growth and learning. By increasing student motivation and engagement, this student-centered system of assessment helps students raise their achievement and meet the Common Core.

Click here for: PD Ideas for Implementing Student-Engaged Assessment

The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

Michael Fullan (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

It may seem shocking to consider that the role of principal as direct instructional leader is not the solution. Instead, Fullan argues for the need to reconceptualize the role so the principal becomes a force for improving the whole school.

Strengthening Teacher Evaluation: Taking Action to Improve Ineffective Instruction

Alexander D. Platt and Caroline E. Tripp (Ready About Press, 2014)

The authors take what they have learned from studying skillful leaders to show you how to effectively evaluate teachers to help them improve their teaching. This book is a resource that provides concrete advice about collecting data on teacher performance, diagnosing teachers’ problems, communicating those problems to teachers, and designing interventions.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Collaborating for Success With the Common Core

Kim Bailey, Chris Jakicic, and Jeanne Spiller (Solution Tree Press, 2014)

This book presents a thoughtful approach to the CCSS. Schools can be more effective and humane in their approach to the standards if teachers tackle them in collaborative teams. This book will help teams understand, plan, pace, assess, and teach the CCSS.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas to implement the CCSS: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Fear Your Strengths: What You Are Best at Could Be Your Biggest Problem

Robert E. Kaplan and Robert B. Kaiser (Berrett-Koehler, 2013)

Leaders often believe that the path to improvement involves strengthening their weaknesses. However, it is your strengths that often work against you when they are overused. In fact, they can be quite destructive. This book helps you maximize your leadership strengths without going overboard.

Click here for accompanying PD Ideas: PD Suggestions & Discussion Questions for Leadership Development

Reading Without Limits: Teaching Strategies to Build Independent Reading for Life

Maddie Witter (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

This book introduces an approach to reading that leads to high levels of achievement and a love of reading. This approach consists of a comprehensive set of 12 rigorous, research-based practices for teaching reading that work with any grade level and with any current reading program a school is using.

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Emily Bazelon (Random House, 2013)

To address bullying, we need to understand that it is a nuanced issue with many shades of gray. This book provides the type of detailed picture of bullying we need – by sharing three students’ stories of bullying – to better understand it, prevent it, and help kids get through it.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

Amanda Ripley (Simon & Schuster, 2013)

Why do some students learn so much and others so little? Amanda Ripley looks to a different kind of expert to answer this question. She follows American teenagers as they attend a year of high school in three top-scoring countries in order to learn about their educational systems.

School Systems That Learn: Improving Professional Practice, Overcoming Limitations, and Diffusing Innovation

Paul B. Ash and John D'Auria (Corwin Press, 2013)

Currently, the challenge for many schools is to get all students to achieve at high levels. To address this problem, the authors propose creating a learning school system to increase educator capacity so that all students can achieve at high levels.

Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap

(Teachers College Press, 2013)

“Summer reading loss” is when students’ reading skills backslide during the summer when students are not in school. This is a serious issue. This short piece shares nine findings about summer reading loss and provides ten research-based suggestions to address it.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg (Random House, 2012)

Most of what we do each day is not the result of decision-making, but rather of habits. Habits can be changed and developed if we understand how they work. This New York Times bestseller has important implications for schools, educators, and students.

Common Core Mathematics in a PLC at Work, Leader’s Guide

Timothy D. Kanold and Matthew R. Larson (Solution Tree Press, 2012)

This book helps mathematics leaders focus their time and effort on the five high-impact actions that will most translate into student learning and ensure that students meet the Common Core State Standards in mathematics.

Click here for PD ideas for math leaders and math teams: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, and Katie Yezzi (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

This book is about the transformative power of practice to improve skills. Most educators think practice works well for a basketball team, but not for them. However, the authors introduce 42 rules to make practice more effective and suggest that this may be the missing ingredient needed to help teachers meet the increasing demands in education today.

Coaching Matters

Joellen Killion, Cindy Harrison, Chris Bryan, and Heather Clifton (Learning Forward, 2012)

Coaching has the potential to transform teaching and learning if the right conditions, structures, and supports are in place. This book not only describes the attributes of effective coaching programs, but it provides the tools and strategies to help you build a stronger coaching program.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

The Together Teacher: Plan Ahead, Get Organized, and Save Time!

