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PR for PRincipals...

Meetings With Support Personnel Help Build Strong Teams


The support personnel who work in every school -- secretaries, teacher and office aides, custodians, and cafeteria workers -- are essential members of the school team and integral to the overall success of a school. Many principals, myself included, refer to them as "family members."

To help make each of your school's support team sense their importance to the school's mission, plan to hold regular short meetings with each of them. When I was a principal, I always chose to meet with them at a quiet, out-of-the-way place near their work area instead of in my office; I did that because they would likely feel more comfortable in their areas than in my office. I asked each of them to explain how they viewed their role in the overall operation of the school. I asked for suggestions about how I might help make their jobs easier or improve the school's operations. I also asked what I might do to help them be successful in their daily endeavors.

Those meetings with members of my school's support team allowed me to learn each person's interests and strengths too. We were often able to use their interests to make our school a better place to work and learn. We found ways for many workers to share their hobbies or personal interests -- such as stamp collecting, fishing, knitting, painting pictures, and photography -- with our students. That helped our students see that their secretary, cook, or custodian was much more than that. He or she was a mentor, role model, friend, and teacher too!

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