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Principal Ideas: Fundraisers and More

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.

Toy Rummage Sale

Join the Fun --
Share an Idea!

The five ideas presented in this article come from principals just like you. Since they've been kind enough to share, now it's your turn! Share an idea you've used to
-Celebrate Students
-Plan a Special Event
-Welcome Students Back to School
-Make Graduation Day Special
-Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
-Motivate Teachers
-Involve Parents
-Raise Money
-Plan an Effective Staff Meeting
-Get Some Good PR for Your School
or any other topic of interest to principals!

Send your idea today to principalideas@

Be sure to include your name, your school name, and your school address because if we post your idea in Principal Ideas, we'll send you an Education World mug!

This is a pretty easy fundraiser to organize: Have parents donate, and students bring in from home, gently used toys -- games, CDs, stuffed animals, puzzles, books Sell all the items for a flat rate, say 25 cents. Use the money to replenish the school's field trip fund or playground supply fund, or use it for another worthy purpose.
Thanks to Karn Barth, principal at Garretson Elementary School in Garretson, South Dakota

Read to the Principal

Students in our school make an appointment to read a book to me. When they come to me to read, I give them a special bookmark and a new book for personal use. In addition, I log the child's name on a poster on my door, share the good news during our daily announcements, and send a postcard to the parents to let them know about the special event. Reading to the principal is a great way for principals to connect with students and to get to know how well they are reading. As instructional leader, doing this activity helps me set the bar high for all students. My students truly love spending time with me to show off their reading skills. Sending the post card home lets parents know that I am very involved in the instruction in my school.
Thanks to Wauchilue Jackson-Snyder, principal at Northwestern Elementary School in Mardela Springs, Maryland

Morning Announcement Fun

Our school's morning announcements have evolved over the 4 years we have been open. We include some special features that students really enjoy. For example, each Monday we offer "The Monday Morning Brain Tickler." It's a brain-teaser type riddle or logic puzzle. We give the puzzle answer on Tuesday. At the end of the week we have "The Friday Free for All." Silly jokes and bizarre Did You Know? trivia are shared on Fridays.
Joel Gugino, principal at Sinking Springs Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania

Peacemaker Chain

Each month, students who have been good citizens and met all classroom criteria for achievement during the month earn a colored strip of paper; each student writes his or her name and room number on the strip. Students in the class merge their colored strips to create a "class chain." Then students gather in our school's quadrangle for our monthly "Peacemaker" assembly. (At that assembly, two or three classes take a role in presenting the "Character Trait of the Month.") At the start of the assembly, classes are called forward one at a time. Students cheer for their class as a representative brings forward the chain they have created. That class chain is joined together with that month's chains from other classes. Will the chain extend across the entire length of the quadrangle? The chain for the month is then connected to the chains from previous months as they "wrap" along the wall of our cafegymatorium. Students love to watch the chain as it grows each month. They're always trying to get the chain to go the length of one more wall Will it make it?
Thanks to Pam Hill, principal at Flory Academy of Sciences and Technology in Moorpark, California


We planned and held a school-wide walkathon. Four hundred walkers got involved! Parents, friends, and neighbors pledged a dollar-amount per lap. We rewarded kids at laps 1, 4, 8, and 12. The walkathon raised $8,000! Side benefits of this fundraiser include the obvious health benefits from exercise. Plus we got fabulous father participation for this event. Thanks to Craig Ayala-Marshall, principal at McMillan Elementary School in Boise, Idaho

Principal Ideas originated at the April 2004 convention of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. I presented a session titled "100 Totally Practical Ideas for Principals." At that session, I offered ten ideas on each of ten topics of interest to school leaders:

  • Celebrating Students
  • Party! A Year Of Special Events
  • Welcoming Students Back to School
  • Making Graduation Day Special
  • Starting Each Day Right (A.M. Announcements)
  • Motivating Teachers
  • Involving Parents
  • Raising Money
  • Planning Great Staff Meetings
  • Getting Great PR

At the end of the session, the gathered principals shared some wonderful ideas that I'd never heard before. And so Principal Ideas was born! The ideas above come from the principals who participated in that session. And there are a bunch more ideas where these came from. Watch in the weeks ahead as we post new volumes of Principal Ideas. Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Anyone can participate. See the sidebar to learn how.



Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World