One of the key preparations for an upcoming school year is laying out the school’s event calendar. It takes a lot of forethought, communication, and sometimes revision. It also comes in many different flavors. Perhaps you’re the “set it and forget it” kind of teacher that sets things up once and leaves them alone. Or you view the calendar as a living document.
Either way, here are some tips for this all-important process.
Have a goal (or goals) in mind
Parents expect a lot of events. Some are rites of passage and need to be documented for posterity. Others help them stay informed about the goings-on of the classroom. All of them should have a goal in mind.
Break the calendar up into goals. The traditions, such as holiday programs and graduation, set themselves. Then set up events for parent engagement with the goal of parents becoming more integrated in the school community. Finally, events designed to boost student achievement that are geared for both students and parents, like study skills seminars or introductions for the test prep programs you employ. If you have other goals, insert them as well.
Join the 21st century
These days, people expect to be notified of events many different ways. Once the calendar is set, you need to deploy an all-of-the-above approach that uses email, online calendar systems, the school website, Facebook, texting, and anything else you can come up with to get the word out. No parent or other stakeholder should be able to use “I didn’t know about it” as an excuse.
Communicate with the entire staff
When setting up the calendar, the worst-case scenario is double booking. Perhaps the teachers have a happy hour scheduled for the same night as the Math Olympics. The food staff might have training on an afternoon where the cafeteria needs to be available. This kind of thing happens every year.
The solution is communication, early and often. During calendar setup, representatives from as many organizations as possible, including the PTO, need to be consulted. It might feel superfluous but it’s a nice courtesy.
That’s right. You and your team should go through the calendar day-by-day, looking for inconsistencies or events that could be improved or moved. It’s really the best way to optimize the schedule. Does Math Night really feel like it would be a success on a Tuesday after a basketball game or should it be moved to the next Thursday? As the teacher, picture going to all of these events (not that you would). Is it possible?