The final month of school is approaching. A school year's worth of work is being measured and in a blink of an eye graduation will be here. Thinking of these final weeks of school, check out these essentials to ensure you finish as strong as you started and have a plan to be ready for whatever may lie ahead.
1. Take Inventory. As the year wraps up, reflect on what worked and what didn't in your instruction of either your students or your staff. Don't allow the argument of time stop you from this occurring. Reflection is a constant part of our work. Think back to your year and take a month by month glance of what was successful and what needs tweaked as you plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Be ahead of the upcoming year by reviewing the year you just completed. Come August you will be glad you did.
2. Think Forward. Now that you have notes of the year almost over, create a blueprint for what lies ahead. Just as you should be reflective of the work in your past, be just as ready for the year ahead. Spend a few moments and chart out what the days and weeks will look like when students and staff return. Think forward to the lessons you plan to teach and allow for the summer months to be a part of refining the instruction.
3a. Relationships at the Core - Your Students. As you head into this final month of work, take a look back at the relationships you've established with your students. Focus in on making the final month of school the most important. For many of your students, regardless of your demographics, school is the highlight of their day. Be there for them, engage in conversation, be reflective on the content covered and discuss what their summer of learning could look like with their peers. Guide them to be ready for the return after a few months away.
3b. Relationships at the Core - Your Staff. One of the best ways to take inventory of a year is to be transparent enough to ask those you work with and get their feedback. Consider gaining your teachers perspective of where your building is in its growth through the sharing of a staff satisfaction survey. Weighing in on vision, communication, community and accountability, every person on a the team can own the accomplishments and the work left undone. In addition, focus on the relationships that have blossomed and those that need attention. Get your mind right and be ready to put even more purpose into all relationships after a summer away. Have an intentional plan for building leaders up and focusing on getting the power of the team in play.
4. Summer Growth. Plan your summer professional development now. After a school year of embedded professional learning, district opportunities, collaboration with colleagues and more, have a detailed plan of how you will extend your learning throughout the summer. Take advantage of local conferences, find an EdCamp in your area (all states are hosting an EdCampLdr on July 11th) and have meet-ups with other educators to talk best practices.
5. Feed your PLN. If you are reading this post, you know the power of being connected. It matters and it makes us better. We are constantly in control of our learning. Whether using twitter, reading blogs, attending online webinars or a host of other connected opportunities, continue to expand your network. Push your four walls of learning even further and be purposeful as you do it. Find your niche of colleagues that will add depth to your work.
The final month of school is just as important as the first. All that you have worked to achieve is coming to a head. Celebrate what has been accomplished, make time for what still needs completed and be ready to plan forward. To make the most of your learning, own where you are and where you need to go. You will be better for it.