Maia Heyck-Merlin (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

While there are many books about organization and time management, this book is designed for the unique challenges of teachers. This book provides useful tools, templates, and ideas for changing habits so teachers can focus more on student achievement and still lead a balanced life.

Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning

John Hattie (Routledge, 2012)

Hattie conducted the biggest-ever research project in education and can tell us what actually works in schools to improve student learning. He helps us learn from this substantial research in order to decide what to implement in schools.

Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

This is the Good to Great for educational leaders. Bambrick-Santoyo outlines 7 areas of school leadership that drastically improve student learning, and then he gives you the tools and describes the precise leadership actions you need to take in order to adopt them.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

Tough asks why some kids succeed while others fail. He spent three years researching this question and found that the problem is that we overemphasize cognitive skills. The key is to help children develop character.

Click here for two sets of discussion questions (to use with parents/caregivers and teachers): DISCUSSION QUESTIONS TO USE WITH HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED

Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement

Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman (Heinemann, 2012)

Without a doubt, the Common Core State Standards are challenging. However, this very helpful resource helps to carefully unpack what the literacy standards really mean, what is most important about them, what they might look like in a classroom, and how you might implement them.

Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners

Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison (Jossey-Bass, 2011)

Many teachers focus more on having students complete tasks and assignments than on developing their thinking and understanding. This book shows teachers how to promote thinking in their classrooms by: (1) creating opportunities for their students to think and (2) making students thinking visible.

Click here for: PD Ideas to Help Teachers Develop Student Thinking

Embedded Formative Assessment

Dylan Wiliam (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Research shows that when teachers use formative assessment students make twice as much progress! This book not only shares the research, but it includes practical formative assessment strategies for teachers in all grades, K-12.

Click here for: Formative Assessment PD & Teacher Packet

Leaders of Learning: How District, School, and Classroom Leaders Improve Student Achievement

Richard DuFour and Robert J. Marzano (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Leaders at all levels – from the classroom to the district – can work collaboratively to continually improve their practice and apply research-based practices to improve student achievement.

Click here for: Discussion Questions for a Leadership Team

Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings

Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford (Stenhouse Publishers, 2011)

Teachers have rarely been trained to teach speaking and listening skills. However, these vital skills should be taught in all grades and subjects. Not only are they needed for the Common Core and higher education, but employers are demanding better communication skills as well.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Change Leader: Learning to Do What Matters Most

Michael Fullan (Jossey-Bass, 2011)

This renowned expert in organizational change brings together insights from a wide variety of fields to help school leaders understand the seven core leadership practices needed for today’s world.


Working with Difficult & Resistant Staff

John F. Eller and Sheila A. Eller (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Principals often lose countless hours working with difficult staff members only to find that nothing has changed. This book describes eight different types of difficult staff behaviors and how school leaders can learn to address these issues in more productive ways.

Student-Centered Leadership

Viviane Robinson (Jossey-Bass, 2011)

This book helps school leaders reflect on their practice and the changes, even small ones, that will improve student outcomes. The five research-based leadership practices discussed in the book will help leaders have a bigger impact on the achievement of their students.

Effective Supervision: Supporting the Art and Science of Teaching

Robert J. Marzano, Tony Frontier, and David Livingston (ASCD, 2011)

This book helps school leaders improve their approach to teacher supervision. It describes the Marzano Evaluation Model which includes five research-based components needed for effective supervision.

Elements of Grading: A Guide to Effective Practice

Douglas Reeves (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Reeves points out that many of our grading practices are not only inaccurate but harmful as well. This book shares simple strategies to improve grading methods so they can be more accurate, fair, specific, and timely.

Click here for PD ideas to improve grading: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK Click here for: 3 Methods to Collaboratively Score Student Work

The Highly Engaged Classroom

Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering with Tammy Heflebower (Marzano Research Laboratory Powered by Solution Tree, 2011)

School leaders no longer have to rely on vague feedback like: “The students were not engaged.” Instead, using the book’s 4-part definition of engagement and the 40 strategies to increase engagement, school leaders can have a much richer toolbox to help teachers increase student engagement.

Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning

Mike Schmoker (ASCD, 2011)

Schmoker argues that schools don’t prepare students for college because they adopt every new educational fad and have lost their core focus. Instead, we need to sweep all of those reforms aside and focus back on what is important to student learning: a coherent curriculum, sound instruction, and authentic literacy.

Creating a Digital-Rich Classroom: Teaching & Learning in a Web 2.0 World

Meg Ormiston (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

This book provides practical strategies to integrate technology into instruction in order to increase student engagement and achievement. See the technology PD workshop ideas from The Main Idea below.

For technology PD ideas click here: Technology Workshop Ideas

Differentiation and The Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom

David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson (Solution Tree Press, 2011)

How can teachers possibly address the great variety of learning needs in their classes? The top thinkers on differentiation and neuroscience show us how to create differentiated classrooms, backed by brain research, to address the wide variety of student needs in our classrooms.


Schools for All Kinds of Minds: Boosting Student Success by Embracing Learning Variation

Mary-Dean Barringer, Craig Pohlman, and Michele Robinson (Jossey-Bass, 2010)

Based on the work of the organization All Kinds of Minds, this book shows that schools can be more effective in addressing students’ chronic learning struggles by focusing on students’ strengths. Neuroscience has a lot to teach educators about the way students learn, and we can use this knowledge to address the behavioral and learning needs of all our students.

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need — And What We Can Do About It

Tony Wagner (Basic Books, 2010)

Regardless of how good your school’s test scores are, you still have a lot of work to do to prepare your students for success in college and the world of work. Learn about the “Seven Survival Skills” Wagner claims even the best schools are not teaching. Use the accompanying book group questions below to engage your staff in the important discussion about preparing our students for the 21st century.

Leading School Turnaround: How Successful Leaders Transform Low-Performing Schools

Kenneth Leithwood, Alma Harris, and Tiiu Strauss (Jossey-Bass, 2010)

This book describes how to substantially improve an underperforming school and sustain those gains. It outlines the practices and behaviors exercised by leaders of successful turnaround schools.

Teaching the iGeneration: 5 Easy Ways to Introduce Essential Skills With Web 2.0 Tools

William M. Ferriter and Adam Garry (Solution Tree Press, 2010)

This book shows how to use digital tools not just for the sake of including technology, but in order to teach important 21st century skills — information fluency, persuasion, communication, collaboration, and problem solving. See the technology PD workshop ideas from The Main Idea below.

Click here for: Technology Workshop Ideas

Organization Made Easy! Tools For Today’s Teachers

Frank Buck (Eye on Education, 2010)

A lack of strong organizational skills seriously threatens our ability to address the needs of students. This book provides strategies to help us improve the organization of our paperwork, tasks, appointments, computer and email use. It is aimed at teachers but much of it is applicable to the school leader.

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College

Doug Lemov (Jossey-Bass, 2010)

Lemov carefully observed teachers whose inner-city students perform at dramatically high levels. Then he broke down what they do into carefully described techniques that all teachers can put into practice. The accompanying DVD also helps to clearly illustrate what these techniques look like – a resource sorely needed by the teaching profession.

Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Jossey-Bass, 2010)

Bambrick-Santoyo shows how data-driven instruction, if implemented well, can significantly impact student performance. He clearly the describes the 4 essential components: assessment, analysis, action, and a data-driven culture. The second part of the book (over 50 pages!) contains workshops to train staff in effectove data-driven methods.

Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

Kelly Gallagher (Stenhouse Pubishers, 2009)

Ironically, many of the practices teachers employ to improve reading are actually contributing to the death of reading among our students. This short and humorous read will help educators consider the types of strategies that will reverse this trend.

Becoming a Learning School

Joellen Killion and Patricia Roy (National Staff Development Council, 2009)

This book shows how to implement collaborative professional learning – a form of PD in which teams of teachers work collaboratively to improve student learning. To train staff to work in collaborative teams, there is an accompanying CD-ROM with tons of tools.

