After you have taken some well-deserved time to relax this summer, we know you will be eager to jump into planning for next year. This month’s post is full of excellent “Back to School” planning resources for you and for your teachers!
Choose a School-Wide Theme
Start the new year on a positive and uplifting note by creating a theme for your school this year. Use this printable guide to help you decide what theme would best fit the needs of your school community this year. You could even consider recruiting your older students to help choose the theme!
We know many of you rose to the challenge this year and overcame great odds to provide your students with the support they needed to learn and thrive. Now that the school year is coming to a close, it’s time for you to take a quiet moment to yourself to reflect on an unprecedented year. We hope the resources below can help you not only wrap up the year, but also reflect on your successes and your opportunities for growth. Congratulations, you made it!
The Year in Review: Grab some coffee and your favorite pen. Print this document and take some time to process this year and plan for next year!
End of Year Checklist: Download and edit this document to provide to teachers as they close out the year.
Classroom Inventory: Allow teachers to use this document to ensure the inventory in each classroom is accounted for.
We know your teachers and staff have been nothing short of amazing this year. This month’s post aims to give you some new ways to honor their hard work. We also know you are busy making plans for summer learning, so we’ve highlighted a few programs below. Don’t forget to register for the Choice in Education Celebration and make sure that you and your staff sign up for our teacher appreciation giveaway!
Ideas for Teacher Appreciation
Decorate the sidewalk entrance telling the teachers how much they are appreciated.
Have you heard about the Choice in Education Celebration? This celebration is in lieu of our annual Choice in Education Conference. We are throwing a virtual party to close out the school year and show appreciation for our private school leaders, educators, parents and students. This FREE event will be held virtually on May 20th from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. We will hear from Keynote Speaker Gerry Brooks, and giveaway fabulous prizes!
Spring testing season is upon us! We know you are gearing up for your end of year assessments this month. We hope the resources below will make your preparations easier and inspire you to try something new.
Two weeks before testing, ask parents to send a note encouraging their child to do their best on the end of the year assessment. Provide parents and/or family members with the materials to write the letters. Think about sending home fancy paper, envelopes, and make some suggestions of things to say. Give the parents the option to text or record their message, create posters, email their messages or mail in their letters to allow flexibility and creativity. Before you administer the test, give students the message to read or view before they begin.
Attitude is Altitude is a CASEL-aligned social emotional learning curriculum designed for grades K-12. Nick Vujicic, a world-renowned motivational speaker, launched the initiative to help guide and inspire students with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) after experiencing a childhood of hardship due to bullying.
We know you are busy this month with teacher evaluations, observations, and classroom walkthroughs. This post aims to provide you with some quick and easy to implement resources for your classroom walkthroughs! Also, don’t miss the excellent curriculum and culture webinars coming up this month. Learn more and register via the links below!
We know right now administrators are hard at work making the big decisions about next year’s curriculum and resources. Recent research suggests that there is a significantly positive correlation between a knowledge-rich curriculum, effective instructional support in delivering it, and a robust school culture. The Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy has designed numerous resources (and undertaken associated research evaluations) to support a much-needed shift towards this powerfully integrated approach to education. This month, we’d like to share this research and these resources with you as you make the big decisions regarding curriculum and change at your school.
How strong is your school culture?
School culture serves as the foundation for several important domains of school performance. A strong, coherent school culture is linked to…
Favorable civic outcomes such as increased political engagement and higher levels of tolerance.
Favorable academic outcomes such as college enrollment or workforce participation.
The successful implementation of school improvement
Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy has designed a set of tools that address these critical issues from different angles, providing both an evaluation of where schools currently are and a baseline against which to measure continuous improvement.
School Culture 360™ – a school survey instrument that produces an “under the hood” analysis of behaviors and beliefs that influence student success. Cost for schools: $675.
Teacher Surveys on Curriculum Use – survey that creates a full picture of teachers’ use of curriculum materials and their satisfaction level with those materials. Cost for schools: $700.
For information about either of these surveys contact Dr. Carol Macedonia email@example.com.
Looking for rigorous and knowledge-rich curriculum?
The implementation of a knowledge-rich curriculum in grades K-12 is critical to positive academic achievement. Here are a few high quality curriculum programs for your consideration.
Wilson FUNdations: From Wilson Language Training, this foundational and early reading intervention curriculum is designed for students in K-3 grade.
Now more than ever, technology has become a necessity in education! With so many schools using a hybrid approach of in person and online learning, school leaders are under increasing pressure to purchase new technology or upgrade the existing materials. As you begin to work on your school’s budget and look forward to the future technology needs of your school, we hope the resources below can help guide your thinking and planning.
Before You Begin check out this article from ASCD on Stretching Your Technology Dollar. Explore options for outside the box budgeting in this article from ASCD.
