Are you a school administrator? Are you having trouble keeping up with all the latest education reforms? Do you want to grow your network and knowledge base? Do you want to filter out what’s written for teachers and only tangentially mentions school administration?
Boy do I have school administration resources for you.
I’ve taken the time to sort through hundreds of blogs, publications, associations, events, and tools, and pulled out only the best of the best.
Without further ado, these are all the resources every administrator should have at their disposal.
John Robinson isn’t a traditional public school administrator. He’s snarky, politically active, tech savvy, and dead set on pulling away education’s emphasis from test scores. From helpful posts detailing the newest relevant technology to snarky pieces uncovering the failures of standardized tests, this blog is great for anyone wanting to better their trade and stay politically aware.
Education World is a massive resource. They not only keep teachers and administrators in the know with the latest education news, but they also provide free tools like lesson plans and learning games. Their best series is a section called “How I Handled…”, a series in which administrators share their struggles and how they overcame their problems.
For the policy nerds among us, Andrew J. Rotherham breaks down the latest news affecting U.S. education. While Common Core is a staple amongst Rotherham’s posts, he also dives into more esoteric policies and news, like high school rankings, Virginia school accreditation, and Head Start.
Harlem-based educator Lisa Nielson “found school boring and irrelevant,” and that upset her, deeply. While consistently writing for big-name publications like The New York Times and The Huffington Post, most of Nielson’s insights can be found on her blog. She writes frequently on innovative teaching styles like integrating social media into lesson plans and using interactive methods to help engage students.
This blog has won almost every school administration blog accolade out there, including “Best School Administrator Blog” and the “EDTECH Leadership Award.” And that’s with good reason: Eric Sheninger dedicates the time to create fantastic, well-thought out content that’s both inspiring and well-researched. The blog is brimming with uplifting posts, policy commentary, and child-focused education tools—all of which are a pleasure to read.
While a little off the beaten path, Brendan Schneider’s blog focuses on one thing only: how to market your school online. Schneider is quick to highlight relevant news outside his own site and write posts with easily usable guides to making your school’s “brand” stand out.
Connected Principals is a collection of pieces from a wide range of school administrators from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences. These principals offer their stories and advice with one goal in mind: helping the students.
George Couros is a long time educator, leadership consultant, and advocate for innovative teaching practices. His blog, The Principal of Change not only deals with school leadership tips and tricks, but also covers many subjects relevant to teachers.
Valerie Strauss’ education blog is one of my personal favorites. She covers a wide range of heavily researched education topics from education policy to school reform and how those topics will impact schools nationwide.
JSD, a bimonthly journal run by Leaning Forward, explores what role a principal should play in his or her school, how to ensure teacher quality, and just how to balance running a school with continuing professional development. Every article must have a practical element—there’s no fluff here—and every issue is thematic. JSD is free for Learning Forward members.
Run through Illinois State University, Planning and Changing Journal largely focuses on education policy. The journal publishes both peer-reviewed studies as well as thought pieces. Each issue is $12 per copy— though if this is a journal you’re interested in, pitch in the extra $6 for a full year’s subscription.
Principal Leadership is a magazine that is all about practical advice. From learning best practices to manage a middle school, to features on movers and shakers in the industry, this magazine appeals to no-nonsense administrators looking for real-world solutions. Principal Leadership is run through the National Association of Secondary School Principals and can be read for free with an account.
Principal Magazine is a free bimonthly magazine published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Each issue centers on a specific topic—this month is “managing and communicating change,” whereas the January/February issue will dive into literacy and reading.
School Administrator, a free magazine run through the AASA, has received a bunch of awards, including the Award of Excellence from the National School Public Relations Association, an honorable mention from the TABBIES, and the Award of Excellence from Conference Daily Online. The monthly magazine is “delivered to every public school superintendent in the United States,” making it a must-read for anyone looking to stay in the know and network.
UCEA Connections is a free monthly electronic newsletter run through the University Council for Educational Administration. While many of the articles focus on “headquarters updates,” the bulk of the magazine dives into the latest education research. For those interested in education policy, this magazine shouldn’t be missed.
David R. Schumaker conglomerates anecdotes, tips, and insights that are geared towards giving administrators the tools and guidance they need to succeed at their jobs.
Alfie Kohn makes the case for an old-school and minimalist approach to teaching and school leadership. Kohn draws on anecdotal stories and case studies to make his argument and what you are left with is a roadmap to a simpler and streamlined approach to education.
