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The Survival Kit for the Elementary School Principal

The Survival Kit for the Elementary School Principal

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February 2010 | 408 pages | Corwin

"I wish I'd had this useful desktop guide to help me through the challenges of my early years and as a reference guide for the later years. The authors have done a remarkable job of anticipating the daily needs of principals and offering practical suggestions that can be used within minutes! This book is eminently useful, up-to-date, and full of rich professional perspectives."
—Ella Reiss Urdang, Elementary Principal
Tenafly, NJ Public Schools

"The school leader's position is often the loneliest position in any school, but this excellent resource is the equivalent of having a mentor 24/7. This book should accompany all newly appointed school leaders into their new positions."
—Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, WA, Australia

Creative, real-world approaches for responding to the fast-changing demands of school leadership!

Designed for the busy administrator, The Survival Kit for the Elementary School Principal addresses daily challenges faced by all elementary school principals and offers expert solutions for virtually any leadership or administrative issue.

Based on the authors' extensive experiences in public and private schools, this easy-to-use kit includes time-saving forms, sample letters, charts, and checklists for successful day-to-day school administration. The book is a complete desktop reference with solutions for immediate problems or challenges. The authors' pragmatic, tested strategies assist readers with:

  • Systems thinking
  • Negotiating the maze of NCLB requirements
  • Using data to inform practice
  • Understanding the key role that new technologies play in schools
  • Succeeding as leaders, arbitrators, evaluators, disciplinarians, and more
  • Gathering support through positive parent and community relations

Suitable for diverse settings and school sizes, this comprehensive resource is a virtual library of essential information and support for effective elementary school leadership.

All forms, letters, and checklists available online at upon publication.

