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Volume XII Issue VII

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The Just ASK 2015 Opening of School Checklist

Bruce Oliver

Bruce facilitating a Leading the Learning® workshop

The Just ASK Opening of School Checklist, updated for 2015 is used by thousands of school leaders each year. It is designed to help users track more than 100 tasks, identify who is responsible for each, and establish deadlines. Robert Webb, Director of Auxiliary Services and former Principal of Snyder Junior High School, Snyder ISD, Texas, reports, “I use Just ASK’s opening and closing checklists each year and find that they make the job much easier.”

Highlights from this year’s checklist include:

Focus on Teaching Staff 

  • Provide continued professional development on the Common Core, TEKS, SOLs, or other rigorous state learning standards and the implications for changes in instructional and assessment practices
  • Schedule protected time for the distribution and discussion of implications of student data received over the summer
  • Plan a presentation on any changes in the supervision and evaluation process for teachers and administrators

Focus on Students

  • Arrange for any necessary translations of information for non-English speaking students and their families
  • Contact feeder schools to determine which students may need special support or attention

Focus on Parents

  • Provide required forms online so parents can complete and submit them prior to the first day of school
  • Arrange for PTA representatives to contact new families and welcome them to the community
  • Publish/distribute/post on school website a school year calendar with information about school events, report card distribution, parent meetings, etc.

Focus on the Building

  • Move delivered items to a secure area to avoid clutter and possible misplacement
  • Work with technology support staff to assure proper functioning of all available technology
  • Make sure teachers’ lounges, restrooms, workrooms are readied before staff returns (cleaned, stocked, and inviting)

Focus on the Community

  • Reach out to community leaders (religious, civic, business, etc.) to build an alliance and a support system for the school
  • Seek mentors in the community to provide student support



I hope that the upcoming school year is the best that each of you has ever had.

In 1904, Bessie Anderson Stanley, the wife of the superintendent of schools in Lincoln County, Kansas, wrote a poem titled Success. As educators, we all want to achieve success in our endeavors. We want to be remembered fondly by our peers, our students and our parents. The words in Ms. Stanley’s poem ring just as true today as they did over 100 years ago. You might want to share these words with staff as you begin a new school year.


He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.