How Principals Can Make the First Day Go Smoothly

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1.  Having lists of things to do before school is extremely important. But having lists prepared for Day One is essential! "Have lists that indicate where kids should go when they first arrive at school. Homeroom lists should be posted everywhere. They should be copied to all staff too. Monitors who also are carrying lists should be in the hallways, prepared to meet-and-greet and respond to questions.

2.  Don't have a anything on your calendar the first day.  Principals need to be visible in the halls.  I make a point to go see every class the first day and welcome them back to school.  I'm on duty in the mornings, lunch, after school, etc... You name it-I'm there.  Parents will also keep you tied up too.  

3.  If you haven't read this book, I would definitely try and get my hands on it.  A good principal must read, learn and stay up-to-date.  What Great Principals Do Differently: 15 Things That Matter Most John Whitaker says it best when he says:
       Any principal can fill a bookshelf with books about educational leadership.  Any principal can study lists of guidelines, standards, principles, and theories.  The best administrators and the worst administrators can ace exams in their graduate classes.  The difference between more effective principals and their less effective colleagues is not what they know.  It is what they do.
I promise you if you read this book you will want to read all of Whitaker's books.  Amazon has it at an amazing price.

4.  On the first day, don't lose sight of what really matters most.   It's the kids.  Take a minute and win the hearts of the kids.  I was reminded of this yesterday at our principal meeting with my superintendent.  Each year my superintendent begins the year with a week of inservice just for the district administrators.  She begins the week with a pep talk that is very inspiring.  I will keep her quote in my mind this year- Take time to win the hearts of the kids.  It is all about them and less about me.  

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