When August rolls around, the ads start to come thick and fast, targeting families with children and teachers and promoting items they may need for a return to the classroom. But teachers and students aren’t the only ones who must prepare for the new school year: here are some back-to-school tips for school administrators.
Unlike most teachers and their K–12 students, school administrators, such as principals, superintendents, and administrative staff, don’t get the summer off. In fact, summer can be the busiest time of year for those responsible for everything from working with school boards to establishing bus contracts and schedules to hiring new educators. As the new school year approaches, school administrators should make checklists to ensure they’re ready for the halls to ring once again with the clamor of students and the slamming of lockers.
Set Goals With Due Dates
The tasks of preparing for a new school year can seem overwhelming. School administrators can set goals with associated due dates to guide efforts and prepare for the new school year.
They should have everything from physical maintenance (servicing the HVAC, landscaping, and building repairs) to book orders in place before the first day of school. Administrators work with large teams of principals, teachers, and maintenance staff to make sure they have everything ready.
Any experienced school administrator knows how critical it is to maintain open and timely communication with students and parents. They must inform all stakeholders about dates for registration, book buying, and due dates for state-mandated paperwork, like physicals. Reminders about procedures for pick-up and drop-off and information about bus schedules and stops must go out with plenty of advance notice.
Most schools now have some type of signage out front. School administrators should add messaging to their school signs that will help keep parents, students, and the community informed about what’s happening at school.
Welcome and Motivate Teachers
The past few years have been brutal and unforgiving for teachers. An alarming number have felt so battered and unappreciated that they have left the profession. A top back-to-school tip for administrators is showing appreciation for and motivating teachers. It’s a major, and perhaps the most important, function of a senior school administrator.
Administrators must provide ways for teachers to uplift and support each other, show appreciation regularly, and listen. Trust teachers to make decisions about their classrooms, and avoid micromanagement. Dealing with parents making unreasonable and even impossible demands, ever-changing pandemic precautions, and the challenges of hybrid teaching have worn teachers down. The month before opening day is the time to lift them up again and give them positive support to start the new year.