Celebrate with Staff as a Challenging Year Ends

By Ronald Williamson and Barbara R. Blackburn

This year, maybe more than any other in our memories, has actually been ultra-challenging in many schools. The ongoing pandemic and associated health requirements and parent and community unrest about curriculum and instruction– as well as the need to accommodate students and families who choose online direction over face-to-face– have stretched resources and resilience amongst teachers and administrators.

Barbara Blackburn

Its April and numerous schools simply ended up Spring Break. But for school leaders April marks the beginning of one of the busiest times of the school year. There are often end-of-year tests to administer, gatherings and activities to go to, and the primary steps towards planning the next school year.

Ronald Williamson

Could this be a time to commemorate?

Celebrating feels great in the moment. It is likewise crucial for future success. End of the year events not just acknowledge excellent work, they also improve morale, enhance relationships amongst personnel, and supply a platform for even greater success in the year to come.

Completion of an academic year has always been a time of event, and every school has traditions about those occasions, frequently focused on students. Those activities are a crucial part of school life. This post will discuss what school leaders need to believe about when planning methods to celebrate the success of their staff.

One attribute of a schools culture is the way success is renowned and acknowledged. Those routines and ceremonies are important because they transfer, in unmentioned ways, the values and priorities of a school.

Do not be troublesome

Be Authentic

Ron spoke recently with an instructor who commented, “I need to simply get an award for enduring this year.” While joking, that remark shows the tension that many teachers– and school leaders– experienced this academic year.

Acknowledge that your teachers and other staff members have different styles. Some will prosper on public appreciation; others will wince at the concept. Hang out identifying how to acknowledge and recognize each individual, taking into account their individual choices and designs.

Events in some cases have a way of recognizing the very same people and same occasions again and once again. Prevent that and aim to make sure that any celebratory strategies are inclusive and acknowledge a range of accomplishments.

No matter design, any event must be authentic and show both the worths of the school and those of the leader. Acknowledge success for “genuine” things rather than contrived circumstances.

Educators and other staff feel valued when theyre recognized for their work. Acknowledgment contributes to staff member fulfillment, and it can improve morale and strengthen connections among personnel.

For starters, any activities leaders design to celebrate the year and its success need to not include to the burden. All strategies ought to be developed with teacher leaders or your School Improvement Team. Even with the finest of objectives your efforts might be misunderstood and even viewed with suspicion.

Commemorating is not synonymous with fulfilling specific accomplishment. In schools success is frequently collective, not specific, and its crucial to recognize all of those who contributed in ways both huge and small. People like feeling truly appreciated. Strategy events to be inclusive and acknowledge achievements of every kind. Its an essential method to nurture relationships throughout the personnel.

Those closest to guideline will have the finest concepts about how and what to commemorate without creating extra stress or friction at the end of the year. Activities should be optional and there should be no penalties, or comments, about absence of involvement. Typically, the least burdensome activities are those that occur during the school day so that they do not intrude into family and personal time.

One method to demonstrate authenticity is to applaud and acknowledge specific things that staff members do, much like the principals notes pointed out previously. Its likewise essential to reveal thankfulness for the work and the effort that contributes to the success of a school year. Stating thank you is one way to do that and contributes to a favorable work environment.

One intermediate school principal in North Carolina wrote every teacher and employee a personal note thanking them for their work and contributions to the success of an unprecedented year. Each note included a comment about something particular to that individuals work. People valued the personal nature of the notes, which their principal acknowledged their work.

Be Inclusive

Ideas for commemorating successes

For school leaders April marks the start of one of the busiest times of the school year. The end of a school year has always been a time of event, and every school has customs about those events, often focused on students. One middle school principal in North Carolina composed every instructor and staff member a personal note thanking them for their work and contributions to the success of an unmatched year. Its likewise essential to express appreciation for the work and the effort that contributes to the success of a school year. Rather, guarantee that your celebration shows your schools values and beliefs and that it authentically recognizes whatever the personnel did to assure an effective school year.

Dr. Barbara R. Blackburn, a “Top 30 Global Guru in Education,” is a bestselling author of over 25 books and a popular specialist. She was an award-winning teacher at Winthrop University and has actually taught trainees of all ages. In addition to speaking at conferences worldwide, she routinely provides virtual and on-site workshops for teachers and administrators. Barbara is the author of Rigor in the Remote Learning Classroom: Instructional Tips and Strategies from Routledge/Eye On Education.

Dr. Ronald Williamson is Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University. He is a former principal, main office administrator and executive director of the National Middle School Association (now AMLE). The author of various books on management, he is the co-author with Barbara R. Blackburn of Leadership for Remote Learning ( 2021) and 7 Strategies for Improving Your School ( 2020 ), both from Routledge/Eye On Education.

The photos recorded teachers and trainees doing things that supported the schools vision. If you do this at the end of the year, you can develop a presentation profiling each teacher.

In rural Seattle a primary school principal commemorated instructors who took risks that contributed to student success. For a long-term pointer of their success in the face of really substantial barriers, you may provide teachers with a button saying “failure was not an alternative!”


In each of these cases, you are picking to recognize instructors for a specific accomplishment associated to trainee success. Supplying instructors with a concrete tip of their actions motivates them to focus on comparable actions next year.

There are a range of concepts to celebrate the successes of specific instructors. Here are two you may adjust.

Completion of every school year is frenzied. As you prepare to celebrate your success, assure that the events dont contribute to the craziness. Rather, assure that your event reflects your schools values and beliefs which it authentically recognizes whatever the staff did to assure a successful academic year. Commemorate the “team” and the success of the “synergy” and what that implies for the future.

Last thoughts

Clarke, J. (2021 ). Healthy Ways to Celebrate Success. Retrieved online at https://www.verywellmind.com/healthy-ways-to-celebrate-success-4163887

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