How Administrators Can Prepare for the End of the School Year
Earlier this week we talked about how teachers can help students prepare for the end of the 2015-2016 school year. We suggested having students thank the school staff, and offered ways to keep students engaged in the final days leading to summer. We know it can be hard work.
It’s not just the teachers who are working endlessly into the summer, administrators also have much to accomplish! Therefore, today our focus is on the principals and superintendents of schools, and how they can end the school year on a good note and properly prepare for next year.
Here are some tips:
- Reflect on this past school year.
A good administrator will reflect on the whole school year, examining what worked really well, what worked for only part of the year, or initiatives that did not work at all. There is always room for improvement, but the important step is analyzing the data and recognizing where the school can improve and when to identify it.
Writing up a list and then prioritizing that list for the upcoming school year can help administrators work through this reflection process. Thinking about when to address the issues during the upcoming year (summer, fall, winter, or spring) can be beneficial for not only the administrators, but also for the teachers who will need to assist in executing the solutions throughout the new school year.
- Visit with faculty and staff members.
To ensure these improvements will be effectively introduced next year, administrators should use their time to conduct teacher evaluations. These evaluations should not only be about rating the value of the teachers in the school, but they should be a time to receive valuable feedback about how this last year went for those who actively participated. Teacher feedback can help administrators prioritize the list they made for their own reflection process, and could even add useful items to that list.
- Set new goals for the upcoming school year.
Now that administrators have successfully collected all they need to evaluate the school year, they can start to set new goals for the upcoming year. Whether those goals are to have administrators be in the classroom more, improve parent involvement, build more of a team climate, or readdress the curriculum, this is the time to make those tough decisions.
It is imperative to remember that everything cannot be accomplished at once. Take the end of the school year one day at a time, and pace improvements throughout the year, just as the school year requires pacing of the curriculum.
- Meet with each other.
Communication between administrators and superintendents is key to a successful school year. Usually superintendents will schedule meetings with their principals at the end of year, but if they have not, administrators should take it upon themselves to plan that meeting. This meeting is a good time to ask for advice, receive constructive criticism, and align goals for the upcoming year between the school and the district. Understanding any district-wide changes coming up can help administrators be fully prepared for their year ahead.
- Make professional development a universal need.
Professional development tends to be a common goal amongst principals for their staff. The trick is to also get teachers on board. Using the teacher evaluations discussed earlier, administrators will be able to hear what topic areas teachers are most interested in developing. Actually listening to that feedback and integrating it in your upcoming school year will let the teachers feel like they had a hand in planning the year and be more likely to be enthused about participating. Enthusiasm is essential for teachers to participate and practice the skills they learn in professional development during the school year.