To Do or Not to Do? Making and Prioritizing Beginning of the Year To-Do’s!

Beginning of the Year To-Do’s….

I’m entering my twelfth year in eduction and I take pride in (and have to laugh at) the organizational behaviors that have stuck with me over the years.  I try to be as digital as I can with EVERYTHING I do, but there’s just something comfortable about an old-fashioned to-do list.  I made one my first year as a teacher and I’m making one entering my seventh as a principal.  Mine this year, as compared to the last five, is longer than ever.  The reason for the extra length with my to-do list (four-pages long with 14 point font; see picture) might be a part of the transition to a new school.  The length may also be due to the fact that I’m always adding new ideas/processes to starting a year with staff and students.  I’m an effective adder but struggler as a subtracter.  I need to get better at prioritizing or sharing the load in the future, no doubt.

Taped together for dramatic effect

Taped together for dramatic effect

Here’s my to-do list for the start of the new year.  As of today, I have two items checked off.  One took five minutes to complete; the other took 45 minutes.  I’d like to see yours if you’re willing to share.  I’d also be interested in learning how you prioritize your beginning of the year to-do’s.

Please email or connect with me via Twitter!

Thanks for reading, sharing, learning and growing…

Paul Erickson, Principal, Union Valley Elementary, Buhler Schools, USD 313, KS

perickson@usd313.org, @PrincipalPaul

  • Master Schedule
  • Specials—Work Collaboratively with these teachers.
  • Work in blocks for Math and ELA
  • Lunch—Indicate times AS WELL AS coverage.
  • Email/Share Google Doc as “DRAFT” to everyone in case changes will still need to be made
  • Add library and art later
  • Aide/Title Support Schedule
  • Collaborate with teachers on this.
  • Staff Development
  • District agenda and days
  • Building agenda and days
  • Welcome/Team-Building-45 minutes
  • Nuts and Bolts-60 minutes—Maximum
  • Learning—Rest of day….in groups, as a whole….what is most important we learn about heading into next year?
  • Class Rosters
  • Add new kids
  • Determine when to share with teachers
  • Determine when to share with parents
  • Committees
  • Update teams with new staff.
  • Get to know teams—what they do, how often they meet?
  • Handbooks
  • Emergency/Crisis Plan—update with new staff; other, Email to staff so they can update packets
  • Staff Handbook—Update
  • Student/Parent/Teacher Handbook–Update
  • Letter to Staff—Email
  • Welcome note
  • Class rosters (if complete)
  • Staff Development Agendas
  • Committee Rosters
  • Request for Classroom Management Plan…incentive
  • Pictures of summer activities; use these in fun first day activity
  • PTO and Site Council sign up sheets in workroom…incentive—First 3 to sign up win a Coke and Smile pass—I’ll cover your class for one hour of your choosing!
  • Meet with Site Council Rep and PTO President
  • Talk with both about goals, your duties, agendas for next year
  • Spoonful of BHAG, building wide themes, other important activities/changes for this next school year
  • Talk fundraisers—What, when, where? Your role?
  • Update School Weekly Calendar for first TWO months
  • Include—GEI Meetings, Bring Your Parent to School Week, Peer Observation Days
  • Share Social Media Ideas–Branding
  • Everybody create a Twitter—follow Paul, UV, and another staff member
  • #313teach—a place to store and share best practices
  • #bexceptional—a place to promote great things in the district
  • @UV313—Group Tweet, syncs with FB. Here’s how. Here’s why.
  • Safety
  • By the last week of August or first week of September practice the following…
  • FIRE,–Where do classes go? Who triggers alarm?
  • TORNADO—Where do classes go? Who triggers alarm? How do you take care of lost students?
  • LOCKDOWN—Where do students go? Who announces? How? How are doors outside of classrooms taken care of?
  • EVACUATION—Where? Why? Who announces?
  • Give staff a heads-up as to when these drills will be given. Review ALL PROCEDURES with the group.
  • Parent Night—Night before first day of school
  • Process? Timeframe?
  • Publicity?
  • Incentives? Drawing? Family meal at local restaurant?
  • First Day Letter to Parents—Highlight a few special activities on the day.  Use Facebook post and Power Announcement to share
  • First Day Activities–Superhero Theme!
  • Make a plan for how students and parents will be welcomed back the first day
  • What will we do in the gym for our first morning announcement? How do we want to greet them?
  • Wear thematic attire?
  • Last year reflection presentation? Slideshow with music?
  • First Day Traditions
  • Root beer floats in conference room after first day with kids—Line out some helpers for this.
  • GEI
  • Start planning for the first one in September…Look for past students from May notes
  • Start reviewing students’ files
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