Building Administrator Checklists

AWSA Update Poll
In this week's edition of the AWSA Update, principal checklists were shared.  Which of the following have you already prioritized? 
(Click button on left to see poll)

You might use a pen and paper, or Google tasks, or perhaps an app on your phone.  We all have a way to keep track of our tasks and provide reminders of our “to-do” list.  In an effort to support building leaders, AWSA has developed and continues to update Principal Checklists.  These checklists provide monthly ideas and reminders about many of the things that a building principal is tending to throughout the year.   There may be things you haven’t thought about, or perhaps simply good reminders about timing and scheduling of required items.  

As you grow capacity in others, there are items that may be helpful to consider when building your personal and school calendar.  There are also items that remind you to take care of yourself, something we sometimes forget to do!  

If you’re in the New Building Administrators Academy, your coaches may reference these checklists as another means of support.  And for all other building and district leaders, we hope these checklists are a resource for you as you hit the ground running this week and next, and welcome the minds and hearts of those we serve. 


❏     Take a deep breath and organize your office

❏     Send WELCOME BACK letter to staff and families

❏     Finalize and communicate any bussing updates

❏     Check in with school nurse/health aide on immunization records and student health plans

❏     Meet with PTO/PTA officers to plan the year

❏     Schedule the year’s social activities for students

❏     Calendar a few extracurricular functions you can/will attend in the next two months

❏     Check/test bell signal system

❏     Establish fire drill schedule (min. 1 per month)

❏     Put in writing:

❏     Changes to cafeteria, playground, parking lot procedures

❏     Changes to bell schedule

❏     Changes to school rules/procedures

❏     Review first day procedures with all staff (transportation, pick up/drop off, assembly, etc)

❏     Create a school commitment form, meet with any new staff individually, communicate and have them sign

❏     Connect with district office for your role in new staff orientation

❏     Conduct a walkthrough with custodial/facilities staff to ensure that the classrooms, common spaces and exterior are ready for staff and students.  Thank them for their summer work!

❏     Draft a “new student” welcome activity for the first week of school

❏     Assign mentors/coaches for new staff or those on support plans

❏     Seek information on dates for:

❏     health screenings (vision, hearing, etc)

❏     science fair, book fair

❏     fine arts performances

❏     school/community competitions (spelling bee, math olympiad, etc)

❏     Finalize school goals/school improvement plan with building Leadership Team

❏     Provide badges, keys, etc. to new staff

❏     Identify language translation staff and volunteers

❏     Communicate expectations for staff use of social media and classroom websites

❏     Plan and strategize with your administrative assistant:

❏     How will incoming mail, phone calls, drop-in visits be handled?

❏     Newsletter timelines

❏     Confidentiality

❏     Managing your calendar

❏     Announcements, pledge of allegiance  


❏     Leave an encouraging note, piece of candy, etc in staff mailboxes on the first day of school

❏     Make schedule and class adjustments as needed

❏     Check in on new staff members regularly

❏     Register for annual AWSA conferences

❏     Expect the unexpected - stay calm, find solutions and be positive - YOU GOT THIS!

❏     Communicate professional development plan and its link to school improvement plan

❏     Review Crisis Plan and individual procedures with all staff

❏     Set-up classroom visitation/walkthrough schedule

❏     Meet with all staff who are on evaluation cycle.  Begin the teacher observation process with the establishment of growth or improvement plans and pre-observation conferences.

❏     Reiterate collaboration/PLC expectations

❏     Bus safety training for students

❏     Establish emergency calling tree

❏     Meet with social committee to plan year’s activities for staff

❏     Review attendance for the first month and note potential concerns

❏     Establish site plan (update) timelines and committee assignments

❏     Review District assessment calendar

❏     Finalize Problem Solving Team and expectations

❏     Review guidelines for celebration of religious holidays

❏     Confirm members of building Leadership Team

❏     Offer support opportunities to staff for SLO development

❏     Send a parent email, social media and website message the first week with a welcome and any important dates/reminders for the first week of school

❏     Send district Title I letter to parents (if a qualifying school)

❏     Plan for Homecoming week!  Winning is a team sport; all levels should get in the spirit!