About This Resource
About the Authors
1. Your Role as Principal: "All Things to All People" or "Principle-Centered Leadership"
The Nature of the Principalship  
Define Your Own Belief System  
Systems Thinking, the Learning Organization, and Strategic Planning  
Instructional Leadership  
The Importance of Diplomacy  
The Need for Positive Community Relations  
Learn From Experience  
Effective Time Management Practices  
Maintain Perspective  
2. How to Plan for the School Year: Setting Goals and Maintaining Focus
The Context for School Goals  
The Power of Goals  
Goals Should Make a Difference  
Setting Goals: Broad-Based Involvement  
The Elements of Well-Designed School Goals: SMART Goals  
Keep the Ball in the Air  
Reporting on Goal Fulfillment  
3. Shared Decision Making: The Key to a More Effective School
What Is Meant by Shared Decision-Making?  
What Are the Benefits of Shared Decision-Making?  
What Do Effective School Leadership Groups Do?  
What Steps Are Required to Establish a School Leadership Team?  
What Is the Relationship of the Leadership Team to the Larger School Community?  
What Are the Skills Required for Effective Team Meetings?  
The Role of the Principal in Shared Decision-Making  
How to Assess the Effectiveness of a School Leadership Team  
4. Improving Teacher Observation and Evaluation
The Purposes of Supervision and Evaluation  
How to Establish a Positive Climate for Teacher Supervision  
How to Clarify the Criteria for Supervision and Evaluation  
Achieving a Balance Between Formal and Informal Observations  
Reviewing Professional Development Plans  
The Pre-Observation Conference  
How to Conduct Effective Teacher Observations  
The Post-Observation Conference: A Time for Sharing and Learning  
Other Means of Observation and Evaluation  
How to Make the Most of an Annual Evaluation Conference  
How to Make Effective Decisions About Rehiring Teachers  
How to Deal Effectively With the Marginal Teacher  
Evaluating the Supervisory Process  
5. The Principal's Role in Curriculum Development and Renewal
What Is the Curriculum?  
The Content or "Course of Study"  
The Methods or Techniques to Be Used  
Establishing a Timeline for Examining the Curriculum  
A Process for Curriculum Renewal  
Preparing a Curriculum Document  
Curriculum Articulation  
Curriculum Supervision and Accommodating Teacher Choice and Flexibility  
6. Assessment in the Elementary School: Purposes and Practices
The Purposes of Assessment  
A Few Useful Definitions  
Assessment Versus Testing  
Gaining Consensus on Learning Outcomes  
Aligning Assessment to Instruction  
Different Assessments for Different Needs  
Steps to Follow in Designing Assessments  
A Balanced Approach to Assessment  
7. Using the School Testing Program to Good Advantage
The Purposes of Standardized Testing  
The Kinds of Standardized Tests Often Given in Elementary Schools  
Effective Ways to Approach the Testing Situation  
Administrative Responsibilities in the School Testing Program  
Helping Children Perform Their Best on Standardized Tests  
Effective Analysis and Use of Test Results  
Understanding the Limitations of Standardized Tests  
"Value-Added" Assessment  
Reporting the Results of Tests to Parents and Students  
8. Reporting Student Progress to Parents
First Things First: Getting to Know Students  
When Should Student Progress Be Reported?  
Clarifying Reporting Practices With Teachers  
Helping Parents Understand the School's Reporting System  
Improving Progress Reports  
Reporting Progress in Special Subject Areas  
Tips and Techniques for Holding Effective Parent Conferences  
Student Self-Evaluation  
9. Administering Effective Programs for Students With Special Needs
The Role of the Principal in Overseeing Special-Education Services  
Identifying Special Needs of Students  
Developing a Continuum of Services for Students  
Inclusion and Its Implications  
Creating a Pupil Support Team  
Prereferral Strategies and Response to Intervention  
Procedures to Follow in Section 504 Referrals  
Referral for Special-Education Services  
Dealing With the Outcomes of a Special-Education Evaluation  
Discipline Regulations and Special-Education Students  
Administering English-as-a Second-Language Programs  
Administering Gifted and Talented Educational Programs  
Staff Development Needs in Dealing With Unique Learners  
Assessing the Effectiveness of Programs to Meet Special Needs  
10. Student Discipline: Approaches, Alternatives, and Solutions
Causes of Discipline Problems That Principals Are Likely to Encounter  
Approaches to Effective Discipline  
Elements of a Preventive Discipline Program  
Advice for Teachers About Classroom Discipline  
The Principal's Role in the School Discipline Program  
The Importance of Parent Communication  
Alternatives in a School Discipline Program  
11. Improving Your School's Professional Development Program
The Need for Ongoing Professional Development  
How to Begin: Conducting a Staff Development Needs Assessment  
Staff Development and Behavioral Change  
The Principal's Role in Devising a Staff Development Program  
Implementing an Effective Staff Development Program  
The Faculty Meeting as a Forum for Professional Development  
Staff Development for School Service Personnel  
12. Promoting Effective Communication: Internal and External
The Importance of Effective Communication  
Keeping the School Staff Informed  
Obtain Requested Information in an Organized Fashion  
Electronic Communication With the School Community  
Keeping the Parent Body and the Community Informed  
Face-to-Face Communications  
Tips on Preparing Presentations  
Establishing a Network of "Key Communicators"  
The Written Letter: A Lost Art  
13. Promoting Positive Parent and Community Relations
Begin With Your Own School Community  
Developing a Unity of Purpose  
The Importance of Availability and Visibility  
Working With a Principal's Advisory Council  
Establishing Procedures for Handling of Parental Complaints  
The Importance of the Role of the School Secretary  
Dealing With the Media  
Becoming Skillful at Creating Positive Publicity for Your School  
14. Technology and the Elementary School Program
Clarifying the Purposes of Technology in the School  
Planning for Effective Use of Technology in Schools  
Integrating Technology Into the General Curriculum  
Technology and Educational Reform  
Planning for Appropriate Staff Development for Using Technology  
Using Online Services  
Evaluating Content and Software Programs  
Ensuring the Proper Use, Maintenance, and Inventory of Equipment  
Evaluating the School Technology Program  
15. Effective Budget Preparation and Control
Advance Planning: The First Step  
Preparing Budget Documents  
Budget Review and Approval  
Implementing and Controlling the Budget  
Securing Alternative Means of Funding in Your School  
16. Maintaining a Clean, Safe, and Secure School Environment
Caring for the School Building  
Maximizing the Use of Building Space  
Working With the Custodial Staff  
Securing, Storing, and Maintaining an Inventory of Custodial Supplies  
Maintaining a Safe and Clean School Site  
Improving the Appearance of Indoor Spaces  
Long-Term Planning and Capital Projects  
Safeguarding School Equipment and Materials  
School Safety and Emergency Planning  
17. Developing and Implementing Effective Class Placement Policies
Fair and Appropriate Organization of Classes  
Inviting Parent Input Into Class Placement: Benefits and Drawbacks  
Developing Class Lists  
Forming Incoming Kindergarten Classes  
Dealing With the Retention of Students in a Grade  
Announcing Class Placements to Parents  
Handling Parent Complaints About Class Placements  
Placing Students Who Enter During the School Year  
Reviewing and Evaluating Class Placement Practices  
18. Effective and Creative School Scheduling Practices
Setting Goals for the School Schedule  
The Effect of the Schedule on the Climate of the School  
Defining Premises, Assumptions, and Contractual Considerations  
Models and Approaches for School Scheduling  
Getting Down to Business: Developing the Master Schedule  
The Trend Toward Year-Round Schooling  
19. Staffing and Hiring: Critical Decisions for Principals
Projecting Staffing Needs  
Forming a Selection Committee  
Developing a Candidate Profile  
Recruiting Suitable Candidates  
Paper Screening  
Developing Interview Questions  
Developing an Interview Schedule  
Conducting Interviews  
Checking References  
Making a Hiring Recommendation  
Notifying Applicants of Their Status  
Announcing Hiring Decisions to the School Community  
Orienting New Staff Members  
Evaluating Hiring and Orientation Practices  
20. Fostering a School Culture: Traditions and Ceremonies
Making Schools Great and Memorable With Traditions and Ceremonies  
Developing a School Culture  
Planning for Ceremonies and Maintaining Traditions  
Examples of School Traditions and Ceremonies  
Passing Down School Traditions From One Generation to the Next  

