During the busy school year, many school administrators may find it difficult to find the time for professional development or networking. However, for the benefit of the school and its students, it’s crucial that education professionals have the time for learning opportunities, to pursue professional topics they are passionate about or to engage in meaningful conversation with other professionals in the field.
With the new emphasis of collaborative professional learning in educators and school leaders, staying in touch with the latest educational trends and networking has never been so important to your career. 2018 is coming to an end and the results of the best resources are in. We at Your Agora selected the latest blogs, podcasts, books, and networking opportunities that will allow you to grow professionally without sacrificing a lot of time or money.
Blogs for School Administrators
A professional blog based on solid research may expose you to more interesting ideas in one day than a decade of costly professional development. Reconsider how you do professional growth; begin with twenty minutes of blog browsing every morning, sifting through ideas of practitioners whom you may never have been able to learn from otherwise.
When it comes to education technology, the latest trends in instruction, and school policy, there are no one better experts than the writers on the Education Week website. The website hosts a range of news and analyses in the education industry, along with top explanatory and investigative journalism articles. With regular visits to the site, any school administrator is sure to stay updated on every aspect of the education industry.
This blog was born out of a crisis, the 2008 financial crash. The SchneiderB blog’s founder, Brendan Schneider, decided to dedicate himself to protecting his school, and help others, at the times of financial devastation and beyond. He found marketing tactics that saved his school and paved a path of success for others. His blog is invaluable for school leaders interested in marketing their schools to increase enrollment. Learn about inbound marketing and the role of social media to promote your school.
Combining a passion for teaching and emerging technology trends - that’s what you will find in the Emerging EdTech blog by Kelly Walsh, the CIO at The College of Westchester. He shares his experience (and the studies to back up the results) of effectively using technology in the classroom. Follow Emerging EdTech for the latest technology trends in direct application to the classroom!
For an in-depth look at policy and politics affecting education in the US, Eduwonk is the place to go. In the current political climate, you never know when a certain policy may change your school or district as you know it. Stay informed! For international news on politics affecting education, check out Times Higher Education.
A Principal’s Reflections
What does it mean to be an effective school leader and administrator? Eric Sheninger answers and reflects on these questions, along with many more. A Principal’s Reflections is an award-winning, personal, yet informative blog, which integrated technology, policy, and latest studies in the education industry.
Podcasts for School Administrators
Did you know that podcasts have the power to boost your career and enhance work-life balance? There are a plethora of podcasts geared for education professionals, allowing you to learn as you sit in traffic or wait for a latte. For professional development on-the-go, we have compiled the best podcasts for you to try today!
The Better Podcast
Want to hear strategies from top-of-the-line education experts on how to enhance school culture and improve leadership skills? In his Better Leaders Better Schools podcast, Daniel Bauer seeks out valuable insights through interviews of top school leaders. Check out various views on diversity and access to education, and find out why you need your school just as much as your school needs you.
For inspirational, practical, and actionable advice to help you become a better school leader, look no further than Educators Lead podcast. The host of the podcast, Jay Willis has over twenty years of experience in the field, and he seeks out others like him, who chose the path of educational leadership. Listen to the challenges and achievements of various experts and get inspired in your own journey.
Principal Center Radio
The Principal Center Radio shares modern philosophies on education. How can the teaching profession be reconstructed to better fit the new generation? Why are school scheduling platforms crucial for any school in the 21st century? For answers to these questions and more, the host Justin Baeder interviews education thought leaders in this podcast.
One of the most sought-out speakers for educational events, William D Parker shares his experiences in school leadership. He offers leadership tactics and tips from his long career in education. These include an analysis of the optimal decision-making process, a strategy for receiving feedback from students, and how to handle change on any level of the school. His engaging and personal accounts make this podcast one of the best for any school leader and administrator.
The School Leadership Show
Mike Doughty of The School Leadership Show guides future and current school leaders by exploring various topics on education, leadership, and evaluation. This professional development podcast for school leaders provides great insights into one’s potential, career advancement, and work-life balance. He also interviews standout figures in education, provides statistics on administrators’ worst mistakes, gives tips for personal and professional productivity. The School Leadership Show incorporates some of the best tactics for school administrators to become more efficient and effective while increasing energy, and improving health and wellness.
Apps for School Administrators
As a school administrator, you probably have lots of things to do and little time to do them. That’s why apps are some of the best inventions for any busy professional. For every challenge your administrative role has, there’s an app that can help.
