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Mentoring Matters for Superintendents: December 2019

Leadership-life Fit – Maximize your Morning


Morning routines set the stage for you to get more of what you want out of your day. This one-minute video adapted from the work of Benjamin Hardy promotes eight things before 8 a.m. to propel you toward your goals.



Integrating Social-Emotional Learning  


SEL seems to be among the most ubiquitous acronyms in education. What does it mean to integrate SEL and how can the superintendent lead that work? 


According to an Education Week blog, “SEL integration is achieved when students and teachers can transfer the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they've learned through direct instruction to practical environments such as home, community, and the workplace.”  


Both the Education Week article and this Edutopia article summarizing the work of the School Superintendents Association Social and Emotional Learning Cohort speak to the role of the superintendent and central office in facilitating this work: 


  • Know what is already happening in the name of SEL in your buildings before moving forward with something new.  

  • Do your principals know how your teachers are currently developing SEL skills? 

  • Do your principals know how much time is devoted to teaching SEL skills and competencies? 

  • Promote a vision for SEL in your district. 

  • Can principals and teachers speak to the vision for SEL in your district, identify SEL practices, discuss ways in which students have grown in their SEL competency, and explain how they have grown in their own SEL development? 

  • Keep cultural sensitivity in mind. 

  • Does the learning environment in your schools reflect culturally relevant role models and references? What messages do your learning environments communicate? This has implications for how students feel about being in your schools. 

  • Use a growth-oriented approach to reporting SEL skill development. 

  • Address teacher SEL development and growth BEFORE students’ in order to garner buy-in and support. Educate your stakeholders about what SEL is and isn’t. 

  • Include trauma-informed care and practices. 


Questions for Mentor/Mentee processing

  1. What is your vision for social-emotional learning in your district?
  2.  What does instruction around this topic look like?
  3.  What, if any conversations have you had in your district related to Iowa’s newly released SEL competencies?
  4.  In what learning have your principals engaged related to SEL? Your teachers? 
  5.  What do you see as next steps for your district in developing SEL skills and competencies in staff and students?

Access the Education Week article

Access the Edutopia article


Owning Your Own Results 


What’s your hidden iceberg? Do your actions align to your words? What are you not admitting to yourself? This brief video helps you uncover your hidden iceberg and own your results. 


Questions for Mentor/Mentee Processing 

  1. In what area/s of your life are the results you’re getting misaligned to what you say you want? For example, you say you want to be healthy and well, but you don’t exercise or attend to what foods you eat.

  2. To what are you “unconsciously committed”? 

  3. Have you decided you want different results or to break these “unconscious commitments”? 

  4. What could you do to “own” your results? For example, if you say you want a positive, supportive learning culture, but you’re tolerating incivility, you could establish agreements, engage in a book study of Trust Your Canary, and address inappropriate behaviors. 

  5. How can your mentor/mentee partnership support you in owning your results?


The Conscious Leadership Group offers a variety of brief videos to support leadership growth and development.


Leading the Leadership Team 


Dan Rockwell offers this fun team-building activity – use it to get to know the “shape” of your administrative team! 


What Shape Are You? handout


Monthly checklist

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!