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Stories of Caring School Leadership

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

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

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

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?


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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ISBN: 9781071801826
CAD$ 44.95

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

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