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.
One Class at a Time
Each year we hold special parent dinners -- classroom by classroom. We've found the classroom dinners are a nice way to make sure parents get into the building and make connections with the teacher and with other parents in their child's classroom. Each classroom picks an evening during the first month of school to hold a classroom potluck. Each family brings a dish to share and the school provides the plates, silverware, napkins, and beverages. Families gather for a chance to meet each other and get to know who's who. We share in a fantastic feast and more fellowship. After the meal we have an opportunity for parent education focused on topics that are relevant to the grade level. While the parents are in their session, the students are supervised during a planned activity time.
Thanks to Daniel Kuball, principal, King of Kings Lutheran School in Roseville, Minnesota
Making Graduation Special
Last year was my first year as the high school supervisor. Our school is a school for students with emotional disabilities. As supervisor, I was in charge of preparing graduation. We usually have a small high school class -- last year's class was 11 students. The director asked to change things a bit from previous years. First, I chose to read aloud Dr. Seuss's Oh the Places You'll Go. Each student was given a copy of the book signed by all the members of the school staff. Then, as I called students up to receive their diplomas, I said a little something about them -- what they accomplished while at our school, how they will be remembered, and what they planned to do after graduation. The families really enjoyed hearing all the positive things about their children. It was the best graduation ceremony we have had, and I plan to find more ways to add a spark to future graduations.
Thanks to Becky Danto, educational supervisor, Wesley Highland School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
What Do Principals Really Do?
Are you looking for a fun idea for a bulletin board outside the principal's office? A bulletin board that everyone will love? Invite teachers to ask students to respond to the question What do principals do? Students might respond by drawing or writing. Post some of the students' responses. Get the whole school involved and you'll have a yearlong bulletin board. As you replace the pictures and writing each month, put the ones you take down into a scrapbook that you can leave out to entertain visitors while they are waiting.
Source: What Do Principals Do?
Plan a "Pamper Day" to show teachers how much you appreciate them. Set aside a space and bring in a nail technician to do teachers' nails or to give hand massages with hot lotions. Put out scented potpourri, the silver punchbowl, and special cookies. Play relaxing music. Arrange to have each teacher's class covered for 30 minutes so that teacher can visit the Pamper Room.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" (EducationWorld.com -- April 22, 2003)
Relieving First-Day Jitters
We hold a school-wide open house the day before school opens. The open house gives students and parents a chance to meet the teacher. Students can bring in their school supplies and put them in their desks. That helps relieve some anxiety, and it helps students settle right in on the first day of school. The library, computer lab, and science lab are open too, and the physical education department and school counselor are available.
Source: Teri Stokes, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" (EducationWorld.com -- August 19, 2003)
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