Craig Anderson (@Craig_SPPS), Principal at Battle Creek Elementary and MESPA St. Paul Division President
Today was a great day. I feel energized, inspired, and ready to tackle another school year! Why? Because today we had our first MESPA St. Paul Division Meeting. You may be asking yourself, what made this an inspiring meeting? How can one meeting produce energy and inspiration?
It’s good to remember that culture matters. We must honor staff, celebrate new beginnings, be generous with compliments, break bread together, and reach out to colleagues. I’d suggest a MESPA Division Meeting, getting in touch with another principal, or just a phone call to a friend. And you can take the lessons of a division meeting and apply them to your school meetings as well!
Let me describe the St. Paul Division’s recent meeting and you can be the judge.
Every year the St. Paul Division of MESPA caters a luncheon to kick off the school year. We ask all of the St. Paul Elementary School principals to invite their office staff to the luncheon. Fortunately, Gary Havir of Horace Mann Insurance picks up the tab for the office staff and the principals and assistant principals pay their own way. (That tricky gift statute!) Today we had more than 80 people in attendance and it’s a great time to collect sunshine and EPAC dues for the year. (This is why the St. Paul division always ROCKS the EPAC charts at Institute!)
We welcomed everyone to a new school year and introduced St. Paul’s MESPA leadership for the year. Then, principals honored their office staff with compliments. Principals and assistant principals told the others at their table all the great things about their office staff. Then, after a few minutes we called for public appreciation for office staff for everyone to hear. Two or three people shared.
Next, we welcomed and introduced new principals, assistant principals, and administrative interns. (The sunshine committee gives them a gift for their office: a nice plant. We always joke that they have to keep it alive!) This is when you could introduce new teachers and staff at a meeting at your school and give them a welcome gift!
We ended the meeting with a buffet lunch at Burger Moe’s, a nice place in downtown St. Paul.
It feels good to chat with friends. It feels good to honor those who work hard for kids, families, and the entire staff. It feels good to break bread and relax during this crazy time of year. And it feels good to connect all of our schools through kindness, food, and fun.
This is why I feel energized, inspired, and ready to tackle another school year! Attend a MESPA Division Meeting this year, and take some lessons back to apply to your own staff meetings!