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Mentoring Matters for Superintendents: November 2017

Leadership-life Fit: Stop and Smell the Roses

Five simple strategies for taking time to re-center, re-group, and refresh each day so that you can always play your “A” game. 

Leading Learning— Networking Nationally to Support Mental Health:

UCLA facilitates a forum targeting superintendents “to link with those who are concerned with enhancing policies, programs, and practices related to addressing barriers to student learning and promoting mental health in schools.” Find tools, resources, and promising practices to support your leadership.

Through this link you can access resources, subscribe to the monthly ENews letter, search tools, and connect with your colleagues around the country.

This month you may want to take a look at the System Change Toolkit (click on System Change Toolkit in the left-hand navigation bar). You’ll find tools for how to initiate change specific to learning supports (MTSS); how to design and plan a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system of learning supports; how to phase in a new system; and how to address problems of systemic change. 

Leading the Board: Forging Strong School Relationships

With recent board elections just a short two months past, consider these strategies for cultivating the board “team.”

1. Hold once-a-month, one-on-one conversations with each board member. By inquiring about family, responding to questions about the district, and refraining from advancing your own agenda, you can cultivate a trusting relationship with each board member while deepening your understanding of how you can help them in their role and what their needs are. Such ongoing conversations help maintain clarity of roles and responsibilities and ensure everyone remains on the same page with what the focus of the work of the superintendent should be.

2. Promote Teamwork.

a. Set detailed ground rules for working together—what agreements will help you to be most successful? How will stakeholder complaints be handled? How will staff complaints fielded by a board member be handled? Can board members visit schools at their leisure? Who will communicate with the press and when? What might be some go-to lines for board members that will offer transparency while maintaining the integrity of the board team?

b. Develop a strategic plan—what is the district’s vision and how will you move toward it? What are the board’s goals (keep it fewer than five!). Establish benchmarks for measuring success—what does success look like? When, specifically, will progress toward goals be shared at the board table? What will the step-by-step review entail? Regular reports help ensure the system is working and enable the board’s oversight responsibility.

c.  Share/Communicate—equity, transparency and honesty contribute most significantly to trusting relationships. Treat all board members alike. When one member requests information, share with all. Accommodate individual board member preferences for how they receive information—whether it be digitally, by telephone, or by U.S. mail! No surprises—never embarrassed. Be sure all board members have all information they need to make informed decisions.

3. Remember that the superintendent works for the board, not the other way around.

Adapted from “Forging strong school relationships: Boards and superintendents must define roles, be transparent to work together” by Deborah Yaffe in District Administration, April 2015

Read the full article here

Leading Technology: Top 10 Best Apps for School Leaders

For everything from scanning documents to keeping focused, there’s an app for that!

These 10 apps support both principals and superintendents in notetaking, communicating, prioritizing, and focusing! 

Monthly calendar and 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!