3 Crucial Ways to Launch the New School Year

Steve Smaller (1 of 1)1. The Value of Values

 Roy Disney said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”  This quote has special relevance for school administrators who make hundreds of decisions during the school year; many of them significant to the lives of those they supervise.  But aside from decision making, values, if shared throughout the school and community serve to give people the sense that they are part of something special.  So, the start of a new  school year is a great time to remind your staff of your school’s core values and how each day it is imperative to live these values; in their interactions with students, each other and parents.

2. Respect is the Glue . . .

that holds it all together.  The trick is act as the “boss” while also honoring the humanity of your staff.  We all need to feel a sense of control over our lives.  This feeling does not stop at the school’s door step.  Staff members should at the very least be consulted, if a decision has an impact upon them.  They may not agree with your decision, but at least they’ll feel valued and more likely to accept it.

The start of the new year is also a good time to visit with teachers individually while they are planning their first few lesson plans. All relationships need frequent attention and showing personal interest in your staff is a great way to demonstrate that you care about them as people.

3.  Going Where?

*  So what are your key goals for the coming year?
*  Do you have specific plans for achieving these goals?
*  Who will be involved in this planning and are the roles defined?
*  How will you know if you have met your goals?
*  Will you know why you did, or did not meet the goals?



19 thoughts on “3 Crucial Ways to Launch the New School Year

    • Thanks, Nicole. My hope is that the post serves as a catalyst for thinking about what is most important to communicate to staff at their first faculty meeting of the new school year.



  1. Great article Steve. Very practical advice for any school leader within the first month of school. Thanks for taking the time to share!


    • Thanks, George. I am glad that you found this post practical. The purpose of the blog is to provide information that is useful and/or stimulate thinking about school improvement. Thanks, again. Steve


  2. This is great! It is all about the relationships and the shared core values! I am looking forward to reading more and sharing your Blog! Glad that you were my mentor when I came to NJ!


  3. Steve,
    I enjoyed reading this blog entry. PD is something that you effectively implemented because you engaged the staff and provided us time to “leave our islands” in order to conduct teacher visits. This is very important to the work teachers do. Now, as a principal, my goal is to continue to look for ways to differentiate PD opportunities for the staff.


  4. Differentiating PD is important because it targets teacher needs; whether self-identified or by a supervisor. It also helps to make PD relevant to teachers.


    • I know top down is necessary but I am not sure those making decisions actually understand challenges or ramifications of each.

      Kevin J. King
      Principal – Newtown Elementary School
      215 944-2206
      Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.
      Gever Tully


    • If top down gets to the point where those at the school level feel constrained to the point where they have no authority to act, that is a real problem. Certainly, not a good way to build commitment to the district or be effective in moving forward.


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