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.
Staff Member of the Month
All staff members are eligible for this award. Staff members submit their nominations on a special form created for this purpose. Each month, I choose one nominee and announce the winner at our monthly faculty meeting and on the P.A. The winner gets a letter from me about the announcement and dinner for two at Applebee's. A copy of the letter and the nomination form are included in the employee's file.
Thanks to Dr. Linda Madison, principal at Joyce Kilmer School in Milltown, New Jersey
Quarterly Incentive for Students
Our school is a high-poverty school. All of our students are Native American. To encourage attendance and good behavior, we offer special incentive events every quarter. That event might be a night of bowling, swimming, sledding The event is open to all students who have not been absent more than two (2) days in the 9-week quarter and who had no mid- or major write-ups during that time. Thanks to Michael Sorlie, principal at Cannon Ball Elementary School in Cannon Ball, North Dakota
Bring Your Fathers to School
Getting fathers involved in school can be a challenge. Some things that can be done to improve participation by fathers include
Source: Bring Your Fathers to School
Caught in the Act
Whenever you are able, send a personally written -- preferably, handwritten -- note of thanks or appreciation to teachers "caught" caring or pulling off a terrific classroom project. Send at least a dozen of those notes each week. Keep a copy for the teacher's file; later in the school year you will be able to draw on those positive moments as you compose teachers' evaluations.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" (EducationWorld.com -- April 22, 2003)
Seashells as a Metaphor for Students
I copied a poem called Seashell on special "ocean" paper and glued a little seashell to the bottom of each sheet. My message to teachers was that the shell represented a gift to help them reflect on another gift they were about to receive -- their students. The poem reads, in part
Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken. So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.
Maybe your shell looks beautiful. Each student in your class has a special beauty. Discover it and help others to notice it and appreciate it...
After sharing the poem, a great dialogue took place about how we work together to meet the needs of all students.
Source: Karen Linden, Principals Search for Words to Rally the Troops
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