School’s Out

Jun 3, 2017 by

Wrap it up, take a break and prepare.

Summer for Leaders

Summer is upon us.  The children are either anxiously awaiting the final day of the school year or have already vacated the classroom, leaving the faculty, staff and administration to pick up the pieces and prepare for the next school year. As much as we may want to make our own retreat for rest and recuperation, the demands of school leadership require us to insure that summer programing is functional, issues from the previous year are resolved and the school is prepared for the upcoming academic year.  A little online research reveals several tips and checklists to guide school administrators through an effective summer. The internet is replete with checklists. Unfortunately, a school principal might be prepared for the first day in mid-December if they attempt to undertake the cornucopia of tasks detailed on these lists.  The following topics are intended to guide school administrators as they prioritize those multifaceted tasks.

Prepare for Summer

Most schools continue to serve students and the community through the summer months.  Although the hours and population may be reduced, students and other stakeholders will continue to utilize the facility and other school resources.  Summer school, driving courses, athletic practices, summer camps, and summer lunch programs are just a few of the ways schools serve the community. School leaders accommodate and facilitate these activities whenever possible.  Make certain that clear communication has been established among all professionals regarding the summer activities.  Plan ahead to establish personnel needs and to resolve facility use conflicts. The end of the school year will certainly present challenges, so it is crucial to thoroughly plan and prepare for your school’s summer activities.  A seamless transition from the regular school year to a summer calendar is achievable with good planning and communication

Finish the Year

Thorough preparation for summer activities allows school leaders to concentrate on wrapping up the regular academic year and resolving the unforeseen issues that always seem to accompany the season.  School leaders are charged with concluding the school year for both students and personnel. For students, that could mean mundane tasks like grade postings or more serious concerns like retention decisions.  For staff and faculty, the school leader will likely need to address end of year evaluations, possible terminations due to budget cuts and training in the latest education trend.  The end of the school year is a trying time for school administrators, but it marks the resolution of many variables and the transition to a fresh, new year.

It is Almost Over Before it Begins

An effective school administrator is preparing for the first day of the new school year long before the last day of the previous year.  Larger issues like personnel needs, plant management and regulatory compliance require continuous foresight and planning.  When the doors are opened on the first day of school, a school should be at its best.  That means the school is physically ready to accommodate students.  It means the school is fully staffed and the image presented to the school community reflects the school’s vision and community standards. Preparing for the first day of school is one of the most important tasks faced by school administrators.  The overall performance of a school on day one will affect the culture of the school for the duration of the year.

Shape Shifting

As demanding as the summer can be for school leaders, it is important to make time for their own recuperation and development.  Even if an administrator is able to take vacation time during the course of the school year, it is important that they take time for themselves during traditional breaks.  Make time for some home life over the summer.  Take a long weekend if you can’t take a proper vacation.  Attend a professional development conference to get away from the demands of your school or home. Pick up a great read and indulge in a summer reading list, even if you get through the first ten pages.  Summertime is traditionally a time for principals and other school leaders to begin anew.  New curriculum is introduced, the floors are waxed and new paint is applied wherever needed.  Make sure students, staff and faculty are greeted by a bright and shiny administrator to match their bright and shiny school.

Keywords: school principal, summer reading list, summer school

Comment Below: On what summertime means for your school or school district.


Huffington Post. (2017). Summer Reading Lists. Retrieved from:

Meador, D. (2014). End of the School Year Checklist for Principals. Retrieved from:

Meador, D. (2016). What Principals and Teachers Do Before School Begins. Retrieved from:

Harvard University School of Education. (2017). The Principals’ Center. Retrieved from:

Summer Programs at DMPS. (2017). Retrieved from:

Wallace Foundation. (2017). Five Key Responsibilities – The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from The Wallace Foundation:

Wong, Harry. (2017). Preparing for the first day of school. Mountain View, California: Harry Wong Publications. Retrieved from:

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