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Principal Ideas
Volume #47


Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present four or 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!

Attendance Olympics

To improve attendance in our school, which is located in an area where 94% of students live below the poverty level, we created an attendance incentive based on the Olympic Games. Students have the opportunity to earn medals each month: They earn

  • a gold medal for perfect attendance, never tardy (which earns students breakfast with the principal);
  • a silver medal for no more than 1 absence and 1 tardy; and
  • a bronze medal for no more than 2 absences and 2 tardies.
Our secretary collects all the attendance stats. Names of award winners are sent home in the monthly newsletter. After those numbers go out, the phone often rings off the hook with parents questioning their childrens ranking -- which is a good thing because it shows that they care about attendance. That did not happen before. Before initiating this incentive our daily attendance was 83-85%. Now it is 95-98%.
Thanks for this idea go to Nilda J. Rivera, P.S. 26, Rising Stars School, Brooklyn, New York

On-Time Drawing

Before each staff meeting, I do an on-time drawing. Teachers who are on time put their names in a hat. I draw three names at each staff meeting. Those teachers whose names are drawn receive a Principal Coupon. Since free time and chocolate seem to be almost universal teacher favorites, the Coupon can be exchanged for 30 minutes of coverage (by me) for their class or chocolate.
Thanks for this idea go to Mary Lou Woody, Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School, Washougal, Washington

Family Tree
Builds Vocabulary

In our school cafeteria, we have a Selser School Family Tree. All students and staff are pictured on a branch, organized by grade level and class. As we announce our Word of the Week, we write that word on a leaf and post the leaf word card in the wall area that surrounds our family tree. We now have three years of Word of the Week words surrounding our tree.
Thanks for this idea go to Irene Lemieux, Selser Elementary School, Chicopee, Massachusetts

Stuff a Bus

At Thanksgiving time, our school collects food for our communitys Food Shelf program, which provides assistance to about 240 families a month. A small bus is parked in front of the school and students bring in bags of food to stuff the bus. At the end of the week the bus is driven to the Food Shelf.
Thanks for this idea go to Risa M. Mancillas, Northfield Elementary School, Northfield, Vermont

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