The month of May is a time to focus on closing the Church School Year. We'll discuss end-of-year activities for staff and students, and will often reference the Church School Directors Manual published by the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education. A pdf version of the manual is available online through the link below.
Only a handful of Sundays left until we will wrap up the Church School Year. Between now and then, several things must take place in order to properly close out your school year: classroom clean-up, student and staff recognition program and/or end-of-year awards program, staff recruiting and training for next year, and Vacation Church School resources.
Closing the Church School Year: Classroom Clean Up
Set the date now for a late May/early June work day, depending on your church school calendar. This work can be accomplished on a Sunday during class time or during Coffee Hour. Involve your students! All ages! Play church music to add energy, and perhaps serve a special treat during Coffee Hour to show appreciation to students for their contribution.
Removing all visual aids, sending school work home with students, cleaning the classroom space from top to bottom. Plan ahead by bringing brooms and dustpans, vacuum, paper towels, and green/non-toxic cleaning supplies. (Gloves and dust masks, too, if any students have allergies or asthma.)
Closing the Church School Year: Teacher & Student Recognition
This is a necessary, important, and fun responsibility for Church School Directors. This is the time to showcase and spotlight the dedication of staff, and the accomplishments of students over the course of the school year.
Discuss with your priest when to schedule Recognition Day. To ensure maximum attendance, Recognition Day should be held on a Sunday before families leave town for summer plans. Section 4.2 of the Church School Directors Manual offers suggestions on planning Recognition Day. Click below to access a pdf version of the manual.
Closing the Church School Year: Teacher/Staff Appreciation
This is a nice example of a teacher/staff appreciation gift that could be presented during Recognition Day or during a Staff Appreciation dinner.
This is a lovely appreciation gift that keeps on giving. Present these herb pots to church school teachers and staff, and they will enjoy the fresh herbs during summer with fond remembrance of their students from the school year.
Closing the Church School Year: Teacher & Student Recognition CERTIFICATES!
The link below will provide multiple certificates of achievement, attendance, and appreciation for staff and students. Even a "Recognition Certificate," which allows you to recognize every child for something if you wish— from a bright smile to listening well.
In Part II of this series, we'll discuss staff retention/recruiting/training. Part III will provide a list of Vacation Church School resources. Finally, Part IV will be an example of how to close the church school year if your parish uses Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.