Essential Summer Reading for School Improvement Leaders, Principals, Teachers, and Staff

Educators know that summer is both a break and more importantly, precious time to renew and plan for the coming school year. This is not only a great time for lesson planning, but intentionally setting yourself up to lead a positive, healthy, and culturally relevant classroom or school. We asked our associate and Partnership Manager, Richard Frank, what books he recommends to educators to get them set up for success in the next school year. Here’s his list of four essential texts to add to your summer reading list:


Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and His Students (Teaching for Social Justice Series)
by Gregory Michie


As relevant today as when first published in 1999, this is essential summer reading for any educator interested in social justice and culturally relevant pedagogy.  Easy to read and highly engaging, Holler if You Hear Me is filled with hope, humor and practical insights.  Each chapter presents an evocative narrative from Michie’s first seven years as a teacher in Chicago’s South Side intertwined with reflections from former students who figure prominently in the story. These personal accounts of Michie’s awakening as a teacher will inspire you to face the challenges of reaching, managing the behavior, and building the cultural competence and critical consciousness of students, while the contribution of student voice will serve as a powerful reminder of critical importance and value in hearing, knowing and seeking to understand the lives, perspectives and culture of your students.


Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta Hammond



Easily digestible, comprehensive and highly engaging, Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain effectively weaves brain based learning with principles in culturally responsive teaching.  Moving beyond theory and scholarship, Zaretta Hammond thoughtfully unpacks and translates science and empirical research into high-impact practical frameworks for building relationships and applying strategies that foster culturally responsive teaching for optimal learning.  Ideal for any teacher or instructional leader interested in unleashing the high intellectual performance and self-determination of students by operationalizing culturally responsive teaching within and/or across classrooms.


Creating Productive Cultures in Schools: For Students, Teachers and Parents
by Joseph Murphy and Daniella Torres


Your search for the path to sustainable school improvement begins here!   Grounded in an exhaustive review of over three decades of research and scholarship, Joseph Murphy delivers what is arguably the most thorough, accessible and practical synthesis of what, how and where school improvement leaders should focus their efforts. Essential summer reading for principals leading school improvement and/or culture planning this coming school year.


Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success by Baruti Kafele



Principal Kafele challenges, inspires and guides readers to look deep within and ask themselves, “What am I doing to change my students’ attitudes so that every day they walk into the classroom fired up and ready to excel?”  “It’s all in the attitude”, explains Kafele, which unleashes students’ will to strive for academic excellence and teachers’ will to close the “Attitude Gap” that affects so many underperforming youth.  Refreshing, thought-provoking and inspiring, this motivational handbook is replete with practical strategies, valuable insights, personal anecdotes, and reflective questions.  A powerfully reflective guide for teachers and a must read and resource for principals and other staff developers searching for practical strategies to inspire and motivate teachers to develop classroom climate and culture where students come to class every day “fired up and ready to excel”.


By Richard Frank, CT3 Associate

Check out CT3 Education programs such as No-Nonsense Nurturer, Real Time Teacher Coaching, and Real Time Leadership Coaching to find out more about Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders, and building relationships with students and their families.
Category: Teaching