Sunday, August 31, 2014

School Calendar: Schedule the Important Events

Last January my sister got the whole family on board for a family reunion, then last week we tried to get everyone together for Mom's birthday. The family reunion was better than ever because the lead time enabled almost everyone to set aside the date, but the birthday party was not as well attended due to not enough lead time.

The same is true for school. When the big events are scheduled in advance, educators, students, families, leaders, and community members are usually prepared and available, but when events are scheduled at the last minute there is usually a domino effect that includes a lack of preparation, bumping other events, and less attendance.

What are the big events for your school year? What classroom events do you want children to be prepared for and families to attend?  When have you scheduled those events, and how are you sharing that scheduling with others?

I'm at a new grade, so I'll have to consult my new team members about the traditional events and dates for fifth grade. I know we have the fifth grade play, and that date is already on the school calendar--a date I'll share with family members on Curriculum Night. The parameters for State testing have also been announced, and I'll share those dates too. We still need to discuss field trip dates and perhaps the dates for other events.

As far as the whole school, summer schedulers did a great job creating a fine tuned weekly schedule of specialist subjects and teachers.  That provides a framework for the year. Events from the Arts Department have also been set and noted on the calendar, events like choral concerts and instrumental events. Field Day is typically scheduled for the end of the year, and we'll have to check that before scheduling field trips, and school assembly presentations are scheduled through the principal so if I intend to have the class present, I'll have to plan the dates for that soon.

Big events require lead time and most other events profit from good scheduling too. There also needs to be some time set aside for serendipity and response too because every year brings surprises, events we don't expect, but end up including mostly for positive, productive reasons. Sadly, events do occur from time to time that respond to less than positive events, events that happen in families, the community, and at-large (hopefully it will be a year without many or any of those.)

Making the time to plan the school calendar in advance helps everyone to be available to support and engage in school events. This is an important start-of-the-school-year task.