Free Training through Step Up for Students (Giveaway Alert!):
Learn about how you can live out your commitment to creating psychologically safe and inclusive spaces. Explore the links below to learn about multiple FREE virtual training opportunities coming up for you and your staff.
All trainings are FREE thanks to support from Step Up For Students and our generous donors.
Foundations of an Inclusive Community (Vanessa Douyon – Promise 54)
Is Your School Anti-Racist? (Vanessa Douyon – Promise 54)
LGBTQ Culturally Competent Best Practices (De Palazzo – Equality Florida)
Click here to learn more about the content of these trainings.
Giveaway Alert! – Register for any of these trainings before December 18, 2020 to be entered into a giveaway for a set of books for a diverse classroom library!
Do your teachers need support facilitating online learning?
You can empower your teachers to engage students and families, improve achievement and create vibrant learning environments through a partnership with Educate LLC.
Educate will provide your teachers, families, and leaders with ongoing support navigating the intersection of technology and instruction. See opportunities for Virtual Coaching and Workshops here. Contact Julie Emory-Johnson for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Technology Conference for Educators:
Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)- January 26 -29, 2021
FETC 2021 will be a fully interactive FREE virtual multi-day conference experience using state-of-the-art technology. Hear from top experts and innovators in education technology, experience AI-based networking, and explore the cutting edge FETC Virtual Expo to see the latest apps, hardware, software, and tech tools to support your teaching in this new era. Click here to learn more!
Looking for a good book over the break?
Check out Natalie Wexler’s book “The Knowledge Gap.” Through the stories of educators, students, and parents, “The Knowledge Gap” dives into the real issues at the heart of what we call the achievement gap. The book zeros in on the importance of building knowledge of the world rather than focusing solely on skills. It’s a deep dive into the heart of reading, literacy, and the disparities in our education system that you won’t want to miss! Click here to learn more!
We know this time of the year is especially stressful for educators. This year more than any other, we know your teachers are juggling a lot. This month’s resources are dedicated to helping administrators support the mental and emotional well-being of their staff members.
For National STEM Day we are giving away a sample of simulated dirt from Mars to one lucky teacher! Experiment with different soil types by growing plants in “dirt” that is similar to the surface of Mars. Click here to enter!
OESE Back-to-School Success Stories (See examples HERE)
The U.S Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), Frank Brogan, have spent the past few months discussing the importance of returning to school. To submit a testimonial about how your school is thriving with your students back in person, please reach out to: email@example.com. Step Up For Students would love to see our schools spotlighted nationally!
5 Questions You Should Consider When Reviewing Your School’s Online Presence
With COVID-19 temporarily moving much of our lives online, now is the perfect time to review your school’s online presence. For many families, the first impression of your school is just a click away. It’s not enough to simply list your school’s mission, vision, and values anymore. Instead, a good online presence will demonstrate the overall philosophy and culture of your school. What does one click reveal about your school?
What is the purpose of your site? Is it a learning hub or hub of school information?
A hub of information- make sure to include easy to update calendars and important dates, downloadable newsletters, photos of activities and celebrations, and links to community resources for parents and families
Learning hub for students- provide password protected links to the school’s e-learning platform as well as links to other resources for students and families to access at home. Find alist of resources here!
Does your website reflect and respect the diversity at your school?
Ask your families how they feel your school is bridging racial, class, and cultural differences. Consider the survey on page 12 ofthis documentfrom the Nebraska Department of Education.
How well does your website foster two-way communication with parents & families?
Make the link to communicate easy to find on your website.
Link your social media pages so that families can follow along with school events and interact in a way that is easy for them.
Ask your parents and families how they feel about your school!
Click hereto find surveys for parents & families, checklists, needs assessments for new families, and more.
Are you staying current with the times?
Given our current national situation, consider how out of touch it might seem to have no mention of virtual learning plans, technology, contingency plans, or virtual communication on your school’s website.
For ideas on what to include in your learning planclick here!
What does your school’s social media say about your culture and philosophy?
Remember to demonstrate your mission, vision, and values. If collaborative learning is important to your mission, reflect this by sharing photos of group science experiments, posting videos from daily classes, or tweeting about the activities of your debate team.
Be sure your images and videos are current and show off what makes your school unique. Stock images and photos from other websites do not have the same effect as snapshots from a day in the life of your students.
Maintain consistent branding between your website and social media sites. Parents looking to learn more about your school should be able to easily identify your school from the matching branding.
For tips on how other administrators are using social media at their schools click here!
Frameworks of Tampa Bay is a nonprofit organization that empowers educators, youth services professionals, and parents and guardians with training, coaching, and research-based resources to equip students with social and emotional skills.Read more about the courses they offer here. For more information please contact:
Saima Qadree- Program Development Officer