What does a successful school year look like? For many schools, it means keeping the district’s families at the forefront. Top school districts around the country agree that the following three practices are crucial to nurturing student growth.
A key part of creating a nurturing academic environment is connecting the board on common goals that put students first. Secretaries are often the first face families see when they walk in the door, so emphasizing a commitment to positivity and active listening is crucial. Every step in district planning, big and small, has a large impact on student success.
Many successful day-to-day operations can be credited to daily staff for putting out fires with full attention. They help students with a range of requests: from a call home, to counseling appointments, to being redirected in case of a playground injury. A consistent and collective effort by all school staff goes a long way into creating an empowering environment for learning.
School leadership encompasses a plethora of tasks including “school improvement plans, state assessments, district initiatives, and free and reduced-price lunch data.” School leaders who are more hands-on in the hallways, classrooms, and cafeteria can gain more first-hand experience, better understand both students and teachers, and more quickly identify opportunities for improvement.
Expanding knowledge bases includes more than empowering school leadership: it also means gleaning information from long-time school employees, student leaders, and identifying which extracurriculars are significant to students. Making an effort to receive information from the inside will also create a stronger foundation for internal evaluations.
Finally, make use of data held by school secretaries. Consider using supplemental resources based on parent portal click-through rates, student feedback, or even mumblings of conversations right outside the office!
Norman Kunc, a well known educator and disability-rights advocate, believed: “When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that children have to become ‘normal’ in order to contribute to the world. We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community… providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging.”
Every student comes from a different background and family, affecting how they view their potential to succeed. Extending opportunities for all children to reach their potential, by creating a culture of acceptance and diversity, is instrumental to creative positive district-wide impact.
Consider creating options for all families to get involved in school events to foster a stronger bond between community participation and student motivation.