1. Create custom postcards for your staff.
Melissa Kartsimas (@teachermelissa) had the amazing idea of making a custom postcard for her faculty. She welcomed teachers back with sweet, personal messages that demonstrate care and consideration. This is definitely a principal who builds strong relationships!
2. Makeover your office.
Let’s face it. It’s your office, but you share this space with the entire school community. According to Forbes, your office has the potential to set the tone for the culture in your school. Principal Mandy Ellis (@mandyeellis) upped her office game with a classy, fun reboot that creates a welcoming space for all.
3. Read welcome letters to your students.
Most principals send beginning-of-the-year letters to students and families, but principal Claire Giardino (@cgiardino3) took it a step further. In her letter, she included a QR code that can be scanned so kids can hear her read the letter personally. These are the little details that build a great community!
4. Create a Door of Distinction.
5. Build a legacy wall.
6. Decorate the halls (and stairs).
7. Make the first day about school culture.
The beginning of the year is a vital time to set the groundwork for school culture. Principal Greg Moffitt’s (@greg_moffitt) goal is to reframe first day conversations about rules as an opportunity to coach kindness. Rather than diving right into schoolwork, he organizes an assembly to go over how to treat each other. Kids are hearing on day one how to treat each other while they are in school.
8. Throw a block party!
9. Pick up cheap, useful gifts for your staff.
This time of year, it can be cheap and easy to pick up useful things to gift faculty. Middle school counselor Stephanie Filio (@steffschoolcoun) understands that teachers never say no to free office supplies!
You don’t have to make huge gestures to build school culture. Small, thoughtful details can make a big difference. It’s these details that make a school unique and a place where everyone feels like they have agency. Invest in finding a way to welcome teachers, parents, and students back to the building and prepare yourself for an amazing year!
Join the great conversations going on about school leadership in our Facebook groups at Principal Life and High School Principal Life.
Plus, check out our beginning-of-the-year checklist for principals.