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Principal Ideas: Bragging Rights 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.

Join the Fun --
Share an Idea!

The ideas presented in this article come from the Education World archive and from principals just like you. Since these principals have been kind enough to "show and tell" an idea, 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!

Principal's Brag Board

Each month, we celebrate one student per class for working extra hard to improve his or her work quality and bring up grades. The students' names are added to the Principal's Brag Board on my office door.
Thanks to Marlene Scott, principal at J.B. Watkins Elementary School in Midlothian, Virginia

Egg-Timer and Clean-the-Parking-Lot Meetings

We have staff meetings of several different types.

  • We hold "Egg-Timer" Meetings, which last for 10 minutes. We set the egg timer and when the bell goes off at the end of 10 minutes time everybody leaves.
  • We hold regular staff meetings, which end at 3:00 p.m.
  • We also have "Clean-the-Parking-Lot" Meetings. Those meetings last a little longer than our regular meetings, but we all agree that on the Friday of that week we will "clean the parking lot" of cars. In that way, we get back the extra time we put into the meeting earlier in the week.

Thanks to Alan Siebert, principal at South Salem School in Salem, Virginia

Blow Up Your Teachers

Each year, the teachers in our school provide something special to liven up the hallways. Everybody on the staff has an information sheet or some special writing that appears with their picture. We blow these up so they are poster-size. This year, we are celebrating the school's 40th birthday so each teacher wrote a short piece to share "What I was doing 40 years ago" or, in the case of young staff members, "What I plan to be doing 40 years from now." Lots of children and visitors pause to read the posters.
Source: Teri Stokes, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

A Reading Break

I set aside time to take over a class for a special read-aloud time that gives teachers an extra break. I might read a favorite book and do a follow-up activity; or I might make special arrangements with a teacher to read something connected to the classroom curriculum. Besides offering a brief mental-health break for teachers, this is a great way for me to get to know students and for students to see the principal in a different light.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

Scavenger Hunt for New Students

We hold a hot dog roast the day before school starts. The school's PTO sponsors the roast. In the past we have also run a scavenger hunt for new students. Each child got a sheet with questions on it. They were teamed with veteran students who assisted them in finding things or locations around the school. At each destination, the new student got a signature from the staff person in charge of the area. The student also received a little prize such as a ruler, stickers, or pencils at each station. A scavenger hunt is a fun way for new students to get to know the school.
Source: Marcia Wright, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

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