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Principal Ideas: Connect With Parents and Students

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!

"Constructing" Relationships

In an effort to involve fathers, we planned a building project where fathers helped add improvements to the school gym. The informal setting contributed to serious discussions about children. I was cutting two-by-fours with a dad, and we got to talking about his daughter.
Source: James Lewis, Fathers in Schools: How Dads Make a Difference

Business Cards for Teachers

Make staff members feel special and professional by purchasing business cards for them. If such a purchase is not in your budget, enlist the support of your art and technology teachers to use school computers to design and print cards.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

A Welcome-Back Letter to Kids

If a new principal wants to get the year off to a successful start, I would suggest writing a letter to the students, not the parents. Talk about yourself, your family -- including your pets! -- your interests or hobbies, and, most important of all, your vision for the children in the year ahead. Be sure to add a P.S. that says "Please remind your parents of these important dates," and list events such as Back-to-School Night and the date class pictures will be taken.
Source: Debbie Levitz, Great Starts: Veteran Principals Offer Opening Day Tips

Don't Miss the Bus

On the days after the first day of school, I make a point of riding the school bus. That is important because our school takes in a large area. I ride each bus once during the first month of school. I get to see where students live, and doing this gives families an opportunity to see and meet me in their neighborhoods.
Source: Doug Fiore, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

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