Home CTO/CIO Back to School Ideas for Leaders

Back to School Ideas for Leaders

by Dr. Bruce Ellis
back to school

Ready or not, teachers and students are about to come back to school! Why not be a little creative in welcoming them back? Depending on what assets you have (time for planning, talent on staff, etc.) may determine if your efforts are a solo act or more of a group effort. Either way, your staff and students are sure to feel welcomed and happy to be back. Here are a few ideas that you might want to consider that won’t break the bank or require you to recruit Disney.


Getting to know others is a great way to build camaraderie among your staff. Sometimes, though, the back-to-school to-do list is too full to allow you the flexibility to build in all the activities you’d like to do. Why not use Flip to introduce yourself to the group using this template: share your name and what you do, one thing you are excited about this school year, and one fun thing you enjoy doing when not at school. Here is a sample Flip Intro sandbox that you can jump in and record your own and see what others say that join in (be sure to use the guest password Leadership to access the sandbox).

Microsoft purchased Flipgrid (now Flip) and made it completely free to everyone! Educators can enjoy all the great features without having to worry about freemium issues. This has to be one of the best free tools for educators and leaders to use! And, since each Flip has to be password protected, you don’t have to worry about outsiders accessing your activities or seeing videos of staff and students. To find more great ideas of using Flip, consider searching on Twitter for #flipgridFever or take a look at their blog to more ideas.

YouTube Welcome Back to School

You don’t have to have Broadway in your background to create a great YouTube video that welcomes students and teachers back. It helps if you are creative, but even that isn’t always a requirement – just identify the creative folks around you and ask for their help. Here are a few YouTube videos that might serve as inspiration for a video you might do for your folks. As you will notice, some are more involved than others. But don’t feel that you have to achieve this on your first go round. Let it start a tradition of communicating that “we enjoy being together and working with students.”

Inspire to Make a Difference

Even if you find that you are not one that likes to be on either side of the video camera, you can still find resources that can inspire your staff to make a difference this year like never before. You can find a variety of inspirational videos at http://bit.ly/educatorsinspire. My favorite inspirational video for educators – whether in the classroom or in administration – is by Rita Pierson as she clearly gives a call for action to make a difference with those we serve.

What Will You Do?

How will you start the school year for your staff, teachers, and/or students? Will you design activities that help them focus on the critical nature of their job in supporting students? Will you help them grow in trusting their peers so they are more likely to look for inspiration and great ideas around them to emulate? Or will you use a video to evoke humor amidst the hard work that is already starting for the school year? However you choose to start this school year, we’d love to hear your story and possibly pass it on to encourage and inspire others to do the same. You can drop me a line at bellis@tcea.org and let me know.

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