Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present four or five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.
Family Vacation Weeks
I established two weeks in the summer where our high school would have no camps, coaching, activities, or student contact at all. We advertise these as Family Vacation Weeks. For example, in 2008 our Family Vacation Weeks were scheduled for the weeks of June 30-July 4 and August 4-8. Families are given plenty of notice and encouraged to take vacations at this time instead of taking children out of our summer activities and programs. Establishing these Family Vacation Weeks has increased participation in our summer programs and has sent the message to the community that we are Family First.
Thanks for this idea go to Barb Schmidt, principal, Princeton (Illinois) High School
Academic Pep Rally
Once a month I host an Academic Pep Rally for the entire elementary school. The pep rally begins with cheers for our school, faculty, and staff. Teachers submit Outstanding Student awards to me before the pep rally. Each student receiving an award comes forward for special recognition. Attached to each student's award is a coupon to eat lunch at "The Principal's Table" in the school cafeteria. I also acknowledge any other achievements from the month such as spelling bee, art show, and science fair winners. In addition, I bring my "Teacher Treasure Box" to the pep rally. Two or three teachers are recognized each month for outstanding service to our school. The students love when their teacher is called to come forward to choose a treasure. This day is especially fun for faculty and staff because our regular professional dress code is relaxed for the day; they are allowed to wear jeans and school t-shirts. This event is a great way to enhance school spirit and build pride in a job well done.
Thanks for this idea go to Lisa K. Huff, principal, Liberty Christian School, Anderson, Indiana
About two weeks before each staff member's birthday, we post a Happy Birthday card on his or her classroom/office door. The message on that card might read "It is Mrs. Keimig's birthday on October 8th. Happy Birthday!" Posting messages like this on heavy-stock yellow paper encourages students, parents, and other staff members to acknowledge our staff's birthdays. Everyone loves the results.
Thanks for this idea go to Brenda Keimig, assistant principal, C.J. Harris Elementary School, Pearland, Texas
You've probably heard of All Pro Dad. We have established All Pro Mentors for boys in grades 3-5 who don't have positive male role models in their lives. We started with our male teachers and principal; each was assigned two boys who were recommended by their teachers and counselors. As time went on, other dads and local community members began to mentor needy students. Each student is mentored at least once per week. As a result of the program, the students' achievement and positive attitude toward school have both improved.
Thanks for this idea go to Chris Clayton, principal, Gulfside Elementary School, Holiday, Florida
Bus Driver Breakfast
Our school decided that our bus drivers needed some special recognition. Most all of our bus drivers left from their bus routes to go to other jobs. Our school faculty and administration met the bus drivers at their buses as the children were unloading with a specially decorated bag (students' artwork) full of breakfast goodies that they could take with them. They were so appreciative of this small gesture of kindness. Everyone would tell them how much they appreciated their dedication to our children.
Thanks for this idea go to Mary Lou Yeatts, associate professor, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
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