The beginning of school means many things to different people. To students it can mean getting to see your friends again, but it also means getting up early and having homework. It means getting a break from their kids, but also having an empty nest feeling for parents. It means getting a fresh group of students, but also ending your summer vacation for teachers. For school principals, however, it can be the more stressful time of the year, particularly if you are not prepared. Being prepared is multi-faceted and there are several steps to make sure the school year gets off to a smooth start. The following tips are meant to help a principal start the school year on the right foot. There is no such thing as a summer vacation. Contrary to popular believe, principals do not have the same break that teachers have. It is not the entire summer although principals do have some vacation time. The day the previous school year ends, a outstanding principal will begin preparing for the next year. There is a lot more time to prepare for the upcoming year but without students and teachers in the building, there is some day to day duties that a principal will have over the summer.

Tips for principals

The job of the principal is never dome whether it is reviewing data from the previous year or hiring new teachers. There is a lot that goes into starting a new year. Each second that you can find to prepare for that start will only make it easier on you. Don’t be afraid to make and implement sweeping changes. The great thing about having a summer break is that when you start back to school it is essentially a fresh start with new expectations. You always have that fresh start to make changes to fix any area where you had some issues the previous year, no matter how the previous year went. Don’t be afraid to make substantial changes in your school whether it is a curriculum change, a teaching change, a policy change or for some other much needed change. It is okay to shake things up. Being stale creates mediocrity and a mediocre school does not breed success. Making significant changes is not easy. There will be resistance from parents, students, and teachers. Most people will gradually warm to these changes once they see the large picture, but if you feel it will make your school better, go for it. Spend time talking to your superintendent and other administrators. It is essential that you are always on the same page as your superintendent as well other administrators in your building. It can also be beneficial to build relationships with administrators in other districts. They can give you their perspective on issues you might be dealing with without any bias to the situation. Seek their advice and run ideas you have by them.  Communicate with your faculty and staff. It is essential that you kick the year off being on the same page with your faculty and staff.