Back to School Thinking Points

Most of us have now returned to a new school year. Students have arrived, parents have been met, lessons have been planned, everyone is back to the school routine. As the year progresses, I’d like to request all of us keep the following points in mind for us all to have a successful school year.

If you are a Governor, Superintendent, School Board Member or Central Office Employee, Union Leadership or an Elected/Appointed Officials making decisions about education:

-Always remember you serve students first, everyone else second.

-Be present and available for anyone working at a school site.

-Remember schools don’t work without an effective leader, also known as the Principal.

-Please don’t stay in your cozy comfortable office—get out into the schools you support at least once a month. See the school from the eyes of the front line workers, not from afar where you really don’t know what it is like to work in a school environment. And no, if you used to work in a school or teach and you’ve been out for more than a couple of years, you don’t truly remember what it is like to be on a campus and in a classroom anymore—please don’t even try to act or say you do.

-The Unions should have minimal say in how a school is managed, that is what principals have been trained to do. DON’T let the Unions run our schools any longer.

If you are a Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, or other School Administrator:

-Always remember you serve students first, everyone else second. Love your students, respect them, and let them know you truly care about them.

-Be present and available to anyone working at your school site.

-Do what is best for your students, even if it means it isn’t fully supported by Central Office—they’re not living what you are living and truthfully don’t have a real clue of what you must deal with on a daily basis.

-Don’t be afraid of the Unions. They don’t manager your school, you do. Never forget that even when it would be easier to let good enough be good enough. It is rarely easy to do the right thing when it is needed most.

-Listen to parents and their stories as sometimes that is what is needed most, and gives you a place to begin to empathize and move forward for most concerns/issues.

-Listen to students and their stories as sometimes that is what is needed most, and gives you a place to begin to empathize and move forward for most concerns/issues. Students will also respect you more even when you must provide a consequence for them.

-Keep a balanced life because in the end, it really is just a job and if you ever leave, they will replace you quicker than you think without a second thought.

If you are a Teacher, Educational Assistant, Support Staff or other campus Employee:

-Always remember you serve students first, everyone else second. Love your students, respect them, and let them know you truly care about them. Do no harm.

-Be present and available to all of your students, even the challenging ones because they need you the most.

-Do what is best for your students, even it it means it isn’t fully supported by Administration—they’re not living what you are living each and every day with your students.

-Listen to parents and their stories as sometimes that is what is needed most, and gives you a place to begin to empathize and move forward for most concerns/issues.

-Listen to students and their stories as sometimes that is what is needed most, and gives you a place to begin to empathize and move forward for most concerns/issues. Students will also respect you more even when you must provide a consequence for them.

-Keep a balanced life because in the end, it really is just a job and if you ever leave, they will replace you quicker than you think without a second thought.

-Don’t be afraid to talk to, disagree with, or teach your principal when necessary. As long as you are professional and respectful, most principals want to listen, be challenged in their thinking and even learn new things.

-Always keep in mind, if you wouldn’t want your own children to experience the educational environment you are providing to your students, then provide for your students only what you would want for your own children. This is its own form of the Golden Rule.

If you are a Parent, Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent, Guardian or other Caregiver:

-Always remember a school should be a welcoming place for your student and for you. If it isn’t, talk to someone who can effect that change.

-Get your student to school on time each and every day, unless your student is really and truly sick—vacations don’t count here. There is no longer time to lose by not being at school.

-Volunteer, even if it means cutting, typing/transcribing, stapling, etc., at home. Try to volunteer at least one time a year in your student’s class. It is helpful to everyone.

-Join the PTA.

-Listen to what the teacher or principal is telling you about your student, both what you want to hear and what you don’t want to hear. No principal or teacher is going to lie to you about the behavior of your student. Believe and support what they are telling you and work as a team member, not an adversary, to help your child. Children don’t get smaller, only bigger and it is easier to nip a behavior in the bud sooner rather than later.

-If the teacher tells you your student would benefit from extra assistance, whether it be intervention in the classroom, after school, or even seeing if your student has a learning disability, listen to the teacher as he/she is a professional and knows what learning to expect of students at different ages and grade levels. They only want what is best in providing the support your child needs to be successful. Please don’t be adversarial, be a team member.

-Get all paperwork, fees, supplies, and school projects submitted on time and completely. Teachers have overflowing plates as it is—don’t add to their burden.

-If you have a concern, issue or problem, start by talking to the teacher. Most things can be solved through a civil and respectful conversation.

Please feel free to add to this list by making a comment.

2 thoughts on “Back to School Thinking Points

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s