April 2019
Volume XVII Issue IV

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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.

Closing on a Positive Note

School leaders, especially principals, by their words and actions can impact the esprit de corps among school staffs in powerfully positive ways. This is especially important at the end of the school year. My Just ASK colleague and author of Professional Practices for the 21st Century Leader Marcia Baldanza offers these  “Make a Difference Messages.”  

Make a Difference Messages
I trust you, I believe in you, I know you can do this.
We are all leaders and learners.
You can count on me to stand by and with you.
We are family and you are important.
We always choose the hard right instead of the easy wrong.

 Gordon Tredgold, author of FAST, provides ten statements that can have a positive impact on the morale of a school staff.  When principals share genuine honesty and words of praise, the feelings of the staff can change for the better.  His suggests we say:

What do you need from me to be successful?
I value your contribution.
I believe you have the capacity to achieve the results you want.
Sorry, my fault.

What did we learn from this that we could use in the future?
How are you doing today?
I have complete faith in you.
How can we continue to do better?
Great job!
Thank you!

And finally, to ensure that these words are not perceived as empty platitudes, I include some recommendations from Derrick Meador’s “Fun and Effective Strategies for Boosting Teacher Morale” on Thoughtco.com.

  • Leave handwritten notes of appreciation (perhaps accompanied by a treat) in each teacher’s mailbox.
  • Treat each teacher with respect. Never talk down to them. Never question their authority in front of a parent, student, or another teacher.
  • Take an interest in their personal lives learning about their spouse, kids, and interests outside of school.
  • Let teachers be individuals. Embrace differences.
  • Ask their opinion! Listen to their opinion! Value their opinion!
  • Be an example! Stay happy, positive, and enthusiastic!


Best wishes for a great school closing!




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 2019 Closing of School Checklist” Just for the ASKing! April 2019. Reproduced with permission of Just ASK Publications & Professional Development. © 2019. All rights reserved. Available at www.justaskpublications.com