Happy New Year!  If you read my post on December 21, you are aware that I wanted to focus on creating an online book club for educators in 2018.  Well, I am happy to announce that this is becoming a reality!

You may be asking yourself, “Why?”  

“Why participate in an online book club when you can read the book yourself?”

This is the first thing I ask myself whenever I start a new initiative whether I am in the classroom, an administrator, or providing PD – Why is this important and needed?  

“Creating a culture of sharing and professional dialogue is an essential element for school success. Teachers who read, discuss, and implement current educational research are more engaged and ready to take on the challenges in their classroom. But the reality is that teachers lead busy lives, making it difficult to find time for these valuable discussions.” (Boes, Cheryl. “Online Teacher Book Clubs: Promoting a Culture of Professional Development.” Edutopia. N.p., 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Jan. 2018.)

I am starting an online book club for multiple reasons:

  • To create a professional learning community with a common focus where we can share resources and bounce ideas off one another.
  • To hold participants accountable.  So many times I say I am going to read a book but get sidetracked or too busy from other initiatives.  Having an activity to do, a calendar that maps out my reading requirements, and others to collaborate with helps me read and complete the text.
  • In order to fill a void in education.  So many times educational leaders are so busy creating meaningful professional learning opportunities for others that they often don’t have the opportunities readily available for their own PL needs.   
  • To stay current on best practices and preparing students for a future that looks vastly different from today.  The text that I have selected is a great example of the mindset educational leaders need to make a difference and make changes that impact the educational experience of our students. (More on the text selection soon!)
  • So that educators can participate anytime, anywhere.  I know it is cliche, but it is virtually impossible to pull anyone in education out of the building for any reason!  Doing a book study online ensures that anyone, regardless of your job title, building commitments, etc. can participate at the convenience of your own schedule

Okay, I am sure by now you are excited about this opportunity but wondering about the text selection!

“The Unlearning Leader” is written by two local Superintendents, Michael Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak.  Published in 2017, the learning purposes of the book include:

  • Energize people to think, act, & do leadership differently
  • Embody an innovative mindset that supports unlearning
  • Model & share through experience, observation, & trial and error a new way of leading from within the organization
  • Put forth the power and positive impact and legacy for leadership
  • Unlearn old truths to begin to lead in new ways
  • Leverage connection opportunities to lead and learn for tomorrow


Here is a quick video of the authors being interviewed about the creation of their book and what you can expect as a reader:

Book Club Details | Save the Date!

  • The first week of the book club is February 18th.  It will be a four week study that ends March 18th.
  • The assignments are due by midnight on Sundays; however, you have a three-day “grace period” for emergencies.
  • After the close of the book club on March 18th; I will send participants who completed all components of the book study (on time) with the ISBE Evaluation form that must be filled out and returned in order to received 8 professional development hours.
  • We will use Canvas as our platform for the book club (all participants need access to a computer and the text to participate).  I will send all registered participants an email to access the book club on February 18th.
  • To register click here or contact me with any questions.

I have read the book several times now and am very excited about being a part of this online professional learning network!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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