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 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Now more than ever, it is important for schools to be ready to address the emotional needs of students during these unprecedented times. This month’s collection of trauma-informed resources for administrators will help you get a head start on supporting students’ needs in the fall.
There are a lot of safety concerns to consider when going back to school in the Fall, especially in our current battle with the COVID-19 Pandemic. This month’s resources aim to help administrators check & prep their Emergency Action Plans, both for the COVID-19 concerns and school wide safety in general.
AVID is a national non-profit that delivers professional learning to more than 85,000 educators each year so they can close the gap and prepare all students. Attend AVID Discover as a non-AVID school for just the cost of registration. Cost for this program can be covered by ESSER funding through your district, the Private School Stabilization funds (more info to come on this from Step Up), Title II, Part A or Title IV, Part A. Learn effective AVID online teaching methods that will also transfer to the face to face classroom setting.
Conscious Discipline Core is a series of online professional learning sessions divided into three key areas of focus: Safety, Connection and Problem-Solving. These core sessions create a strong foundation in the basic skills, powers and structures necessary to handle the unique challenges of schooling in a COVID-19 age. Participants can select the age-specific grades they teach to focus on, and there is also a track designed for Administrators, Specials (e.g. Music, Physical Education or Art) or Special Needs.
This year more than ever it is important to reflect on the year, celebrate your efforts, and let go of a very turbulent year. We’ve created a document to help you process the past school year and look ahead to a new and fresh start in 2020-21.
Trauma-Informed Instruction: Many of our students will come back to us next year after having experienced rough situations at home. Check out the Trauma-Informed Instruction resources below to see how you can plan for students’ needs next year.