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You Don't Have to Be Bad to Get Better
A Leader's Guide to Improving Teacher Quality



December 2012 | 152 pages | Corwin
Take your school to the next level!

Are achievement scores seemingly stuck at your school? Are your teachers working hard but getting nowhere? This practical handbook of leadership advice shows how you can break through barriers of achievement and lead your staff toward even greater heights.

Grounded in Candi McKay's research-proven process for instructional leadership, You Don't Have to Be Bad to Get Better makes collaborating with staff the basis for increasing teacher—and student—success. School leaders at all levels will develop:

A deep understanding of how to immerse yourself in the everyday happenings of your school

A workable plan for guiding teachers in their professional growth

Collaboration techniques to ensure all your staff is "on the same page"

Leadership skills vital to improving the quality of teaching

Research shows that the most important factor in student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Bring out the best in your teachers through strong instructional leadership and watch student achievement soar!

 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Foreword
 
Preface
A Laser Like Focus

 
Organization and Structure

 
Practical and Useful Features

 
Audience

 
 
1. Removing the Rose Colored Glasses
The Rose Colored Glasses Phenomenon

 
Red Flag Warnings

 
Demonstrating Moral Courage

 
Leading Change: Necessary Dispositions

 
Perceptions about the Role of a School Leader

 
Confidence in Self as an Instructional Leader

 
A Growth Mindset

 
Moral Courage

 
Key Points about Removing the Rose Colored Glasses

 
Putting Words into Action

 
Reflecting on Your Current State

 
Action Tools

 
 
2. No More Lake Wobegon: Creating a Culture of Learning
The Effects of Well-Intended Fiction: “A Culture of Nice”

 
The Changing Landscape

 
The Leader’s Role: Essential Beliefs and Understandings

 
Changing Beliefs: Practice Comes First!

 
Drinking the Water

 
Understanding About Learning

 
A Presumption of Continuous Growth for All

 
Setting the Stage: Defining Who We Are

 
Capturing the School’s History

 
Developing Core Beliefs and Commitments

 
Developing Trust and Rapport

 
Step Aside and Lead: Creating Opportunities for Learning

 
Key Points about Creating a Culture of Learning

 
Putting Words into Action

 
Reflecting on Your Current State

 
Action Tools

 
 
3. The Wisdom of Instructional Leadership: What Leaders Need to Know and Do
Knowledge of Staff

 
Understandings about Teaching and Learning

 
What Is Good Teaching?

 
How Good is Good Enough?

 
How Does Learning Occur?

 
What is Engagement in Learning?

 
Skills of the Instructional Leader

 
Collecting Evidence to Assess Teaching

 
Engaging in Professional Conversations

 
Skillful Questioning

 
Productive Listening

 
Providing Feedback

 
Facilitating Professional Goal Setting

 
Key Points about What Leaders Need to Know

 
Putting Words into Action

 
Reflecting on Your Current State

 
Action Tools

 
 
4. The Wisdom of Instructional Practice: What Teachers Need to Know
Playing a Guessing Game

 
Guessing Games Replaced by Transparency

 
Understandings about Teaching and Learning

 
Putting Your Know-How into Action: A Cycle of Continuous Improvement and Growth

 
Don’t Forget to Feed the Teachers!

 
A Plan for Teacher Learning

 
Key Points About What Teachers Need to Know

 
Putting Words into Action

 
Reflecting on Your Current State

 
Action Tool

 
 
5. Promoting Teacher Learning: It’s All Talk!
Powerful Conversations

 
Setting the Stage

 
Acknowledging the Leader’s Dual Role

 
Making Intentions Clear

 
Factors that Impact Conversations

 
Rapport and Relationship with the Teacher

 
The Developmental Level of the Teacher

 
The School Culture

 
The Data Collected about Teaching and Learning

 
The Teacher’s Mindset

 
The Skills of the Leader Facilitating the Conversation

 
Leading Conversations: When, What and How

 
When to Talk

 
What to Talk About

 
How to Talk

 
Key Points about Promoting Teacher Learning

 
Putting Words into Action

 
Reflect on Your Current State

 
Action Tool

 
 
6. Principals Can’t Lead Alone: The Role of the District Office
Improving Instruction: Does the Central Office Matter?

 
A Case in Point

 
Increased Accountability for Leaders

 
Creating a Culture for Professional Learning: A Case Study

 
A Powerful First Impression

 
A History of Principal Autonomy

 
Getting the Right Members on the Team

 
Learning for All Adults in the System

 
Aligning School and District Goals and Priorities

 
Teacher Evaluation a Tool for Teacher Learning

 
Professional Development as the Fuel for the System

 
Expanding Professional Learning Across the District

 
Finding Time for Professional Learning

 
Securing the Future of Leaders and the Professional Staff

 
Key Points about the Role of the District Office

 
Putting Words in Action

 
Action Tool

 
Reflect and Assess

 
 
References
 
Index

"I'm already thinking of how to incorporate what I've learned from the book into my practice and opening year staff professional development!"

Frank Chiki, Principal
Chamiza Elementary School, Albuquerque, NM

"This book takes the best of research-based theory and crafts it into practical application for the school leader. A necessary read for any school leader seeking to improve the quality of teacher instruction."

Patricia Conner, Curriculum Specialist
Berryville Public Schools, AR

"You Don’t Have to be Bad to Get Better presents a compelling argument for developing teacher evaluation systems that focus on professional growth rather than perpetuating a system of compliance. McKay had developed a user-friendly guide to thinking about and assessing current practice in an effort to move everyone’s practice forward. This text would be a valuable text for study by collaborative teacher and administrator groups who are interested in improving their professional practice."

Bernadette Cleland, Co-Founder
Teaching & Learning Solutions

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter Two


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