Every semester, our administrative team participates in a book study, sometimes together with the District Leadership Team or District Walkthrough Cadre and sometimes for administrators exclusively, but always a new book each semester. The topics vary and are targeted toward district initiatives, strategic goals and leadership growth. There was even a semester when administrators were divided into groups, with each group reading different books around “hot topics”.
There have been a few times in the past that books have been selected from those for sale in the AASA NCE bookstore. It’s a convenient way to get a better look at the content before making a fairly significant investment. Even more convenient, is free shipping for orders over $200, which is really great for someone who always over-packs and doesn’t have any extra “pounds” on the airline luggage weight limit!
This year, I headed toward the bookstore early in the conference. As I browsed, there were so many books that targeted challenges or strategies of individual administrators, I decided my team was going to experience some personalized learning.
I selected a book for every administrator based upon their own individual needs. A book on social emotional learning for an administrator targeting this area; a book on alternatives to suspension for a principal needing resources for behavior plans; a book on culture for another; one on staff evaluation for yet another; and, for our superintendent-elect who will step in when I retire at the end of June, a book providing guidance on developing the superintendent-board relationship.
As I headed to the counter with a dozen different books, I almost turned back with a last-minute worry that I was presuming what each administrator needed and that there wouldn’t be an opportunity to have rich collaborative discussion. Instead, I decided it was more important to let them know that I have listened to their challenges and recognize my limitations in supporting such varied needs. We’ll use journaling for reflection on the reading, with opportunities to share broad concepts and new learnings.
I’m excited to share each personally-selected resource, and even more pleased to have a little room in my luggage for some personal shopping purchases, thanks to the free shipping!