One very unique part of my school’s history is that up until 8 years ago it was 3 separate small/rural schools. At that point the district consolidated its separate, old/run-down buildings and built one large new building for all of K-12. While there were many benefits to this, it was a lot of animosity between the communities and it also made for interesting staff climate. My first year in the building at some point, I realized there still seemed to be 3 separate groups of staff in the elementary and different grade levels (of staff that previously worked together) carried on their own traditions from their previous schools. I realized how important it is for us to start our own traditions as a whole staff to improve our climate/culture. This is along with trying to make our school welcoming and “family friendly” to our parents/guests.
This year, one tradition that we hoped to begin was an all school picnic on the last day of school (although by “all school” I just mean the elementary…the Middle and High Schools are kept separate from us, despite being under one roof). It took a LOT of planning and hard work from the teachers (I was only involved in a couple of the planning meetings due to my maternity leave…they did ALL the work!) Just one example of the hard work they put into this is that several of them came early on the last day of school to cut up 40 watermelons!! (Not to mention the staff member that filled her van with them and brought them to school) That is TEAMWORK!!
I went in to work for the last day of school events to see them all play out. We had staff members directing traffic. Since we do not have a large parking lot, our teachers parked as far away as possible (on the high school side of the bulding, in the grass). We filled up the parking lot with our guests’ cars, plus filled our entire grass field!
Then we had 3 tables lined up with food and staff serving the students/families. We served around 700 people within 30 minutes–I could NOT believe it!! We were almost faster than our lunch program (shhh…don’t tell them I said that!) Then we had a full hour for families to visit, play together on the playground and enjoy the beautiful weather.
It was a great new tradition to begin together to enjoy our last day of school before we all say good-bye to each other for the summer.
What end of year traditions do you have at your school?