Principal’s First Five Days of School #1st5days #edchat #cpchat

As I was going through my reader feeds the other day I came across this posting by Dennis Pierce at E School News titled

New project aims to transform the ‘first five days’ of school.

The post outlined the basics of the  Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference in Boston with Alan November that happened about a week ago.  At the conference November asked participants to truly think about what they could do differently to create an amazing first five days at their schools.  There were several links in the article that led to other sites and resources:

 Building Learning Communities

Idea Sharing Board –  http://blc.vxcommunity.com

And somewhere in there I found way to the following videos:

Link: http://vimeo.com/channels/blc12

First 5 Days: Day 1 from Alas Media on Vimeo.

First 5 Days: Day 2 from Alas Media on Vimeo.

First Five Days: Day 3 from Alas Media on Vimeo.

 

All of these were great and they really got me thinking about what I can do, as an administrator, to create an amazing first five days at school.  I came up with a short list:

  • Be visible…and I mean visible.  Make a commitment to be out and about those first five days, connecting with teachers, parents and students everyday.  I think I often set out with this goal, but admittedly let administrivia get in the way.  Making it priority number one to be mobile and greeting everyone will be essential!
  • Posting like mad!  I have a professional goal of upping the planning and development of our school’s communication and social media sharing this year.  Using those first five days to share what’s happening, showing those positive starts can go a long way to framing the school year for the entire school community.  It’s a big deal!
  • Let the teacher’s know that I’m there for them.  It’s as important that the teachers know that this is going to be a positive year as it is for students and families.  As an administrator I should be setting the tone for the year by being positive, focused and supportive.  This should happen all year, but establishing that tone in those first five days will be essential!  I also like the idea of having momentum events, activities and resources each day for staff…to keep that positiveness going.  That may be a great quote, thank you notes, a good laugh email…those kinds of things.

But…are these really innovative ideas for an administrator to do during the first five days of school?   The answer is no…these are just best practice….so I went back to the list and really started thinking about things I could do that would make the first five days incredibly amazing! Some of these are a stretch…and a draft, so be gentle!

  • I’ve toyed with the idea of using Evernote Hello as a fun way to interact with students.  I might be able to have students share one fun fact about themselves and enter the information themselves.  Could be fun, and might be helpful down the road with students.
  • Use video more.  I’m going to take the leap.  I want to use video to share information at school.  I think it can be a more powerful type of media to connect with the community.  I know that I really respond to videos that are well done and outline great ideas.  It can add context and clarity to thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be lost in just text communication. (video messages for each of the five days, challenges for students, interviews with teachers…the list goes on and on!)
  • I want to eat lunch with every grade level at least once during those five days.  Just a chance to sit and chat with the students will mean a lot.
  • Create a welcome back video for the community.  Last year as a staff we made a holiday wishes video and it was very well received and fun to do.  I’ve already rented the fog machine and I’m ready to up our game.
  • Organizing a lot of fun activities for staff leading up to the start of school.  We’re in the process of organizing a little competition for staff this year during our inservice.  We’re excited to create a fun challenge that will make people laugh and smile…should lead into a great start!  I can’t share the details right now…but it should be fun.
  • Asking for feedback immediately from families.  I hope to have several short surveys throughout this year that will provide feedback from the community about different things having to do with our school.  For example, I might send out a survey asking about the first five days of school!  Could be valuable feedback!

I’ll continue to work on the list…obsessively, I’m sure.  The bottom line is that it’s a great thing to think about for any educator!

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