The School Year Realities…

Molly McGee-Hewitt, PhD, CAE, NAPT
NAPT Executive Director and CEO

For anyone who has ever worked for a school district you understand the rhythm and realities of the school year. July 1 to June 30 are the dates that we live by. So, April is the start of our tenth month and final quarter of the year.

That means our NAPT members are knee deep in executing current operations, working to stay within financial capacities, while simultaneously planning for the 24-25 school year. I know that this is no easy feat. When I used to work in schools, the time following spring break would often show a change in the attitudes in myself and my colleagues, and not always for the better. I would call this time, “Schoolaria,” as it reminded me of malaria, in that it lingered for a couple of months, and it brought about a short temperedness, mean spiritedness, and lack of cooperation in some folks. In truth, our normal work became a little more challenging. It would even spread to students and parents!

As leaders, we must always remember that our behaviors, attitudes, and words show who we are, what we stand for, how we operate, and what we expect from others. If we get a case of “Schoolaria,” others will take our lead and the services that we provide to our students will suffer. We are only human though so during these times, I encourage all of you (including myself) to remember how the start of the school year feels.

I always loved the start of school. Starts, beginnings, and first times are always exciting! The feeling of hope and enthusiasm echoes through the air! In some districts, they have back to school events and motivational speakers to kick off the new year. In truth, it is more likely that we need those types of events later in the year!

By remembering how the start of the school year feels, it will help to finish strong! It is how we start and how we finish the year that will make a difference; both should have the same enthusiasm and excitement. By taking on the idea that the start comes with hope and the end brings about a celebration of accomplishments, you can see the school year in its entirety and fight through a case of “Schoolaria.”

Now, reflect on all that you have done this year! Think of your safety records, your outstanding personnel, and every activity that worked well for you and your team. Are you impressed? You should be!

So, if you are seeing signs of “Schoolaria” in your operations, nip it in the bud quickly. Use your team meetings to celebrate successes and great work. Use a You Tube Video or Ted Talk to offer a speaker or a thought to your crew. Dress up and care about how you come to work! When you exit your vehicle at the start of your day, put on your positive leadership armor! Have a positive attitude, be enthusiastic, and bring energy to your work team!

Never underestimate the impact that you have as a leader! Your words and your behaviors can turn negative or challenging situations into positive encounters. Your attitude toward your work and toward our profession is a part of your executive tool kit.

Like many of you, I get tired, frustrated, even hurt on occasion, but I know that even when I am not 100%, I have choices to make. I choose to do my best and endeavor to be a positive force for our association, my team, and myself.

How about you? Can you say the same? How will you end this school year?

With love, respect, and a knowing nod,


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