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How I Handled...

Promoting Unity Among
The Different Groups
On Our School Staff

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In the hoopla surrounding Teacher Appreciation Week, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that teachers aren't the only ones who contribute to making our school a great place. We turned Teacher Appreciation Week into Greenwood School Staff Appreciation Week.

The Problem:

Each year, we -- along with thousands of other schools -- honor our teachers during the first week of May: Teacher Appreciation Week. Last year, I had the feeling that our staff was a little disjointed. I wanted to do something during Teacher Appreciation Week that would promote unity among all the groups in our school by honoring our entire staff.

The Solution:

The first thing I did was to rename Teacher Appreciation Week. To include all the groups within our school, I called the week Greenwood School Staff Appreciation Week.

Each day during the week, every staff member found a little special something in his or her mailbox. In addition, each day I focused our celebration on a different group of people within the school. On that day, we publicly honored the group of the day.

  • Monday was Custodian Appreciation Day. During our morning announcements, we thanked the custodians for keeping our school clean and warm. That day, we asked students and staff to let the custodians know how much they appreciated the clean environment. The custodians were honored with a special lunch, a gift specific to their area, and more special recognitions.
  • Tuesday was Lunchroom Staff Appreciation Day. We did more of the same sorts of things for this group
  • Wednesday was Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
  • Thursday was Support Personnel Appreciation Day.
  • Friday was Teacher Appreciation Day.

The Reflection:

The nicest part of the special days was that staff members from all the other groups helped honor the group of the day. That made each day special, and the week a true week of appreciation for our entire school staff.

About the How I Handled... Team of Principal Problem Solvers
The How I Handled... series is intended to be practical resource for all principals and principals-to-be. Each week, members of Education World's How I Handled team share how they solved actual problems relating to school leadership, parent involvement, professional development, and a host of other "principal" responsibilities. Six principals comprise our How I Handled team; two of them are elementary school principals, two work at the middle level, and two are high school principals. Team members remain anonymous; in that way, they can share freely the range of issues/problems they are called on to solve each day.

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