Running a school smoothly and efficiently makes a powerful impact on the students you serve; a recent study indicated that effective school leadership is second only to teaching in regards to student success. Read on for practical tips on how to maximize your efficiency and effectiveness as a school leader, and create a smooth, successful educational community.
Prioritize What’s Important
Time management can be tricky for administrators, especially for leaders who began their career in the classroom. Making the shift from a teaching schedule to managing multiple priorities can be a tough transition, but it can be easier if you take time up front to identify your main priorities. Create a short list of overarching goals that you are working to achieve during the school year, and take a detailed look at how you spend your time each day. Are you actively working to achieve what you’ve set to achieve? Or are you spending time putting out fires and letting the energy of the day drive your productivity? Allow yourself set times during the day to close your door and focus on what you need to get done to help your school succeed. Limiting your access may feel like a step away from the students and teachers you serve, but by prioritizing your leadership duties, you will ultimately help your school become more efficient.
A messy desk and a confusing schedule should be left to the middle schoolers in your care; professional school leaders need clear, organized systems for maintaining documents and commitments. At the beginning of the school year, devote some time to setting up effective systems to manage the documents that come across your desk. In addition, decide how you’ll manage your appointments by committing to either a paper calendar or digital alerts. Schedule your teacher observations, outside meetings, and even blocks of time to attend to email and phone calls. By organizing your time and providing set hours for certain tasks, you’ll be less likely to waste time and will be more present and effective during each of your commitments.
One option for keeping everything organized is to transition to a paperless school. Reducing or eliminating paper files and forms can free physical space, better preserve confidential information, and save money on expensive supplies like toner, ink, and copy machine repair. Document management companies offer a solution for administrators who need to share student information, as well as observational notes and lesson plan feedback. By shifting to a more digital approach, you can also help your teachers remove clutter in their classrooms and invite more flexibility
into collaborative meetings. For example, by sharing a document with several teachers who don’t have the same planning period, you can allow them to read and comment when they are available instead of simply missing out on the opportunity to share thoughts and find a collective solution.
Feedback and Follow Through
Finally, while instructional observations may seem to eat a ton of time already, it’s important to make sure your teacher observations are truly useful and productive. Build time into your observations to complete feedback forms, and always schedule a follow-up session to review your feedback with the teacher and allow time for processing and reflection. Without concrete, actionable feedback, you won’t make the most of this important teacher development tool, so take the time to conduct your observations so that they leave the teacher with specific, productive next
steps to improve instruction.
By investing in what matters most and getting organized to stay on top of your commitments, you can strengthen your leadership practice and model responsibility and focus from the top down. A smoothly run school is often a successful school, so take the time to put systems into place that will make the next year your best yet.
Warren Glick is currently director of Corporate Marketing for ACOM Solutions, Inc. Long Beach CA and Atlanta, GA. Serving in executive leadership roles in enterprise software organizations throughout his career, Warren has been responsible for executing and developing corporate strategies in sales, product development, operations and marketing.