The Quicker Picker Upper


School’s out for summer. While students and teachers are home enjoying well-deserved rest and relaxation, school administrators are still at work. Of course, it’s much more quiet during the summer, but it’s a time to be as productive as you possibly can be.

Now if you’ve ever felt like you were completely overwhelmed as a school leader, I’m sure that it comes with the craziness of the school year. You’ve got a thousand things to do. Everyone in the building is constantly bringing four-alarm fires. You wish you could be more productive but there’s entirely too much going on. 

If you are familiar with the large green package of paper towels, you may know that Bounty is the Quicker Picker Upper. If you’ve seen the commercials, you know that Bounty is promoted as being more absorbent than all other paper towels. In this spirit, you can use the summer to become a Quicker Picker Upper. You have the chance to quickly and more efficiently handle all of your responsibilities and duties when no one else is around adding even more to your plate. The summer can absorb more than any other time of year for you.  

Here are some tips and strategies for being super productive this summer:

  • Start with a Summer List. When you are showing up each morning in the summer with no pressure, a quiet environment, and fewer things to do, it can be hard to get started. At the end of the school year each June, I print out my summer list of tasks. It includes all of the administrative tasks that need to be completed, small and large. Welcome back letters to families and staff. Class lists and class schedules. Beginning of year resources for families and staff. All of these summer tasks need to be done, and generating a list that can be used each year can be a great way to be more productive. Going in tomorrow, I can look at the list first thing in the morning and jump right in. Create a digital copy of your list so that you can add/remove items each year. This year, I’ll add several things related to some summer hiring that needs to be completed. Get your list generated so that you can be more efficient this summer.
  • Create and Add Dates to Your Calendar. I love to go into the year with all of our calendar dates decided. I spend a good amount of time during the summer outlining all of our dates for the year, ensuring that nothing overlaps, and giving everyone as much heads up as I can on annual dates. Planning staff meetings, curriculum meetings, professional development, assemblies, student awards, field trips, PTA events, and anything else gives you a huge head start on the year. Add all of the dates to a shared digital calendar so that everyone is fully aware of when things are happening. Everyone will appreciate going in with a 20,000 foot view of the school year. 
  • Review Data and Plan Accordingly. Spending time during the school year to review data and plan accordingly is like trying to keep twenty plates spinning in the air at the same time. While I work closely with our data team during the school year to review data and use it to guide instruction, I appreciate the quietness of the summer to spend meaningful time with the data by myself. It’s a great time to make specific decisions about interventions, and plan how those interventions will take place during the school year. Create a detailed plan based on your noticing of trends and patterns. Have your data team review the intervention plan when they return to school in August/September.
  • Explore New Technology. Finding time during the school year to explore technology can be difficult. I’m one of those people that needs to practice and explore consistently in order to learn a new tech tool. The school year usually provides only sporadic times to explore. Summer provides a more consistent timeframe. Connect with your district’s tech team or tech facilitators to learn about the latest and greatest tech tools. Spend a week trying one or two out, and prepare a turnkey presentation to share with staff when they return for the new year.  
  • Grant Writing. There is a ton of money available to do some amazing things in your school. If you’ve never written a grant before, the summer serves as a perfect no pressure time to write your first. Research some grants that you think might be helpful to your school or teachers – hands on science projects, a new set of Phys Ed equipment, or new technology for your school. Use AI to generate a basic outline of the grant process. Follow through on the specific guidelines from the grant, and write your proposal. If your district employs a grant writer, connect with them to learn about the process, collaborate to write, and receive feedback on your proposal. There’s no better time to tackle grant writing than the summer.
  • Organize and Declutter. If you are anything like me, you kind of throw everything around in your office during the school year. I usually spend the first couple of days decluttering my office – going through everything, filing what needs to be filed, and tossing what deserves to be tossed. As educators, we usually hold onto things twenty years too long. Try to minimize what you need and have in your office. Get rid of the printed copies that you have somewhere digitally. Throw away stuff that you’ll never use again. Just try to get more organized so that your office can help you to reach a functional workflow. Remember, less is more. Be a quicker picker upper and get rid of those messes.

Summer provides the perfect opportunity to be a quicker picker upper. You can pick up all of those tasks that fell off of the table during the school year. You can be more efficient and productive with no one else around to disturb you. Use your time wisely. Relax, of course, but also get a head start on the school year. You are a Quicker Picker Upper!




© 2024 4 O'Clock Faculty | WordPress Theme: Annina Free by CrestaProject.