New Semester’s Resolutions
As a school person, the New Year starts in September, right after Labor Day. The other New Year, the one celebrated by everyone else in January, is just a few weeks shy of the end of the first semester, which is usually a time to consider what’s working and what isn’t. School administration is all about strategic planning.
So January is a good time to think about these top issues:
1) How are those new hires working out? Have you been in to see them? Have you talked with their mentors? Are you optimistic about their having a successful year or do you need to start monitoring progress?
2) What about the folks who are eligible for retirement next June? Are any of them retired on active duty already? Do you need to talk with any of them about their future plans?
3) State tests will be approaching before you know it. Have teachers looked over the data from last year and adjusted curriculum accordingly? It’s still not too late to do that, but if you don’t, you can expect pretty much what you got the year before and the year before that.
4) If you’re a high school administrator, have you been monitoring the kids at risk of dropping out? How about the kids who should graduate in June? Are the counselors on top of the credits they’ll need for graduation? Are they working with kids who are applying early admission?
5) If you’re an elementary administrator, have any teachers already decided which kids they’re going to recommend for retention? This is good information for you to have so that you can intervene on behalf of the kids. (A veteran first grade teacher once told me that she could tell after two weeks of school which children would have to be retained.) You may need to protect some kids from a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The second semester is the time to stay or correct the course, and it’s important that we just don’t just turn the corner and keep on keeping on.