In the weeks before staff return, I love spending time writing notes so that each faculty member receives ‘snail mail’! Whether it’s a notecard or a postcard, I want them to know that I hope they’ve been enjoying their time away from school and can’t wait to hear about their summer when they return in a few weeks!
This year (sshhhhh), postcards are headed to their mailboxes (Vistaprint, of course):
A welcome letter, including information/agendas for the teacher institute days hits their inbox next, but what’s most important in the week prior to school beginning it the time I spend around the building. While my list of things to do can seem never-ending, stopping into classrooms as teachers prepare for students is so important! Oftentimes, teachers will have company (whether it be their moms, spouses, friends, or even their children) and I always spend time talking with teachers and working on those relationships. I ask if there’s anything I can do to help (cutting out laminating or hanging up a bulletin board) but more importantly, I want them to know how much I value their time and attention in creating the most welcoming, vibrant learning environment for our Kubbies.
The week before staff officially report, I ask staff to record a FlipGrid video introducing themselves, sharing their position and something that they’re excited about in the coming year. This is a great way for returning staff to meet our newest family members, and for our new staff to put faces to the names of their future colleagues!
I strive to make our opening kick-off as a school staff inspiring and energizing! It’s important that we have a common goal as a school-team and that we work collectively towards our goal for the year! I try to ensure the teachers feel excited to be back and valuable as members of our team. Who doesn’t love ‘swag‘ ? Below you’ll find some back to school gifts that we’ve provided our staff, including an “It’s Worth It Box” (poem from Ms. DeCarbo), Kids Deserve It swag, Brad Montague’s “Don’t Hide Your Magic” pins, and of course staff T-Shirts (ordered from The Graphic Edge).
Admin shouldn’t forget what it’s like on those first Institute Days….teachers’ minds are racing with what they still need to do before the 1st day of school, yet admin tend to pack those agendas with little time to work in their classrooms.
While there are certainly some ‘non-negotiables’ that need to be covered during those institute day meetings, I know how much teachers value time with their teams and time to work in their rooms. Not only do we build in a good chunk of time, we try to make that “work time” extra sweet, but delivering either SONIC drinks or McDONALDS smoothies, wishing them a “SMOOTH” start to the school year!
It’s not just students who get those First Day Jitters. I still can’t sleep the night before the first day of school! I’m filled with such excitement and anticipation for the big day! As a principal, I want to be sure that all staff members feel supported and know that the administrative team will always be there for them! My APs and I split the staff list and write out cards (take advantage of Vista Print’s 50% off sale through July 24th) to each staff member, wishing them a successful school year & assuring them we are here to support them! We all know how hectic that first day is, with teachers oftentimes skipping their lunch; so we always leave a sweet treat in their mailboxes with that hand-written note, like a cake pop or a cookie!
How do you welcome staff for the start of a new school year?