5 Things Principals Should Add to Their Year-End Checklist

As a school leader, the end of the school year brings along a lengthy and daunting checklist. It’s common to feel overwhelmed as the days pass by rapidly, making it seem impossible to accomplish everything. To regain perspective, it’s beneficial to take a moment to yourself. 

Close your office door, grab your computer or a piece of paper, and engage in a “brain dump.” Allow yourself some time away from the list, perhaps even overnight, before returning to it. When you come back, you can prioritize tasks and activities and construct a comprehensive checklist.

Having a list in hand will enable you to stay focused and productive amidst the increasing chaos. Here are a few suggestions of items you may want to include on your checklist:

1. Take Care of Yourself

Given the multitude of tasks at hand and an extensive checklist of obligations, it may seem counterintuitive to prioritize your own needs and goals. However, there are clear reasons why this should be a top priority. Self-care is always important. Neglecting self-care jeopardizes your ability to efficiently handle the numerous year-end events and responsibilities. It is imperative to ensure an adequate amount of rest, maintain regular meals, and allocate time for relaxation. As a role model, your staff looks to you as an example.

2. Look at Your Career Goals

While it may appear self-centered to consider your career aspirations, it is crucial to reflect on some challenging questions to ensure alignment with your desired path.

  • If you’ve encountered a difficult year, analyze the reasons behind it and identify actionable steps to bring about positive change in the coming year.
  • Take a moment to evaluate whether you have achieved what you set out to accomplish this year and if not, explore the reasons why.
  • Assess your level of fulfillment, happiness, and whether the challenges you face are suitable for your growth.
  • Determine if you are overwhelmed by your current responsibilities.
  • If you feel dissatisfied with your present situation, envision where you would like to be and what you aspire to do.

If staying on your current campus or in your current position feels incompatible with your aspirations, it is better to acknowledge this sooner rather than later and take steps toward a more fulfilling path.

3. Make Time for Teachers and Staff

While canceling the final faculty meeting of the year may seem tempting, it is important not to do so. Instead, seize the opportunity to celebrate the teachers and staff for their accomplishments throughout the year. It’s also the ideal moment to acknowledge and bid farewell to retiring or departing teachers. Allocate some time each day to visit classrooms and express gratitude to teachers or acknowledge their excellent work. This gesture will brighten both your day and theirs!

4. Connect with Students

This doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Simply greet students in the morning as they arrive, and help them get into cars at the end of the day. Take a moment to visit the cafeteria and say hello, or even join the students for lunch. You can also drop by a classroom and read your favorite book. And when the administrative tasks become overwhelming, take some time to enjoy being with the students!

5. Communicate with Parents

Develop a plan to inform parents about the end of the school year and equip them with relevant details regarding what to expect once school begins next year. Emphasize the significance of familiarizing parents with essential resources to support students during the summer break. Ensure that parents are aware of how to access lunch programs, free camps, food banks, reading materials, and other support systems.

The end of the year can become chaotic if you lack organization and focus. Take control by creating a checklist and showing the end of the school year who is boss! Remember, this list is solely for your reference, not something to be shared with your AP or teachers.


Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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