First Day Back 2021

This “First Day Back” will truly be – if you can stand one more use of the word – unprecedented. Don’t miss the opportunity to make everyone feel supported, appreciated, and excited to be back in the building and in each other’s company! Ask yourself a few questions to see how ready you are, and how Renaissance resources can help.

How can you kick-start the year with some fun?

Make the first day the best day.

In this video presentation from JRVC 2021, Renaissance Educator of the Year Tim Schlosser describes how Franklin Simpson High School [Franklin, KY] makes the start of the school year a fun and inspiring time for staffulty and students alike. (9:41)

Create a back-to-school theme.

Erie High School chose a “Better Together” theme and lived it out with games, competitions, and prizes. Read more and watch a video of the festivities.

Hold a back-to-school rally, Renaissance-style.

Horizon Middle School and Vancleave Middle School share photos and videos from their opening day celebrations for students and staffulty.

Start new traditions to welcome new students and teachers.

Dr. Tara Campbell and Jostens rep Scott Geesey share numerous traditions that will help welcome newcomers into your school community.

How are you taking care of your staffulty (and yourself)?

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Tom Cody reminds us that educators must stay centered and healthy themselves in order to take care of their students.

Start new staffulty recognition traditions.

LaSalle-Peru Township High School recognizes their staff and faculty with a monthly Tireless Staff Award. (Log in to read full PDF.)

Show your staffulty some love.

Renaissance Hall of Famer Sara Cowey describes ways to show your staffulty you care and want them to love coming to work. (9:14)

Group of people holding hands

Visit the Educator Morale section of the Renaissance RX Prescription Center.

All our resources for inspiring and motivating staffulty are gathered here with direct links.

How are you taking care of your students?

Be intentional about engaging students throughout the year, starting now.

In this Courageous Conversations episode, Jonathan Alsheimer shares several ideas for transforming your existing practices into ones students won’t be able to resist. (6:01)

Have a drawing to encourage “Just Checking In Cards.”

Give students a reason to check in on each other – make it an intentional tradition, with a chance at a prize. (Log in to read the full PDF.)

Take a moment to think about whether all your students feel included.

The “Equity vs. Equality” episode of the Harbor by Jostens reminds us that different solutions may be needed for different groups to feel like part of your community. (4.30)

Visit the Student Engagement section of the Renaissance RX Prescription Center.

All our resources for connecting with students are gathered here with direct links.

What does it mean to be a part of your school community?

Decide what kind of school community you’re trying to build.

Identity consultant John Jenson explains how this year of chaos is the perfect time to get in touch with your value as a leader. (25:54)

Involve your entire school community and culture in your school’s identity.

Renaissance educator leaders Dr. Darrin Peppard and Bradlee Skinner discuss how to build your brand within your school community.

Build your personal brand, and encourage others to do the same.

In this Courageous Conversations episode, Renaissance Hall of Famer Steve Bollar shares simple insights on how to build the brand you desire for yourself, which means living out your values.

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