❏     SLOs due - meet with individual teachers

❏     Establish and commit to a goal of a specified number of walkthroughs per week (e.g., minimum of five walkthroughs a week to include feedback)

❏     Student Council elections

❏     Homecoming (secondary)

❏     Consider potential capital budget requests

❏     Prepare for National Education Week

❏     Communicate scheduling procedures and expectations for Parent Teacher Conferences

❏     Review student performance data utilizing problem-solving team model

❏     Communicate expectations for intervention models and progress monitoring

❏     Conduct informal walkthroughs and share general “noticings and wonderings” with staff

❏     Consider high visibility supervision opportunities - put a student desk or small table and chair in the hallway and do your business.  Staff and students will appreciate your visibility!


❏     Consider an “I’m thankful for…” newsletter article, staff meeting activity, etc.

❏     Communicate expectations for report cards

❏     Share walkthrough data/observations with staff

❏     Review your calendar and schedule a winter “getaway” weekend for yourself

❏      Actively participate in formative assessment of your own performance

❏     Review district policies regarding holiday activities and displays and communicate verbally and in writing

❏     Review inclement weather procedures, communicate verbally and in writing

❏     Continue walkthrough and observation cycle

❏     Calendar a few extra-curricular functions you can/will attend in the next two months

❏     Facilitate building Leadership Team meeting to review:

❏     Progress on building goals

❏     Professional development needs

❏     Student performance data

❏     Stakeholder satisfaction


❏     Check “on target” schedule for the completion of  first semester teacher evaluations and reports

❏     Solicit input in preparation for next fiscal year’s budget

❏     Conduct mid-year assessments of physical plan and capital equipment needs

❏     Enjoy winter break -- read a book for pleasure, unplug your computer, travel

❏     Determine student scheduling and enrollment practices/processes for January

❏     Continue walkthrough and observation cycle

❏     Be sure to have a clear understanding of building usage while school is not in session


❏     Review first-semester performance and intervention data with building Leadership Team

❏     Finalize mid-year changes (new hires, class or schedule adjustments, etc)

❏     Make plans for kindergarten round-up and preschool screenings (elementary)

❏     Ensure college financial aid meetings are scheduled (secondary)

❏     Reiterate expectations and purpose of report cards

❏     Finalize course descriptions and scheduling preparations (secondary)

❏     Review status of students in danger of not graduating, and set parent meetings (secondary)

❏     Compile documentation for any terminations or non-renewals of staff

❏     Begin “mid year” SLO meetings with staff

❏     Continue walkthrough and observation cycles

❏     Document school goal progress and communicate to staff and stakeholders

❏     Celebrate first semester successes


❏     Continue “mid year” SLO meetings with staff.

❏     Begin planning for graduation (secondary)

❏     Ensure Academic Career Plans are being developed with students (secondary)

❏     Complete registration and enrollment for coming year (secondary)

❏     Communicate staffing needs with Central Office

❏     Review pre-testing procedures for ACT (secondary)

❏     Recommend any terminations or nonrenewals of staff

❏     Schedule some FUN for your own upcoming spring break!

❏     Begin preparing a schedule for state testing

❏     Continue walkthrough and observation cycle


❏     Initiate preparation of building orders and requisitions for coming year

❏     Reiterate expectations for spring parent teacher conferences

❏     Finalize and communicate a calendar for state testing

❏     Revisit initial drill schedule (fire, tornado, lock-down); commit to it for the remainder of the year.

❏     Draft a newsletter article on the benefits of testing, the information it provides, and how the school will accommodate students

❏     Continue walkthrough and observation cycle

❏     Identify students who will benefit from summer intervention.  Communicate opportunities and need for referral.

