Summer has either already begun for you, or is JUST around the corner. I am sure there are many things a principal can do in the summer, but use your time intentionally to get yourself ready! June is my “close it up month” that I spend wrapping a big red bow around our 16-17 school year, so that in July, after my extremely welcomed week off, I can move forward with all of my 17-18 plans. I’m also a big fan of checklists…there’s just something that makes me feel that much more accomplished when I can scratch something off of a list. 🙂
There are a few things though that need to happen first. As a leader, it’s important that you determine what you NEED to do, in order to decide WHAT to do. At this point in my principal-ing, I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen. I know what is going to be stressful at the beginning, I know what I am going to need to get ahead of…and June is my month to get all my plans in place. Working a month ahead this past year was easily the best thing I changed from year one to year two.
- Data: From state testing to student independent DRA levels, I can crunch the majority of the data I need to make instructional decisions in the fall. When looking at class placements I want to use DATA to determine which teachers were the most successful with certain student groups and be intentional with student placements. I know, for example, that one of my first grade teachers, showed a 100% increase on her ESL students this year. Each student made at least one years level of growth from August to May in TELPAS. Makes placing certain student pods easier when I have data to support it!
- Schedule what you can NOW. I’ve already ordered my life planner for next year. Some events you just know are going to take place each year and can get on the calendar. I use my Erin Condren from LAST year to help map out events and days for this upcoming 17-18 year. Things that took place in a certain month, but that I am unsure of an exact date for, I write out to the side. This planner has daily pages in addition to monthly “at a glance” pages. However you choose to stay organized, this is the time to get your skeleton in place for the next school year.
- I still use this trusty notebook to take notes in throughout the year at all the meetings I attend. It’s really handy to have them all in one place and I can refer back to it during a meeting very easily. I just don’t use/refer back to an electronic system, trust me, I’ve tried. I take advantage of summer down time to flip back through all those notes to reflect. My goal is to be able to plan better for the next time, or just to refresh my memory in general of where we were last August, September, etc. I also use the EC version because of its bulleted lists out to the side. I find those to be really helpful in a meeting to help me discern between notes and things I better get done.
- Get a head start on your social media! Our district calendar is set. I know the dates we’ll hold our PLC meetings, I know when report cards are going out. All of the items I can auto schedule now, I do. This allows me a sense of calmness to recognize that my BIG items will be shared automatically, but I can still push out timely content when I’m out and about in classrooms in the fall.
- Take. a. vacation. Unconnect. (yes, I made that word up.) Intentionally disconnect. I’ve taken to un-following the social media accounts that stress me out or make me doubt myself. (No guilt!) Give yourself a refresh. Your campus and staff will be all the better for it. Take the time to remember your “why”. One of our staff development activities in August will be to share our individual “why” and have them hanging in the hallway. I’m really excited about it! (our template!)
Five easy things…but what about the rest of the summer? I’ve been working on checklists for my assistant principal and I to work on. If you work in Canva, let me know and I’ll share an editable copy with you to adjust as you’d like. What would you add?
I hope you have a fabulous last few days, or weeks!