Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.
Toy Rummage Sale
This is a pretty easy fundraiser to organize: Have parents donate, and students bring in from home, gently used toys -- games, CDs, stuffed animals, puzzles, books Sell all the items for a flat rate, say 25 cents. Use the money to replenish the school's field trip fund or playground supply fund, or use it for another worthy purpose.
Thanks to Karn Barth, principal at Garretson Elementary School in Garretson, South Dakota
Read to the Principal
Students in our school make an appointment to read a book to me. When they come to me to read, I give them a special bookmark and a new book for personal use. In addition, I log the child's name on a poster on my door, share the good news during our daily announcements, and send a postcard to the parents to let them know about the special event. Reading to the principal is a great way for principals to connect with students and to get to know how well they are reading. As instructional leader, doing this activity helps me set the bar high for all students. My students truly love spending time with me to show off their reading skills. Sending the post card home lets parents know that I am very involved in the instruction in my school.
Thanks to Wauchilue Jackson-Snyder, principal at Northwestern Elementary School in Mardela Springs, Maryland
Easing the Transition
To get eighth graders reflecting on what they can bring to high school and what they want to accomplish, some high schools in our county ask eighth graders to "apply" for the position of high school freshman. Students complete an application listing their social and academic skills, and then high-school students interview them. The upperclassmen critique the rising frosh on their readiness for high school. This stresses that school is their first job. In addition, most of the high schools in the district -- there are 12 -- offer peer mentoring and a freshmen academy, a support program.
Source: A Smooth Transition Can Mean a Smooth Year
Each month, students who have been good citizens and met all classroom criteria for achievement during the month earn a colored strip of paper; each student writes his or her name and room number on the strip. Students in the class merge their colored strips to create a "class chain." Then students gather in our school's quadrangle for our monthly "Peacemaker" assembly. (At that assembly, two or three classes take a role in presenting the "Character Trait of the Month.") At the start of the assembly, classes are called forward one at a time. Students cheer for their class as a representative brings forward the chain they have created. That class chain is joined together with that month's chains from other classes. Will the chain extend across the entire length of the quadrangle? The chain for the month is then connected to the chains from previous months as they "wrap" along the wall of our cafegymatorium. Students love to watch the chain as it grows each month. They're always trying to get the chain to go the length of one more wall Will it make it?
Thanks to Pam Hill, principal at Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology in Moorpark, California
We planned and held a school-wide walkathon. Four hundred walkers got involved! Parents, friends, and neighbors pledged a dollar-amount per lap. We rewarded kids at laps 1, 4, 8, and 12. The walkathon raised $8,000! Side benefits of this fundraiser include the obvious health benefits from exercise. Plus we got fabulous father participation for this event. Thanks to Craig Ayala-Marshall, principal at McMillan Elementary School in Boise, Idaho
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
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