What Principals and Teachers to Do Before School Begins

Before School Begins
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It is a common misconception that teachers and principals have the 2-3 months off that students do during the summer. In reality, most teachers and principals spend a large part of the summer preparing for the next year. There are many things that teachers and principals do before school begins.  Summertime ushers in new beginnings and provides a natural segue into the next school year. It provides an opportunity for evaluation and change.

Teachers and principals utilize much of their time during the summer to refresh, revamp and retool so that they have a successful year ahead of them.

20 Things Teachers Do Before School Begins

  1. Teachers do take some time off. We go on vacation, hang out with our family, catch up on projects around the house, and get some must needed rest and relaxation.

  2. Teachers spend time attending professional development workshops and conferences geared towards refreshing or improving our skills.

  3. Teachers volunteer to sit on committees related to standards, testing, and other areas that will affect their classroom directly. Sitting on these committees provides them with an opportunity to have a direct influence on what they teach and gives them valuable insight into the process.

  4. Teachers read literature and research related to education so that we stay up-to-date with the latest educational trends.

  5. Teachers study their curriculum to ensure that they are content experts capable of teaching their students what they need to know.

  1. Teachers conduct alignment studies in which they take the standards they are required to teach and cross reference them with the curriculum their district provides to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current curriculum when compared to the required standards.

  2. Teachers clean their classrooms. They sanitize and scrub everything including the floors. They want to make sure they start the new year germ-free.

  1. Teachers reorganize their classrooms. They tinker with desk placement, clean out cabinets, and rearrange everything so that space is maximized.

  2. Teachers create new lesson plans for the next year. They spend hours creating engaging lesson plans that will grab each student’s attention while providing them with the content they need.

  3. Teachers refresh their bulletin boards and classroom decor coming up with new themes and designs that are fun, imaginative, and will peak their student’s interest.

  4. Teachers evaluate everything that happened the previous year and create a targeted plan to improve specific areas that they believe should be changed.

  5. Teachers evaluate and purchase supplemental materials that they believe would bring value to their classrooms.

  6. Teachers make several weeks’ worth of copies before school starts so that they do not have to worry about taking the time to do it before school starts.

  7. Teachers solicit donations or write mini-grants so that they are able to purchase materials and resources that they believe will enhance learning in their classroom.

  8. Teachers meet with other teachers on their team to coordinate thematic units, make plans for the year, and to discuss changes they want to make.

  1. Teachers evaluate their classroom rules, expectations, and procedures and determine changes they need to make, how they will introduce them, and establish a plan for putting them into practice.

  2. Teachers meet with administrators to provide their unique insight into things that could be done to improve the school before the new year begins.

  3. Teachers understand that the first few days of school will set the tone for the new year. In accordance, they carefully plan and organize the first few days to ensure that every student understands the expectations and knows what will happen if those expectations are not met.

  4. Teachers write a letter, send an email, or make a brief phone call to the parents of the students they will be teaching introducing themselves and letting them know what they can expect from them as a teacher.

  1. Teachers look at scheduling field trips and assess potential fundraisers for the upcoming school year.

20 Things Principals Do Before School Begins

  1. Principals place ads, evaluate resumes, conduct interviews, and recommend the hiring of new teachers and staff members for the upcoming year.

  2. Principals meet with teachers, solicit feedback, and evaluate changes that will improve the school for the following year.

  3. Principals meet with parents, solicit feedback, and evaluate changes that will improve the school for the following year.

  4. Principals attend professional development, conferences, and seminars that help them grow and improve.

  5. Principals do take some time off. We go on vacation, hang out with our family, catch up on projects around the house, and get some must needed rest and relaxation.

  6. Principals ensure that curriculum materials and classroom supplies have been ordered for the upcoming year.  We often help with distributing these when they come in.

  7. Principals meet with and provide tours of the school for families who have moved or transferred to the district and will be starting the school the next year.

  8. Principals help create the class schedule and duty schedules for the upcoming year.

  9. Principals are involved with scheduling professional development for the upcoming year by looking a needs assessments and state requirements.

  10. Principals create an observation and evaluation schedule for the upcoming year to ensure that they have the time to conduct them before the deadline sneaks on them.

  11. Principals evaluate all forms of data including testing, student discipline, and attendance to help determine where potential changes need to be made. 

  12. Principals put together back-to-school letters and events for teachers, parents, and students to welcome them to the beginning of a new year.

  13. Principals meet with newly hired teachers, go over district expectations and procedures, answer questions, provide keys, and help get them set up so they can begin preparing for the upcoming year.

  14. Principals take the funding they are provided and create a prioritized budget to meet the unique needs of their building.

  1. Principals evaluate their student handbook and make recommendations for changes they believe will strengthen their school.

  2. Principals complete state reports that are due at various times throughout the summer.

  3. Principals meet with athletic directors and coaches to discuss scheduling, to evaluate the state of the program, to set goals for the upcoming seasons.

  4. Principals evaluate all extra-curricular programs and sponsors to ensure that each program is fulfilling its intended purpose and has a sponsor who is fulfilling their duties.

  5. Principals regularly collaborate with the superintendent to discuss the state of their building, the direction they are going, and ideas for changes to improve what they are doing.

  6. Principals establish a list of administrative directives and priorities for the upcoming school year to share with the teachers when they return to school.