Book Review                                      Online Exclusive


The New School Management

by Wandering Around


by William A. Streshly, Susan Penny Gray and Larry E. Frase, Corwin, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2012, 309 pp., $35.95 softcover


Visibility is critical for the success of any administrator in a school. To some, visibility may be as simple as greeting students as they enter the school building each day or take a more organized form as a classroom walk-through.

In The New School Management by Wandering Around, the authors say the walk-through can be as simple as a five-minute visit to complete a paper checklist, while a technology-savvy school district will arm administrators with an I-Pad to complete the task electronically. The data is sent to a districtwide database that tracks various initiatives that are being integrated into classroom instruction. Collecting data on smaller chunks of classroom instruction allows administrators to see into a small window of the classroom instruction taking place in the district.

The authors cover a lot of educational strategies and issues, such as why teachers leave the field, why teachers stay and promoting good student discipline. They describe the walk-through process for dealing with unmet expectations, marginal and incompetent teachers, ensuring due process and building a case file.

The sections of the book that covers management by walking around discuss defining the MBWA leader, promoting quality curriculum through MBWA, getting into classrooms and finding time for MBWA.

One of the strengths of the book is the topics that MBWA may uncover, such as how to handle a marginal teacher. Once an administrator would notice a weak teacher, the book outlines strategies to help the teacher improve and, if necessary, the steps needed to move toward a dismissal. I had hoped the authors would provide various examples of successful MBWA templates, enabling readers to create a hybrid model for their own district.

I’d suggest using The New School Management by Wandering Around in a principal’s certification course. Many of the exercises within each chapter could be completed each week of the class. Individuals becoming principals would be able to see how to collect observation data using MBWA to support the teacher and monitor the district curriculum.

Reviewed by William A. Clark, interim elementary principal, Quarryville, Pa. and educational consultant



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