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Administrators Share What Worked Best This Year

EducationWorld asked several school administrators about their most successful strategies during the past year. Here are the great ideas they shared. Some strategies involved students, but principals also struck gold by focusing their efforts on staff.

Boosting Morale

Administrators keep busy considering new strategies.

Larry Davis, principal at Clay Hill Elementary in Jacksonville, FL, took aim at staff morale. Clay Hill implemented several new policies to bring the faculty together, while also acting to help others in a charitable way.

“We added a breakfast to our monthly faculty meetings,” Davis said. “We’re also celebrating birthdays or achievements, and presenting a deserving person with a teacher/staff member of the month award.”

Putting Instructional Strategies into Overdrive

At Mentone Elementary School in Mentone, CA, principal Kim Cavanagh saw success after implementing new instructional strategies.

“Our whole staff was trained in Orchestrating Student Success (OSS), which iscomparable to the Direct Interactive Instruction,” Cavanagh said. “The best part of this for my teachers was the checking for understanding during ‘Highly Structured Practice.’ Most of my staff use whiteboards with their students, but there are many other ways to check for understanding including summaries, sorting, think-pair-share, visuals (red and green cards), response clickers, etc.”

Carving Out Planning Time

Dr. Lee Yeager, principal of S&S Middle School in Sadler, TX, faced challenges coordinating staff at his small school.

“We are a very small school and do not have the luxury of having common planning periods,” Yeager said.  “Each six weeks I hired substitute teachers so that teachers could meet for half-day sessions to plan and discuss instructional strategies.”

Yeager, who will be the Director of Student Services for the Sadler district next year, also recognizes the importance of building and maintaining staff morale.

“I am a big believer in the old adage that ‘If you don't feed the teachers, they eat the children,’” Yeager said. “I provide my staff with luncheons, notes about what I see positive in their classes, and we always have chocolate at every staff meeting. I take the time to develop a personal relationship with all of my staff so that they know I am interested in their professional life as well as how they are doing outside of the school building.”

Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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