The Principal's Companion
Strategies to Lead Schools for Student and Teacher Success
- Pam Robbins - International Education Consultant
- Harvey B. Alvy - Eastern Washington University, USA
foreword by Kent D. Peterson
The classic personal guide for principals, updated to address today’s challenges
As the leader and decision maker in your school, you know that the buck stops with you. But when you’re faced with issues that are unfamiliar or simply overwhelming, where can you turn for advice and experience?
For over a decade, the answer has been The Principal’s Companion. Pam Robbins and Harvey B. Alvy’s comprehensive classic remains a standard reference for principals of all experience levels, providing a wealth of ideas, techniques, and reflective opportunities.
In the fourth edition, new and updated content is delivered in an ultra-efficient format tailored to principals’ busy days. Topics range from big-picture considerations to specific tactics and strategies, including:
- The principal’s many roles
- Critical skills for effective leadership
- Honoring the school’s mission
- Working together to build a learning community
- Starting effectively and staying the course
With an eye towards the future, The Principal’s Companion can be referred to over and over again to ensure the school’s most important executive is a strong anchor for educational success.
“This has always been one of the books I recommend to principals, and the latest edition makes it even more important and helpful to principals who face one of the toughest jobs in education today.”
—Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director
"Robbins and Alvy's ability to explain the sophisticated and complex landscape of today's connected schools in a manner that is easily understandable to both a new leader and a veteran school leader is masterful. They truly understand the role of today's school leader in the classroom, the school, and the community.”
—Joshua Garcia, Deputy Superintendent
Tacoma Public Schools, WA
"As educators we are so fortunate that Pam Robbins and Harvey Alvy continue to update The Principal's Companion. It has always been one of the "must read" books I refer to principals, and this latest edition makes it even more important and helpful to principals who face one of the toughest jobs in education today.
Pam and Harvey combine research, practitioner expertise, and personal experiences to provide principals with a resource that will serve them well throughout their career. The topics, insights, and reflection questions make it a text that principals will find themselves returning to when they are confronting a new challenge or opportunity and seeking new information and insights.
Give the gift of The Principal's Companion to your principals. You will have given them a compact resource that touches their most pressing issues with suggestions, insights, and findings grounded in research, experience, and practice."
"The revised and expanded edition of The Principal’s Companion will be a welcome addition to any principal’s professional library. The authors have crafted a vade mecum for the thoughtful, engaged… and busy! …principal. This is a user-friendly, accessible, and holistic compilation of educational philosophy, solid research, and practical, tested methodologies. It can be read from start to finish with great benefit. But due to its thoughtful structure, one can also dive into it from time to time for inspiration, expert opinion or a bit of challenge. Drs. Alvy and Robbins have made a wonderful contribution to our profession with this, their latest collaboration."
"Alvy's and Robbins's ability to explain the sophisticated and complex landscape of today's connected schools in a manner that is easily understandable to both a new leader and a veteran school leader is masterful. They truly understand the role of today's school leader in the classroom, the school, and the community. Together, they have boiled down complex ideas to practical solutions that leaders can learn from and apply in their daily routines. Through years of research, new learning, and proven experience, they have modeled the way for leaders. This book communicates the need for today's school leaders to develop action plans that produce results. As they say, it is not a matter of 'either/or' but rather 'and' when addressing modern societal demands. Their guidance and reflections provide a road map for schools that will create positive student outcomes for the students they serve."
We used this book for our principal practicum. The students were able to implement what they learned as they engaged in campus activities. They loved it.
Moral/ethical responsibilities of the principalship—Affirming that "Character is Destiny" as a key book theme. Embedded in this theme is the notion that school leaders cannot be successful if they lack credibility.
Principal Standards—Examining exemplary state standards and the ISLLC standards, emphasizing that standards offer a "compass" to guide leaders.
Curriculum and Instruction:
- Addressing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the school principal's role in leading the CCSS implementation process with the help of Teacher Leaders
- Noting the importance of feedback (referencing the influence of John Hattie's research) as a critical element of student empowerment and teacher growth
- Presenting major curriculum shifts that have influenced supervision, instruction, assessment and professional development
Supervision and Instructional Leadership:
- Supervising for growth in a non-threatening, nurturing culture that addresses new performance evaluation programs linked to federal and state mandates with principals and teacher leaders working together
- Addressing difficult one-on-one conversations related to classroom observations and/or performance evaluation
- Updating alternative observational strategies such as instructional rounds, walk-throughs and peer coaching with Teacher Leadership input
Social Justice—Revising, updating and adding sections related to race, poverty and the achievement and opportunity gap; bullying and cyber bullying, resilience and hope, and supporting and providing a safety net for homeless children and LGBT youth.
School Culture: Celebrating Teacher Leaders as partners that build teacher capacity, a culture of excellence, and serve to nurture newcomers
Technology: Highlighting the principal's collaborative partnership with teachers, in selecting effective resources to be used as an integral part of instruction, curriculum delivery and assessment within lessons
Updating the "From ESEA to NCLB: Implications for the Future" section
Updating "The Student Learning NEXUS Model"—this helpful supervisory and School Improvement Planning will be revised.