Summer Decisions that Destroy a School
Certain decisions made during the summer can destroy a school's culture and potential for growth. Of course they are made with the best of intentions, but the damage can last for years.
How can you protect yourself from these disastrous risks? Let's explore a few of these decisions and some steps you can take to wisely grow over the summer.
No Plan for Summer Enrollment
After graduation is complete and schools is out, admissions strategies have to be adjusted. Everybody's gone, the classrooms are disheveled, facilities improvement projects are underway, and the list goes on.
If your school relies on summer enrollment to reach the budget goals for the upcoming year, then failing to plan for these inevitable challenges will kill your momentum.
While everyone else may be gone during the summer months, those responsible for admissions continue the daily disciplines of generating and following up with inquiries, hosting tours, seeking and evaluating applications, etc. Your summer enrollment plan should include how to:
- Analyze Your Data to learn from last year and make adjustment to enrollment management and other school-wide processes to grow more effectively.
- Energize Your Base by building engagement with faculty and family ambassadors.
- Plan Summer Schedules so that you can professionally respond to inquiries and provide the best possible experience even though you're operating with limited resources.
- Adjust Tour Routes and Testing based on campus events, projects, and availability.
Last Minute Hiring
The #1 responsibility of every school administrator is to build a team of talented, energized, engaged educators and then create a culture in which they can thrive. Unfortunately, some of the worst leadership decisions are made in the urgency of last minute hiring towards the end of the summer.
Filing the remaining open positions is critical because school starts soon, so compromises are made in order to get ready.
It reminds me of the kickball teams during recess, where all of the best players have been chosen, so now the captains have to choose among who is left.
Only this is not a game!
Personnel decisions are THE MOST IMPORTANT responsibility of a school leader because they directly impact the trajectory of a child's life. Allowing fear to drive how faculty are hired very often destroys faculty quality and engagement.
You can avoid this trap by remaining diligent and courageous in continuing to build your network of highly qualified educators and delaying a hiring decision that you know doesn't fully align with your:
No Compromise on Talent!
Poor onboarding of new faculty and families
How you onboard new faculty and families over the summer sets the tone for the year. This isn't the same as "orientation." Onboarding means integrating them into the culture and relationships of the school. It includes helping them understand your cultural norms, where and who to go to about important questions, and helping them fully engage with your community.The summer months can feel disconnected for new people if you don't take the time to:
- Create a Powerful Series of Experiences
You’ve invested heavily in recruiting your new employees and students, so it just makes sense to invest the time to plan their path to engagement with intentional moments that motivate them as raving fans.
- Connect them with a Mentor
Providing a mentor will enable them to learn from people who are joyfully engaged with your school and will help them build valuable relationships.
- Equip them with Resources
The onboarding process should last the entire first year, and include training and other resources to resolve questions and conflicts. Use a mixture of online and live methods to build understanding and trust.
As you can see, decisions made during the summer often have unintended consequences that do real damage to your school's organizational health and leadership capacity. You can easily avoid these dangers by developing an explicit summer enrollment plan, remaining diligent with hiring standards, and intentionally onboarding new faculty and families to maximize engagement.