A recently released (June 2013) review by the National Council on Teacher Quality underscores the inconsistencies in traditional teacher preparation programs across the country. In short, the report indicates that teachers are not entering the field with common skills or understanding of the expectations of their positions. In the field of special education, it is not uncommon for teachers to earn their certifications through alternative methods with even less consistency and oversight than traditional programs.
This book should be required reading for any school administrator new to your school system. It provides a very basic overview of special education in the context of the responsibilities of a school principal or assistant principal. While many have learned these concepts during their professional training, this book serves as a refresher and provides common language and understanding of essential ideas necessary for effective leadership related to special education.
Why do many school reform efforts fail to take hold despite ample talent, effort, and resources? Even when the need for systemic improvement or innovation is clear, deep and lasting organizational change often remains elusive. Perhaps this is because many tend to have a narrow perspective regarding what is required to transform potential innovation into successful and sustainable reality.
Across many of our school systems there is much talk about standards-based report cards, but very little understanding about the value of standards-based report cards and how they can be effectively developed and implemented in schools. Developing Standards-Based Report Cards, by Thomas Guskey and Jane Bailey, emphasizes the alignment of curriculum (standards), instruction and assessment (report cards) in a way that is constructive and meaningful to the everyday school lives of students.
One person does not effectively lead a complex organization in a changing world. Rather, leadership is distributed across an organization in a range of ways. In Distributed Leadership in Practice, editors James Spillane and John Diamond examine and clarify the distributed leadership perspective by presenting selected case study articles that demonstrate how leadership is effectively stretched across schools through established routines, systems of practice, tools and individuals in a variety of roles.