5 Tips for School Leaders Preparing for the Upcoming School Year
Across the country, school leaders are preparing for the upcoming school year with new approaches. The last few years have been nothing short of challenging for the education industry with unpredictable circumstances, and many schools going in and out of virtual learning settings. As leaders prepare for this year, here are a few tips for success:
1. Keep Your Students First
As important as big-picture goals are for your school or district, it is also just as important to keep the primary goal in mind: serving your students. As students reenter schools for the first time since May, it’s important to remember that there may be a mix of emotions involved including, nerves and excitement.
A great way to put your students first this school year is to:
- Make sure that your students feel welcomed on the first day of school – go above and beyond! For example, have your mascot ready to greet your students in the bus line, or pass out inspirational cards as the students enter for their first day.
- Ensure that your teachers are asking your students engaging questions, so each student feels comfortable and known. During orientation, you can include an icebreaker form so teachers have an idea of who the students are before the school year starts.
- Send an email out to parents after the first week of school, updating them on the first week, important upcoming dates, etc. You can include pictures of highlights from the first week and reminders about things like clubs and student lunch accounts.
2. Make Sure Your Staff is Set Up Well & Shown Appreciation
Setting your staff up well goes back to establishing strong relationships. A great way to do this is when staff starts to trickle back into school after the summer is to check in with them by asking them – How was your summer? How are you feeling about the start of the school year? Is there anything that you need that you don’t have? Then take notes and actually do something about it to set up your staff well. It will go a long way!
A good idea would be to work with your parent volunteer organization to prepare for the first day with snacks and goodies for the staff and have volunteers ready to help set classrooms up and organize for the start of the year.
Another important aspect of this is to ensure that every member of your staff is appreciated. This could look like going into the cafeteria and welcoming back your cafeteria staff or going out to the bus line and welcoming back your bus drivers. This will also go a long way and get the year off on the right foot!
3. Use Technology to Engage with Your Staff & Students
Technology is a great way to send out reminders and engage with your staff, students, parents, and school community throughout the summer to ensure that everyone is well prepared. This can be through different school-based apps such as ClassDojo, PikMyKid, Remind, Google Classroom, Sign-Up Genius Facebook groups, and more. Your school community will be excited to hear from you!
4. Define the Responsibilities of Your Team
A great way to define the responsibilities of your team is to hold meetings with different segments of your staff and volunteer groups – your non-instructional staff, teachers, parents, etc. Share with each of your staff members a list of what needs to be done before your students come back and go through each task to make sure that your staff is aware of their key responsibility areas. This is a great way to connect with your staff and understand who is doing what to help your school function well.
5. Tap into Innovative Solutions for Staffing
Lastly, if you’re a school leader struggling with school staffing, don’t be afraid to tap into innovative solutions! Teleservices is a great way to do that. Through teleservices, your school or district will have access to qualified and certified educators to meet the unique needs of your students. You can learn more about how teleservices can help combat the stress of school staffing shortages here.