Ending the School Year on a Positive Note: 5 Strategies for School Leaders


It is that time of year... Again! School Leaders are seeking ways to end the school year while leaving a lasting impression on students, staff, and the community. This is no easy task, but with a little bit of planning, and coordination with your staff, you can make a memorable end to the school year. As I plan for my 13th school ending as a leader, I wanted to provide 5 strategies to implement to make the most of your time and effort: 

1. Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate! 

Whether you are coordinating an Awards Ceremony, final staff meeting, or a graduation, it is important as the School Leader to ensure that celebrations are literally thrown around like confetti (or with confetti). Be sure to plan your address/remarks ahead of time so that you spend the time in reflection, focusing on your celebration. Celebrating does not need to cost a lot because people will value a heartfelt message more than a paper certificate. Parents and students look forward to the celebration, even if they don't tell you about it. 

2. Reflect, Review, Remove 

This is a perfect time to survey your staff, students and community. If you want feedback, it is important to ask  questions so that people can help you see what is working and what needs to be improved. I like to make a survey that has about 5-10 questions ranging from things that worked this year, to things that they want to change. One absolutely essential question to ask is, "What are we doing that can get eliminated?" Yes, how often do we ask about taking something off of our plates, as opposed to putting additional stuff on? If you survey students, be sure to encourage them to look back on their learning journey.

3. Plan Engaging Activities

As the academic pressure eases, I like to encourage the staff to plan memorable events. For instance, each year the teachers organize a "Color Run" with the students as a fun and healthy event. Each year the costs seemed to rise and they were looking to try something new. They researched other alternatives and discovered a fun, less expensive alternative...a Foam Run. Yes, the kids and staff loved the Foam and made for a memorable event. The cafeteria helped out and made the kids Mexican Street Corn! It was awesome! 

4. Foster Positive Relationships

The end of the year can be sad for students. They have fostered relationships with teachers throughout the year, and they know the time is coming where they won't have the day to day interaction. A clever idea for the staff and students is to do a Gratitude Wall where everyone writes things from the year that they are grateful for. Teachers can take a picture of the wall and share with parents through Social Media. 

5. Prepare for the Transition

Help students prepare for the next stage. For younger students, meeting their future teachers can reduce anxiety. With older students, discussions about future goals and what to expect in the next grade are crucial. This preparation helps them transition smoothly.

6. Encourage Personal Growth

Each staff member should not only reflect on what their year was like, but also they should start planning for next year. At your last staff meeting of the year, after everyone has reflected, it is important to carve out time for them to share what they want to accomplish next year. 


Ending the school year on a positive note sets the tone for the future. By celebrating achievements, fostering relationships, and preparing for transitions, we can ensure that the end of the year is a meaningful and enjoyable experience for everyone. Take care of yourself, reflect on your journey, and look forward to the opportunities the next school year will bring. 

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