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Principal Ideas:
Classroom Helpers

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.

From Ed World's

Communication with parents and the public is essential -- and the communication must be meaningful, clear, and engaging. Parents want to know what's going on. A newsletter doesn't need to be flashy. It's not design that people are concerned with, but content. Whether it's a simple typewritten page or an elaborate four-color job, be sure the information is relevant and timely. View your newsletter from a parent's perspective. Ask yourself what questions parents would like to see answered in your publication. Such communication is vital because you can't rely on students to accurately relay what's happening at school. Some kids bring home news, others clam up. Anything you can do to explain to parents what children are learning will be appreciated.

Source: William Harms, public relations consultant, Public Relations 101: How-To Tips for School Administrators

Rewarding Good Attendance

Students in grades 6 through 12 at our school are rewarded with a perfect-attendance field trip for each semester of no absences. It occurs at the end of the school year. We take the kids to a local state park for hiking and a hot-dog cookout. We also have "no-detention field trips" each semester. The first semester students in grades 6 through 8 go on a ski trip at a man-made ski resort in the suburbs. The second-semester trip is to a local water slide/mini-golf park.
Source: Denise Funfsinn, WANTED: Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards!

Caught on Video

Oftentimes, new teachers are so involved in keeping a lid on things that they don't see the bigger picture. One thing can help a new teacher critique his or her teaching is to videotape a class or two so they can have an opportunity to watch their classrooms in action. That, combined with a mentor teacher's clinical observations of the tape, could be very helpful. Or video could be used for the new teacher's eyes only. The camera doesn't lie.
Source: Patricia Green and Michael Miller, Classroom Management: Principals Help Teachers Develop Essential Skills

Any Business -- Large or Small -- Is a Potential Partner

No school is too small to take advantage of business partnerships. Our school has a handful of community partners. Mimi's, a local restaurant, provides award certificates for students and, whenever we ask, it offers up to three dozen of its awesome muffins for parent or staff meetings -- at no cost to the school. We also have partnerships with Target, Office Depot, Albertsons, and Vons. When a customer mentions our school, a small percentage of the purchase is sent to us. Many small local businesses offer certificates for meals, ice cream donations, or small prizes when they are approached by me or one of our school's parent-helpers.
Source: Nancy Jenkins, "School-Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories from Schools of All Sizes" ( -- September 16, 2003)

Cleaning House

Have you ever been to the dry cleaners and seen those racks and racks of clothing that must have been there -- unclaimed -- for years? Have you seen everything there from wedding gowns to military uniforms, from chefs' outfits to drapes? Ask your cleaner if he or she might donate some of the oldest of those unclaimed items to be auctioned off to fund school activities.
Source: "Fund-Raising Ideas: Raise Money Without Selling Door-to-Door" (, 1999)


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
- Welcome Students Back to School
- Motivate Teachers
- Involve Parents
- Raise Money
- Plan a Special Event
- Make Graduation Day Special
- Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
- 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 [email protected].

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!

Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World