- The cool of June provides time to plan ahead for the fall. As you plan, think about the needs of your staff.
- Considering what your staff needs will help to get school started off on the right foot.
- In the fall, staff members need to ease back into the routine. They need to reacquaint with their team members and connect in a low-key and positive atmosphere.
As I look outside my office window at the nearly empty parking lot, it is beginning to sink in that indeed, the 2020-2021 school year is over. The students have said their goodbyes. The teachers have checked out and left their classrooms ready to be shined up and cleaned for the upcoming school year that will be here sooner than any of us can imagine. I look at my desk and see the checklist of items that when completed, will constitute me being “done” with this school year. Checking off the items is happening quickly due to the incredible support of my school team. I am totally grateful for their efforts to make sure we land this plane and make our way to the exits.I guarantee that if we do for staff just as we want them to do for students, we will not only have a more successful school year, but we will model what we expect. And wouldn't that be cool? Click To Tweet
Planning Through the Cool of June
What still hangs in the air like the South Texas humidity that has invaded our beautiful city is the planning that will begin for next school year. Now any of you who are school people know full well that this planning does not begin now. It has been germinating for months as we have collected data and looked ahead to see what it is we want to do to improve for the next school year.
It’s just that sitting here in the office with most of the staff gone…”working on carpet” as I like to call it…we are in danger of repeating one of the most insidious errors that school administrators can make at this time of the year. It is the ultimate disconnection from what we KNOW are best practices. I call it “Cool of June” thinking.
As I said earlier, it’s hot as blazes outside, but inside the office, it’s cool and lovely. It’s quiet for the most part. There are a few people in and out, stopping by to say hello or to provide one last bit from their check-out list. But there is not the bustle of having hundreds of students and dozens of staff members in high-activity mode.
I’ve been able to sustain attention to several tasks that need to be completed, and have rarely been interrupted. In our district, we work long hours during the summer so we only have to work four day weeks. So as the time passes slowly we find time to connect with our teams that are still here on contract and to talk to our colleagues for longer than a hurried few minutes about what’s going on and what’s to be.
Hey, I have a cool idea!
“You know what would be great?” I think to myself. “We should plan a community scavenger hunt on the first day back from summer break to let the staff have fun and set the tone for the year. They will love getting together in randomly selected teams to figure out the clues and collect the photos.” Or “The district PD day will have them learning about Science of Teaching Reading. Let’s plan a day for a new strategy implementation on the next day so they get all the information for the year upfront and can digest it and plan.” “Looking at the calendar for the year, let’s plan a staff event the week before Christmas break. It will be a fun way to end the semester and build goodwill as we go into the new year!”
Sometimes the cool is not so cool…
All of these are mistakes and a symptom of severe Cool of June thinking. While a scavenger hunt may be fun for some, it is not for everyone, and on the first day back our staff do not want to run around town with strangers. They want (need) to ease back into the routine, reacquaint with their team members, and connect in a low-key and positive atmosphere.
The beginning of the year is also not the time to bombard folks with a bunch of different initiatives even if you think that’s the best time you have to get them started. I can assure you it is NOT the best time to teach two new, big things. And as for more events in December? This is a time when people are off schedule, off diet, off budget, and have to devote time to so many different other things.
Those of you who have been in education for a few years know that December is when school people are often the least jolly. If we love them, we should think ahead and plan as little as possible in those weeks leading up to break. But in the Cool of June, it sometimes seems like a great idea![scroll down to keep reading]
Making the Cool of June Work for Us
So how do we avoid Cool of June thinking? My suggestion is to grab a snack and something to drink, and sit in your office with the school calendar for the next two semesters. Take a deep breath and think about the ebbs and flows of the year.
Think about what your staff needs to get school started off on the right foot. Do they need the complete training for an initiative, or just an overview and first steps? Plan for follow-up visits to the learning they do on those first days as they begin to implement initiatives. Does everything need to begin on day 1 (or day 30)? Can some of the training wait until later?
Plan to avoid having people drink from the firehose! I guarantee that if we do for staff just as we want them to do for students, we will not only have a more successful school year, but we will model what we expect. And wouldn’t that be cool?
About Martin Silverman
Martin Silverman is a father, grandfather, husband, and long-time educator in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. He is committed to providing the best educational experience for the students and families at Salinas Elementary school where he is principal. Martin has worked in urban, suburban, and rural districts as a teacher and administrator. His interests are in creating and nurturing school culture, providing enriching experiences for students and families, and developing future teachers and administrators.
As a former bilingual teacher and administrator, Martin is committed to providing ELL students with quality programs to develop their unique skills. He hosts a podcast called The Second Question, which highlights educators and provides them a forum to discuss ideas, and to honor the teachers that have influenced their lives.