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4 Ways to Finish Strong Despite End of Year Roadblocks

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Strategies to Keep Staff and Students Engaged Despite End-of-Year Obstacles

The weather is warmer and the days are longer. Although the beauty outside is amazing, inside of the school building we can often see fatigue and disengagement not only among our students but unfortunately in our staff as well. Some call it “March Tired”. As educators we are committed to the success of our students, and as administrators and supervisors we are committed to creating the conditions for our staff to be successful in their instruction. We aim to finish strong where we not only engage our students, but teach them to be critical learners until the last day of school and beyond.

We are up against many factors as the school year winds down…school assemblies and concerts, testing, scheduling for the next school year, misbehavior, student conflicts and end of year deadlines to name a few. But how do we continue to engage our school community, specifically our staff members, in spite of these end of year roadblocks? Here are four activities you can implement in the last month or two of the school year:

  1. Get Corny: We have all been around that pep-talking cheerleader that made us feel amazing about an event or everyday happening. Start an end of year tradition with a corny announcement…maybe on Mondays to set the week off right. It could be a “joke of the day”, silly contest, special day (as I write this article, it is “National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day) or even just a funny fact perhaps based on a topic that a grade level is learning about. Consider inviting a teacher or student to make the silly announcement. And remember, the cornier the better!

  2. State the Facts: Consider displaying a daily quote at your sign in or sending a daily email with quotes/slides about the end of the school year. It’s a positive visual reminder that it’s okay to have an internal countdown and still continue teaching rigorous content. Start here for some fun daily quotes about the end of the school year.

  3. Be Visible: Be honest with yourself. The end of the year is tough for school leaders too. The year is winding down, you are attending many night events and you are faced with scheduling and student placement all at the same time let alone your own personal and family commitments. Set a different time each day to do a walk through to see the amazing things happening…science labs, student presentations, one on one student teacher conferences (which is where the magic happens) and student end of year self evaluations. Being there to witness the good things reminds the staff that as the instructional leader, you are supporting their efforts with genuine interest.

  4. Send a Love Note: After a walk through or walk around in the building, send a personal note, email okay, that speaks to the short time you spent with the person. The difference here is that you end with a loving compliment…”I appreciate you”, “You are important to our school”, “Watching you with our students is heartwarming”. It’s okay to add an appropriate heartfelt sentiment even in a professional setting.

Remember that one of the wonderful aspects of education is the change we experience each year with new faces and new possibilities. We are lucky to experience this sense of renewal unlike any other industries. This is exactly the reason we have longevity in education. Not only is the beginning of the year exciting, we can make the end of the school year just as engaging. Celebrate the end of year by finishing strong!

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