Hurray!! We're at that time ⌚ of the year when we need to put everything in place for the take-off of a new academic session. As administrators, we have a vital role to play in this. Even though some planning for the new school year was done before you closed for the outgone school year, this period affords the opportunity to tidy things up for resumption.
Here are a few tips to help you as an administrator.
1. Communicate the Resumption Date to Parents and Staff
Although the resumption date for the new school year had been communicated in the last newsletter for the last school year, there is a need to do a reminder on this using bulk sms and emails. You can also do so through the school's social media platforms.
The date the teachers are expected to resume in school would be different from that of the students. This is to enable adequate time for professional development and to decorate the classrooms and get things set ready for the arrival of the students.
I'm sure you do not want excuses from teachers about the resumption date. It'll be too early in the school year for this anyway.
2. Organise Training Sessions for the Teachers
There is a need to invest in the personal and professonal development of your staff before the school year commences. I assume that in the performance evaluation of the staff, you must have taken note of the areas that need improvement in your school as a corporate body, and also in individual staff members, and prepared training to address them.
Topics to include in your training would be Professional Ethics for Educators, Classroom and Behaviour Management, Customer Service, Emotional Intelligence, Team Building, and a host of others. Do not schedule more than two training sessions in a day to make for effectiveness. There is no need draining the staff at the beginning of the academic year with knowledge or information that may be rather overwhelming to assimilate each day, and difficult to apply in the job.
Always remember though, that you can never go wrong with investing in the personal and professional development of your employees.
3. Ensure All Teachers Know their Class Placements
You might have sent out a class placement already before going on the summer break. But this is the time to confirm what class each teacher would be taking in the new acacemic session, to enable them prepare and decorate their classes. I'm sure you know how eager teachers get about what classes they'd be teaching in a new school year.
4. Start Class and School Area Decorations
After the teachers have been assigned to their classes, they need to start decorating their classes to pepare for the children's arrival. Decorating the classes and school areas also creates a welcoming environment to prospective parents who would be stopping by to make enquires for enrollment of their children in your school. Plus it has a way of pepping up the moods of the staff while they work and train.
5. Plan an Open House
It's no news that we want new students to join our school in the new school year. So, the Open House affords an opportunity to open your gates to the public and show them what you do, with all your staff present to answer questions from prospective parents.
Iy's a good day to toot your horn to prospective customers. Tell them about your programme and what makes your school unique amidst the teeming number of schools.
6. Ensure School Supplies are Delivered on Time:
Items such as uniforms and school supplies should not be left till the last minute. Weeks before school resumes, these items should be available for purchase by the parents. Paper and other consumables should be ordered and delivered on time, too.
Always bear in mind that new students are usually excited about how they look in their new school unifroms, so do not deny them this excitement.
7. Do a Facilities Check
The facilities are checked before the school resumes. The air conditioners or fans need to be serviced. Fumigation needs to be carried out thoroughly to keep away rodents and reptiles. It's important to touch up the paints on the walls and the fences if they are worn out.
Also ensure to get the school sanitation team to do thorough cleaning of the whole school before the students resume.
8. Plan Perfomance Goals for Each Staff
A very important task to be done as the school year resumes is to set performance goals for every staff in your school. If you must have a high perfrmaing team, it starts with everyone knowing what the expectations are for them as a school, and as individual contributing members of the team.
Ensure that everyone knows what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are. These are the milestones which must be achieved within a specified period. Just as the school year starts, let the staff know what criteria would be used for the evalution so that they can start working towards them from the beginning of the term. Please do not spring up a surprise on them and pull out an evaluation form at the end of the academic session without first introducing them to the criteria at the beginning of the school year.
Gone are the days when administrators left this to chance.
9. Plan Teacher and Administrator Introductions
As a way to introduce healthy relationships with the parents of the students, make every teacher to send an introductory newsletter where they state who they are, what their approach to discipline is, and what the children would be covering in their class in the curriculum during the school year. They could let parents know what the expectations are at this new grade level or class. And talking about the plans for homework would be a good idea.
This does not have to be in print format as that would take too much paper 📃. Rather e-newsletters would be appropriate for this purpose.
10. Organise a Student Registration Day
You might want to have a Student Registration Day where you encourage the parents to pay the school fees ahead of time, and turn up to receive the books, uniforms and other materials the children would be needing for the school year. This strategy works well to get the parents to pay their children's school fees on time.
You know anout FOMO (fear of missing out), don't you? Other students would not want to be left out at the registration day; so they will put pressure on their parents to pay their fees on time ⌚.
11. Have Staff Bonding Activities
Teachers work really hard all through the school year. And it's a great idea to start with fun activities so that they have nice memories to keep as they commence the school year. This could be as simple as a picnic, or just a hangout. Do what works for you and your team.
It doesn't have to be an expensive outing. And if you can afford it, you can visit the Zuma Resort Centre in Abuja if you're in that locality. It's worth it, I can assure you.
12. Put Together School Committees
School Committes are important to address issues in the school and make for improvement. You might want to consider a Staff Welfare Committee, a Sports Committee, Book Drive Committee, Catering Commitee, Curriculum Commiteee, Events Commitee, etc.
Ensure every staff member belongs to at least one committe every school year and let their contributions to the committee form a part of their evaluation. .
13. Go Through the Employee Handbook with all the Staff
I guess by now you have revised your employee handbook to suit the new realities since the pandemic struck. This is the time to go through the policies and procedures once again with all the staff on your team. You need to be sure all the staff understand all your revised policies and procedures and are ready to abide by them as the new school year starts.
14. Prepare the Budget for the Academic Session
Prepare the financial budget for the school year, and let it serve as a guide for your fianacial expenses throughout the academic year. Having a budget is what differentiates schools that check their expenses and remain sustainable, from the ones that spend on impulse and keep getting into one financial crisis or the other.
And always rememeber that it's one thing to prepare a budget; but it's another thing to be guided by it.
Let the process for preparing the budget be a participatory one, with every department of the school sending in their expected income and expenses. Then have a budget planning meeting where this is screened properly.
During the academic session, whenever requests are made, check that they are in the budget. And decide also on things that will be permitted in your school as extra-budgetary expenses.
15. Have an On-Boarding Programme for Your New Employees:
If your school is like most schools, you may have lost one or two employees to another organisation or due to relocations. It's not enough to get good talented staff; you must have a plan for retaining them. And it all starts with the plan you make for receiving them and getting them engaged in your organisation after the recruitment. It makes all the difference. Work hard to retain them as much as you worked hard to recruit them. #
Is there any aspect of these you need help with?
Usually, it is the Goal Setting Sessions and especially the Performance Objectives and KPIs that school leaders find difficult. Or perhaps you need an Evaluation Template for each cadre of staff in your school ranging from the Senior Leadership and Management Teams to teachers, admin staff, the other support staff such as the cleaners and gatemen, and the school accountant and bursar.
Please reach out to +234-8035880367 via WhatsApp or phone call if you'd need Pezu Smith Consulting to train your team on any relevant topics in the new school year. We do in-person or virtual training sessions.
Or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'd be glad to work with your team!
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