Earlier this month, tens of thousands of public schools across the country opened their doors to welcome students for a new academic year.  At NYC Leadership Academy, we work tirelessly every summer to prepare school leaders for the unique opportunities and challenges that each school year brings.

Each summer in New York City, we hold the New Principal Intensive, which is the launch of a yearlong support program for first year principals.  The two week intensive is designed to help new principals begin to develop a strategic plan for the long term success of their schools.  It is also an opportunity for them to hone their vision and plan specifically for their first weeks as a school leader.  One of this year’s participants described the intensive as “the best professional development I have ever received”.  Another said, “This program should serve as a yearly requirement for all principals.  Its hands-on approach offers a clear, detailed blueprint that gives leaders the confidence to lead with ‘moral authority’ in a forever-changing educational system.”

After the summer intensive, first year principals receive individual coaching services throughout the academic year. Coaches support the goals principals have established focusing on the improvement of their schools and their own personal growth as leaders.  Coaches work side-by-side with principals with an eye towards improving academic outcomes for all students.

We realize that not everyone gets to participate in the New Principal Intensive, so we asked some of our NYC-based coaches (who have an average of 33 years of experience) to offer some words of wisdom.  Here are the top five things that principals can start doing now:

1) Make sure you speak regularly to all stakeholders.  Collect lots of information and consider their input before making decisions.
2) Develop positive relationships based on mutual respect. Build trust within the school community.
3) Visit every classroom daily and be outside during arrival and dismissal to make sure you are visible to all students.
4) Pay attention to your personal health and family.
5) Have fun!