The summer months are a time of reflection and recharging for all educators. Principals are no exception. Most administrators only get a few weeks off in the summer. This time is spent finishing out the academic year and then preparing for the one ahead. There is a lot happening behind the scenes at a school site over the summer.
Here are 5 items that should be on every principal’s summer checklist:
There is a decent amount of teacher movement over the summer. Some of this movement is expected, while others can be completely out of the blue. It is important that principals stay on top of staffing issues, anticipate changes, and post positions as soon as they become available. Principals don’t want to be dealing with an unfilled position in the days leading up to the beginning of the school year. This will not make student, parents, or other teachers happy.
At the end of the school year, principals should walk every classroom, hallway, office, bathroom, and field looking for maintenance issues. Look for smaller items like electrical covers, stripped paint, and broken lights as well as the big-ticket items such as broken windows, potholes in the field, and roof leaks. It is important to distinguish which items onsite custodial workers can fix and which items need to be put into the district work order system. Always prioritize your list as maintenance workers are usually dealing with dozens of requests at any given time. Don’t forget the essentials: paper, bathroom supplies, and band-aides.
- Replenish Supplies
There is nothing worse than starting off the school year without the right classroom supplies. Principals need to ensure that teachers give them their supply list before leaving for the summer. Supplies should be ordered early on to ensure timely delivery and the opportunity to correct incorrect orders before it is too late and students are already in their seats. It is important to think about a variety of supplies:
- Recess / PE equipment
- Front office
- Clean House
The summer months are also a great time to purge items, curriculum, and technology that is either obsolete, unused, or in poor condition. Many educators are pack rats, saving books and other items for decades. Encyclopedias from the late 1990s have no place in any school anymore. Old computers seem to accumulate in mass at many school sites. Work with the district IT department to retire these items and send them to e-waste centers. PE equipment also seems to stick around longer than it should. Half inflated basketballs, lopsided footballs and floppy hula-hoops always seem to make back in the equipment bin. Throw them out!
- Take Time Off
Principals also need some down time. It is important to shut down the computer, turn off the cell phone, and to stop thinking about school. Here are some ideas: Read a book, a non-school related book, plan a trip, join a summer softball league. It is important for principals to engage in non-work related activities so that they will be ready to go in August!
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.principalsdesk.org.