The first day and week of school are opportunities to make a strong, positive first impression! Seize the chance to help everyone feel supported, appreciated and excited to be back in the building with one another.

See more details about this month’s activities by clicking the title of each idea below!

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Welcome Back Postcards: Reinforce relationships with families by sending a postcard home to every student, hand-signed by their teacher. It’s a bit of a lift, but it’s worth the effort! A simple, friendly connection now can pay dividends later.


First Day of School: Reinforce a culture of joy and inclusivity through visible and tangible start-of-school experiences. Don’t be quiet about it – this is a chance to set the tone for the year!

This activity has been selected as part of the Culture Challenge. Do it, enter the sweepstakes, and you could win $500 for culture and climate activities at your school!  



Themed Mailbox Gifts: On the first day of school, Recognize your staff and faculty (aka Staffulty) with small, themed gifts and messages in their mailboxes. Think, for example, a highlighter with a note saying, “Thanks for being a highlight of your students’ day!”

Love, the Secret Ingredient — video and discussion: Use this The Green Room professional learning episode at a staff meeting or PD day to reinforce the power of the profession, and the impact teachers make.


Announce Character Criteria: Kick off the school year by sharing the character traits that you’ll be recognizing and celebrating throughout the school year at rallies and through awards like Student of the Month.  Announce and celebrate traits like generosity, kindness, grit, and school involvement.

Goals – video and discussion: Use this The HarborTM by Jostens episode with students to reinforce the need to identify both small and large goals, as well as to hold each other accountable as we work toward achieving them.


Announce Academic Criteria: Start the year by announcing key academic criteria. Prepare to recognize students at upcoming events or the Renaissance Rally by sharing what GPA, grades, or academic growth levels will qualify.


All schools who do one Monthly Playbook activity for each month of the school year and track their school culture and climate efforts are eligible to be a Jostens Renaissance School of Distinction.

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