It is the first day of work after holiday. And I know how tough such a day as this can be. So, I will make it short and direct.
Period of Grace
Sometimes, the holiday is so good that it plays into term. The hangover of such, is what tempts some employees and organization to declare laissez-faire within the first few days of resumption. Some schools call this “period of grace”. This is the period during which school managements deliberately stunt school activities. During the period of grace after resumption, there is little or no lessons. Students do as they please, with little or no supervision while staff sit in gist units. Generally, schools close at period of grace earlier than their usual time. And there is generally low students’ turnout.
This is a common practice. It has lingered for long. And parents of schools that practice “period of grace” are aware of it. In fact, some parents deliberately keep their children at home during the first few days of resumption – the reason for the low students’ turnout. This is because they are aware that the school will still be in the “period of grace”. Not many parents want to send their children to go and play unsupervised at school. Children probably spend the entire holiday doing that. Unimaginably, there are schools that extend the period of grace from days to “weeks of grace”.
Your School Must Be Different
Inasmuch as this is common, let me also tell you a fact. Schools that want sustainable growth seldom have “periods of grace”. And if at all they do, it lasts for the shortest possible time – not more than a day or two. This is a fact, a reality. I mean, the target is to maximize profit and minimize loss. Why waste an entire week to commence the activities that brings in profit.
The 4 Things Every Growth-focused School Must Do at the first week of resumption
Schools that are deliberate about their growth are always busy from the word go. I believe that every school is pursuing growth. As such, here are four things every school must do during the first week of resumption.
This is a well-known fact. For every successful business, the first line of action at the beginning and end of all trading period is to take stocks. This is perhaps, the most accurate way for you to measure and project your growth; profit or loss.
In how to mark attendance register, I discussed why taking attendance is importance. In addition to that, there is one or two especial reasons for doing so on the first day of resumption. Foremost is that attendance figure is one piece of information you may want to enter into your school diary. This helps in preservation of school culture.
Secondly, it helps teachers to avoid hassles with closing of attendance registers at the end of the term. Too often, unsuspecting teachers formulate the learners’ total weekly attendance for the first few weeks of resumption. This is because they fail to take attendance for this period. This is a moral dent as long as professional ethics is concerned.
Finally, taking attendance at resumption helps to boost early resumption. Majority of parents and students want to maintain as excellent record as possible. This includes having 100% attendance. Hence, knowing that the school takes attendance from the first day makes some to resume as early as possible.
Sustainably growing schools have the reputation of high attendance rate from the first week of resumption. On the contrary, struggling schools have the reputation of delaying academic activities during the first week of resumption.
Open Opinion Boxes
This is another practice that sets growth-focused schools apart from others. Every successful school is always on the look out for ideas that will foster growth. Apart from the executives whose jobs include thinking the school towards growth, the primary source of opinion for school growth comes from members of the school community – [non-executive] staff, students and parents.
If only school managements would listen to what their staff and students are saying, they could get the ideas to tackle most of its problems. Staff and students, within their secret meetings; they discuss the problem of the school, the challenges and solutions, weakness and strengths.
If only school managements would listen to what their staff and students are saying, they could get the ideas to tackle most of its problems.
This is not exclusive to school environment. It happens in every organisation. This is why big organisations spends millions in internal surveys. Banks, hospitals and other corporations keep opinion boxes in strategic places for members’ input.
This is why every growth-focused school must also do this all the time and especially during resumption. Why? Because during the holiday, your staff and students met, mingled and discussed with a lot of people from different background. It is unlikely that they did not discuss their various schools. As such, they invariably come back loaded with ideas. Any school that does not create the funnels for collecting ideas and opinions from its staff and students does itself amiss.
If you haven’t already, construct – or improvise – opinion boxes and keep it in strategic places within the school to collect opinions. For effectiveness, you may accompany each box with CTA inscriptions.
I won’t waste much time here. We all know this is one thing that every school must do. It is a professional requirement. However, I found it necessary to include it to the list. This is because a good number of schools do not observe it. And I know this because I work with many schools.
Due to the “period of grace” that I discussed earlier, some schools are simply unable to do revision as they should. Many students resume as from the second week of resumption. Even some teachers too! In many schools, academic activities do not start until the second week of resumption. This is a malpractice. No one school operates in isolation. Every school is a party in actualizing the national educational goals. This is why it is mandatory for every school to adopt the national curriculum and official schemes of work.
The curriculum and the schemes are deliberately planned based on professional understanding. And the professionals found it necessary to include revision as the first activity each term. This is still consistent with contemporary educational theories. So, why skip revision? Besides, there are subjects especially in higher classes that have new topics for the first week of resumption.
I tell you this, no school deliberate about its growth would want to have the reputation of “they don’t do anything in the first week”.
The school that resumes full academic activities from the first day does not only create a good impression. It also helps the students to do well academically. And this is the best marketing technique any school can have.
In addition, starting academic activities as early as possible encourages early resumption of students. And this is necessary for the next part.
So, if you have not started already; ensure your staff commence revision and other academic activities as soon as possible.
- Send School Fees Reminders
This is the last in my list of 4 things every growth-focused school must do this week of resumption. And there is no overbeating this particular one. It is no issue for succeeding schools. They have the system to handle school fees collection. But this is not so for upcoming schools. And to the later, I offer this last tip: send school fees reminder as from the first week of resumption.
Maybe not in as sternly as you would when it is due. But you should start the body language from the beginning. If you start at the middle of the term, you’ll receive your payment at the end or following term.
In my next post, I will share some effective tips for effortless collection of school fees. But let me share this very quickly. The key to smooth collection of school fees is communication. As an administrator, I have three channels of communicating school fees reminder to the parents.
First, the school fees policy. When enrolling their wards, we explain to the parents that we expect them to pay their children’s fees latest by the second week of resumption. They know this and we agree on it. We also agree on the consequences of failing to meet up and the next line of action.
Secondly, we use SMS. Initially, when sending resumption notification; there is a school fee reminder line. Then our welcome back to school SMS, another school fee reminder line – this is the one you should be sending this week. Afterwards, on the last due date; we send the final reminder SMS. By the end of the second week of resumption – which we allow for students to pay up; we must have narrowed the number of those that have not responded at all. So, we follow this with phone call. The phone call serves two purposes. First to get their response to past communications. Secondly, to inform them that we will not allow their ward into the school until debt is settled.
None, we don’t always get 100% collection. But it has kept us 90% and above for years. Schools that I introduce this communication strategy with the other mechanisms – which I will share in my next post – to, have seen similar results.
So, if you haven’t done so already; send a welcome back to school SMS to your parents. And do not forget to remind them of school fees payment.
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