By Jane Rogers, IPLI Mentor and Superintendent of Milan Community School Corporation
Oftentimes we hear the importance of the fourth “R” in schools – that is relationships. This time of year, when we become consumed with testing, future planning, and the many daily duties that fall upon the principal, we may forget the importance of relationships with our students and staff. Continuing to build upon the good relationships that we have established is always a priority, and can be the most rewarding part of a principal’s day.
Take some time to think about how you’ve connected with kids. Are you keeping the habits set forth at the beginning of the year? Times like morning arrival, recess at elementary school, and dismissal are prime opportunities for quick conversations. Lunch time offers a valuable moment to check in on the hot news at your school or to follow-up with a student from a previous conversation. One successful principal I know offers daily hugs or high-fives at the end of each day. What’s your go-to? Has it gone away during the business of your day?
Remember, you are part of a talented team. Check in with teachers and counselors periodically to be sure they are also making time for connections. These folks forge deep relationships with students and their families. They need support, too. This is a great time of year for a staff pick-me-up, which can be as simple as a jeans day, treats in the lounge, or a well-deserved compliment to an individual.
Every school offers a variety of engaging activities for students. Are your students joining in? Some may need encouragement. Students and families alike enjoy seeing their principal at events supporting their efforts. If you’d like to see your school offer something more for students, create a team of your staff to brainstorm ideas. With a focus of finding positive, meaningful interactions for each student every day, the principal can lead efforts to foster a caring culture in a safe school environment.