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Principal Ideas: Celebrity Shoes, Student Success, 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.

From Ed World's

Making class lists can be a nightmare if you try to fill every parent's request for Mrs. Or Mr. So-and-So next year. Being upfront about the process of creating class lists can help you deal with parents who make specific requests. We have a written policy, which we share with parents. It says, in part "As professional educators, we take great pains in the development of homeroom class rosters. We take into account the needs of individual children and the ways they relate to various teacher styles. We know which children work well together and which do not. Each class is balanced as much as possible with an equal number of boys and girls, with a range of high- to lower-ability levels, and we are careful not to place too many children with behavioral issues in a single classroom. These decisions are made very carefully by considering the best learning situation for all of our children. Our efforts are virtually wasted, however, when classes are filled by requests based upon vague reasons. "Her friend is in that class," "I heard something good about the teacher," and "My son begged me to request this teacher" are not valid reasons for a request and, in fact, they undermine our attempts to provide the best situation for all children"

Source: Peggy George, Making Class Lists Needn't Be a Nightmare

Celebrity Shoe Auction

When some students' need for shoes was discussed at a meeting of the student support committee, I knew immediately what might make a wonderful fundraiser. I have collected autographs for the past 15 years, so I suggested the idea of having a Celebrity Autograph and Shoe Auction, in which celebrities would autograph their shoes and donate them. Then we could auction off the shoes. The money raised would go to a 'shoe fund' to help those kids who needed shoes or other items their families couldn't afford.
Source: Marty Kelsey, A "Signature Event": The Autograph Auction as a School Fundraiser

Scavenger Hunt for New Students

At a day-before-school-opens hot dog roast, sponsored by the PTO, a scavenger hunt is used to introduce new students to the school. Each new child gets a sheet with questions on it. They are teamed with veteran students, who assist them in finding things or locations around the school. At each destination, the new student gets a signature from the staff person in charge of the area. The scavenger hunt is a fun way for new students to tour the school and for staff to meet new students and make them feel comfortable. The student also receives a little prize -- such as a ruler, a sticker, or a pencil -- at each stop.
Source: Marcia Wright, Schools Find Many Ways to Say "Welcome Back"

HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) Volunteer Program

We use parents as one-on-one tutors in our HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) reading program. Parents volunteer at least 30 minutes a week to help the 45 children in the program improve their reading skills.
Source: Bonita Henderson, "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " ( -- February 28, 2000)

Best-Selling Video

Make arrangements to record a video version of a PowerPoint presentation that includes pictures of the students throughout their lives. Sell the video at the graduation ceremony. The proceeds might be used to purchase a class gift for the school or to donate to the graduating class's local charity of choice.
Source: "Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades" ( -- May 13, 2003)


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