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The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact by [Fullan, Michael]
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The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Review

“This revealing and powerful book comes just in time, as we launch the biggest education reform in the past fifty years. It should be required reading not only for principals, but perhaps even more importantly for those who support and lead them.”
Laura Schwalm, CaEdPartners; former superintendent, Garden Grove, California

“After decades of studying, working with, and enhancing the lot of principals . . . Fullan’s conclusion? Principals are needed now more than ever, and he’s smack on target. He doesn’t mince words, yet instills hope and confidence. Simply great . . . this book should be on every leader’s desk. Another bull’s–eye!”
Willam Parrett, director, Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies, Boise State University, Idaho

“I just read The Principal and I am on fire and in love. I couldn′t put it down! Fullan′s uniquely succinct brilliance for soaring above the noise and clutter that bogs us down is incredibly energizing and inspiring.”
Alice Thomas, president and CEO, Center for Development and Learning, Metairie, Louisiana

From the Inside Flap

The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

USE THIS BOOK FOR PD! Includes discussion questions and a free professional development guide

Over the past two decades, Michael Fullan has written influentially about the change that school and district leaders must bring about as formalized achievement standards and new technology transform how schools are run. What he hasn′t done until now is explore and discuss in detail how and why the principal′s role itself must change.

Principals are often called the second most crucial in–school influencers (after teachers) of student learning. But what should the principal do in order to maximize student achievement? In The Principal, Fullan explains why the answer lies neither in micro–managing instruction nor in autonomous entrepreneurialism. He also shows systematically how the principal’s role must change, and demonstrates how it can be done in short order, at scale.

Fullan shows how principals have been boxed into a narrow role that undercuts their ability to develop the whole school. He sheds light on how, in times of crisis, it’s all too easy for principals to do the wrong thing―to take actions that are ineffective or even counter–productive, particularly when they don’t feel entirely in charge. But even in the toughest of external conditions, he shows, there is always leeway for action. Fullan explains how to choose the right versus wrong drivers―loosening focus on accountability and instead concentrating on capacity–building; focusing less on technology and more on pedagogy; abandoning fragmented strategies and striving for “systemness”; and forgoing individualistic solutions in favor of collaborative effort. He shares how principals can foster the professional capital of teachers and get far more accomplished for all students.

The author explains the three key roles that administrators must play in order to have the biggest impact on student achievement―the learning leader, the district and system player, and the change agent. Throughout The Principal are "action items" to help leaders implement Fullan’s program effectively, as well as provocative discussion questions that enhance the book’s usefulness in professional development and leadership courses.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 481 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1118575237
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (24 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H3JYZCU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #322,087 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to teachers considering moving into middle management and more senior management roles. Fullan uses case studies to show how school managers can energise teachers and students by promoting collaboration. It gave me lots of ideas that I'm looking forward to putting into practice. It also gives a sense of how managers can choose goals for self improvement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Challenged a lot of previous works such as instructional and transformational leadership theories. Really easy to read, understand and yes, did challenge and extend my own education leadership thinking.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 64 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Thought-Provoking Book to Spark Discussion on Principal's Role in Change 4 May 2014
By John Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After over a decade, policies relying on high stakes testing as a means to drive more effective teaching specifically and a better education generally have become embedded in public education. Fullan (2014) says we have gotten it all wrong. In his book, The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact, Fullan points out that these federal initiatives have failed to bring about extensive instructional change because they use the wrong policy drivers to try to change education. In other words, we simply aren’t getting the kinds of change we want in education because we are focusing on the wrong things to make that change happen. What should we be doing to maximize impact on schools? According to Fullan, we need to “reposition the role of the principal as overall instructional leader so that it maximizes the learning of all teachers and in turn all students” (p. 6). To do this, Fullan indicates we need to focus on three key aspects of the principal’s role: 1) Leading Learning, 2) Being a District and Team Player, and 3) Becoming a Change Agent.

