Back-to-School Teacher Gifts, Templates, and FAQs

Free Downloads and Teacher Gifts

It's the last day of the Back-to-School Resources Week! 

Today, I'm sharing back-to-school gift ideas for teachers, a Meet-The-Teacher template that's free to download, and FAQs!  ✨

This school year will be much different than previous years due to COVID-19. We have to adjust our learning structure, educate teachers in the remote learning tools, ensure health and safety standards are met, and so many other things. It can be a very stressful time, which is why it is so important to recognize your staff in a meaningful, thoughtful way. 

Here are some ways you can do this: 


I've created a list on Amazon containing many things teachers would like when working remotely. These are helpful items that range from $6-$23. 

At-Home Gifts for Teachers 2020 COVID-19


Here is a link to some of my personal favorites! 💡 For the socks, you can add a gift tag with something cute about 6 feet for social distancing. Also, I've been loving all the clear coffee mugs that have been out lately and I found a teacher version! I have the grey shirt and it is super comfy.

Gifts for Teachers COVID19 2020


Gift packages are a great way to show appreciation and care for your staff but many of us don't have the bandwidth to put one together. In order to help with that, I've found a few favorites of pre-assembled gift options that can be directly mailed to teachers. 


Click here to download a Meet-The-Teacher template that includes your favorite at-home activity, Google Classroom link, and your picture in a computer graphic! 


Q: How will you boost employee morale from a distance this year? 
A: Go here to read a post with several ideas to help you get started! 

Q: How can I make my school higher-performing?
A: My Superintendent (Morris Lyon) and I wrote a book on how we achieved high-performing results that led to winning the National Blue Ribbon Award in 2019. We also have an online course and an online book study that has been a huge hit. 

Q: What books do you recommend for school leaders? 
A: Go here to find my favorite books on leadership.

Q: What is your must-have item for staying organized? 
A:  I highly recommend the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I love how minimal it is and it keeps me super organized. 

Have more questions? Post them in the comments section below!✨

Thank you all for following along the Back-to-School Resources Week! I hope you found the information helpful!


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Staff Professional Development & Student Learning Model

Online Learning for Educators

With many school closures due to COVID-19, e-learning is on the rise and has affected many students, teachers, and school leaders.  For most of us, virtual teaching has not been our full-time occupation which brings the concern of how can we effectively educate our teachers and staff so they can help students achieve success? 

Impactful learning can be expanded beyond the walls of your school with the right resources and leadership. 🏆

Let's talk first about how you can prepare your teachers to be superstars in your online learning management systems. 


In order to give your teachers opportunities to demonstrate leadership capabilities and provide yourself with bandwidth for support, it's important to extend your reach when it comes to training your teachers and parents in the various sites for online student learning. 

Here is how my school is doing this: 


We reached out to teachers who are experienced/skilled in Google Classroom, Promethean Boards, etc., to see if they would be interested in leading online technology courses (they would become a teacher for the teachers). 

The experienced/skilled teachers who volunteered created courses for other teachers to complete so they can also become skilled in the e-learning tools! Each course takes about a half-day (or 3 hours) to complete. 

I then built a Google Site and stored all the courses in one place to streamline learning and simplify the course sign-up process. 


The volunteering teachers will also present during Lunch-and-Learn sessions for parents who are seeking information on how to use the systems. These meetings will take place virtually and will be recorded.

What's in it for the volunteering teachers? 

This is a big ask of your teachers, which is why it's important to share what are the benefits for them if they choose to volunteer. These can include: 

  • Establishing themselves as a leader and trustworthy contact for support
  • Demonstrating and showcasing their leadership presence 
  • Building their professional relevance
  • Helping the school reach its goals



Here are a few books I highly recommend for learning how to use technology in the classroom.

Google ClassroomInteractive ClassroomGoogle Infused Classroom

If you are interested in books for current and future school leaders, check out my favorites on my Amazon reading list


Everyone loves free downloads and since we are chatting about online learning, I thought I'd share my school's pathway to remote learning. Click the link below and DOWNLOAD to your computer to edit (no need to request access). 

