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.
Celebrating Teacher Milestones With Book Donations
When it's time to honor a teacher for achieving a special milestone -- a retirement, a 20-years-of-teaching anniversary, or the completion of a master's degree for example -- we recognize that milestone by purchasing a book or two for the school library. Often we give our teachers the choice of what books to purchase. We include inside the books a special bookplate to commemorate the teacher, the landmark occasion, and the date.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" (EducationWorld.com -- April 22, 2003)
Teacher-led staff sessions can be among the most effective. The best staff meeting I have ever experienced was one where one of the teachers led us through a simplified form of the DISC personality inventory. Each teacher was given four pictures -- a lion, an otter, a golden retriever, and a beaver. They had to choose which of those animals most accurately depicted themselves. Before each teacher revealed his or her "self-assessment," the rest of us made our own assessments based on how we perceived them. Then staff members showed their choices. It was a lot of fun getting to know one another better. I continue to use the DISC survey. Before hiring a new teacher, I have each prospect complete the survey as part of the interview process. We discuss how their personality will fit into the organization. It helps me understand how to work most effectively with each staff member.
Source: Brian Hazeltine, "Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them" (EducationWorld.com -- August 20, 2002)
Business Partnerships in Small Communities Too!
Creating partnerships with businesses can be difficult in small communities such as ours where there is only one grocery store. However, schools in small communities should not hesitate to expand their search for business partners to businesses in surrounding communities that are supported by residents of their town. That is a lesson I learned when I was contacted by the Costco store in a nearby town. Costco invited me to send a volunteer to a backpack-stuffing event. Volunteers stuffed backpacks with lots of goodies, and schools that sent volunteers got to take away a few of the stuffed backpacks for their neediest students. As principals, we need to reach out to businesses -- including those businesses that are part of our larger communities -- to see what kinds of programs they might have available or what opportunities for partnering might be created.
Source: Jill Massa, "School-Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories from Schools of All Sizes" (EducationWorld.com -- September 16, 2003)
Change Is Difficult
The best staff meeting I ever organized was for the first day of school last year. We worked with consultant Renee Rodriguez. She was charming, inspiring, and funny. That motivated everybody and got us off to an enthusiastic beginning. We really connected as a staff, and we laughed a lot! Among the activities that Rodriguez led was one in which everybody tried to fold their arms in the opposite way they were accustomed to folding them. That activity emphasized how difficult change can be. Rodriguez also led the staff in chants that reinforced why we are teachers. We were all engaged around the same topics and themes -- making learning meaningful and fun.
Source: Sherri Goffman, "Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them" (EducationWorld.com -- August 20, 2002)
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