Best Foot Forward: Make the Most of Your First 8 Weeks Bob Richards Principal, Olympic View Elementary, NTPS Joyce Ott-Mackiewicz Principal, Komachin Middle School, NTPS Theme #1: Making Connections Goal - - To build healthy, respectful, trusting, and positive relationships with staff, students, and parents. Before school even starts…laying the groundwork for a successful start • Summer letter to staff • New staff orientation • Meeting with building teams • Summer newsletter to students and parents • Reader board messages • Website • Calls and mailings home What are the communication norms for your school? What has or has not worked in the past? Honor what has worked as much as possible and add yourself into the mix… Connecting with Staff: Theme #1: Making Connections Professional Development time together • Provide time for team building • Personalize with your own introduction • Introduce new staff - - name tags for everyone • Revisit successes from last year - - celebrate • Inspire for the work to come - - humor, video clips, visuals • Begin to establish your culture - - who are you? (Theme #2) Once school begins be visible and available as much as possible for staff. Try to perceive things as they perceive them…plan for the perceptions you are observing and take action to eliminate misconceptions. Theme #1: Making Connections Connecting with Students: • Hands-on approach - - attend and participate in orientations and as many start-up activities as possible (tours, ice-breakers…) • Regular, equitable, and active classroom visits • Be visible around campus Connecting with Parents: • Newsletter, reader board, webpage • Fall Parent Meeting, Curriculum Night, Open House - - Take on an active role! Don’t stand back… parents need to have confidence that you are capable to be at the helm! Personalize…professionalize… Theme #2: Establishing Your Culture Goal - - To begin influencing the atmosphere, norms, practices… ASAP Setting the tone as Principal - - Who are you? Who are we? • What can people expect from you as their leader? • Clear expectations - - for staff, students, and parents proactively defined • Setting norms • Clearly outlined discipline procedures • Visibility • Tangible support for staff Goal Setting - - Where are we going? • • • • Share your goals - - Top 3 Initial draft of school priorities - - SIP Identify building, team, and individual goals Post the focus everywhere! It sets the tone for learning… Theme #2: Establishing Your Culture Establishing guiding principles for the entire school community Just scratch the surface for now… Formulate your vision of effective management • • • • Lay out clear organizational structures Define duties & roles - - don’t assume…define and communicate! Calendar out as much as possible Staff handbook The non-negotiable: Professionalism • Set the tone as the principal - - what can they expect from you? • Norms and establishing expectations for all to follow • Define it with regards to colleagues…students…parents Theme #3: Maintaining Momentum Goal: To reward, support, and applaud…to keep the ball rolling! Motivation and recognition • Inspiration from you - - setting the tone for the year • Ongoing recognition • Professional development targeting motivation Building and maintaining a positive climate • • • • Emails, posters, notes, announcements…enthusiasm everywhere! Office environment - - customer service includes the staff Infusing humor Social support networking Down to Business - - The Nuts & Bolts of a Successful Start! 1 Discipline & Safety - - Set expectations and norms for handling of discipline and for campus safety • What constitutes an office referral? • What strategies do you expect staff to employ at the “scene of the crime”? • What are your expectations for teachers establishing classroom expectations? • What are the safety expectations? Practice? 2 Organizational Structures • • • • • Calendaring Defining job duties & roles Resource personnel Schedules - - regular and special days Campus supervision 3 Establishing your systems • • • • Email processing Filing - - paper and electronic Utilizing your office professional Settling on a daily routine - - drive this as much as you can! 4 Teacher Evaluation • • • • • Identifying comprehensive and focused teachers Evaluation process training mid-to-late September Calendar out initial meetings by end of first week in October Calendar out first round of observations through November Plan for and calendar a mid-year check up to review process Effective Leaders… Visit Classrooms Share Beliefs and Expectations with All Take the Time to Show Appreciation Connect With Teachers on Break Are Available to Students Are Visible Schedule Time to Work with Students Continuously Ask for Feedback and Input Take Time to Plan, Organize, and Accomplish “To Do’s” Make Decisions on Input Requested Involve Staff As Much As Feasible See Teacher Evaluation as Extremely Important Enjoy Communicating Are Accessible Plan Regular Social Activities for Staff Connect With As Many Adults as Possible Each Day Distribute Regular Planning Sheets to Keep Everyone Updated Articulate School-Wide Curricular Activities Make “Fun” an Important Component of Every Day Learn Student Names Look Forward to Going to Work Have a Life Outside of Education Excerpt from: If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students! Neila A. Connors Be an Effective Leader… Make it a great start!