❏     Begin planning for students transitioning to a new level (elementary/middle/high) school (student visits, parent information)

❏     Calendar a few extra-curricular functions you can/will attend in the next two months


❏     Begin conducting end-of-year summative evaluation meetings

❏     Build master schedule for coming year -- seek input as appropriate

❏     Complete graduation arrangements (secondary)

❏     Communicate scheduled changes due to state testing

❏     Conduct a tornado drill

❏     Determine and communicate final exam schedule (secondary)

❏     Finalize summer school plans

❏     Recommend any terminations or non-renewals of probationary personnel

❏     Send 2nd written notification to parents/students in danger of not graduating (secondary)

❏     Plan volunteer recognition

❏     Review school performance and intervention data with building Leadership Team -- determine method for face-to-face communication with students at risk of not meeting grade level expectations

❏     Consider stakeholder input process (district or building surveys, forums, etc)

❏     Consider opportunities for Teacher Appreciation Week (in May)

❏     Develop criteria for selecting new staff members.  Review district procedures and requirements for hiring.

❏     Continue observations and walkthrough commitments

❏     Meet with PTO/PTA to begin planning for the following year and to solidify end-of-year plans 


❏     Initiate goal-setting for the following year -- review performance data, professional development needs, district expectations.

❏     Thank all of the mothers in your life and school community!

❏     Collect required Title I end of year documentation

❏     Redistribute final examination schedule

❏     Remind Advanced Placement teachers of instructional expectations for the remainder of the school year after AP exams occur (secondary)

❏     Check status of probationary students and inform parents of possible failures

❏     Solicit dates for next year’s school calendar

❏     Plan and conduct awards programs/assemblies (athletic, academic, fine arts, etc)

❏     Finalize and communicate graduation plans.  Be clear about an “all hands on deck” approach for the final weeks of the year (secondary)

❏     Call for final reports from all ongoing and ad hoc committees

❏     Locker clean-out

❏     Solicit teachers’ summer addresses

❏     Prepare building year-end report

❏     Plan a refresher!  Schedule a “getaway” shortly after student and staff are finished for the year. 

❏     Begin planning for honoring retirees

❏     Meet with staff and volunteers to go over graduation procedures (secondary)

❏     Begin edits for staff, student and parent handbooks for the following year

❏     Tend to summer school planning/preparation responsibilities

❏     Hold a meeting with outgoing students (8th grade, seniors, etc) for feedback on strengths and opportunities for the school


❏     Reiterate expectations and purpose of report cards

❏     Communicate expectations for exam week (secondary)

❏     Recognize (celebrate) volunteers and substitute teachers

❏     Write a newsletter article about the benefits of reading in summer!

❏     Develop and communicate “end-of-year checklist” for staff - what needs to be collected, turned into the office, locked up, reported, etc.

❏     Final teacher evaluations due

❏     Summer school begins

❏     Conduct year-end inventory of textbooks, supplies, and equipment

❏     Complete book orders and supply requisitions for coming year

❏     Close-out and audit financial records

❏     Review state assessment, overall school performance results and stakeholder satisfaction data with building Leadership Team so as to inform the school improvement plan for the forthcoming school year

❏     Review summer maintenance, repair, remodeling, and grounds keeping schedules

❏     Summer curriculum writing begins

❏     Review/revise/finalize student and parent handbooks

❏     Change the outgoing school voicemail to reflect summer hours and your visibility

❏     Draft required “Seclusion and Restraint” information for School Board


❏      Review schedule to ensure collaboration time for staff

❏      Create a schedule of walkthroughs and identify any changes to or finalize walkthrough instrument

❏      Identify staff scheduled for formal evaluation

❏      Finalize before/after school service provider agreements

❏      Develop an observation schedule and plan for the year

❏      Review teacher evaluation procedures and deadlines

❏      Communicate class/course schedules to staff as early as possible

❏      Update building forms

❏      Consider upgrades/perks for the teachers lounge

❏      Do a community “walk about” and introduce yourself to local business owners and neighborhood associations in the immediate vicinity of the school

❏      School year preparations:

❏      Draft welcome back letter

❏      Communicate with building leadership team

❏      Review school improvement plan

❏      Finalize calendars for posting

❏      Finalize staffing needs


Read more at:

Elementary Edition - Secondary Edition - District Level Edition