Accessible Mathematics: 10 Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement

Steven Leinwand (Heinemann, 2009)

Math teachers leave too many students behind by continuing to teach math the way they’ve always taught it. Without having to buy new books or a new program, Leinwand shows how we can improve mathematical thinking and student achievement by making 10 key instructional changes.


Rethinking Teacher Supervision and Evaluation: How to Work Smart, Build Collaboration, and Close the Achievement Gap

Kim Marshall (Jossey-Bass, 2009)

Our current method of supervising and evaluating teachers does NOT lead to student achievement. Marshall proposes a powerful new approach that will. His model involves 4 components: mini-observations, interim assessments, “backwards” planning, and teacher evaluation rubrics.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Designing & Teaching Learning Goals & Objectives

Robert J. Marzano (Solution Tree Press, 2009)

Dr. Marzano is at the forefront of educational research on best instructional strategies. In this book he takes the research on learning goals and translates it into practical suggestions for teachers to implement learning goals that actually improve student achievement.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, & Promises – Second Edition

Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson (Jossey-Bass, 2009)

A school’s culture affects every part of the school. This book is a classic on school culture and the authors are experts on organizational culture. They pull together the best of what is known about culture in both education and business to help school leaders develop a repertoire of ways to improve school culture.

A School Leader’s Guide to Excellence

Carmen Fariña and Laura Kotch (Heinemann, 2008)

These two seasoned and warm school leaders from NYC show educational leaders how to raise student performance in a refreshingly humane and respectful way. This book is both inspirational and down-to-the-smallest-detail practical.

Click here for accompanying PD ideas: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word

Barbara R. Blackburn (Eye on Education, Inc., 2008)

By providing a clear and workable definition of rigor along with 25 practical strategies to increase rigor, this book can help educators boost the rigor in their classrooms.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck (Ballantine Books, 2008)

This acclaimed psychologist describes how your mindset – your belief about yourself – has a powerful impact on your life. By helping students develop a growth mindset we can actually improve their achievement in school.

Click here for growth mindset PD ideas: The Main Idea — Mindset — PD Ideas

Click here for discussion questions for school leaders, teachers, and parents: The Main Idea — Mindset — Book Group Questions

The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills – PART TWO of the Summary

Jon Saphier, Mary Ann Haley-Speca, and Robert Gower (Research for Better Teaching, Inc, 2008)

Skilful teachers have a wide repertoire of strategies they use and the ability to choose the most appropriate ones. By breaking down teaching into its component parts, and introducing this repertoire of strategies (in over 500 pages), this book clearly shows how teaching is a skill that can be learned. This book serves as the comprehensive knowledge base of teaching.

The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills – PART ONE of the Summary

Jon Saphier, Mary Ann Haley-Speca, and Robert Gower (Research for Better Teaching, Inc., 2008)

Skilful teachers have a wide repertoire of strategies they use and the ability to choose the most appropriate ones. By breaking down teaching into its component parts, and introducing this repertoire of strategies (in over 500 pages), this book clearly shows how teaching is a skill that can be learned. This book serves as the comprehensive knowledge base of teaching.

Why School Communication Matters: Strategies from PR Professionals

Kitty Porterfield and Meg Carnes (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2008)

School leaders have so many pressing issues that they don’t think enough about communication. However, communication is the key to whether all of your efforts sink or swim. The authors show school leaders how to think more strategically about communicating more effectively with all of their constituents.

Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

Ross W. Greene (Scribner, 2008)

Kids with challenging behavior act that way because they don’t have the skills necessary to stay in control. We’re losing these kids because our schools don’t teach those skills they’re lacking. This book shows you how to identify and address these skill deficits. With its compelling narratives, this book is a great read and would be perfect for a teacher study group.

Click here for discussion questions to use with the book: Book Group Questions

The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time, and Money

Karen Hawley Miles and Stephen Frank (Corwin Press, AASA, and NASSP, 2008)

The authors studied high-performing schools and found that they share a similar approach to allocating resources. They focus their resources in three areas: teacher quality, meeting individual student needs, and emphasizing core academics. The authors help you develop a strategic resource plan to maximize your own school resources that includes: a staff and student grouping plan, a master schedule, and a plan to continuously improve teacher quality.

