After a long and challenging school year it is important to recharge and get some rest. It is critical that all principals reflect on the year and focus on those things that you have control of. After a few weeks it is time to get to work. The following ideas hopefully will assist as you begin planning for the summer and upcoming school year. Give consideration to the following strategies.
- Plan optional summer meetings for staff to read and discuss articles that connect with your vision. This is a great culture builder.
- Set dates and agendas for an off site retreat and refocusing meetings with your key staff members. This could include separate meetings with administrative teams, counselors, or teacher leaders. The purpose is to be intentional and target areas regarding the needs of your school.
- Plan topics that are related/connected for all of your professional development and staff meetings throughout the year. This is essential for staying on course and focusing on the things that you have control over. This planning will bring clarity to your vision which helps the organization understand it and work together in applying it.
- Meet with Student Council leaders to discuss their plans. This is also a great time to validate what they do and build relationships with them.
- Organize instructional support teams(peer to peer) and meet with those volunteers to discuss implementation for the fall.
- Consider changing building responsibilities with your administrative team. It will keep you fresh and it will provide new areas of growth for assistants that aspire principalships.
- Make an appointment with your Superintendent to discuss your plans for the upcoming year. Be proactive.
- Communicate with your staff at least twice in July. Send them an update and keep them in the loop. Honest and open communication is one of the good seeds that grow in healthy cultures.
- Have some of your crucial conversations with staff during July. Do not put them off.
- Begin planning your opening staff meeting. Do not be last minute on this. Teachers have to prepare at a minimum 15 lessons a week. This is your one lesson and it needs to be done well. This is urgent, get to work.
- As you plan, keep the students at the center of your focus.
- Focus on one area you are going to target to improve on. Do it!
If you happen to live in the Tri-County area of Detroit, consider attending the Hickey Leadership Group Planning Summit. Many of the above mentioned strategies could be worked on including opportunities to network with other schools. Information is located on the homepage by clicking on Summit 2013.
You will rest easier if you are proactive in any of the above strategies.Your goal is to plan an opening that is intentional and collaborative. As Ken Blanchard writes: None of us is as smart as all of us.