Equality or Equity: Toward a Model of Community-Responsive Education

In Equality or Equity: Toward a Model of Community-Responsive Education (Harvard Education Press), Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade, an associate professor of Latina/o studies and race and resistance at San Francisco State University, skillfully identifies the urgent need for American public schools to serve our students with the greatest needs. He points out that despite the fact that many school districts claim they are “being data-driven,” huge disparities in academic achievement and suspension rates among our most vulnerable students persist. Duncan-Andrade contends that policymakers and school district leaders focus on the wrong data time and again. Instead, they should focus their efforts on improving teaching and school culture via three domains: relationships, relevance, and responsibility. When students willfully choose not to learn or complete assignments, they are asking educators to “care more about their well-being than their test scores,” Duncan-Andrade writes. This book weaves together a deep collection of research centered largely around students who have experienced toxic stress, the need for empathy over sympathy, and authentic school and teacher stories that inspire us to reach all students.

—S. Kambar Khoshaba
Principal, South County High School, Lorton, VA

The Promises of Giants

The Promises of Giants (Nicholas Brealey) is a unique book on leadership. Author John Amaechi OBE (Order of the British Empire) weaves into his personal narrative the various sacrifices and strategies associated with leading and explains how everyone has “a giant” in their life they look up to. Chapters highlight lessons learned during Amaechi’s formative years in England growing up with a single mom who worked full time as a physician; his pursuit of, and experiences during, a successful 10-year career in the NBA; and his post-basketball life as a psychologist specializing in organizational leadership. For school leaders looking to improve their leadership skills, this book will help to reaffirm their commitment to students, schools, and communities. “This is The Promises of Giants,” Amaechi writes. “That we will do right by people—care for, protect, and develop them—every step of the way, even when it is not in our own immediate interest and even when it is uncomfortable or difficult.” This book ultimately reminds educators of their own giant-sized shadow of influence and that “everyone is a giant to someone.”

—Mike Rumsey
Assistant Principal, Roxana Senior High School, Roxana, IL

“Transformative Principal With Jethro Jones” Podcast

With 500 episodes, “Transformative Principal With Jethro Jones” offers listeners a wealth of resources, tips, and effective strategies. Host Jethro Jones interviews principals and education leaders eager to share how they are making a difference. As NASSP’s Digital Principal of the Year in 2017, Jones is no stranger to school leadership, and his podcast reflects his expertise in what principals need. Episodes are categorized at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and there’s also a “Specials” category, which Jones says includes “interviews with conference presenters, special announcements, and people who aren’t currently in a school, but still have something great to bring.” Episodes feature rich conversations on a variety of topics such as “Why Teachers Are Really Leaving” (Episode 500) with education consultant Amelia Gamel; “Helping Kids Feel Like They Belong” (Episode 499) with NASSP Board Member Dr. Marcus Belin, the principal of Huntley High School in Huntley, IL; and “Strategies to Deal With Trauma on a Day-to-Day Basis” (Episode 466) with Dr. Mike Gaskell, the principal of Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick, NJ. At around 25 minutes each, episodes leave busy school leaders feeling inspired and wanting to hear more.

—Brenda Yoho
Retired Director of Educational Support Programs, Danville District 118, Danville, IL

“TeachThought Podcast”

In the “TeachThought Podcast,” produced by a professional development organization with the tagline, “We grow teachers,” episodes relate to teaching, learning, and leading in schools. For NASSP, episode 302, “A Guide to Recovering From Gun Violence in Schools” hits close to home. In this episode, Drew Perkins, TeachThought’s director of professional development, speaks with George Roberts and Michael Bennett about NASSP’s Principal Recovery Network (PRN) and its “Guide to Recovery,” a collection of best practices to assist school leaders in the aftermath of shooting tragedies. Founded in April 2019, the PRN is a national network of current and former school leaders, like Roberts and Bennett who have experienced gun violence in their schools. Along with assisting colleagues and schools, the PRN advocates for national school safety enhancements and violence prevention programs. In this episode, Roberts and Bennett discuss their recovery process, offer practical advice for moving through and beyond a school shooting, and provide the rationale for the 13-page guide. “There’s a lot of people [who] are impacted by this … the heart and soul of the guide was really something that was geared toward how to support the principal to lead the [recovery] effort,” Bennett says. “It’s a document by principals, for principals.”

—Nicole J. LeClaire
Principal, Kenesaw Jr/Sr High School, Kenesaw, NE