When it comes to starting a new school year strong, or honestly at any point in the school year, there are 5 different tips I try and remember.
The first tip of this blog series is this…..connect early (and often).
The power of connection can never be understated. Everyone wants to feel seen, heard, appreciated, and valued. The same goes for our students, colleagues, and the families we serve.
When it comes to building those connections we need to make sure that the first time we reach out, it’s a positive one.
Four ways I like to connect from day one are….
These are such a great opportunity to meet the students (and their families) on their own turf! When doing home visits I always….
- Brought a colleague with me.
- Brough a gift with me (always a book).
- Let the family know I was coming.
- Just enjoyed the visit without always having a list of things to discuss.
Some home visits have taken me 10 minutes while others lasted well over an hour. It really just depended on the family at hand.
Even during times of a pandemic there are still ways to make this work!! So don’t let COVID get in your way! And fellow admin, build time into your beginning of the year PD schedule for staff to go out and do this! It helps eliminate the “I don’t have time excuse”
Learn more about home visits and how to make them successful in my new online course HERE.
One of my favorite tools at my disposal is the written word. Even with all the prevalence of technology I still enjoy checking the snail mail and getting a letter from a friend.
Our students, families, and colleagues are the same!
At the beginning of the year, before school even starts, I write a letter to every one of my students letting them know how much I can’t wait to meet them!
It’s a great opportunity to let them know their on my mind already.
This is also a great thing to do throughout the year. Even with the adults on your campus. Writing letters to let them know you appreciate them, even if they letter you write is mailed to family member of theirs for even greater impact!
Learn more about the power of written letters (and even sample letters done for you) in my new courses HERE.
Getting out into the community is huge for building connection. We have to get off campus.
One of the favorite things my district would do is a community walk before school starts.
The Saturday before the first day of school, each campus would select some names from their school rosters, and we’d fan out across the community and knock on doors, drop off a school calendar and a few free books, and let them know we couldn’t wait to have them as a part of our school community that year!
It was a great way to not only have our entire district seen across the community on one day, but it also was great for us to build face to face connections on their turf, before the first day of school!
You can learn more about the community walk, and how to make one work for you, in my new courses HERE.
Positive Phone Calls
Just like with the post cards, positive phone calls home are something you can do all year long. This is a fantastic opportunity to take just a few minutes of your (and not pay a dime) to celebrate someone.
Don’t forget to do this with the adults you work with too!! Everyone wants to feel valued and important. Calling people in their life that matter to them and celebrating them to those people makes a big impact.
Making positive phone calls home to my students, but especially to my staff, was one of my favorite daily jobs!
Pro tip: keep a spreadsheet with all your student/staff names on it so that every time you make a phone call home, you can document it to remember who you called and when!
Learn more about the power of positive phone calls home in my new courses HERE.
Connecting early, and often, is not the only thing you can do to build a positive culture from the start, but it is just that, a start! These ideas should be fairly easy to implement and shouldn’t take too much time but lead to great dividends on your end!
If you’re looking for over 100 more ideas on how to build culture whether in your classroom or school, check out my two brand new courses today with printable resources, quarterly coaching calls, self-paced learning, and so much more HERE.