May 27, 2022
Dr. Melissa Marie is the Associate Executive Director of MEMSPA, Michigan Elementary & Middle School Principals Association.
I think nearly every educator I spoke with last week offered an unsolicited count down for this school year. The realities of the past nine months have left folks weary and ready for a truly restful and well-earned break.
While you are closing out the school year, consider how you might message to your students, staff and families that although it has been a year of challenges, it has been another year of growth and learning. Yes, each one takes an investment of time, but an hour or two spent on one of these can pack a powerful punch of positive energy while you are counting down.
Here is a top 10 list of leader moves you can make in the 20… 19… 18… days of school for 2021-2022.
- Gather a group of students. Buy them pizza for lunch and have an informal conversation about the challenges and the wins of the school year! (Share their insights with staff.) Dugan and Safir (2020) would call this gathering “street data.”
- Conduct “stay” interviews with a handful of your team. (This was also captured in a MEMSPA Weekly Update from December 2021.)
- Send all staff off with a favorite podcast episode to listen to or an article to read that captures your vision for next school year.
- Place celebratory messages on staff car windshields, staff lounge, mailbox room and bathroom mirrors.
- Have students make yard signs with messages of gratitude for families and place in the pick-up/drop-off area.
- Create a graffiti wall with poster paper for the secretaries and custodians and librarians where each class visits to leave messages of gratitude.
- Meet with each class of outgoing students and guide them through writing a letter to a former staff member in the school they have appreciated.
- Organize a happy hour and invite all staff.
- Call five families to wish them a happy summer.
- Tell kids you will miss them while they are away.
If you try one (or more) of these, please drop me a message and share a highlight with me, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thank you.