Starting Next School Year Strong

We’re a month away from the end of school (sorry friends not in North America). When I’m asked if I am excited for the end of the school year, I usually say, “Yes!” But the truth is that I don’t always have the same sigh-of-relief I once had pre-principal days.

Veteran educators know that as school comes to a close, you are also responsible for making sure the “ship is ready to sail” for the upcoming voyage. And just as a ship must be fully stocked, fully manned, and fully scheduled before setting sail, schools are no different.

It takes a great team to prepare for the next launch, so preparation begins long before the current voyage has even ended.

For instance, here’s a list of some steps we’ve already been taking:

  • First semester of this school year, our teachers began submitting course request changes for the 2015-2016 school year. By January, enrollment forms were edited and printed, and pre-enrollment began by February.
  • By Spring break, students submitted pre-enrollment documents, and our admin team was already discussing any possible openings for the upcoming school year.
  • After Spring Break, our superintendent provided a list of deadlines to site principals to help us navigate upcoming district reports and timelines.
  • Likewise, I provided a list of similar deadlines to my teachers so that we can strategically collect information, requests, and budget-items for school year 2015-2016.

Here’s another example of a checklist of deadlines our team is completing as we near the end:

High School End of the Year Dates
May 1—
• Summer Work Orders/Furniture Requests: (email main office Building and maintenance projects or repairs within normal summer maintenance schedule, i.e. replacing broken furniture, repairs, paint touch-ups, lighting issues, etc.
• Capital Improvement Projects Requests: (email main office) Building, maintenance or campus projects or repair requests above budget or outside normal summer maintenance schedule.
May 8—
• SLO’s/SOO deadline: all data compilation with final reports submitted via OKTLE for admin approval.
• Inventory Updates: (email main office) Excel spreadsheet updates on all materials, technology, valuables in classroom that would need replacement through school insurance policy in case of potential loss or damage. Email Ms. Stephens if you need copy of previous one to update.
May 15—
• Supplemental Textbook Orders (PO’s written up for July 1 as date requested, submitted through department chairs who will give to main office) Textbooks needed to be replaced or anticipated additional copies based on new sections for next year.
• Site Budget Request (PO’s written up for July 1 and submit to main office) all anticipated classroom materials or labs normally purchased through site budget for upcoming school year.
• Budgets for Sub-Accounts (see main office for sub-account copies from last year and email updated forms to main office) all sponsor of clubs or school activities to be submitted for board approval of next year’s budget and all anticipated fundraisers.
• Safe Team Committee Report due (committee submitted via chair to main office)
May 21—
•All required checklist items: last day checklist in order to close-out books for school year (Main office will send out list).

As boring as that list appears, each one of those items is important to making sure the school “ship” is stocked and ready for the upcoming school year.

With that in mind, it’s also important to keep focused not just on deadlines but also where it matters most: how will you finish the year with classroom instruction, school safety, and student achievement?

Here’s a post I made last year on 3-End-of-the-School-Year Reminders that I hope are good reminders on those priorities. In a nutshell, the three suggestions include:
1. Maintaining solid routines when we may be tempted to begin coasting.
2. Encouraging healthy day-to-day choices when you could easily ignore priorities.
3. Staying the course even as you feel the pull of fatigue calling you to slow down.
Check out the entire post for more context.

Although I don’t have as big a sigh-of-relief when the school year ends as I once did, I do love knowing our students were served well because we were well prepared on the back-end and the front-end. Whatever place you find yourself, it pays to to plan out the details in advance. Doing so will not only protect your peace of mind but help your entire team perform more effectively. Hopefully, it will also set you up for smoother sailing ahead.

Now It’s Your Turn
What embedded routines do you have to help prepare for next school year? I know my examples aren’t the only ones, so I’d love to hear examples of routines used in your school, classroom or organization!

Sign-Up For Free Updates and Ebook
When you enter your email address below, you will automatically receive my newest posts and a free Ebook, 8 Hats: Essential Roles for School Leaders. Let’s keep learning together!
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”43cf67799e” submit_text=”Submit”]

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker