Rallying for a Winning School Year Strategy

A new school year brings opportunities for new learning, but a smooth start also requires planning and preparation. Whether you’re a district leader, principal, or classroom teacher, it’s helpful to understand your colleagues’ role in a collaborative planning process. With an all-hands-on-deck approach to planning, each group of education stakeholders can offer meaningful contributions that focus on their specific areas of work. Read on to learn more about how each stakeholder group can contribute to the planning process!

District Leaders

District leaders make decisions that have a downstream impact on each staff member and every student, and the start of each new school year creates a new set of decisions, challenges, and questions. During planning conversations, district leaders must strike the right balance of prioritizing tactics while listening to the other involved voices. A new school year sets new precedents for staff retention, student achievement, and progress toward other district-specific milestones, so district leaders must serve as well-informed guides in conversations about brainstorming solutions or communicating new initiatives.

Some of the areas that will be top-of-mind for district leaders during back-to-school planning are:

  • Exploring new programs and tools to help meet district goals
  • Prioritizing strategies and initiatives that positively impact student growth
  • Supporting staff in their various roles with clear guidance


Principals set the tone for their school’s new year and discern how to bring new initiatives to life on their campuses. As back-to-school planning begins, principals will need to synthesize what will be best for the teachers, students, and families of their school community and balance those needs with any new goals or initiatives the entire district will be working toward. Each school will have their own goals for student growth, expected family and student dynamics, and systems in place for teacher planning and support, but principals are the stewards who ensure these individual school goals still roll up to the expectations coming from the district. As the “in between” in planning conversations, principals must advocate for their school community while also understanding how to best implement district-wide requirements.

Principals embarking on the back-to-school journey will make the most impact when they focus on the following:


Teachers are the stakeholders closest to students in their daily work, but engaging students in learning comes with many aspects to consider: making students comfortable, interacting with families, and of course, planning lessons. The back-to-school planning time for teachers often feels like a blur as they work to learn as much as possible about their incoming group of students, catch up on new resources provided, and set up their classrooms, but their insights are invaluable in planning conversations about larger initiatives. Teachers see state and district-level decisions play out in the classroom every day, so allowing them to weigh in on implementation processes will help ensure new ideas make their desired impact on students’ experiences.

As teachers settle into their classrooms for the upcoming school year, the following topics will be imperative in their planning:

  • Cultivating a caring, encouraging classroom community
  • Building and nurturing relationships with students and their families
  • Planning engaging, rigorous lessons that inspire student learning
Every new school year brings new students and teachers together for new learning experiences, and diligent planning is the best way to set the school year up for success. Involving a variety of stakeholders in planning conversations solidifies plans, creates open lines of communication, and unites district-wide teams to tackle the new school year together.

Dive Further into Each Role of Planning with our Back-to-School Blueprint!