(Continued from Previous Post)
The fourth step in making the first day of school a home run is to Engage Your Community. Excitement around the beginning of the year makes this an ideal opportunity to build relationships with people throughout the school and surrounding area. Consider the following suggestions as you craft your design.
Teachers & Staff
Faculty engagement is one of the key metrics for your success as a school designer. Engaged teachers and staff are a distinct advantage for you because they consistently contribute higher levels of performance. They willingly go the extra mile with passion and determination, and they have a unique connection to you and the school's mission. They are the leaders who will innovate in order to move the school forward. Teachers particularly need a structure they can trust on the first day, with a clear vision and consistent execution. Tell them what you're going to do, do it well, then remind them at the end of the day what was accomplished.
If you have a student government association, give the officers meaningful responsibilities on the first day that will help establish their leadership. Involve students in the design process as part of your mentorship, soliciting their ideas and feedback as the plans are made.
Likewise, recognize the valuable contribution your parent leaders can make throughout the year by bringing them into your planning for the first day and then putting them in the right roles to execute your design. Script the path for them with specific expectations and guidelines for performance. They might be greeters, traffic controllers, runners, guides, teachers assistances, etc.
Grandparents can be a valuable resource on the first day, especially to assist parents who may be dropping off their kindergarten student for their first day of school. This is an emotional experience for some parents, so having a more experienced adult there to provide comfort and wisdom may help them adjust and depart the classroom in a more timely manner.
The first day of school is a great time for the school board to see what happens and to support the plans. The role for board members should be aligned with their natural strengths and skills, not just in deferment to the board status. In these opportunities to serve, board members have to remember to "Stay in their lane," performing duties as assigned and avoiding activities that would be inconsistent with proper governance.
Business & Political Leaders
Give these community leaders a chance to give back as well as to see the incredible people and learning experiences happening on your campus. Your school is a Platform for connecting people, and these business and political leaders can be valuable relationships as you pursue some big goals for your school. Creating win-win opportunities like this for them to meet people in the community will foster goodwill for the future.
Hopefully you've been able to glean a few inspiring ideas about the design of your first day of school so that it will be a wonderful experience for everyone. Setting the tone for the year with a well-designed start will help you achieve your goals and build a higher level of trust throughout the program. Remember to Design Your Messages, Script the Day, Train Your People, and Engage Your Community.