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Principal Ideas: Parents, Food, Praise, 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!

"Food and Games Night" for Kids and Dads

We instituted a food and games night for dads and their kids. After pizza and basketball are finished, we recommend books that fathers and kids can read and enjoy together.
Source: Stan Paine, Fathers in Schools: How Dads Make a Difference

Newsletter Kudos for Teachers

Praise teachers often in staff and parent newsletters. Keep a record of those notes of praise to be sure you are spreading around the recognition; and add to teachers' official files a copy of newsletters in which they are recognized.
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

Get-to-Know-the-New-Kids Lunch

During the first two weeks of school, I set aside time to have a meet-the-principal lunch with all the new students at our school. That is a nice way to get to know the kids who are new. The school counselor attends that lunch with me. We have a state map on the wall so the kids can point out where they moved from; if they moved from out of state we find that location on a U.S. map.
Source: Marcia Wright, "Schools Find Many Ways to Say 'Welcome Back'" ( -- August 19, 2003)

Prime Parking

Select a "Teacher of the Month." Set aside a special parking space close to the main faculty entrance that is marked with a "Reserved for the Teacher of the Month" sign.
Source: "25 Ways to Motivate Teachers" ( -- November 19, 2002)

Parent Involvement That Works

Some of the ways in which principals can encourage parents to be active participants in their schools include the following:

  • Invite teachers to send students to the principal's office to ask the principal to call the parents at home or work to celebrate a specific success.
  • Use parents as classroom monitors when students take standardized tests.
  • Invite parents to the media center to watch the in-house broadcast of morning exercises.
  • Hold a Technology Showcase night for parents. Students demonstrate the technology they've learned to use and show off projects they've completed.
  • Involve parents at book fairs, field days, school-picture days, car washes, bake sales, rummage sales, and other school events.
  • Enlist parents to assist with the school breakfast program. Parents can deliver the food chests to classrooms and pick them up.
  • Ask parents to put up bulletin boards, laminate learning activities, sort papers, and on and on.
    Generally, parents will do anything that helps teachers.
    Source: "Principals Share Parent Involvement Ideas" ( -- February 28, 2000)

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