The new school year is well underway – and hopefully off to a great start. As the principal of your school, the tone you set in these early days serves as the foundation for the months to come. You have likely already established habits that promote an open and friendly atmosphere where your presence is welcoming and well-received.
While you may be focused on offering help and guidance to your teachers and staff members and showing care and concern for your students’ wellbeing and success, it’s also critical to pay attention to collaboration and learning. This is important not just between faculty members but also between you and your fellow principals.
Here are three tips to help get the collaboration rolling:
Create peer observations for teachers
Teachers are a critical component to your school and student success. They each have a unique set of skills developed from their education and work experiences. There are also individual professional and personal strengths and challenges to be mindful of. Faculty know best what each other faces in the classroom, and so they could offer the most relevant support. Encourage your teachers to visit each other’s classrooms so they can learn from one another. Set up a schedule to ensure this happens regularly and provide a template for them to organize their observations, thoughts and feedback.
Establish a “Site Council” to gather input from various stakeholders
To create an environment where everyone is invested in the success of the school community, it is important to stay in tune with the questions, requests and ideas of your teachers, staff members, parents and students. Engaging with the various stakeholder groups can be complex and time-consuming. However, by creating a “site council” made up of individuals from these individual groups, you’ll establish an accessible resource within your school that can relay important feedback to you. To help this method succeed, it also is critical that you consider the best approach for responding to keep the communication flowing.
Visit other schools to learn new ideas
Schedule a time to visit with principals at other schools. This can help you gain insight into what they are doing that works and what they have tried that didn’t. Talk with teachers and staff members at this principal’s school to uncover ways of supporting students that your team may want to consider. Invite those acquaintances to your school as well. Create a support network for sharing best practices.
Expanding networks within and beyond your school community will further promote an environment that fosters success for everyone – colleagues, teachers, staff and students alike.