“Wow, it used to be said that being a school leader was a lonely task, but this book is the equivalent of having a personal coach standing beside you as you walk through your school. This book is more than a 'survival kit' it is also a brilliant 'reviver kit.' For busy school leaders who are often under pressure, this book provides the guide-on-the-side when you reflect about what you are doing."

Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, WA, Australia

"As I look back upon my long career in educational administration, I wish I had this useful desktop guide to help me through the challenges of my early years and as a reference guide for the later years. The authors have done a remarkable job of anticipating the daily needs of principals and offering practical suggestions that can be used within minutes! The result is an eminently useful, up-to-date book full of the authors' rich professional perspectives."

Ella Reiss Urdang, Elementary Principal
Tenafly Public Schools, NJ

“'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Principalship but Were Afraid to Ask' could certainly be the title for this rich resource and reference manual. Highly practical and filled with useful hints, tips, and templates, the book is the perfect tool for aspiring as well as for experienced educators!"

Jill Gildea, Superintendent
Harrison School District, Wonder Lake, IL

“An excellent resource for the beginning administrator. It provides current information and processes/procedures for the 'real world' of the school administrator. Also a great tool for administrators who may have some prior experience as principals and are looking for some ways to re-energize their school.”

Pamela B. Maxwell, Principal
E. E. Oliver Elementary School, Fairview, Alberta, Canada

“This book provides the new elementary principal with an overview of areas of their work that could be invaluable as the school year is planned and programs and communication are established. Sample forms and letters are valuable models that serve as a starting point for a new administrator.”

Roseanne Lopez, Performance Pay Coordinator
Amphitheater Public Schools, Tucson, AZ
Key features
  • Contains forms, sample letters, charts, lists, and other items that can be of invaluable assistance to principals
  • All of the recommended practices have been proven to work in actual schools, are based on years of experience, and have evolved from discussions with countless principals in urban, suburban, rural, private, and public settings
  • The suggestions are suitable for schools of any size, regardless of how they are organized
  • The book's many letters, forms, and checklists are available on the accompanying CD-ROM and can be customized with school logos, letterheads, and names that meet local and individual user needs

Sample Materials & Chapters

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ISBN: 9781412972772

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