Best Foot Forward

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
• 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
• What are the safety expectations? Practice?
2 Organizational Structures
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
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
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
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!