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Mentoring Matters for Assistant/Associate Principals and Deans
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Mentoring Matters is a series of posts designed primarily for the use of mentors and mentees in SAI's Mentoring and Induction Program. All SAI members can also benefit from the assorted content.


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Top tags: leadership-life fit  assistant principal  communications  COVID-19 leadership  distance learning  mental health  monthly checklists 

Leadership-life Fit—Taking Care of Others Starts with Taking Care of You

Posted By Dana Schon, Monday, May 11, 2020

Many are depending on you for their frontline mental and emotional support. Be sure you have the energy you need to serve them well by tending to yourself first. These big ideas can help you stay strong. 

Tags:  leadership-life fit 


Baruti Kafele on First-Year Assistant Principal Leadership in the Age of the Coronavirus

Posted By Dana Schon, Monday, May 11, 2020

These five strategies can help you maximize your AP/Dean role in the midst of the pandemic. 


Kafele offers these five ideas for being the best you can be in your role as AP or dean: 

  1. Assist the principal. Make sure you and the principal are on the same page. Difficult times require even more communication – remain in constant contact with him/her.

  2. Connect with your staff. Consider checking on the health and well-being of staff. Call or schedule ZOOM time for individual staff members or grade-level or department teams.

  3. Be a resource. Share what you know about teaching and learning in an online environment.

  4. Communicate with students and families. Find out how they’re doing and what they might need from you.

  5. Maintain your own leadership-life fit. Reach out to your own social network for support. Take care of yourself, and attend to the needs of your own family.


Read the full post by Kafele  

Tags:  COVID-19 leadership 


Leading with Mental Health in Mind

Posted By Dana Schon, Monday, May 11, 2020

Connect with any of these resources to better understand anxiety and how to support your students and teachers who suffer from it, particularly in our current context. 


No one-size-fits-all treatment will address all those who suffer anxiety. This makes it especially challenging to serve their needs; however, these practical resources can pave the way to better understanding anxiety and strategies to support both students and staff. 

  1. Teachers Are Anxious and Overwhelmed. They Need SEL Now More Than Ever.

  2. Anxiety and Depression Association of America - … “a leader in education, training, and research for anxiety, depression and related disorders.”

  3. National Alliance on Mental Health - Learn about anxiety disorders and options for treatments as well as strategies for caring for those who have the disorder.

  4. Apple Podcast: Panic Attack Recovery - This series of podcasts includes contributions from those who have suffered anxiety and how they have navigated their disorder.

  5. NPR Podcast: Helping kids with anxiety.

  6. What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone with Anxiety

  7. Mental Health First Aid – How to Help Someone with Anxiety.

  8. Classroom Interventions for Children with Anxiety Disorders (medically reviewed article)

  9. State of Iowa Mental and Behavioral Health Resources

Tags:  mental health 


Monthly Checklist

Posted By Dana Schon, Monday, May 11, 2020
Updated: Monday, May 11, 2020

These lists are intended as a guide—we encourage you to process in your mentor-mentee team to identify other items that may need your attention! 

Tags:  monthly checklists 


Leadership-life Fit—Stability in Tumultuous Times

Posted By Dana Schon, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Build your resiliency and stay grounded in the midst of chaos with these impactful practices. 

Tags:  leadership-life fit 

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A Tribute to the Difference APs Make

Posted By Dana Schon, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

In this blog post from NASSP, a former assistant principal turned principal pays tribute to assistant principals as true difference makers! 


Tags:  assistant principal 


What to Say When You’re Put on the Spot​

Posted By Dana Schon, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Dan Rockwell offers several “go-to” lines that will help you stay authentic and connected when you’re confronted with a spontaneous conversation. Additionally, you can buy yourself some “think time”:

-   Your concern is important to me. I wish I had an easy answer. 

-   Wow, that’s an important issue. That’s on my to-do list. 

-   Great suggestion. I’m going to need some time to think about it. 

-   Thanks for bringing that up. What are your thoughts 

-   This issue affects lots of people. I can’t shoot from the hip. What are your thoughts? 

In your mentoring partnership, add to this list!!  

Tags:  communications 

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Schooling or Learning?​

Posted By Dana Schon, Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Technology can potentially exacerbate inequities. How do we shift systemically to support all students in learning during this crisis? Greg Sommers at Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership offers five considerations for transforming the student experience.

  1. Relationships! Relationships! Relationships! “Re-establish connections for every out-of-school student in this country with a caring adult from their school.”  

  2. Brainstorm ways to engage students in learning. Rather than “move through” the curriculum, innovate to bring students “into the curriculum.”

  3. “Develop better ways to scaffold student skills for reflection and metacognition. The 1:1 or 1:fewagility that technology offers can be advantageous for accomplishing this.”

  4. Create online spaces that support students in growing their self-efficacy by providing them opportunities to refine and revise as opposed to simply complete. 

  5. “Ensure effective communication. As students rely on technology for a greater share of their communication, they’ll need feedback on the best ways to communicate with different audiences and purposes.”

Tags:  distance learning