The Skillful Leader II: Confronting Conditions That Undermine Learning – PART TWO of the Summary

Alexander D. Platt, Caroline E. Tripp, Robert G. Fraser, James R. Warnock, and Rachel E. Curtis (Ready About Press, 2008)

Mediocre instruction undermines learning in schools. This book looks at the causes of mediocre instruction and shows the skillful leader how to confront these conditions. To improve instruction across an entire school requires leaders to build accountable professional communities — and this book shows you how.

The Skillful Leader II: Confronting Conditions That Undermine Learning – PART ONE of the Summary

Alexander D. Platt, Caroline E. Tripp, Robert G. Fraser, James R. Warnock, and Rachel E. Curtis (Ready About Press, 2008)

Mediocre instruction undermines learning in schools. This book looks at the causes of mediocre instruction and shows the skillful leader how to confront these conditions. To improve instruction across an entire school requires leaders to build accountable professional communities — and this book shows you how.

College Knowledge: What It Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready

David T. Conley (Jossey-Bass, 2008)

High schools often prepare students to become college eligible (gain entrance into college), but not college ready (able to succeed once they’re there). Conley provides vital research-based recommendations to help this problem. He specifically outlines what students must know and be able to do in order to succeed in college and shows high schools how to better prepare students for college success.

Differentiated School Leadership: Effective Collaboration, Communication and Change Through Personality Type

Jane A. G. Kise and Beth Russell (Corwin Press, 2008)

Learning about personality type theory can help you better understand yourself as a leader. Because this book helps leaders discover how they lead, collaborate, and communicate, it is an important tool for developing principals and school leadership teams.

Tools for Teaching: Discipline, Instruction, Motivation

Fred Jones (Fredric H. Jones & Associates, Inc., 2007)

Jones describes the skills exceptional teachers use to manage their classrooms effectively. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to help teachers with the common foibles they face in dealing with pesky students.

Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement, 2nd Edition

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis (Stenhouse Publishers, 2007)

This book shows teachers in all content areas how to explicitly teach reading comprehension. If they use these strategies not only will teachers improve their students’ understanding of texts, but they will help their students with reading test scores and increase their engagement and interest as well!

Leading Lesson Study: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Facilitators

Jennifer Stepanek, Gary Appel, Melinda Leong, Michelle Turner Mangan, and Mark Mitchell (Learning Point Associates, NWREL, and Corwin Press, 2007)

Lesson study is a professional development practice in which teachers come together to collaboratively plan a lesson. Then one teacher teaches that lesson to students while the others observe. Afterwards, the teachers debrief, revise the lesson, and reteach it. It is an opportunity to bring teachers collaboratively through the processes of unit planning, lesson goal creation, and lesson planning – three important processes that teachers often rush through.

Click here for: PD Suggestions for Introducing Lesson Study to Teachers

Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right — Using it Well

Richard J. Stiggins, Judith A. Arter, Jan Chappuis, and Stephen Chappuis (Educational Testing Services, 2007)

This book shows you how you can use formative assessment to actually improve learning and motivate students. The authors describe the different components of quality classroom assessments that create — not just measure — student achievement. and

For 60-minute workshops on formative assessment to use with your teachers, click here: Facilitator’s Agenda and Formative Assessment Packet for Teachers

Teaching Adolescent Writers

Kelly Gallagher (Stenhouse Publishers, 2006)

We are simply NOT preparing students for one of the most important 21st century skills – writing! The majority of our students lack proficient writing skills and yet many schools do not do an effective job of teaching writing. Gallagher introduces six key writing principles to get schools on track. These can be used with any writing program or approach you currently use.

Ready for Anything: Supporting New Teachers for Success

Lynn F. Howard (Lead & Learn Press, 2006)

This book contains 11 easy-to-implement monthly seminars you can use to help your new teachers thrive. Rather than simply providing tips, this book offers an entire program, adaptable to any school, with an organized monthly professional development calendar.

