January means the school year is now half over. Graduation and the end of the year still seem like a distant date on the calendar, yet we all know it will be here before long. Planning for numerous banquets and spring activities are on our radar, but are still low on the priority list. Reflection on the past semester has caused us to make changes that may dictate our daily routines. All the while, we are still trying to maintain our laser like focus on the current school year, yet our calendars remind us that planning for next school year should have already begun.
Class changes, new programs, ideal class sizes, teaching responsibilities, new staff, retirements, master schedules, new initiatives, etc. have been imbedded in my daily thoughts and conversations since we came back from break. While the 2016-17 school year is still over eight months from kicking off, it is imperative many of these ongoing discussions are wrapped up and decisions are made soon. Failure to properly prepare is not fatal, but it can be the difference between a great start to a school year or one of constant frustration and disruptions.
Being an an educator is like very few professions out there. While balancing the important task of finishing up the current school year while planning for next may cause sleepless nights and a fair amount of stress, it also possesses an amazing opportunity to make a lasting impact of the lives of our students. Each school year allows for a clean slate to start anew. Teachers and staff have the ability to quit doing what may be no longer effective and take on a new approach that may have been difficult to implement midyear. But most importantly, staff has the opportunity to fulfill most schools’ missions statements by creating “lifelong learners and productive citizens.”
Before we know it the sun will be shining, the birds will be chirping, our lawnmowers will be fired up, and this year’s seniors will be anxious to walk across the stage towards their next season in life. It is impossible to fully prepare for next school year as new students will arrive this summer, a staff member may decide to retire/leave late, or new programs or funding may fall through. However, take the time now, while it’s still bitterly cold, to begin to preparing for the next class of seniors who have been excitedly waiting their turn and the new class of seventh graders who will be nervously gracing our halls for the first time. A few sleepless nights now will pay dividends in the fall.