You’re almost there! Your school has taken shape in so many ways. The business systems are in place, complete with paperwork and legal oversight. The calendar has been carefully planned, the curriculum enthusiastically selected, the software thoroughly vetted. You have policies in place for logistics, emergencies, and a student-directed behavior management system. Most importantly, you have a physical location for your school, complete with all the furniture your students will need.
Now it’s time to show it off.
Have an open house
This is a time of excitement and celebration! The students, their families, and you are all embarking on a new adventure together. Seeing the physical place and meeting any other teachers will help your new students and families feel more comfortable before the first day of school. They’ll be able to visualize themselves in your learning center and start preparing mentally for the change as well.
Share policies in a handbook
At this point, families will also have some questions for you. They’re already committed to the school, so their questions might be more about logistics than philosophy. When and where are the kids dropped off? Picked up? What’s the policy for sick days?
A lot of these questions can be answered in a families’ handbook. The good news is that you’ve already done all the hard work that goes into a handbook. You just have to pull it together. Here are some items you might want to include in your handbook:
- Mission statement
- Academic calendar and curriculum
- Logistics and emergency policies
- Assessment methods with parental access instructions
- Explanation of the behavior management plan
- Contact information
An open house is the perfect time to pass out a handbook, so plan ahead and have plenty of copies on hand. You could also choose to keep the handbook on your school’s website or in a PDF that you email directly to each family.
This is it! The period of setting things up is closing up. Everything from here on out should start running itself, and your challenge will shift to evaluating and continuing to improve your school for your students. Congratulations!