Going with the Flow: How to Engage Boys (and Girls) in Their Literacy Learning

Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm (Heinemann, 2006)

Smith and Wilhelm share a brilliant approach to help boys (and girls) become more involved in and achieve more success in their literacy learning. By studying the conditions that led boys to feel passionate about their outside-of-school interests, the authors learned how to increase the boys’ engagement in school by recreating those conditions. The book presents those five conditions and explains clearly how to implement them.

Five Easy Steps to a Balanced Math Program: For Secondary Grades

Larry Ainsworth and Jan Christinson (Lead + Learn Press, 2006)

Rather than suggesting that your school abandon its current math program, the authors outline the five essential components necessary for any successful math program, and show you how to fill in the gaps. These five components are: computational skills, problem solving, conceptual understanding, mastery of math facts, and common formative assessment.

Click for PD ideas to introduce a balanced math program to teachers: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Five Easy Steps to a Balanced Math Program: for Upper Elementary Grades

Larry Ainsworth and Jan Christinson (Lead + Learn Press, 2006)

Rather than suggesting that your school abandon its current math program, the authors outline the five essential components necessary for any successful math program, and show you how to fill in the gaps. These five components are: computational skills, problem solving, conceptual understanding, mastery of math facts, and common formative assessment.

Click for PD ideas to introduce a balanced math program to teachers: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Five Easy Steps to a Balanced Math Program: for Primary Grades

Larry Ainsworth and Jan Christinson (Lead + Learn Press, 2006)

Rather than suggesting that your school abandon its current math program, the authors outline the five essential components necessary for any successful math program, and show you how to fill in the gaps. These five components are: computational skills, problem solving, conceptual understanding, mastery of math facts, and common formative assessment.

Click for PD ideas to introduce a balanced math program to teachers: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Active Literacy Across the Curriculum: Strategies for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

Heidi Hayes Jacobs (Eye on Education, 2006)

Literacy achievement is essential to academic success. To improve literacy at your school, you must ensure that everyone is working toward this goal consistently. This acclaimed author provides 7 practical strategies for all teachers – in every grade and every subject — to integrate literacy instruction into their teaching.

Click here for PD ideas to support literacy across the curriculum: PD IDEAS FOR USE WITH THE BOOK

Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools

Tony Wagner and Robert Kegan, with Lahey, Lemons, Garnier, Helsing, Howell, and Rasmussen (Jossey-Bass, 2006)

This book presents a powerful approach to creating real change in schools. Based on a five-year study, the authors provide concrete tools and exercises to show leaders how to help both their schools, and the individuals within those schools, change. By focusing on changing these two crucial elements at the same time, the authors present an approach to change that is truly comprehensive and realistic.

Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work

Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Thomas Many (Solution Tree Press, 2006)

This is the book to read to learn how to set up professional learning communities and equip them with specific strategies and structures to improve student learning.

Click here for: PD Ideas for Developing Teacher Teams

The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through: Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time

Carolyn J. Downey, Betty E. Steffy, Fenwick W. English, et al. (Corwin Press, 2004)

By conducting shorter classroom visits, principals will be able to see more classrooms more frequently and will know more than they ever have about their teachers’ practices. The walk-through process has tremendous potential to help principals strengthen their skills as instructional leaders, increase their visibility, add to their repertoire of instructional strategies, improve their ability to identify areas for staff development, and alert them to teachers who might become marginal.

The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher

Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong (Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc., 2004)

If you want to read one book to help teachers start the year successfully with vital classroom management, organization, discipline, and other strategies, this is the book for you. The book has sold almost 3 million copies because the authors identify the 3 characteristics of an effective teacher, and show teachers, in detail, how to become one.

Click here for two 60-minute classroom management workshops: Facilitator’s Agenda, Packet for Teachers, Classroom Scenario

When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do

Kylene Beers (Heinemann, 2003)

Teachers often have no idea what to do when students at the secondary level (grades 6-12) struggle with reading. Beers argues that teachers can make a difference and shows them how to diagnose and address reading problems with practical strategies. This book is essential for middle and high school teachers who want to help their struggling readers.


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