School Leadership Readiness – Are We Ready for Students?

For teachers, several priority issues need to be accomplished before the students arrive. Housekeeping is an important issue. Classrooms need to be ready, all technology needs to work, and all instructional materials need to be available and in good order. Teachers need to complete their class rosters and gather what data they can to identify “at-risk” factors, strengths and weaknesses of each student as a learner, and the strengths and weaknesses of each student as a performer. These datasets should enable them to have an idea of the priority needs of students and the opportunity to plan to meet those needs on day one.

It’s also critical that teachers plan the opening units of the year to address more than just content. The opening unit or units should have a formative element that enables teachers to generate baseline
data on student performance with learning and performing skills and add that data to the student profile. The units should have ritual and routine elements built in to establish the behavior management rituals and routines that enable best practice behavior, as well as the academic rituals and routines that will allow student success. Teachers then need to plan teacher work, student work, monitoring and collection of student data, and initial planning for student support. Teacher work in the opening of school is critical but not, in itself, enough.

Identifying the types of work that are needed to get students to a point where they can be proficient learners is an essential piece of the planning work required of teachers before school starts. Determining student readiness for the start of school is a significant part of this planning.

– excerpt from Turning Around Turnaround Schools, Volume 2 – Embracing the Rhythm of the Learner Year

Are your school leaders ready for the opening of school? Here’s a helpful checklist:

The free tools provided on this site are pulled, in part, from our recent book Turning Around Turnaround Schools, Volume 2 – Embracing the Rhythm of the Learner Year. If you have questions about how to use any of these tools, please feel free to contact us, or check out the book, available on

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