School Principal Solutions

How To Love Your Job!

Get Organized

 

The better prepared you are, the better your school will perform.

Take care of all the things you have control over.

 

Calendar

 

You own this one, so get it prepared and posted ASAP. Ideally you will have your calendar ready in June, or at the latest by August, for the following school year.

 

The easiest way to keep track of your calendar dates, is to record them in your tablet or IPad. In today’s day and age, an IPad is an indispensable tool for keeping organized.

 

Create your calendar listing all the known events for each month. You will need three calendars:

 

 

Your own personal calendar


A calendar for staff ,in which they can add events

 

A calendar for parents and user groups

 

 

 

You can have your administrative assistant prepare the calendars for you, if you give her all the dates and times of events. You will want a hard copy of the 10 months so that you can post it in the staff room for your staff and visiting staff members. Post one set in the hallway for parents and post one set in the office for your own reference.

Calendar Contents


Things to consider including in your calendar are:

    • First Day of School
    • Assemblies
    • Staff Meetings
    • Parent Teacher Conference Meetings
    • Report Cards
    • Field Trips
    • Early Dismissals
    • Holidays
    • Special Events
    • Last Day of School

Any other school events for which you have a date and time, should be listed on your calendars. You want to keep everyone informed of upcoming events.

Know Your Staff

 

Take every opportunity to get to know the people you work with so you can learn who influences others, who wants to do whatever is asked of them and who is open to being a team player.

There are many ways to get to know your staff. It does not really matter which method you use, just make sure you do it.

For specific information on getting to know your staff, see the section I wrote on Empowering Your Staff


Once you know “Who’s Who In The Zoo”, you can build on each person’s unique strengths and talents. You want to empower everyone in your building. To do that, you need to know what they are capable of bringing to each task.

Staff Meetings

 

Only call meetings that are necessary!

That is the best advice I can give you about staff meetings.

If you ensure that any meetings you call are informativewell organized, as short in duration as possible and include a snack, your staff members will be there ready to participate.

 

Do Not Waste People’s Time!!!

 

Staffing

 

One of the most important meetings you will attend will be your “Staffing Meeting”. That staffing meeting will require you to know your school’s needs for the upcoming school year.

Are you ready for that meeting?

      • Do you know how many teachers you might need?
      • Do you know what your budget will be?
      • Do you know how many special needs children you will have in your building?
      • How may support staff will you need for those special needs students?
      • How many Noon Hour Supervisors will you need?
      • Do you have staff members retiring at the end of the school year?
      • Do you have replacement teachers you would like to have added to your staff?

 

 

A resource that might be of interest to you is shown below.

Floor Plan

 

The layout of your school can contribute to or take away from the harmony within your building. If you are new to your school, then making changes will be expected, but likely not welcome! As a “new to the building” administrator, you have the chance to look at the floor plan objectively.

 

If you are not “new to your school” making the change will be a little more challenging, but you bring credibility into the change because you have lived and worked in the current setting and you want to improve upon the existing setup.

Regardless if you are new or not, you want to make sure the placement of grades and offices enhances the flow of life within the building. For example, placing the same grade level classes as close to one another as possible increases the possibility of teachers sharing materials, popping into one anothers’ classrooms, co-planning, co-teaching, etc. Clustering grades makes it easier for supervision and helps reduce potential discipline issues.

 

If upon inspection of the layout of your school, you decide it is perfect already, then don’t make changes.

 

 

Invite staff members to join you in a discussion about the layout of the school. Make sure you provide an opportunity for all staff members to weigh in on the project. Not everyone will share an opinion, but make sure you provide the opportunity. You can do that via email, a sit down meeting or a chat in the hallway. Don’t forget your support staff members. They have great ideas; however, they don’t always get asked for their opinion, so make sure they have a chance to have a “say”.

 

So you have had your meetings and conversations. You have heard from most people and now you have to make a decision! Always know that any decision you make will please some and not please others. That’s how it goes!

 

Buckle your seat belt and get ready to do the right thing! Not sure what that is? It is easy! You are going to make that decision based on what is best for the students! Of course some people will be upset, especially anyone who has to move, but always go back to your mantra,  “This decision is based on what is best for the students!” See the section on “Challenges” to help you stay strong in your decision making choices!

A resource that might be of interest to you is shown below.

 

 

 

Playground

 

Just like the layout of your school, you need to assess the functionality of your playground. Are there areas that are too congested? Is discipline a problem in certain areas and not in others? Are accidents happening in certain locations on the playground? If so, what can you do to reduce the risk of accidents and inappropriate behavior?

