Oprah Magazine June issue has a wonderful article highlighting choice summer reading recommendations.  NPR.org features “Summer Books 2010: The Complete List which include “’Beakers to Beaches: Summer’s Best Science Books” as well as “…Summer Monster Hits”. Our own little town library has put together summer totes for every age group, filled with excellent mind-bending books to delight every reader. 

I recently spent an entire, muggy, uggy Saturday on a lounge chair under a tree in the back yard (not at the beach where I would rather have been), totally entranced with The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is so fabulous to get wrapped up in the lives of someone’s characters to the point that you simply cannot put the book down.  Another Saturday was spent at the beach with a tote full of good reading.

This summer we’re working on our Principals’ Data Academy. Required reading includes everything about how the effective use of data impacts leadership roles and structures in the building. When school data teams begin to incorporate the analysis of data into every planning meeting, there is a “ripple” effect. This has implications for how building leaders support teams, and how they respond to what teams are learning.

Reading about the use of data in schools rarely (never?) reaches that level of enchantment, to put it mildly. Even so, I’ve found my reading to be compelling, convincing and confirming about the work we are doing with administrators.

We always insist on working with principals and district staff up front (before teacher teams come to their first Using Data session) to help them understand what the process looks like, what to expect, and how to participate, support, and respond to what data teams are finding. Who should be on the data team? We look at schedules with an eye to how we find the time for data teams to work. We identify all of the kinds of data that are routinely collected in the school. This is just the starting place for ensuring that schools have a successful implementation of Using Data.

We’re expanding our Administrator’s Overview to a two-day data academy in response to challenges principals experience as major cultural shifts begin to take place in their buildings.

I’ve now filled several totes going back and forth from work, to home (and even to the beach). These are a few of the resources I’ve found to be particularly useful in grounding our thinking about the guidance we offer to leaders.

Building Strong School Cultures: A Guide to Leading Change by Sharon D. Kruse and Karen Seashore Louis, Corwin, 2009.

The Principal as Data-Driven Leader by Ontario Principals’ Council, 2008.

Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools by Tony Wagner, Robert Kegan with contributions from other wonderful practitioners. Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Data Enhanced Leadership edited by Alan M.  Blankstein, Paul D. Houston and Robert W. Cole. Corwin Press, 2010.

Motion Leadership: The Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy by Michael Fullan. Corwin Press, 2010.

“How District Central Offices Can Help Lead School Improvement” at Wallace Foundation.org

Leading With Data by Ellen Goldring and Mark Berends, Corwin, 2009

Question for all of you –

What are the books you’ve found to be the most illuminating about the role of the building administrator when teachers’ analysis of data is beginning to drive instructional changes?