Beginning in “Chapter One Outmoded,” Fullan describes both the current problem in education, and he introduces the idea of reconceptualizing the role of principal. According to Fullan, the current problem in education is that the “conditions for mutual learning have been seriously eroding” (p. 5). Students are increasingly bored and disengaged from schooling, as indicated by the fact that “schooling alienates two-thirds of kindergarten students by the time they reach ninth grade” (p. 5). Teacher satisfaction in their work continues to decline (p. 5). Even the job satisfaction of principals, who see their jobs as being too complex and too stressful, has been dropping since 2008 from 68% to 59% (p. 5). According to Fullan, this problem in education is due to an improper conceptualization of the role of the principal that is confusing and actually inhibits the professional learning of teachers and in turn the learning of students (p. 6).

In chapter two of the book, Fullan focuses on what he terms the “Four Wrong Choices for Driving Policy.” The four “Wrong Choices for Driving Policy” are: accountability, individualistic solutions, technology, and fragmented strategies” (p. 22). Each of these choices, according to Fullan, is more a part of the problem, than a solution. For example, one of these wrong policy drivers includes current accountability strategies, which involve the belief that by tightening accountability through standards, standardized testing, and tying performance to test scores, student performance will improve. The problem with this approach to forcing educational change, according to Fullan, is that it assumes professional capacity is already there, which is not always the case (p. 27). Teachers and principals may lack the expertise to bring about learning gains with the students they have or the environment in which they’re teaching. According to Fullan, Principals in schools driven by these accountability policies are forced to simply “get better at a bad game” where you do what you can “to please the higher-ups in order to protect your staff and yourself” (p. 28). Fullan takes readers through each of these “wrong drivers” and explains exactly how that are negatively impacting education and actually keeping educators from getting the results they seek and preventing principals from leading schools the way they should.

If these “wrong drivers” of policy aren’t working, what exactly is Fullan’s solution? In Chapter Three, he begins describing what he calls the “The First Key for Maximixing Impact” which is the first of his three solutions for principals. The first key is “Leading Learning.” In a nutshell, Fullan describes how principals can focus on building the professional capacity of the whole teaching staff rather than focusing on individual teachers. As he points out, principals should spend their time developing the group, not focusing on individual teachers because that is where the greatest learning gains for all will occur. Principals need to lead the professional learning of the teachers in a school as a group. They do this by leading “the school’s teachers learning how to improve their teaching while learning alongside them about what works and what doesn’t” (p. 55). According to Fullan, Principals should focus on capacity, climate, community, and instruction to maximize the learning in the school.
In chapter four, Fullan describes his second key for maximizing impact which is “Being a District and System Player.” He describes how principals need to do such things as “looking without to improve,” “foster intradistrict development,” “create district coherence,” and “reaching out beyond the district for expertise” (p. 97). When “looking without to improve,” principals need to foster network connections outside the school but within the district to access new ideas and practices. When “fostering intradistrict development,” principals need to connect teachers in order to exchange ideas across the district. When “creating district coherence,” principals work together under the guidance of the whole district to improve all the schools. Finally, when “reaching out beyond the district for expertise,” principals connect to external sources, outside the district, for innovative ideas. In each of these instances, Fullan suggests that principals can maximize their impact on their schools by engaging the system in building professional capacity of teachers.

In chapter five, Fullan describes his third and final key for principals to maximize impact on their schools. This key is “Becoming a Change Agent” (p. 123). Fullan argues that principals must focus on building their own professional capacity of becoming a change agent by fostering seven professional capacities for making change happen, which he describes in detail. For example, capacity one is “Challenging the Status Quo” which involves such things as questioning common practices, taking risks, exploring innovations, and avoiding letting the rules slow down the action” (p. 129). Fullan argues that principals need to foster their own capacity of challenging the status quo in their efforts to become a change agent. The rest of chapter five is devoted to describing these professional capacities for becoming a change agent in order to maximize impact on schools.
Fullan’s final chapter offers a glimpse of what the future holds for principals as they face the unpredictable world of ambiguity that education has become. He offers some parting advice for principals on how to maximize their impact on schools by focusing on the digital revolution and what it’s doing to schools and the Common Core Standards and how they affecte the role of principals who want to have the greatest impact on their schools.