We will provide asynchronous instruction for students in PK-12. Students participating in virtual instruction (asynchronous) will be required to engage in learning activities on their own time during the school day, interacting daily with the teacher(s) via computer or other electronic devices, or over the phone. Teachers will post an assignment/activity each day and give guided support under this model of instruction.


Stay tuned for more content tomorrow where I will share bonus content and answer FAQs! To be notified when this content is launched, sign up for the Principal Principles Newsletter. Don't forget to visit the Principal Principles Leadership Group to share/find more back-to-school content from other school leaders! 

Back-to-School Resources for Educators


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Planning for Back-to-School Meet-the-Teacher in 2020

It's Day 3 of the Back-to-School Resources Week! Today's topic is all about how to successfully plan for Meet-the-Teacher upon returning to school.

Meet-the-Teacher Night will be very different from previous years for many schools due to COVID-19. With capacity limits, health and safety guidelines, and multiple other concerns, it has been a challenge to plan. 

However, I believe we can help each other create a great experience for our teachers, parents, and students by sharing recommendations and ideas into the Meet-the-Teacher process. ✨


Here is a deep dive into my school's Meet-the-Teacher night: 

To reduce the number of individuals on campus at one time, Meet-the-Teacher night will be restructured to a full day of rotating supports for families. We have taken the student population and divided them out by last name (A-D, E-H, I-L, M-O, P-S, T-V, W-Z).

During the day, families will be invited to the school in phases and small groups to check out devices, meet the teachers, and attend small group stations to learn how to best support and guide their student’s daily learning.

Before the families visit each station, they will have to pass through a checkpoint where they will be asked questions related to COVID-19, have their temperature taken, and will be asked to wear their masks throughout the stations. They will also receive a sticker to wear which lets us know that they completed the checkpoint and are cleared to enter the building.

Once they have completed this step, they will then begin the station rotation process. The stations are as follows: 

  • Station 1: Demonstration of Google Classroom, SeeSaw
    • Teachers who are well-versed in Google Classroom will conduct the demonstration of the tool. This gives the teacher(s) critical leadership responsibilities and an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of others! 
    • During the demonstration, the teacher will show parents how to log in, submit assignments, check grades, etc.
    • This presentation will be recorded so parents can reference it later.

  • Station 2: Deploy Student Devices
    • At this station, parents will pick up a Chrome book and a hot spot (if needed). They will also sign a technology agreement. 

  • Station 3: Meet the Principal - Discussion of Safety Protocols
    • This station will take place in the cafeteria and is where the parents will learn about safety protocols that are outlined in the Return-to-School plan.
    • If you don't have a Return-to-School plan yet, don't worry. I've got you covered. Go here to download my school's plan and multiple other documents related to back-to-school/COVID-19 for free. There is no need to request access (you can just download the file to get started). 

  • Station 4: Meet the Teacher
    • This station will take place in the classroom. The structure of this station won't be too different from previous years other than it is on a much smaller scale.


If a parent is not able to or isn't comfortable attending Meet-the-Teacher in-person I recommend: 

  1. Creating teacher introductory videos and posting them on your Google Classroom or emailing them to parents

  2. Utilizing a scheduling tool like SignUp Genius for parents to schedule a video chat with their teacher

  3. Recording a classroom tour so students can see where they will be learning once school resumes. Feel free to also record other spaces like the library, cafeteria, playground, and other spaces!


Stay tuned for more content tomorrow where I will share online student learning and professional development resources! To be notified when this content is launched, sign up for the Principal Principles Newsletter. Don't forget to visit the Principal Principles Leadership Group to share/find more back-to-school content from other school leaders! 


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Staff Appreciation and Morale Ideas

It's day two of the Back-to-School Resources Week! Today, I will be sharing tips and ideas on how to engage staff and boost employee morale virtually. I encourage you to also share your ideas/resources by posting a comment in the Principal Principles Leadership Groupwhich is where you can find more back-to-school content from other school leaders! 

