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Stories of Caring School Leadership
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Stories of Caring School Leadership



August 2020 | 168 pages | Corwin
Real-life examples to inform and inspire caring in your leadership practices!

The practice of caring is essential to effective schooling. Published as a companion to Caring School Leadership, this comprehensive resource of powerful, real-life stories will make clear the connection between caring leadership and student academic success and well-being. Stories of Caring School Leadership includes a guide for using the stories in self-directed reflection and learning, for educators practicing in schools and professional preparation programs. Readers will find stories that

• will help aspiring and practicing leaders reflect upon and further develop caring as a quality of their leadership 
• affirm the importance of caring as a fundamental quality of school leadership 
• provide examples of caring school leadership in action that can be analyzed, reflected upon, and used to develop practice 

Stories have the power to inform and inspire. The stories in this book are evidence of what is possible when caring leadership is practiced in our schools.

 
List of Illustrations
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction: Caring School Leadership
 
Collection I: Stories of Being Caring in Relationships with Students
Introduction

 
Questions for Reflection and Discussion

 
 
Stories From PreK and Elementary Schools
1. Walk You to School?

 
2. Terry

 
3. Ana

 
4. I Don’t Have a Knife

 
5. Opening Up

 
6. Had It Gone a Different Way

 
7. Three Musketeers

 
8. Fever Free and Smiling

 
9. Now What Do I Do?

 
10. Sheila

 
11. Pizza and a Football

 
12. Connecting

 
13. Two Yearbooks

 
14. The Lunchroom

 
 
Stories From Secondary Schools
15. Minister of Presence

 
16. Sue Knows She Is Loved

 
17. What’s Going on With Renee?

 
18. Promise

 
19. Red Sneakers

 
20. Nate

 
21. Patrick

 
22. Four Years With That Student

 
23. On the Bus Ramp

 
24. Giving and Taking the Chance

 
25. You Just Gotta Be Calm

 
26. Not Giving Up

 
27. The Last Leg

 
28. I’ve Got Your Back

 
29. Toss and Turn

 
30. Authentic Care

 
31. Jason

 
32. Let Me Work on That

 
33. The Business Card

 
34. Not All Who Wander Are Lost

 
35. Not Too Tired to Be Caring

 
36. Swimming Upstream

 
37. Try This

 
38. The Tux

 
39. Breaking the Law

 
40. No Pity, Just Care

 
41. It’s Because My School Family Loves Me

 
42. Natalie

 
43. Our Collective Responsibility

 
44. Bicycle Built for Two

 
 
Collection II: Stories of Cultivating Schools as Caring Communities
Introduction

 
Questions for Reflection and Discussion

 
 
Stories From Elementary Schools
45. We Like the Egg Chairs

 
46. Hear My Message, Not My Tone

 
47. Family Connect Time

 
48. Our Transformation

 
49. Dots

 
50. Season of Giving

 
51. Evaluating Faculty With Challenge and Support

 
52. Coaching With Care

 
53. Accepting Your Feelings

 
54. Seth

 
55. Learning Together

 
56. Helping a Teacher Build Relationships With Students

 
57. Buddy Bench

 
58. 360 Degrees of Caring

 
59. The Results Are In

 
60. Always There for Me

 
61. Lunch With the Principal

 
62. School Welcomes

 
 
Stories From Secondary Schools
63. We Choose Relationships

 
64. Small Steps

 
65. Getting You Ready to Walk

 
66. Student Advocates

 
67. Grab a Sandwich

 
68. Welcome to Refugee High

 
69. Do We Really Know?

 
70. Setting Rules and Policies

 
71. No One Graduates Alone

 
72. Responding to the Crises

 
73. Good Works Toward Each Other

 
74. Fostering a Caring Faculty Culture

 
75. Promoting Safety and Community Through Near Peer Mentoring

 
76. When It Is Actually Not Easy

 
77. Mama Bears

 
78. Celebrating Matt

 
79. Everyone Has a Voice

 
80. Our Work Is Really All About Caring

 
81. A More Inclusive Culture

 
82. Enforcing the Norms

 
83. True Safety

 
84. Gail and Her Girls

 
85. Our Food Pantry

 
 
Collection III: Stories of Fostering Caring in Families and Community
Introduction

 
Questions for Reflection and Discussion

 
86. Engaging Parents in Equity Dialogues

 
87. The Fire

 
88. Family Support

 
89. This School Is Here for You

 
90. An Open Letter to Parents of Children Throughout New York State Regarding Grades 3–8 Testing

 
91. Community Career Fairs and Pop-Up Food Banks

 
92. Born and Bred

 
93. We Are Going to Be Together in This

 
94. My Mom Is in Trouble

 
95. We Just Couldn’t See It

 
96. Our Next Mayor

 
97. Promoting Early Childhood Education in Families and the Community

 
98. Visiting With the Kids

 
99. Parent University

 
100. What Can We Do?

 
 
Bibliography

As a teacher and principal for nearly twenty years, I highly recommend this book to all educators needing a return to the well that drew us into the profession in the first place. The premise and stories in the book tap into the common thread that unites all educators but is often overlooked—a care for humanity. Smylie, Murphy, and Louis remind us that an ethos of caring is a resilient, sustainable, effective road to the Rome we seek for our students and communities. The stories in the text are perfect for a mid-afternoon reading with leadership teams, faculty, or pre-service teachers as a way to reground ourselves in the work that ultimately matters most.

Christian Sawyer
Principal, Hamilton Middle School Denver Public Schools

Stories of Caring School Leadership centers us in the reality that our most essential and basic need is to feel known and cared for. It is through our connection to each other that we grow and thrive. This book brings years of research on school leadership to life. It serves as a powerful resource for school leaders as they deepen their commitment to foster caring within their schools. Stories move people and without a doubt the readers of this book will be drawn, moved, and compelled to invest again and again in the students, educators, families and communities that they serve.  

Sonia Stewart
Executive Officer of Organizational Development Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

This book is a treasure trove of meaningful and beautiful stories that illustrate the power of caring between educators, students, and families. The book begins by defining caring in the context of schools, followed by a cogent argument for why we need to understand and practice caring. At the start of each collection of stories, there is a set of focusing questions to deepen the reader’s engagement with and reflection on the stories. This book would be valuable for the preparation of school leaders, as well as for self-study and professional development.

Megan Tschannen-Moran
Professor, William & Mary School of Education

This collection of stories demonstrates the importance of building caring relationships with children and their families in order to create a school culture where learning can take place.  You will find examples of how school leaders show students and their families empathy, kindness, and compassion. This book is a must read for educators who want to see the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders brought to life.

Jacquelyn Wilson
Executive Director, National Policy Board for Educational Leadership Director, Delaware Academy of School Leadership, University of Delaware
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