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.
Group of the Month
I dedicate each month of the school year to a specific grade-level team or to another staff group within our school -- our cafeteria workers, custodians, or secretarial staff, for example. The group being honored that month is announced on our school's news show, and in each of that month's weekly bulletins I include special announcements about things the individuals in the group have said or done to make our school a better place. For example,
Other staff members are encouraged to write notes to the group being spotlighted that month, to provide a specials snacks at some point in the month, or to do other special things for the group. Some teams or individuals even make homemade goodies. As principal, I make a homemade lunch for the group on the last school day of their month.
Thanks to Michelle Hart, interim principal at Helmwood Heights Elementary School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Keeping Kids on Track
We go the extra mile to make sure that parents are informed about students' classroom work and projects. When a student works on a long-term project outside the classroom, the teacher sends the student's parent or guardian a contract that details the project and its important deadlines. When students have trouble completing class work or schoolwork, parents and teachers work closely together to track that work in a student logbook. Teachers and parents initial the log on a daily basis. That way, parents know what students have been assigned and are afforded the opportunity to follow up on their child's work.
Source: Marie Kostick, "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " (EducationWorld.com -- February 28, 2000)
We held an "Educational Olympics" at school one year. Teachers were divided into teams and competed in a variety of events. All events required that team members support each other to complete a task. Events, planned with the support of the physical education staff, were both athletic (for example, relay events and a team table tennis match in which team members had to alternate hits) and non-athletic (such as going through a maze blindfolded).
Source: Phil Shaman, "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" (EducationWorld.com -- November 19, 2002)
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