 

Enlisting the staff and playground supervisors in analyzing the playground layout and asking them to make recommendations for improvement is your best bet! Once you have looked at all the factors playing into the functioning of your playground, then take action. Institute the necessary changes.

 

Some of those changes might include assigning certain areas of the playground to specific grades, or altering the times when grade levels go onto the playground, or re-assigning areas of supervision to the supervisors.
The one thing that I found to be the most helpful for noon time supervision, was assigning areas to each supervisor and asking that the supervisors stay within their assigned area or zone. We had been operating with a rotating schedule for the supervisors. They would go to different areas and different classrooms each day or each week.

 

Not rotating, made a huge difference. This change made it possible for the students to get to know their supervisors by name. It gave the supervisors the opportunity to watch for patterns and to see if any students were not being included in activities. The supervisors took more responsibility for “their kids”. The supervisors would come to the administrator and make suggestions for improving things in their “zone”.

 

Even a poorly designed playground can be very functional if all the players using that space come up with ideas on how to make it safe and workable!

A resource that might be of interest to you is shown below.

Parking Lot

 

Yes, this area is yours also!

 

Take control of traffic flow as soon as you can. You will need to ask parents, staff members and your neighbors about traffic concerns. Once you have gathered up as much information as you possibly can, on your own, ask for some volunteers to sit with you to examine the traffic flow to see if it is the best for your school and for the safety of your students. You will want a parent, a staff member and a neighbor on your committee.

There are several things you need to consider. Here are some; however, you will have more to add to the list:

 

      • Are there enough parking stalls for staff, including itnerant staff?
      • Is the bus drop off working well?
      • Does our traffic flow negatively impact our neighbors?
      • Is our student-drop off system efficient?
      • Is our traffic flow safe for our students?
      • Do our students know how to enter and depart our property safely?
      • Do our parents understand our desired traffic flow?

 

Get an aerial photo of your school property. Have several copies of this available for your committee. Work through the various traffic flow scenarios and decide which one is best for your school.

 

If there is going to be a change to the traffic flow, you need to publicize this for at least three months to ensure all drivers coming and going in and around your school know about the change.

 

To emphasize the importance of this change, you will have to be out there yourself re-routing traffic. You can solicit the help of parents and neighbors, if they are willing to help.

 

Have all your helpers, including yourself, wear traffic vests for visibility. You can ask your By-Law Officers to come help as well.

 

Make sure you post signs, if needed, and post the changes on your website, in your newsletter and announce it to the students on a daily basis.

 

Change does not happen immediately and will not happen at all if you are not diligent and relentless in enforcing the change.

Budget

 

You need to find out what your school district’s policy and procedures are for developing your upcoming school year’s budget. My best advice for you, in this department, is to work with a fellow school administrator BEFOREheading into your district’s budgeting meeting.

 

Work with a colleague who has already prepared his or her school budget for next year, or someone who prepared their school budget last year.

 

This colleague will be able to give you excellent advice on what to consider and what to ENSURE is included in your budget planning.

A resource that might be of interest to you is shown below.

 

Email Me to “chat” . I will get back to you PRONTO!

 

 

 

 

4 Comments So Far

  1. Very informative, you cover a lot of information that some people could easily forget about. I like how your article has ‘character’, this makes it easy to read and the way you have set it out makes it easy to follow. The use of pictures and placements and colors makes it eyecatching and more interesting. Definitely gives the reader a lot to think about. Well done 🙂

    1. Hi Sheryl,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to review my page. I appreciate your feedback.

      Keeping a school well organized requires the help of the whole school community.

      It is similar to running a household. Everyone needs to know what the expectations are and how things flow in and around the building.

      Thank you, again, for visiting my website.

      Sincerely,

      Susan MacNeil

  2. I thank you for your post on School procedures. I find it particularly hard to organize everything I have to do for the day and your calendar advice will help me a lot. Thanks for the great tip about when to hold staff meetings and how to read other members.
    Have you got any advice and detailed information about disability access areas? Have bookmarked your website for future reference and I will look at the training books from Amazon.
    kind regards, Jeff.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for visiting my website.

      You have raised a great question about disability access. I have not addressed that on my website, but I certainly will add that to my list of things to include.

      Wheelchair access is critical in schools. Playgrounds, also, need to be designed to accommodate children who are in wheelchairs.

      Ensuring that schools are inclusive, inside the building and on the playground, is a very important consideration.

      Thank you, again, for visiting my site and for giving me a topic that I will address in the near future.

      Sincerely,

      Susan MacNeil

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