The first day of school causes anxiety for a large percentage of students, parents, and teachers. What steps can you take to turn this into a memorable experience that deepens their connections with each other and the shared vision of the school?
Step 3: Train Your People
Specifically training all school employees and volunteers demonstrates your commitment to the quality of the school year launch. You are investing in the consistency of the program, giving everyone a sense of connection with the overall vision. The engagement you can achieve with your faculty, staff, parents, etc., will build loyalty and give them greater confidence as they play their part.
As you craft your training program, consider these tips to make the first day of school a home run.
As you assign roles and responsibilities, especially for volunteers, understand the strengths of each person and put them in the best situation to be successful. For your parking lot and front door greeters, as an example, choose people who have a naturally friendly disposition and a smiling face. Those less blessed with the gift of hospitality should be given a role that doesn't require as much initial people interaction.
Be aware of any prejudices, preparing your teams with frank discussions about how to be conscious of these issues and how to respond appropriately. Encourage them to develop an attitude of grace that refuses to see people, especially students, through the mistakes of yesteryear. Everyone should benefit from the chance to make a fresh start.
Set specific goals and communicate clear expectations. Use simple, everyday language rather than "school talk." Training content is most effective when it is geared toward the participants rather than the administration. Avoid being too technical and getting into excessive details. Dig deep for questions recognizing that few adults will want to admit lack of understanding.
Deliver the Messages
Having designed your messages (Step 1), create easy ways for your people to memorize them. Rhymes, songs, acronyms, and stories are effective in building consistency in the communications being shared by your employees and volunteers. Make it fun and they'll share your messages with enthusiasm.
Share the Script
Finally, share your script (Step 2) for the day, letting your people in on the bigger picture. Remind them of the higher goals you are collectively pursuing, encouraging them to make decisions in light of these impactful results. Use a multimedia approach that includes social media to keep them posted on any changes to the script, and provide updates to them on the progress throughout the day.
Constantly look for ways to keep your teams engaged and build trust!