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Mentoring Matters for Assistant and Associate Principals and Deans: May 2018

Leadership-life Fit—Rest to Work Less

Rest is essential to thinking and creativity, yet few of us do it well. The brain uses downtime to process problems, look for new information, and filter through solutions to challenges. When we rest better, we up-level our thinking, innovation, and productivity—try these five strategies published in the Greater Good Magazine to help improve your rest!

1. Engage in an early morning routine. Creative energy is generally at its height first thing in the morning, so think about how you can leverage it. Working through a morning routine also helps set the day up for success. It creates space for you to choose your responses. Routines help conserve energy and contribute to rest for the brain when it doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel every morning. Then, you can give that energy to what really matters.

2. Take a walk. Research has confirmed the benefits of walking on creativity. It engages the brain in “lighter focus” and stimulates mind-wandering which can be beneficial to problem-solving and creative production later.

3. Take a nap. Though not perhaps realistic during the week; even a 20-minute power nap on the weekend can give your brain a chance to restore its energy.

4. Stop when you have energy left. It makes starting again easier when you already know your next steps.

5. Get your Z’s! Sleep lets our brains repair cells, remove toxins, process problems, renew our energy, gear up for performance, and set the stage for better decision-making, just to name a few benefits!

As evidenced by these strategies, rest is not the equivalent of laziness or do-nothingness; rather, it’s the key to greater energy and productivity.

Read the full article

Thriving as an AP

As you reflect on your first year as an AP, you might consider this key strategy for thriving as you continue in your role!

Develop authentic, trusting relationships. Practitioner Aaron Hogan offers these key areas to generate questions that lead to higher levels of trust (to see sample questions, read the full blog).

1. Ask about family.

2. Ask about professional interests.

3. Ask for input before making decisions.

4. Ask for critical feedback.

Leading Learning – Safe and Supportive Schools

Are your discipline practices and policies equitable? Do you respond through a trauma-informed lens? Does the climate and culture of your school engage and support ALL learners? Access this site to find a variety of tools and resources to facilitate your leadership in providing a safe and supportive learning environment.

Leading Learning – Supporting Teachers’ Cultural Competence

As school populations become increasing diverse, the principal’s role in defining and articulating cultural competence becomes even more critical. In this recent article in NAESP’s Principal magazine, learn the 3 key elements defining cultural competence and access strategies for building the competence in your building.

Three elements comprising a definition of cultural competence include 1) rich understanding of your own culture—beliefs, biases, mental models; 2) knowledge of the cultures represented by your students; and 3) implementation of strategies that reflect cultural understanding and serve to move all students toward high achievement.

Strategies that support a culturally competent school:

· Meet with leaders (both formally and informally recognized) within the cultural communities represented by your students—preferably on their “turf.”

· Host events at the school to engage families and focus on the families and their needs. See more about family engagement from Peter DeWitt’s most recent blog.

· Hold expectations for teachers to learn about the cultures of their students.

· Engage teachers in meeting with leaders representing the cultural communities.

· Encourage teachers to engage with their students’ communities (e.g. cultural events, celebrations, etc.).

· Confront teacher/staff biases and limiting beliefs that negatively impact a group.

· Conduct an audit of policies, practices, assessments, plans, expectations, and other data sources looking for how any of these may unintentionally favor one culture and/or create barriers for another culture or group.

In your mentoring partnership, discuss your respective leadership in the area of cultural competency and equity.

·  How do each of you engage families in your school?

·  How do you ensure all students and all families feel valued and important?

·  How do you support teachers in understanding their students’ cultures? Why is that important?

·  How do you model cultural competence?

Dig deeper by accessing the full article.

Monthly Checklist:

These lists are intended as a guide

- elementary
- middle level and secondary

We encourage you to process in your mentor-mentee team to identify other items that may need your attention!