Fullan’s book The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact offers principals and district administrators a full view of how current education policy is failing to bring about the results desired, and he offers a research-based approach using three key strategies to maximize impact. Each of the strategies taps into current educational leadership research and provides school leaders a “practical guide” to implement change. Fullan’s book powerfully provokes thought for school leaders on how the principal can best impact learning in her school.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Puzzling - 18 Dec. 2014
By Loyd Eskildson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author contends that an early focus on accountability, individual teacher and leadership quality, and technology are the wrong drivers of school system improvement. They're more a part of the problem than a solution. This approach assumes professional capacity is already there - not always the case. Instead, we should 'reposition the role of principal as overall instructional leader so that it maximizes the learning of all teachers and in turn all students.' The current problem in education is that the 'conditions for mutual learning have been seriously eroding' - students are increasingly bored and disengaged from schooling - indicated by the fact that 'schooling alienates two-thirds of kindergarten students by the time they reach ninth grade.' At the same time, teacher satisfaction in their work declines, as well as that of principals.

Fullan instead suggests that principals focus on building the professional capacity of the whole teaching staff, rather than that of individual teachers, while learning alongside them about what works and what doesn't. Another recommendation is that principals foster network connections outside the school but within the district to access new ideas, fostering intra-district development. Principals also should connect to external sources for innovative ideas. His third key for principals is that of 'Becoming a Change Agent' - starting with 'Challenging the Status Quo' (questioning common practices, taking risks, exploring innovations.

The puzzling part in all this is that it seems to suggest that colleges of education have little to offer, and that educators are thereby condemned to playing out the role of trying to feel their way forward. That may be true, but it certainly undercuts that role of teacher certification and paying extra for coursework beyond one's original B.A. degree, as well as additional years of experience. Worse yet, given the variability in pupils and teachers, the trying to make sense out of the resulting variation in pupil performance within any reasonable class size would be impossible, and create endless racing down blind alleys.

Fullan's recommendations are drawn from the experience of Canada's Ontario province. When Dalton McGuinty became premier in 2003, the government encouraged schools to set their own targets and sent experienced teams to help them get there. Schools with large numbers of immigrant children could apply for special help. Every school had to improve - showing in regular inspections that it was making progress. Since 2004, funding increased by 30%. Early on, the government moved to ensure smaller classes - a strategy that has repeatedly been demonstrated as ineffectual throughout the world. Another strategy - secondary schools established success teams that provided particular attention to students who may be at risk.

Ontario's graduation rate increased from 68% in 2003-04 to 795 in 2008-09, while the number of students meeting/exceeding the provincial standards has increased from 54% in 2003 to 67% in 2009; however, there has been no improvement in Grade 3 reading since 2006, only a 2% increase in Grade 3 mathematics and a 4% increase in Grade 3 writing. (Perhaps manipulation of cut scores?) Yet, Canadian pupils far outperform their U.S. counterparts, especially in math.

Another source of puzzlement - Fullan's prescriptions (light on having the principal serve as the 'education leader') is contradicted by practices and results in leading charter schools.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic New Look at Principalship 23 Sept. 2014
By James Hiller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a person in a grad school program to become an educational administer, I have to say that this book is not only full of good, practical advice, but has been one of the best books I've read about the job to date. By giving three tasks that principals need to follow: leading learning at the building level, becoming a district and system player, and being a change agent. It is not only informative, but personally inspirational. After reading this book, one believes that despite the complexities and hardships of the job, one can and should do it. Highly recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read for school leaders who are looking for research ... 13 Sept. 2014
By Mr. 300 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Easy read for school leaders who are looking for research based strategies for school improvement. I love the references to several different school districts throughout the world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Bad I Can't Pass It On 11 Sept. 2014
By TLM-aka "Icart" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not a principal, but a teacher, and felt this might be a good book to read. First, this should be read by all school principals, assistant principals, deans, etc.... There is so much that they can learn from this. "I" learned from it. In addition, Families should be reading this because who affects your child the most other than the teacher? The principal! Highly Recommended!
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