The school year may be ending, but in some ways, it’s also the beginning of another chapter. High school students commence to their next level, while underclassmen anticipate the opportunities of the new school year ahead, focusing both on summer vacation and planning for the future.
Principals can influence how students view the end of a school year. Keep in mind that the end of the school year is no longer simply a celebration of time off, but is now also a time for reflection on the part of the various stakeholders in the education enterprise: principals, teachers, students, parents, and the community.
While school leadership teams are addressing their school improvement plans, making adjustments for academic improvement, and supporting a positive school culture, other stakeholders may feel left in the dark. It is important to communicate with all shareholders the expectations of both the school and the community as you embark on summer break.
Make a Commitment
School communities typically expect welcome letters from teachers and principals at all levels, particularly at the elementary school level. However, most shareholders are not expecting an end-of-the-year letter. As such, this is an ideal time to seriously consider using social media to promote final thoughts about the end of the school year. Use this as an opportunity to share what parents should expect over the summer and to encourage parents’ continued support of their child’s education.
Sample End-of-Year Community Letter
If you’re eager to embrace this type of communication, use this sample end-of-year community letter as a template for holding your school accountable. You can adapt it for your own needs and disseminate your own version through social media.
Dear parents and guardians,
It is with excitement and anticipation that we write to you as we end another school year. Thank you for allowing us to serve your child and your family. We aim to improve our services as we continue to grow as an academic institution. As a faculty and staff, we commit to the following:
- The belief that every student can grow academically, socially, and emotionally from the first day of the semester until the last.
- Positive contact in some form by the end of August (for the first semester) from each of your child’s teachers.
- An updated website publishing all forms of communication (Google Classroom, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) from each teacher, outlining, at a minimum, classroom expectations and the current unit of study.
- An updated school website with current information.
- Friendly service from every department.
We expect you to let us know if we are not meeting your expectations, as your student’s education and well-being are the most important reason we are educators.
We want to remind you of a few things that will help us focus on teaching and learning as we prepare for another school year. Please support us in the following areas:
- Please be sure your student’s schedule is accurate for the upcoming school year. If you need to make a change, now is the time to request and process that change.
- Upperclassmen should schedule to take the SAT/ACT exam. In addition, utilize the summer months to make college visits.
- Continue to access discussion blogs provided by teachers during the summer.
- Help your student reflect on their achievements from the past and determine how they will make efforts to improve in the future.
Our goal is to have a safe environment where teaching and learning are the focus. We believe every student is a unique contributor to our environment, and we look forward to getting to know our students and families. There is nothing more exciting to us than a partnership with you.
Thank you for supporting us and holding us accountable. You are your child’s best advocate until they gain the confidence to advocate for themselves.
Jennifer Martin is principal of Apalachee High School in Winder, GA.
Making It Work
Tips for using social media to close a school year with clear communication to your stakeholders:
- Use social media to promote continuous improvement. Ensure you are posting resources and encouraging students and families to remain active during the summer months.
- Make a commitment. Decide what your essential vision is, and be willing to share that publicly so stakeholders can hold you accountable.
- Publish your commitment. Post your letter to social media and your website. This holds you accountable throughout the summer and reminds you of your focus moving into the next year.