Even though we have school closures due to COVID-19, we can still express appreciation for staff/employees.

 We just need to get creative!  ✨


In my recent post, Remote Staff Appreciation Ideas for 2020, I share six ideas that are budget-friendly. I've also created editable downloads for you and an Amazon cart to easily find all the supplies you need to get started!



Earlier this year I purchased a couple of fun items on Amazon that were a huge hit! 
  1. "You're Awesome" Pop-Open Cards - Simple, no prep, and budget-friendly! 
  2. Pick Your Nose Cups - Funny and budget-friendly. We had so many laughs!
Go here to read more about these two fun/creative morale boosters.  


Staff Appreciation and Employee Morale

If you are a follower of Principal Principles, then you know that Morale Magicis our #1 seller for boosting employee morale. New to Principal Principles? No worries! Here is a quick overview: 

  • Morale Magic™ is an ebook that includes over 500 pages of content
  • It includes both book content pages for reading and printables for each month  
  • A digital copy is sent to you via email after purchase so you have instant access

If you've already purchased Morale Magic™ or would like something on a smaller scale, I recommend the Morale Magic™ Mini. It is a smaller scale than our first book (contains over 100 pages) and is all NEW content than the full Morale Magic™ ebook.


Stay tuned for more content tomorrow where I will share how my school is approaching Meet the Teacher! To be notified when this content is launch, sign up for the Principal Principles Newsletter. Don't forget to visit the Principal Principles Leadership Group to share/find more back-to-school content from other school leaders! 


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Return To School Plan in Response to COVID-19

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the importance of business preparedness and contingency planning, as we are learning, has never been more valuable than now. School leaders are now facing the new challenge of continuing educational efforts while maintaining required health safety standards and ensuring that we are prepared before the 1st day of school. 

In order for us to successfully begin a new school year safely and responsibly together, each day this week I will be posting my school's resources and other helpful content to the blog and the Principal Principles Leadership Group. I encourage you to follow along each day to share/find materials, tips, links, ideas, etc., for back-to-school in response to COVID-19.


Today, I want to share with you my school's Return to School Plan along with links to multiple other documents. Feel free to use the documents as a guide for your campus!


1. The top priority is ensuring the safety of the staff and students. 
2. Leverage the WHO and CDC sites, as well as local government agencies for critical health information.
3. Health protocols and safety regulations are changing frequently while new information is being discovered about COVID-19. With this, ensure that your RTS plan is a "living" guide for staff and students to reference frequently for any updates.

Hawkins ISD Back to School Guide_COVID19

 The Return to School Guide is broken down into three main sections. 
  1. SECTION I: Safety of Students, Staff, and Visitors
  2. SECTION II. Academics and Home-Based Learning
  3. SECTION III. Extracurricular and District-Wide Planning

The guide is posted on my school's site, Hawkins ISD Strong Start. The site is created in Google Sites and has been helpful for staff and parents to find information for this school year all in one location. The site includes printables you may find helpful including: 

  1. Confirmed COVID19 Case in the Workplace 
  2. Confirmed COVID19 Employee
  3. Employee Confirmed Case
  4. Flowchart- Employee (not editable)
  5. Flowchart- Student (not editable)
  6. District Return to School Plan
  7. Parent Commitment Form
  8. Recent Travel Form
  9. Self-Screening Form
  10. Signage for the Building
  11. Suspected COVID19 Case
  12. Temperature Check
  13. Transportation 
  14. Visitor Self Screening

Hawkins ISD Back to School Resources


Follow the directions below to access a copy of the editable files.

1.  Click on the linked documents above
2.  Download the file to YOUR computer (no need to request access).  This will allow you to edit the Word Document.

Editable school signage for COVID-19

Editable school signage for COVID-19


Stay tuned for more content tomorrow where I will share virtual staff morale ideas. Don't forget to visit the Principal Principles Leadership Group to share/find more back-to-school content from other school leaders! 

Return-to-School Guidebook for 2020_COVID19


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