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Principal Ideas: Tips for Awards, Photographs, 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!

Data-Based Behavior Award


I use a computer program to track student behavior. The program enables me to do an analysis and comparison of school-wide discipline by student, date, grade, time of day, location in school, type of problem behavior, reporting teacher or staff member, action decision, and several other factors. The program allows me to customize a report that I cover briefly in our biweekly faculty meetings. Best of all, the program allows us to recognize all students who accomplish perfect attendance and no discipline referrals at our quarterly Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) assembly.
Source: Jim Clark, Celebrating Students: Schools Recognize Achievement in Many Ways ( - February 17, 2004)

Family Photo Day

Plan a day -- a school day, a Saturday, or a weekday evening -- when parents and children can come to school to have their family photos taken. Arrange with a local photo shop to produce the photos for a cut-rate price in quantities of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50. Purchase holiday photo-holder greeting card frames with envelopes in bulk. Prepare the cards for delivery to families right after Thanksgiving.
Source: Fifteen More Ideas for Fundraising Fun ( - November 9, 2004)

Friday Focus Boosts Morale

My weekly staff memo is called Friday Focus. The timing of the Friday Focus was purposeful. When I examined which day seemed to have the highest percentage of discipline referrals, the overwhelming winner was Friday -- which makes sense. The teachers are tired, the students are wound up, and everyone is just a little bit impatient. Well, I am a big believer in working smarter, not harder. So, I thought if one of the goals of the memo was to help boost the morale of the staff -- and thus help my morale with fewer disciplinary referrals -- then I might as well have it available on Friday morning. Thus, each Thursday before I left work, I would run off copies of the Friday Focus and put one in each staff member's mailbox. The first thing people would see when they arrived on Friday morning was the Friday Focus. The memo would help set the tone for the school on the day when everyone was the most tired.
Source: Todd Whitaker, Motivating Teachers: A Wire Side Chat with Todd Whitaker

Feeding a Need

Buy yourself a gift! Order a copy of If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students from your local bookstore or It's a great source book for building staff morale!
Source: "Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long" ( -- April 22, 2003)

Have Camera, Will Travel

I am often seen around school with a camera in my hand. I take pictures of special activities and of children in their daily routines. I use them to create a slide show that I show prior to awarding trophies on the last day of school. The children love to see themselves on the big screen.
Source: Donnette McNeill-Waters, "Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades" ( -- May 13, 2003)

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