Common Core Standards
This app is a great quick reference point, whether you are making rounds in the school or are posed with an unexpected question from a parent. The app is organized by the standards in each subject, grade, and category.
For any manager, a highly-organized to-do list is an absolute must. Carrot organizes your daily and professional tasks, including details like your daily fitness routine. The app works on incentive. As you accomplish tasks, the app rewards you. Failure in completing your to do list comes with its consequences!
Forest is a brilliant solution for any professional who struggles with innumerable distractions brought by the internet. Need to focus on a project, but can’t stop checking your email or social media? Open Forest, and watch a tree grow as you complete your task, distraction-free. Give in to temptation and switch out of the app, and the tree dies.
Transform your notes by including all the ways you learn and remember in one app. Notability allows you to include images, handwriting and typed notes into one file. The app also allows you to write on PDFs. Discover a new way to take down and manage your observations.
Go paperless in your office! Scannable allows you to get rid of the messes of paper on your desk and file cabinets. Simply use your phone to scan all the important papers. On Scannable, you can save, manage, and share all of the files in the highest quality.
A leading discussion platform, Flipgrid combines social and emotional learning. Spark discussion before your faculty meeting by posting questions and topics, allowing all members to review and respond to the material. The platform works through video communication, allowing all group members to see each other’s perspective and learn better from one another.
Books for School Leaders
Every educator has a shelf full of professional books, but which is the one book that principals turn to time and time again for inspiration or ideas, for motivation or solace? We looked through hundreds of reviews to find books that school leaders most highly recommend.
Beginning the Principalship: A Practical Guide for New School Leaders, by John C. Daresh
This book provides realistic, practical, yet theoretically based information about being a principal. The title indicates the book is for "beginning" principals but the material is valuable for all school leaders. Through the excellent organization of aspects of leading and administering a school, the authors provide sound examples of life as a principal. The checklists included in the guide are excellent reminders for all educators. They also outline the expectations colleagues and constituents have for principals.
The result of Beginning the Principalship is a clear understanding of the demands of the job and what a new or experienced principal values as an educator and person. The educational platform that emerges from the book synthesizes professional and personal values will serve as a great foundation for any educator.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath
School administrators are likely to want to make changes to the school, whether it is to help improve test scores or try a new method of teaching to see if it is effective. The problem is that most people don’t like change, and administrators have trouble making change stick. This book provides the key to change through a summarization of the various theories of change management, be it in a business, government or NGO.Dan and Chip talk about most of the problem is with the situation and not with people as most of us would jump to a conclusion. So, we end up struggling about getting people to behave in a new way. The corollary they draw to most people welcoming seismic changes like marriage and babies in their lives is quite an eye-opener in this regard. So, if the behavior needs to change, there has to be a change in the situation.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
A major part of a school administrator’s job is to motivate people; teachers, students, and even parents often require motivation to do things that ensure that children learn and are prepared to be responsible adults. Daniel Pink seems to find topics where the science and research have outpaced business and society. He builds a compelling case for a concept from the academic research findings and weaves in a few real-world examples to create an engaging challenge.
Drive takes on the concept of motivation. Pink challenges us as leaders educators, parents, etc. to upgrade from a command & control world to create an environment which fosters an individual's autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
School Leader Associations
Joining a professional organization will give you opportunities, resources, and connections that could save you time. Most likely, you will receive publications giving you the most up to date practice and research, which you can apply to your school.
American Association of School Administrators
AASA has more than 13,000 members around the globe and is one of the most popular organizations for school administrators in the US. The member base encompasses all from chief executive officers and superintendents to teaching students and professors. Members collaborate to aid with policies for administration and commit themselves to make optimal conditions for their students and schools.
Association of International Education Administrators
This is the world’s only professional organization that focuses on info sharing, advocacy, professional development and networking for school and university administrators. Members of the AIEA share problems amongst one another, collaborate to create solutions and help one another overcome challenges.
National Association of Elementary School Principals
NAESP is an organization designed for principals. In this associations, principals may share challenges, come up with new ideas and solutions. The members include mostly school principals from North America, but also includes members from other parts of the world. The main goal of the association is to create a solid support system for principals, helping them to become better leaders.
National Association of Secondary School Principals
This association promotes leadership excellence among school principals. Members of NASSP come from 45 different countries and are given access to various resources, tips for professional development and advocacy for student achievement. The association foster high standards for its principals, creating a system of well-informed and educated principals who have access to the materials they need to be the best leaders.
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