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Back to School Tips

At our latest Job-Alike Meeting for Administrators, NELMS Members heard great tips from Kathleen of Young Mediation Associates on how to start this year in positive, happy ways. This is more important than ever, based on reports of increased anxiety about returning to school.


The tips shared were:

  1. Make happiness your school's top priority. This complements high expectations and other goals. Happiness should be reiterated loudly and clearly as the #1 goal for your community.

  2. Make your physical environment happier. With donations from local stores, apply more brightly colored paint, minimize clutter in the classrooms, fill spaces with plants, and put up new, funny images in the hallways. Oh, and that annoying, loud school bell? Replace weekly with unexpected, funny sounds.

  3. Greet each other. Sounds basic, but this is so important in light of the distractions of masks, political divisiveness, and other stressors. Every morning, remind administrators, faculty/staff, and students to smile at each other, be grateful for each other and CONNECT.

  4. Have real conversations about community. Now is the ideal time to start implementing restorative circles, chats, and conferences in your classrooms and beyond to really engage in positive, healthy dialogue. Replace intercom or digital display board announcements with fun, happy morning videos to start each day with joy.

  5. If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students! by Neila A. Connors- This is a terrific book. The message applies to the administration as well. Everyone should take time each day to shut the door and take a break. Meetings should offer happy tones, food, and the chance to socialize. Celebrate accomplishments!


Kathleen hopes that one positive effect from this challenging time is that schools will further prioritize the mental health, slower pace, and happiness for all community members. After all, what could be more important?

We would love to hear your tips!

Do you have any tips on how you are going to start your school year in a positive, happy way?

Thanks for submitting!
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