Celebrate Good Times…………………Come On!
Written by-Jack Birmingham
Now that you have that “Kool and the Gang” song stuck in your head until another 80s classic pops onto your Walkman (some leaders will actually need to Google Walkman), I can think of no better time than now to understand the value of celebrations for the culture that you are trying to build in your respective building! Your school educators have been through it all this year and we are starting to see the glorious light at the end of this dark tunnel! It indeed is time to celebrate with your students, staff and parents!
I have often compared schools with a great culture to that of a theme park, and the leaders in these schools will find reasons to celebrate ANY achievement ANY time! That is truly the trick of the trade. It is easy to celebrate a wonderful school success story, such as, academic success, athletic victories, superb choir productions, etc., but what about those less noticeable ones? You know, the classroom that had perfect attendance for one straight month or the student council group that decided to clean up the landscaping out front? If you are looking to build the culture that leads to your “theme park,” it is paramount that you seek out opportunities to celebrate with your building!
While there are many ways to recognize and lift the spirits of your students, staff and parents, my favorite tools to use are “last calls!” They can single-handedly begin to improve your climate that leads to an incredible “theme park” culture! How do they work? First, include your office and teaching staff on the value of “last calls.” Explain to them that it is simply my desire to end my day on a positive note by reaching out to our families to share our appreciation and celebrate with them on a particular accomplishment their child had done. Could be ANYTHING! Tell your teachers that if they spot a student who could use a “last call”, to send them the information to my office and I will make that call! It truly is priceless! The rapport and appreciation the leader gets by this small celebration is an instrumental part of an incredible culture! Best part of the “last call’ celebrations? You, as the LEADER can use them on your staff as well! This serves to not only lift their spirits, but also, to show them how it feels to receive such a call and then they can begin using these great tools as well! It spreads like wildfire!
As we move through one of the toughest school years in history, remember to celebrate both large and small victories. They are equally enjoyable! And full disclosure, yes, I HAD the larger scale “Kool and the Gang” Celebration album, but still enjoyed listening to the smaller scale 45 rpm I had as well. (Again, now the younger leaders are working overtime on Google.) These celebrations build your climate, strengthen your culture and warm your school family as much as the approaching spring sun.