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On-Site Staff / Staff Leadership and Management / Sustainability

Title 1…Day at a Time

Are you a school site administrator in a Title 1 school, an administrator at a community-based organization, or an after-school site coordinator?

If you answered yes, then you probably have had days where you leave work taking a deep breath and telling yourself that tomorrow will be a new day. If this is you, then you’ve been on my mind as you gear up for a new school year.

In my last blog post, I shared how I would refer to myself as a Recovering Principal. I have proudly lived up to that title every time I have a conversation, reply to an email or text from a fellow peer leading the frontlines of our schools and after-school programs. As the person on the other end of the line when my friends need a soundboard to help them diffuse their day, I keep their well-being and the need to unpack the multitude of complex situations they encountered within a day customary to a large, urban school at the forefront of our conversation and before they return home to be with their loved ones.

So, as you prepare to start the year, refreshed and another year more resilient, I share a couple of ideas to get you through those moments with some much-needed survival tactics so that when you drive away, you truly are going to disengage and pick-up the next day:

1. When your Apple Watch tells you to breathe, do it! If you don’t have an Apple Watch, then set 1-minute on your cell phone timer to catch your breath in a private place where you can close your eyes, relax your mind, and focus on your breathing.

2. Create your own personal multi-tiered system of support. For example, have a drawer or three that you can stock with: pieces of ready to eat fruit or a handful of almonds for that quick little snack (Tier 1); Emergen-C’s, Alka-Seltzer, assortment of herbal teas, and a jar of honey (Tier 2); Box of See’s Candy, Ghirardelli chocolate squares, or a jar of peanut butter with a spoon (Tier 3).

3. Download the Calm app.  A fellow colleague and Principal once introduced this to me and it has helped me get through many sleepless nights. It has a multitude of bedtime stories, meditation practices and white noise, like the sounds of that long forgotten tropical vacation.

4. And my favorite, think about that one unconditional friend or member of your family that is not associated with your organization who you can count on to reply to a text with something to make you smile, or will pick up the phone when you’re having one of those crippling days and you just need someone to listen, then tell you how much they love you. We, your friends and family, need you to be in good spirits and love the work that you are doing, we need you to have the strength to conquer those complex situations and we want you to be able to mindfully lead your school taking care of yourself first.

As you kick-off your school year with your well thought out professional development plans, team building activities, and creative program and school culture contributions, remember to be present and live your best as a Title I school leader…One Day at a Time.

What are some of your day-to-day survival tactics?

For breakfast: Tier 1: bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with 2% and a cup of coffee.

Author: @kalimrayburn

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