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Recognize Students

One of a principal’s many jobs is to create a community within their school building. Educators and staff who work as a team are able to foster an environment that better promotes collaboration and learning among the student body. Students who view their school as a community are more likely to provide support and assistance to others during their academic journeys and feel welcome and engaged. While cultivating school communities provides boundless advantages, some principals find it difficult to incorporate themselves into the communities they work to foster. With a few steps, however, principals can better connect with their schools.


Know Your Students

It’s nearly impossible to cultivate a community without knowing its members. While principals don’t need to know every detail about every student, knowing all of their names enables principals to develop meaningful relationships with their students. 


Principals can also connect with students through other daily interactions, such as classroom observations and recess and lunch duties. By attending meetings, including IEP meetings and Student Intervention Team meetings, principals can begin to learn more about a child’s needs and develop plans to support them both inside and outside of the classroom. 


Become Present Outside of School

Just as principals can build relationships within the walls of their schools, they can also work toward building those relationships outside of the school day. Sports practices and other extracurricular activities provide principals with the opportunity to learn more about students’ hobbies, interests, and strengths that otherwise might have not been visible during regular school day visits. 


It’s no surprise students are receptive toward recognition. Whether it’s honor rolls or other academic awards, principals can recognize students for their hard work by making building announcements or sending postcards home. 


Welcome New Students and Families

Connecting with a school community also means welcoming new students and families. Principals can send personal letters welcoming students and families after they’ve been attending school for a few weeks. These letters can inform the family about the school, its principal, and also ask how the student is transitioning and if there’s anything the principal or educators can do to help aid the process. This method opens up communication between new families and the principal and also establishes relationships with the new students and family.


Connect with the Community via Social Media

In addition to fostering community within the school, it’s also important to extend that reach to the families. It’s not uncommon for students to answer, “nothing,” in response to parents asking details about their day. Principals can create transparency by using social media to keep parents informed and engaged. Facebook pages can be embedded on school websites to share pictures and events and to provide families with reminders to upcoming events. 


Though it may appear daunting, simple steps can go a long way in helping principals connect with their school communities.