The spring of the year is a welcome sign for many of us that have survived another frigid winter. It can be a difficult time for student’s to remain focused as we wind down the 2010-2011 school year. It is also a critical time for principals to communicate with their staffs about finishing strong with energy and focus. What adds to this challenge is that we are living during an all out assault on public education and teachers. Discussions on tenure law, collective bargaining, merit pay, and wages and benefits are a few of the many topics raging across the country. The ability of principals to motivate and encourage staff to stay student centered and positive during this period is critical. It will take intentional communication strategies to make this happen. I would like to share some of these themes for your consideration as you plan your strategies. The following thoughts were sent to a staff by a Principal before break. Please consider many of her ideas as prompts for your message to your staff.
I have been thinking that in light of the tremendously negative messages from our media and local government lambasting us for our profession, what would be something I could say to make everyone feel even the smallest bit better? “We’re all in this together”, “How preposterous all of this is…” , etc. doesn’t seem to cut it for me. I value the work you do tremendously, and I want you to know that. I look forward to hunkering down and striving to find productive solutions because even if our state government cuts and changes the landscape of our budget, which in turn may change some of our practices, they cannot change who we are, and that is what I believe in. We are not money, programs or budgets. Who we are, individual and collectively, is where I put my trust, and that is what makes me happy to come to work every day. Thank you for all you do.
Another Principal shared this last year with staff after returning from break.
Welcome back. I trust that you had an enjoyable break with lots of rest. I am excited to be back and am looking forward to a positive spring term. I want to remind you that many of our students struggle to stay focused during this time of the year. It is critical that you continue to be well planned with engaging lessons and have high expectations for your classes. Be reminded that you set the tone. It is also critical as Marzano reminds us, “Show interest in your students lives, advocate for them, never give up on them, and with good relationships in place, all other instructional strategies seem to work better.” Thanks for all that you do and working together we can have a great spring and finish the year well.
As leaders, we must consistently provide the hope and direction for our school community. Returning from a break or beginning the last marking period of the year is a great time to reinforce your mission and vision and support your staff. Find the themes that work for you and be intentional in communicating them. Above all, be proactive and let your staff know that you care and respect them and their efforts. Communicate!