Maximize Your Summer: Ideas for Principals (Part II)

Have you read the Ideas for Principals, Part-I? If not please read it here :

Ideas for Principals – by Julie C. Lyons

With August just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how well you’ve managed your schedule so far during the summer. Last week we provided you with several ideas to make the most of your time, including: making staffing decisions early, revising safety procedures if necessary, networking with colleagues, using technology to your advantage, and taking staff input into account. This week’s post continues with five more ways to be more efficient and effective:

Summer Learning Kit for Educators

Summer Ideas for the Principals

• Every Classroom, Every Day.

One retired Pennsylvania administrator had a mantra when he was a building principal, and that was, Every Classroom, Every Day. He would schedule in time each day to stop in every classroom in the building: sometimes to relay a message to a teacher or student, and at other times just for a quick hello.

The point was not for a visit to be a “gotcha” moment that would make students or teachers anxious. Instead, the idea was to be visible in the building – commonly recognized trait of effective administrators.

Of course, there are some days when this is just not possible, but by establishing this “every classroom, every day” intention, the chances of achieving your goal – or getting close to it – increases exponentially (as opposed to thinking it would be nice to “try” to get around to “some” classrooms). Yes, this can be a lofty goal, but even in school with hundreds of students, the principal who shared this tip said that he was successful in his visibility goal most days of the year.

Action Step: Commit to the “every classroom, everyday” mindset, and pencil in times that you can implement this plan to start in September.

• Calendar Coordination.

Use the summer months to map out assemblies and special days that are easy to lose sight of during the busy months of the new school year. Events (Grandparent’s Day, having a theater company inspire young actors, hosting an artist-in-residence, etc.) are what make the school year all the more memorable, so begin coordinating the dates now to avoid last-minute conflicts and snafus.

Action Step: Look at the master schedule today, and plan ahead for at least three events, activities, etc.

• Test Prep.

Standardized testing requirements and specifications are changing with each year, but it’s never too early to take inventory of your building’s technological capabilities, along with educating yourself on the test itself. With all of the states that are transitioning to new tests and testing formats, you can provide teachers and other staff with the peace of mind that comes from knowing their building administrator can answer their questions and allay their concerns.

Action Step: Decide how you can be more proactive with standardized test-taking, and then take action.

• We’re In the Money…

With tight budgets, you’ve probably found that you need to stretch your dollar more with each passing year. But instead of resigning yourself to the mindset that you can’t afford innovations due to budgetary limits, think outside the box: there are grants that are available, parents who may have connections or expertise that they’ll share gratis, and parent-teacher organizations that fundraise and want to help better your school. Explore your options, and you may be pleasantly surprised that the funding does exist for the project you’d love to implement…it may just take a bit of digging.

Action Step: Try to identify one new source of money for your school, and then take the necessary steps to initiate your plan (apply for the grant, make the necessary phone call, etc.).

• Rest!

That’s right: take time to relax, whether it’s a formal vacation or just taking a break in your mind. Instead of letting that incessant to-do list roll around in your head, make a conscious effort to turn off the mental chatter and enjoy other aspects of your life.

Of course, living a life of balance ensures better health, happiness and an overall peaceful mental state year-round, but sometimes it’s difficult from September to June to keep everything in perspective. Why not use the summer to develop some new habits that you can continue year round, such as embarking on a new exercise routine; indulging in a hobby or interest; reading for pleasure; journaling; taking a cat nap; or meditating.

Action Step: Make plans to relax and rest this week. Whether it’s planning a quick weekend getaway or carving out time for a hobby, don’t put off being good to yourself!,

Related Links:

Summer Workbooks for Kids

Summer learning workbook

Ideas for principals
Let us know if any of these suggestions from last week or today’s article have been effective for you. Or, if you have a tip of your own, we’d love to learn more about it!


Julie Lyons