It’s become a reality, or will soon become a reality, for just about every school district in the country, that schools will remain closed through the end of the 2019.2020 school year. In California, the decision was made a couple weeks back on April 1, 2020, that students would not be returning. It was heart-breaking news, but not a surprise.
I’ve now had a couple of weeks to process what this means for me as a school leader. I am a very hands-on, relationship-building type of principal who loves to celebrate and see others celebrate our students and staff in as many ways as possible. How would I do that now that I’m forced to lead from a chair, in front of a computer, from home? How would I keep some type of routine and normalcy for our students and staff? Now that I’ve had time to process this, the ideas have started coming! There are things we did week after week that can still be done no matter where we teach or lead from.
We officially begin Distance Learning tomorrow, April 13th, so it’s almost like a “Welcome Back” week. Therefore, I did what I always did every Sunday evening; send out our weekly “Paw Talk” a.k.a, staff bulletin. Yes, the schedule for the week is an important section in our bulletin, but even more important, is our “Staff Shoutouts.” We started this section a couple of years ago. It’s a simple way for staff to publicly celebrate and thank one another for going above and beyond. These shoutouts get submitted through a Google Form that is always embedded in our weekly SMORE bulletin. Every single adult on campus can share a shoutout. Last week, I shared out the “Shoutout” Google form with my staff again since it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve used it. With our team working very hard to get ready for launching Distance Learning, I expected there to be a few more “shoutouts” than usual. The amount that actually got submitted brought tears to my eyes! The level of appreciation my team has for one another is like no other. Take a look at all the amazing “shoutouts” they gave out this week!
So if you need an easy, but VERY meaningful way to keep staff morale high and keep the celebrations coming, then consider doing something like this. It takes three easy steps:
- Create a simple Google Form for your team to submit their “shoutouts.” Click HERE to make a copy of what we use.
- Open the Google Sheet with the responses from the Google Form.
- Share the “shoutout” responses from the Google Sheet to your bulletin, blog, email, etc.
I hope you consider trying something like this. It’s a beautiful thing to see how much stronger teams can get during difficult times. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate all the small and large victories!