New Year's Resolutions... For Administrators

January 9, 2017

Social learning
Culturally responsive education

“Go to the gym more often!” “Read 10 books!” “Volunteer once per month!”

What’s your 2017 New Year’s Resolution? We asked some of our friends—thought leaders, Principals, Instructional Designers, and other administrators—what their “Admin” New Year’s Resolutions are, and we’re kicking off this year with their suggestions.

“Visit every classroom at least once every two weeks.”  ~ Andrew

Hands-down, this was the most common response from our friends. Justin Baeder (@eduleadership), the voice behind the Principle Center, lays out a way to schedule time to get into classrooms. He says the trick is “to be focused in what we’re looking for, and what feedback we provide” in order to get into as many classrooms as possible. Don’t stop there: maybe this year, you implement a system where more teachers can observe each other.



“Provide authentic feedback to each teacher on a regular basis.” ~ Aaron

It’s necessary to have “frank and open conversations about where we are, what’s working and what’s not working.” Of course, these conversations are facilitated through a rapport and trust that takes time to build, and implementing a culture of feedback can take time. What if you made 2017 the year of facilitating feedback? Check out this article on different styles of feedback (from Mad Libs to Stop/Keep/Start), and consider asking your team what model they’d like to try.

“Communicate more with parents...and connect with the larger educational community as a whole.” ~ Steve

Maybe this resolution takes shape in a once-per-month blog post (no more than 300 words!) or simply increasing your visibility. Kaye recommends small changes to maximize your availability to parents: “At the end of an event, position yourself by the exit. You will be surprised at how many parents will appreciate your availability and will stop to tell you many positive things about your staff and the school.” Another simple way to make sure good work (and easy parents) don’t go unnoticed is to send one quick email at the end of each day to a parent/guardian, letting them know a positive thing you noticed in their student.

“Stay committed to initiatives already in place, and think twice about creating new ones.” ~ Joel

Sometimes the most powerful thing to do is stay the course. This year, streamline your team’s Professional Development initiatives, pruning out practices that aren’t delivering results and re-visiting simpler ideas. Remember that Teachers are Learners, and implement PD goals that treat them as such. And don’t forget about your own growth, even if it’s just a weekly podcast on your drive home.

And that brings us to our final resolution: “Celebrate. Regularly and authentically celebrate.”

Celebrate the work of your staff, the progress of your students, the volume of the lunchroom on a particularly calm day. You will be in good company.