The Monday Memo

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Effective school leaders are effective communicators, although their methods and styles of communication vary. Some are eloquent speakers, others effective writers, and some communicate through modeling. However, virtually all effective leaders are consistent, authentic communicators and attentive, respectful listeners, yet communicating within the school environment is very challenging. Most teachers, counselors, and other support staff members are isolated, working in separate rooms away from their peers and facing constant demands for their time and attention from students and parents. Time available for full faculty and staff meetings is scarce--in some secondary schools, it is nearly nonexistent. As a result, effective school leaders consistently seek and implement concrete strategies for enhancing communication. One such strategy is the Monday Memo--a weekly memo written by the principal for the school's staff members. The Monday Memo is an easy way to establish lines of communication in a school to foster professional relationships and morale. As a former high school principal and a current trainer of principals, the author suggests taking this a step further--to a written, weekly memo to all faculty and staff members. Often effective leadership activities are not profound and yet produce powerful results, the weekly memo is one such activity. In the memo, principals should include what the author terms "level one" and "level two" communication. Both first level communication--such as announcements--and second level communication--such as messages that motivate and sustain vision--can be accomplished in a short regular missive. One hour a week dedicated to written communication can result in great benefits in better relationships and informed staff members.

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Principal Leadership





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