Pay Theory Blog
June 16, 2022

3 Summer Planning Secrets for School Leaders

While most teachers can use summer as a well-earned break from the classroom, for administrators, this can be the most demanding time of the year. June, July, and August mark a planning period that is essential to a successful school year.

From wrapping up the previous school year, managing summer activities, and preparing for the fall, school leaders are slammed. Below are three ways that administrators can stay on top of the summer planning process.

Talk to Your Community

Often, school administrators look to state-testing data to make important decisions about the coming year. However, in addition to “hard” test score data one of the most important things administrators can do is collect “soft” information: this means talking to your community.

One great way to do this is to connect with the PTA. You can make the most of your summer by getting to know the most involved members and sharing your vision, so their group can work effectively with your school.

Another valuable way to receive input is to survey your teachers and students. A focus group or anonymous survey is an excellent way to collect data and locate the pain points within your district.

Finally, look to other districts: if another school has succeeded in an area that you would like to improve, reach out and schedule an informational interview with their administrators to learn how they did it. Once you’ve heard your community’s motivators and stressors, you can better plan a successful school year.  

Reassess the Budget

School treasurers are likely organizing the budget for the new school year throughout the summer. Now is the perfect time to make sure your school's budget and financial tools are ready to support it.

Is your payment platform inclusive for all students? Is your district meeting all of its financial goals? Is there anything you could implement to lessen the stress for families? Moving forward, make sure to keep an eye out for grants and funding sources. Some of these must be reviewed and renewed each school year.

Follow SMART Goals

A common reason for school districts falling short of their goals is a lack of consensus on what success looks like. SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) can help.  SMART goals clearly define objectives to all stakeholders, and help ensure they’re completed within the specified time frame.

For example, a smart goal might look like this: Our goal is to provide more inclusive payments for families by January 2023. Our district will accomplish this goal by [list of steps taken to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will benefit our district by being financially inclusive to provide our students with as many opportunities as possible to further their education.

Working through each component of a SMART goal will help reveal instances where priorities and resources are out of alignment. This goal-setting method will help prioritize your workload and ensure that nothing is overlooked in the process.