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Mentoring Matters for Elementary Principals: November 2018

Leadership-life Fit: 7 Tips on Rest and Rejuvenation

These first few months as you develop new relationships, learn “how things are done here,” and enact a few plans of your own, you may struggle to have a comfortable leadership-life fit. Focusing on your weekly routine can make all the difference—which one of these seven habits will fuel your energy tank?

Listen to the podcast or read the article

Leadership 101: The 10 Pitfalls of Successful School Leadership

As you close out these first few months of school, take a moment to view your leadership from the balcony. Are you steering clear of those things that can undermine your success? A former Florida Principal of the Year, Dr. Allan Bonilla shares insights gained from his many years of experience (Corwin Connect).

1.   Low visibility.

2.   Office fixation.

3.   Lack of delegation. (This checklist can help you determine areas where you need to improve your delegation skills. More insight re: delegation.

4.   Programs over people.

5.   Dictatorial style.

6.   Lack of praise and acknowledgment.

7.   Criticizing and discouraging.

8.   Focusing on negatives.

9.   Failure to control mood.

10. Failure to keep students first.

Read the full article.

Leading Learning—Growing a Growth Mindset

What limitations have you allowed to define your learning? What do your teachers believe about their own learning? Their students’ learning? Trevor Ragan invites us to think about how our beliefs impact our actions and result in growth (or not). Check out this 18-minute video and gain insights for how to develop a growth mindset!

Leading Learning: Through an Equity Lens

Leading professional learning across three dimensions—beliefs, actions, and systems–can advance equity in our schools. This month’s The Learning Professional provides starting points for inquiry and direction for leading equity-focused efforts.

Learning simultaneously across three dimensions creates the greatest potential for lasting change. Beliefs and assumptions serve to keep us psychologically safe, so we resist pushes to change them. However, we must surface mental models we hold and confront those beliefs and assumptions that have most likely unintentionally contributed to inequities. At the same time, we must take action—we must align our actions to our evolving beliefs. This may mean changing long-held patterns of behavior and routines to ensure they are equitable. Finally, we need to recognize widespread or systemic practices that create inequities. By inquiring into our beliefs, our practices, and our policies and procedures, we may very well become aware of ways in which some populations are prevented from accessing and experiencing all that our educational system can offer. Addressing only one at a time creates frustrations and limitations in the other two dimensions, so simultaneity is key.

Where does a leader start and how? For each dimension, the authors provide strategies for the individual educator, the learning team (e.g. PLC), and the school as a whole. This chart summarizes the three dimensions and includes an example or two. For more information, access the full article.






Engage in activities to surface beliefs.

Learn about students’ families and cultures.

Reflect on how classroom practices and strategies influence students’ sense of self-efficacy—implications for homework, calling upon students, group projects, etc.

Become a leader in professional learning that advances equity.

Call out inequitable practices and routines.


Set high expectations for learning and behavior.

Get connected—build quality relationships with ALL students.

Review curriculum materials for bias.

Identify and build upon students’ strengths.

Review the team’s family engagement practices.

Examine grading and assessment practices for potential bias and inequitable impact.


Review school practices and policies and note how they promote or inhibit equity.

Use learning walks to increase awareness of school-wide practices that inhibit equity. Collaborate to make changes.

Discuss opportunities in your building and whether all students have access? After school learning opportunities? Classroom celebrations? What expectations are there for students to bring things to schools and can all families afford that?

Find additional resources including free downloads 

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!