We do a lot of planning and prep for the beginning of the school year in August, but we don’t always give the same care and attention to the beginning of the second semester. Let’s look at some things that you can do to refocus, recharge and get the semester off on the right foot.
I can think of no better way to begin a new semester than celebrating the good from the first semester! Staff development days are filled with “must cover” information, but it’s important to make the time to say thank you and show your appreciation for the teachers and staff. Give them an opportunity to show appreciation for one another too! People who feel valued and appreciated at work have a greater sense of job satisfaction and are more likely to stay.
2. Nurture curiosity
Encourage teachers and staff to be themselves and set goals that they can achieve. Let teachers and staff choose their professional learning when possible, so they can explore areas that interest them or work on areas of improvement. Letting them take the wheel empowers them to take risks and take on new challenges as they arise with confidence.
3. Redefine success
Campus success is often seen in terms of numbers, test scores etc., but getting to the heart of what it really means for your campus is key. While scores and data are important, there are other things to consider when determining what success looks like on your campus. Work with your staff to define what success is for your school and your students and decide how you’ll know you’ve been “successful.”
4. Revisit and revise goals
January is a perfect time to revisit the goals that were set in August. Have you accomplished what you set out to do in the first semester? Are there goals that no longer serve the good of the campus? Are there new things you’d like to strive toward in the second semester? It’s okay to adapt and add goals to ensure that your campus is on target for positive growth.
5. Do a culture and climate check up
Climate and culture are those invisible things that can make or break your campus. If your teachers are sharing the joy of learning and your students are flourishing, then your campus is likely a welcoming place where people feel a positive vibe when they walk through the doors. If your teachers are negative and complaining, and you have more than your average unruly students, you might have some issues to address. Negativity is contagious and spreads like wildfire to create a toxic environment. Work with teachers to get to the root cause of problems and to get things moving in the right direction. You can address concerns that pertain to the group as a whole, but be sure to work with the individual teachers to make sure they feel heard and validated.
I hope these ideas help you kickstart your plans for the upcoming semester. Share any other ideas you might have, we’d love to hear from you.
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.