The end of the school year is a whirlwind of activity. As a high school principal, these things were uppermost in my mind during the last few weeks of the school year: making sure all graduation ceremony arrangements were complete and that any seniors not passing were notified as were their parents; meeting with distraught parents who seniors were not graduating; keeping everyone focused on learning through the last day of the school year; and of course, staffing allocations and assignments for the next year.
Later in the summer, I would have time to reflect with my administrative team on successes during the past year as well as areas where was improvement is needed. While this reflection did occur, it often was shaded by the immediate needs of planning for opening of school. So, before there is too much time between end of school and next year’s planning, it is important to create space and opportunity for in depth reflection. Here are a few questions to guide that reflection, some of which involve self-reflection and some, by other administrators and teachers.
Year End Reflection
- How close did we come to accomplishing the instructional goals we set for this year? What evidence do we have of accomplishment?
- What needs arose this year that were not adequately addressed? What systems or strategies need to be in place to address those needs? How will we put those systems or strategies in place?
- What unanticipated issues arose during the year? How successfully did we handle them?
- What is one thing we are especially proud of, that can leverage our improvement efforts for next year?
Because we are all busy, especially at this time of year, we don’t often take the time to think through our experiences and learn from them. As school leaders, that exercise of reflection is our commencement ceremony!