It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This is the time of the year when you can make your wishes, and many of them can come true. Here are the 12 things I have on my wish list.
Wish #1 Charter School Alliance – The alliance among charter schools needs to continue. They have a common goal to receive equal funding from IPS, but I hope they find other common goals. I want to see goals like academic achievement, teacher development, recruitment and retention, and equal salary scales.
Wish #2 Finish What You Started – I hope we do not have a max exodus of teachers during the winter break. The #1 way to ruin winter break is to get an email from a teacher that says they are resigning. Finding a replacement is virtually only possible after students return in January.
Wish #3 Holiday Bonus – I hope all schools provide their staff with a little extra holiday bonus going into the break. One of the best gifts is a little extra on the paycheck as a thank-you for making it to this point in the year.
Wish #4- Take a Break – I want all educators to use this winter break to rest and relax. The second semester begins the testing season. It is important to be refreshed for the second semester by getting some rest.
Wish #5- Celebrate Good Times – Before schools send students off for a two-week break, I hope they celebrate the completion of the first semester. Celebrating students for all their hard work during first semester is important.
Wish #6- All Students Return – One thing I worry about over the break is that all my students will return. It is two weeks long, and you hope your students all return in January. In my 12 years, I have lost four students over the winter break. Two died in car accidents, and two were killed.
Wish #7 Go from Within – I hope that when schools return that in addition to outsourcing professional development, you allow teachers from your building to lead out on development. This will go a long way with building capacity and getting buy as you return from break.
Wish #8 Stay the Course – I want schools to stay the course unless you absolutely must make a change. Whatever the goals and focus were in August, keep those goals for January. While it is a new semester, there is a better time to scrap what you did during first semester. Avoid starting brand-new initiatives during second semester. Stay the course because you could be close to a breakthrough.
Wish #9 Celebrate Again – The break is over, and students are back. What better way to kick off the second semester than with a celebration? This celebration can highlight semester one accomplishments such as attendance, academic achievement, and character awards. The celebration can also preview what is coming up in second semester..
Wish #10 Education Outside the School Walls – I want to see more schools take students on field trips. In the years after COVID, field trips have gone by the wayside. Field trips can be both educational and fun experiences for students. Places like the zoo, children’s museum, and plays are things many kids will only experience with their school.
Wish #11 Start Sooner Rather Than Later – If your school does test preparation, I recommend beginning in early January instead of early March. Hopefully, your school has some assessment that provides current updates on where students are. I also hope your school has been adjusting teachers to provide students with the support they need based on data.
Wish #12 Unsung Heroes – A lot of attention is paid to the teachers and the leaders in a school building. While they both are heroes, there are other heroes in the building who are left out of recognition, but they are invaluable to the success of schools. The first is the front office staff. They are the first line of defense for angry parents, new enrolment, potential families leaving, and district/network mandates. The next is the cleaning crew. They do the dirty work of the building to ensure it is presentable. The cafeteria crew is the next group of unsung heroes. They provide a break, lunch, and snacks. They often do this work while short-staffed and need help getting a thank you for anyone in the building. They may not have a dedicated week or month, but schools should be dedicated to a week of the school year to celebrate and highlight these unsung heroes.