A new year is upon us. For many, that means New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps you resolved to spend more time with family, to take that long-desired vacation, to exercise, or to eat healthier. As you reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next, don’t forget to make resolutions for your school, too.
New (School) Year Resolutions
Schools commonly set goals for an academic year. The mid-way point that comes with a new calendar year provides a natural time to reflect on your accomplishments toward meeting this year’s academic goals, make any necessary adjustments, and start thinking about new resolutions for your school. At their core, New Year’s Resolutions, are nothing more than goals. How you set those goals is critical to their success. Just as you set SMART goals for your students, set SMART goals for your school.
Resolutions for Students
Start by thinking about your students. What goals do you have for them in the coming year? Perhaps there are specific learning outcomes you want to see. Perhaps you want to boost student enrollment. Or perhaps you want to focus on student mental health and character development. Set specific goals and plan how you and your staff will meet those goals.
Resolutions for Families
Of course, you can’t set specific resolutions for your school’s families, but you can set goals for how you and your staff will recruit, retain, and engage families. Research tells us clearly that strategic family engagement in schools increases student outcomes, boosts retention, and can even impact enrollment positively. How will you work to engage families in the coming year? Perhaps you’ll ask some parents to serve as Family Ambassadors. Maybe you’ll create a more robust family network or staff network to help families connect with each other and teachers more efficiently. As you set specific goals, plan with families and staff to identify the steps to engage families.
Resolutions for Your School Staff
In the last year, schools across the nation experienced teacher shortages. In some areas, like special education, those shortages only exacerbated an existing staffing crisis. Recruiting and retaining high-quality staff must be a priority for all school leaders. Consider your school’s specific talent pool and needs. What goals will you set for your school staff in the coming year? Perhaps you need to recruit more teachers. Perhaps you want to improve the overall morale of your current staff. Maybe you have teachers or other school staff who went above and beyond in the previous year that you want to recognize and acknowledge. You may even plan to take some of the load off of staff by creating an AI (artificial intelligence) chat feature on your school website to minimize the countless phone calls. Once again, set specific goals and plan how you and your staff will meet those goals.
Educators are familiar with the concept of progress monitoring. As you set resolutions for your school and reflect on the past year, you are essentially conducting progress monitoring on this year’s goals. Look at the data, and consider the activities and approaches already taken. Then plan with these new goals in mind including how you will monitor progress along the way and the support you need to accomplish those goals. Plan to make this year the best ever.