Monday, November 12, 2012

A Good School Relationship Is Key

     It is so important to have a good relationship with your school.  Some schools love the after school program and include them as part of their community, and others don't.  I have worked for both types of schools. 
     There are sometimes reasons why a school gives the after school program the cold shoulder.  Maybe the last site supervisor didn't do such a great job.  It's possible that some people at the school resent the fact that you are using their time, space and resources.  In any case, there are things you can do to get a better reputation with the school, or keep the great reputation you currently have.

  • Volunteer Students to Help After School
    • I don't mean that you should pawn students off on the custodian to get them out of your hair.  Students should ONLY be sent to help teachers once you have offered OR they have been requested.
      • Some students will badger their teachers to let them come in and help, and that actually puts a burden on the teachers.  If students ask you to help in a classroom, first make sure the teacher requested them and they DID NOT ask the teacher.
    • Students can go around with an adult and pick up recycling from all of the classrooms once a week.
    • Students can go around the playground and pick up trash once or twice a week.  They should be with an adult and wear gloves in case they come upon anything dangerous.
    • Decorating or organizing for PTA, or school events.
    • Students can complete projects for teachers including cutting, coloring, removing staples from a bulletin board, shelving library books, light cleaning or even correcting papers.
      • Make sure you have the right student for the job.  Students who play around too much or aren't very serious, should not be sent.  Young students cannot do most jobs and will be more trouble then help. 
  • Volunteer your services.
    • Go on a field trip if enough parents haven't signed up.
    • Volunteer to help organize, decorate or clean up after a school event.
    • Help facilitate school activities.
  • Be a Positive Force In Your School
    • Say hello to teachers and staff and engage them in (appropriate) conversation.  Being friendly can give you major points.
    • Make friends with the secretaries and custodians.  These are your best allies in the school. Bring them a treat and remember their birthdays.
  • Think of Others
    • Keep students quiet in the halls.  Teachers are working on their lesson plans and grading and they need a bit of quiet.  If you come down the hall with a bunch of wild monkeys, it won't be appreciated.
    • Make sure that everything you use is returned as neat as you found it, or better.  Gym equipment should be in good shape and returned neatly.  Computers should be logged off or turned off, and chairs pushed in in the computer lab.  Tables should be washed, and floors should be swept.
     One of the things that I did to help out at a school was to spearhead a Whole School Visual Incentive for the Canned Food Drive.  We used Turkeys with feathers to show how many cans of food each class brought in.  I had the after school students help make the turkeys.  They went around to get totals from the teachers each day and added feathers to the turkeys on the main display.  It was a fun project and the school ended up tripling the amount of Canned Foods we brought in for the drive.

     I have made a Canned Food Drive Whole School Incentive Pack with a Turkey theme.  It is up for sale for $2.50 at However, if you are willing to help with the project at your school, just drop me an email at and I will send you the pack for FREE. 


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