One of the most frequently recommended and widely known books on school administration according to Amazon. It is even assigned reading in many graduate courses on school administration, making it an indispensable resource for all sorts of leaders in education.
For a more comprehensive list on school administration reading, be sure to check out The 10 Books Every School Administrator Should Read.
If you’re in public education and want to lobby for a better education system in the United States, the AASA is a great launching point. Memberships range from CEOs to professors to those who are just getting started in the school administration careers. Members receive $1 million in professional liability insurance and legal assistance. The AASA also provides leadership development opportunities, like workshops, consultants, and their magazine, School Administrator. Finally, members also receive special discounts to major brands, like Target, Barnes & Noble, and Disney. Administrative memberships start at $197 a year.
The AASPA is a unique association in that it solely targets and represents school personnel professionals. The AASPA provides its members with the latest information on talent management, including how to organize an HR office, the best practices on meeting governmental regulations, and recruitment advice. Members also receive insurance (professional liability, home and auto, and life), health plans (including dental), discounted rates for AASPA material, and professional development resources like webinars. School administration memberships start at $195 a year.
Boasting over 125,000 members in 138 countries, this nonprofit shapes education public policy across the globe. Both school administrators and advocates make up this behemoth of an organization, and they work together to further ASCD’s stated goals. Members get home, auto, and life insurance, access to their member-only webinar series, free books, and job training. Online memberships start at $39 a year.
Learning Forward focuses largely on one aspect of teaching: professional development for teachers and principals. They write that “all educators have an obligation to improve their practice,” and that students benefit when they do so. Members receive a copy of JSD, e-learning opportunities, and access to networking events. Online memberships start at $69 a year.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals, or NAESP, is an international professional organization for middle and elementary school principals and education leadership. This student-minded organization holds its members to high professional standards and advocates for middle and elementary school priorities. This organization offers $2 million of individual professional liability coverage and $10,000 for legal counsel to their members, along with professional training and networking opportunities. The active membership fee is $235 a year.
While raising funds for public education has grabbed the public’s eye for decades, how the federal government spends that money is equally important. NAFEPA has been involved with numerous federal education policies, including the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act and No Child Left Behind. Members pay $100 a year, and in return receive discounts from affiliates, policy analysis, legal services, access to members-only webinars, entry into the NAFEPA’s annual conference, and a subscription to NAFEPA’s bi-weekly newsletter.
NASSP is the leading professional organization for middle and high school principals. The association breaks down its mission into six sections: connecting (networking), advocacy, organizational vitality, membership, student programs, and professional development. Membership is spread out through different tiers, from retired to individual options, though most school administrators can expect to pay $250/year. Most options have significant benefits however, including $1 million in liability coverage ($2 million for U.S.-based educators), low-cost life insurance, access to their publications (including Principal Leadership), and discounted rates for NASSP publications and merchandise.
For college and university administrators, the University Council for Education Administration is a great place for professional development and networking. UCEA leans heavily on the latest education research and aims to disseminate that information to school leadership. Members receive complimentary access to their journals, curricula, faculty development workshops, access to their job board, and discounts to UCEA’s events and publications.
October 11, 2016
This event is meant for superintendents and any others responsible for the oversight and development of principals. Attendees will learn new methods and strategies to support principals, explore research on effective school districts, and new plans to improve principal learning.
October 22–24, 2016
The SAIS annual conference is geared towards developing independent schools, which includes experimental teaching, boarding schools, and other types of independent education. SAIS hosted over 325 administrators and heads of school in 2015 and they are looking to beat that number in 2016.
March 25–27, 2017
The ASCD Empower conference is made for every type of educator, whether you are a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, or any other form of school administrator. ASCD has decided to reshape their annual conference into an “empowering” event complete with personalized sessions specific to your needs and interests.
October 11–14, 2016
AASPA has stacked the deck this year with three keynote speakers, a silent auction, morning exercises, and plenty of educational sessions at this year’s conference. Here you will learn all about new leadership strategies and professional growth methods for all teachers and administrators.
March 2-4, 2017
AASA has announced next year’s conference to be focused around seven major themes:
- Common Core Standards
- Healthy School Environments
- Innovative Technology
- Instructional Leadership
- Personalizing Education
- Superintendent/School Board Relationships
Although speakers and thought leaders have yet to be announced, they are sure to be fascinating and informative judging by the theme material. This won’t be a conference you will want to miss.
I know that this is a long list, but I’m sure that there were some other resources that I overlooked. What did I miss? What would you recommend? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!