In the book he lays out some cornerstones to what he feels make an effective instructional leader.
- Principals must conduct brief "mini-observations" followed up with conversations regularly with all staff
- Principals must monitor and support teams of teachers developing strong unit plans
- Principals must monitor and support the use of more frequent, formative assessments
- Principals must be efficient and effective communicators of school vision and beliefs and must manage their time powerfully
Because he is so damn honest. In the opening chapter of the book, Kim recounts his fifteen years of experience at an elementary school in Boston. He tells the story focused on the many mistakes he made and the various battles he lost. He tells those stories to show how his current views became a reality.
In the principal business, we often don't like to talk about what is not working at our schools. We don't ever want any negative "press" about our schools so we often just talk about what is working. We rarely troubleshoot in my experience and rarely are we ever close to being as honest as Kim is as he recounts all of the different stories of his principalship. The honesty is authentic and motivating because I make dozens of mistakes a day and rarely do I share them or talk about them. From his mistakes, he has developed a very powerful vision of what makes an effective principal. That is how we learn, right?