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Volume XII Issue IV

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The Just ASK 2015 Closing of School Checklist

Bruce Oliver

Bruce facilitating a Leading the Learning® workshop


It is that time of the year when we owe it to ourselves to pause and reflect on and celebrate what is good about our schools, what we have accomplished, what is in place and working well, and how we can build on these achievements next fall. 

We want to ensure that each stakeholder (staff, student, and parent) feels noticed and appreciated and that each is aware not only of their own contributions to the success of the school year, but also of the collective results of the community as a whole.  

There is much to celebrate and so many ways to do it. Presentation of clever artifacts (check the supply closet) that represent individual/team accomplishments, a display of teacher- or student-made posters, charts, and pictures (with a “We Did It!” theme) around the room, or a round of “That’s True About Me (Us)!” can create a brief festive atmosphere without anyone spending hours in preparation. Staff events and accomplishments that might be celebrated are:

  • Completing a rookie (first) year
  • Completing a career with a June 30th retirement
  • Implementing a new approach… to almost anything!
  • Mastering a new device, software, or app
  • Taking on a new role within the school community
  • Collaborating more with colleagues
  • Partnering with parents more explicitly
  • Completing a course or degree program
  • Being thrilled by student progress in … as represented by …
  • Being delighted about student products demonstrating rigorous learning of …
  • Using data to inform instruction
  • Asking for and providing one another assistance
  • Focusing on educating the whole child
  • Knowing I (we) made a difference in a child’s life because he/she/they …
  • Thinking it couldn’t be done, and then doing it 

Given the ease with which we can insert photos and images into a PowerPoint presentation, why not put together a 15 minute slide presentation set to music that captures some of the highlights of the year. Highlights might be noble, profound, small steps forward, surprising, or humorous; both professional and personal points could be addressed. Debut it at a faculty meeting and then post it on the school and/or district website so that parents and community members can view it as well. 

Or perhaps, engage the entire team or staff in preparing ROSE Award certificates for one another. ROSE stands for Recognition of Superior Effort. All staff members are encouraged to complete certificates for other staff members “In appreciation for the following effort to promote high levels of collaboration, instruction, learning, and leading.”  Access a customizable template and exemplar and of a ROSE Award created by the Appleton Area School District, Wisconsin. A list of the awards can be posted on the school or district website. Why not include parents in this process as well? Be sure to monitor, or have someone monitor, the people to receive a ROSE Award so that you can be sure everyone is recognized in some way. 

For additional celebration ideas, see pages 98-105 in Creating a Culture for Learning: Your Guide to PLCs and More written by several Just ASK consultants. 

Whatever the format or venue you select, be sure to close the school year by celebrating individual and team accomplishments of the year. 

This month we present the 7th Annual Just ASK Closing of School Checklist. Reading and completing the checklist may help you focus on important learning, events, and accomplishments of the 2014-2015 school year. 

Permission is granted for reprinting and distribution of this newsletter for non-commercial use only. Please include the following citation on all copies:
Oliver, Bruce. “The Just ASK 2015 Closing of School Checklist” Just for the ASKing! April 2015. Reproduced with permission of Just ASK Publications & Professional Development (Just ASK). © 2015 Just ASK. All rights reserved. Available at www.justaskpublications.com.