If you're anything like us, January felt like the longest month on record. For as long as it was, spring will be here before you know it. (We see you, crocus. Your time will come.) Use your time in February to cultivate your plan of attack, before the pollen starts flying. Here are 13 ideas to get you thinking about what you'll do when spring is here...as told by hilarious cat GIFs.
1. Lift the mood
If there was an antonym for summer, it would be February. School has been in session for close to 100 days and everyone is a little antsy for spring break. Now is the time to do something fun. Plan a spirit week. Hold a class outside on a rare 60-degree day. Create a pop quiz...Jeopardy style! Find a way to lift everyone’s mood that will carry you into spring.
2. It’s not too late to create the change you want to see
Don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. Remember the beginning of the year? You had goals, and plans, and hopes for how the year was going to go. Right about now, it might seem like achieving those outcomes is a mission impossible even Tom Cruise couldn’t crack. Now is the perfect time to plan a strong finish. Focus on what is possible. February is your setup month; it’s the month for reviewing the goals you set and modifying your action plan according to the data. Which brings us to our next tip…
3. Check in on your action plans
When you met as a team (maybe back in October or November) to review survey results and ODR data, you created an action plan – a list of items to work on and who was going to do what by when. Remember that? Pull out the plan and review it…together…as a team.
- Did you do what you said you were going to do?
- Did it have the impact you had hoped for?
4. What do your data tell you?
By now, you know how we feel about data around here. You should definitely check out yours. Survey data. Check-in Check-out data. ODR data. See what they tell you about the impact you’ve had on improving your school culture. Look for trends since the beginning of the year as well as trends over the last couple of months. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for any surprises you didn’t expect to see. Now is a good time to look for ways to fold solutions to new problems in to your existing action plan.
5. Make a plan to get it all done
Here’s a hypothetical: Janet has three months to do something. She figures she has plenty of time and makes other things a priority. Time goes by and pretty soon, Janet realizes she has three weeks to do six things, scheduled around four different calendars, with no one to help her figure it all out.
Don’t be Janet.
Make a list of all the surveys you need to take and the data you need collect. Then, schedule them in an actual calendar with real dates. You’ll thank us later. Here are some things to consider adding to that calendar…
6. Take the Tiered Fidelity Inventory
The TFI will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Whether you're in your first year implementing school-wide or you're well into your 10th year implementing at all three tiers, the TFI works for everyone. If you've never taken it, now's as good a time as any. We even have a few resources to help you out as you go...like this one...and this one.
7. Did you take a School Climate Survey in the fall? Take it again in the spring
If your school took a School Climate Survey in the fall, it’s time to check your progress. Schedule a time to take it again this spring. If you didn’t take the survey this fall, it's fine...you're still great! Just add it to your plan for the coming year.
8. Don't schedule multi-response surveys back-to-back
Avoid burning every bridge you’ve patiently built with your peers and schedule those multi-response surveys a few weeks apart. Maybe schedule the Self-Assessment Survey in March and the School Climate Survey in May. No one wants to get two emails two days apart asking them to take two different surveys. Do you really want to be the person who sends those emails? We didn't think so.
9. What does the district need you to do?
Are there surveys your district wants you to submit before the end of the year? Pencil these into that schedule you’re building so you’re sure to submit your results on time.
10. Get your newsletter game on
If there’s one thing you can do to sustain your implementation, sharing your data is it. There are lots of way to do it. It can be as simple as sharing survey results in an upcoming parent newsletter or as detailed as your full 2-page evaluation. Whatever you do, share what you've been up to as a team working to improve your school climate. Let parents, staff, and students know what you've been up to.
11. Students will be too excited for break
Did someone say no school day? Lots of them? In a row? YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA!
Every teacher knows: The days leading up to spring break are exciting times requiring all your special attention; start thinking now how you'll address them. Revisit your classroom expectations so you're clear this isn't the week they get to phone it in. Plan projects that span the whole week. See tip #1 above. Keep them (and yourself) busy and you'll make it to Friday. Promise!
12. ...And they won’t remember how to school when they get back
Everyone gets a case of the Mondays coming back from a week-long vacation. Students inevitably struggle to remember the routines and expectations you’ve spent the entire year working on. Luckily, there are things you can do to help ease back into normalcy. Check out this resource from the PBIS Technical Assistance Center for some research-based ideas to inspire you.
13. Keep an ear to the ground for exciting announcements from PBISApps
We've been busy over here cooking up some big features you've told us you've needed for years. While we put the finishing touches on that development, we'll just let you simmer thinking about the good stuff coming your way...soon!
There are so many ways you can prepare for spring at your school. From reflecting on accomplishments to scheduling assessments, February might seem cold and dark, but it's the time to start planning for the light at the end of the tunnel.