Summer To-Do List for Great School Leaders

Summer is the perfect time for school leaders to relax and rejuvenate. However, the summer months also provide you with the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and plan for the year ahead.

Make the most of your summer months by following our summer to-do list for great school leaders.

Summer To-Do List for Administrators

Set your staff, students, and school year up for success by taking the time to reflect and strategize this summer.

Clarify your mission

In any position, great leaders have a clear mission and vision. They then determine the steps necessary to achieve the mission, and they get their team on board. Ultimately, all team members work collaboratively toward a shared vision.

This summer, clarify your school-wide mission. What do you want to achieve? What are your primary goals? What will your school “look like” when you’ve reached them?

Identify the activities and initiatives that are moving you toward this vision. These will be your priorities during the upcoming school year. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to tasks that don’t align with your mission.

Identify high-performing teachers

Often, school leaders focus on helping low-performing teachers improve. It turns out that the opposite approach is typically more effective.

This summer, think about your high-performing teachers, your “rock stars.” How can you support them and push them to even greater heights?

In addition, how can you position them as mentor teachers? Some ideas include:

  • Pair high-performing teachers with new or low-performing teachers
  • Arrange for other teachers to visit/observe rock star teachers’ classrooms
  • Film your high-performing teachers’ lessons to use as helpful resources
  • Ask your high-performing teachers to lead professional development and/or PLC meetings and teach their areas of strength to others

When you support your best teachers, they’re able to inspire and uplift other teachers in turn.

Consider school culture

Reflect on the previous school year. How would you describe the culture of your school? Do students feel safe? Do teachers feel supported? Is everyone on the same page? Is your school a warm and welcoming environment?

These questions are extremely important. Teachers who feel supported perform better and stay longer. Students who feel safe and connected at school are cooperative, engaged, and likely to achieve more.

If you couldn’t answer “yes” to these questions, why not? Identify the root causes of your school culture issues.

Changing culture takes time, but identify a few steps you can take during the first quarter. It may involve uniting your staff, getting parents involved, or changing the way you interact with and discipline students.

Balance work and life

Of course, it’ll be hard to achieve great things if you get burnt out. Remember that work-life balance is key, for both your health and your effectiveness as a school leader.

A key step on your summer to-do list is identifying the activities and events that are important to you and your family. Mark them on your calendar. Consider them non-negotiables. Encourage the rest of your leadership team to do the same.

Seek feedback

All great leaders know they can’t do it alone. And if you’re interested in fulfilling your mission, improving your school culture, and boosting student achievement, your faculty and staff need to be on board with your plans.

This summer, reach out to some of your key stakeholders. Get feedback on your ideas for key initiatives and goals.

At the beginning of the school year, ask your teachers what changes they would like to see. Talk to them about your ideas and ask for input on how to make them happen. Be open to feedback on your performance as a school leader and how you can better support your teachers.

As a leader, it’s sometimes hard to ask for help or advice. But when you do, you improve your effectiveness and the unity of your team. You’re all in the same boat, rowing in unison toward the same place.

Final Thoughts: Summer To-Do List for Great School Leaders

During the relatively calm summer months, spend some time reflecting. Think about what went well last school year and what didn’t. Clarify your mission and vision, and plan some key steps that will help you get there.

Think about your top performers and how you can elevate them to the role of mentor teachers. Determine steps you’ll take during the first quarter to improve school culture. And of course, don’t forget to seek feedback and plan for work-life balance.

Relaxation and family time should definitely be on your summer to-do list. But by checking off the items listed here, you’ll plan for a more successful and less stressful upcoming school year!


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