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July 2017
Volume XIV Issue VII

by Bruce Oliver


Introduction to the Just ASK 2017 Opening of School Checklist


Download the Checklist Now!


Bruce Oliver

Bruce Oliver, the author of Just for the ASKing!, lives in Burke, Virginia. He uses the knowledge, skills, and experience he acquired as a teacher, professional developer, mentor, and middle school principal as he works with school districts across the nation. He has written more than 150 issues of Just for the ASKing!  He is also a co-author of Creating a Culture for Learning published by Just ASK.

As administrators make plans for the 2017-2018 school year, there are a multitude of tasks to take into account from academic goals to building appearances, from opening day readiness to the induction of new staff, from establishing a strong school culture to meeting the learning needs of all students.  These factors, and many others tasks, appear in Just ASK’s 2017 Opening of School Checklist which, as has become our practice, is the July issue of Just for the ASKing! 

One of a leader’s most important decisions as the new school year approaches is planning the first faculty meeting of the year.  This opening session can set the tone for the upcoming school year.  Beyond communicating any changes teachers can expect or additions/deletions to the strategic plan for the school year is the distinct and clear way that information is presented.  In The Skillful Teacher, Jon Saphier writes about the important expectation messages teachers should communicate to their students. The messages are:

What we’re doing is important.
You can do it.
I won’t give up on you.

These same beliefs also provide the message leaders want to communicate to staff members about the work they are doing.  Faculties need to know from the outset that their principal is positive, supportive, collegial and consistent. These first impressions at the beginning of school year can become lasting impressions. When teachers leave the first meetings and encounters with the school’s leaders, they should feel confident that the goals for the year are achievable, that the “us and them” practice is an anachronism, and that all are working together as a team.

Also, don’t miss my colleague, Marcia Baldanza’s Professional Practices for the 21st Century Leader e-newsletter. There are 17 issues of this newsletter available to you at the Just ASK Resource Center. Based on the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015, Marcia’s insightful, practical, and field-tested suggestions are guaranteed to provide with you some amazing new strategies, points to ponder, and resources you can use as you prepare for the opening of school.


Download the 2017 Checklist!


Principal's Library

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 2017 Opening of School Checklist.” Just for the ASKing! . Reproduced with permission of Just ASK Publications & Professional Development. © 2017. All rights reserved. Available at