As a school principal, my priority is my students. That’s why I was worried about the recent short-term breaks affecting their progress.
An abrupt school closure, school resumption date and another impromptu postponement all hampered our planning.
Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential. Dwight D. Eisenhower says. Therefore there are always risks to mitigate, stakeholders to include and other issues such as budgeting for food and planning the syllabus calendar.
Thus when schools were on break, I had a meeting with my staff on a video call to bring them up to speed with my ideas.
Today, I will give you an insight into how we discuss our programs, and how we bring our heads together to plan the best for your children.
We attempt to provide the best conditions in which they can learn for teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.
“Maria, how many months to go till we welcome our new baby?” I asked our new Physics teacher.
“Two months. In fact, I should apply for early maternity leave,” she joked as other teachers came online.
“So folks, what’s your idea on either inviting a motivational speaker or a weekend challenge?” I asked.
We needed the children motivated when they were back from home as we had prepared a crash program to complete the term’s syllabus.
“I think we need something different from the exhausting hours of motivational speech and long weekend challenge weekends,” Josephine added.
“Yes they will stay motivated, but some just relapse after the first two weeks,” she laughed, then mimicked the last speaker we had on our premises ‘School is a building which has four walls with tomorrow inside. Education is the key’…,” she added as we all broke into laughter.
And the irony is that Josephine is our career coach and guidance and counselling patron.
“But you always cite some of these quotes in your parade speeches,” Jack, the deputy principal trolled her.
“No. No,” Josephine defended herself. “I think I motivate the kids as per their personal issues,” she added.
“No one even understands what you are saying, Josephine. Just stick to your ‘Education is our passport to the future’,” Jack added as the meeting started on a light note.
I interjected, I thought we needed a plan that roped in parents too.
And I decided to personally reach out to the parents with my suggestion. In my school, we have four Whatsapp groups for parents. Each class has a Whatsapp group, it's easier to communicate with parents therein.
We also send texts and call the guardians to reiterate our messages.
For this school resumption, we suggest having a luncheon together with the students. In it, we shall say a prayer and have a few parents speak. We shall also have a keynote speaker from the Ministry to address us on unity and together along with education matters. This will improve the bond among teachers, parents and students after the break which consumed the attention of the whole nation.
Kindly, personally bring your student to school for the 2-4 pm event. Strict time schedules will be followed.
The luncheon budget has been sponsored by a number of corporates and donors.
My message read.
I had anticipated a few complaints here and there, but after parents saw that the luncheon was sponsored, there were no objections.
“That is so kind of you, sir. In fact, it is something unique that I have not seen in any other school,” a Form 2 parent responded.
“Have they (donors) also paid the school fees,” a Form 3 parent joked, tagging a laughing emoji along his message, sparking mixed but light reactions from the parents.
“Are we paying school fees at the school,” a parent, I guess one of the new ones who joined the previous months asked.
“No. The school has a Co-op Bank account. All you need is to transfer money from your Co-op Bank account to the schools through MCo-op Cash. It's so easy. Dial *667# or use the MCo-opCash app and login with your MCo-opCash PIN, select bank transfer, select other Co-op accounts, enter the school co-op account, and select the account to transfer from.
“Then enter the amount you want to pay, enter the reason for payment: student’s name or admission number, confirm the transaction and you will receive a confirmation SMS,” the school accountant responded.
“And if you are a Co-op Bank customer, when you need a loan to pay the fees, you can apply for an MCo-opCash Salary Advance of up to Ksh500,000 with a repayment period of up to 3 months,” he added.
The accountant further added that parents can also pay fees directly into the school's Coop bank account via pay bill numbers 400200 or 400222 free of charge.
“School fees ilipwe sasa,” a parent, Sophia, added as the conversation about the luncheon continued.
The best part was that I was sure they would contribute next time when asked to as I was thinking of making this a school tradition.