5 Ways to Lead When Your School is Closed

Updated: Mar 16

The role of the principal doesn't stop because the school needed to close.

Many schools across the United States are closed as we need to social distance ourselves to protect from the spread of the Coronavirus. But the work of the principal is far from done. According to the Pew Research Center, principals are considered to be one of the most trusted leaders in their community. The closure of school can't silence the voice of the principal in helping to lead their community.


Here are 5 Ways Principals Can Lead When Your School is Closed


1. Communicate - Without a doubt, one of the most important things a principal can do is to keep the lines of communication open with students, parents, and staff. Leverage your communication tools to send out messages about important updates, ideas to support learning while closed, and ideas for parents to do with their kids during their time at home. Plus, send out reminders to your staff that you are there to support them in the online learning process. Provide them with your cell number and offer to help however they need. Use social media as a tool to communicate and consider hosting a FB Live session to teach, inform, prepare, or inspire.


Share this great resource for parents to help guide their discussions with their children around COVID-19.


CLICK HERE for a parent's guide to talking to their children about COVID-19


2. Team Player - I'm confident that your Superintendent, other principals, and district employees have gone through some of the toughest times they ever experienced over the past weeks as our nation confronts the Coronavirus. Send a note/text of encouragement, let them know you are there to support them, and be willing to go above the call of duty to help out. It's often lonely leading, that's why it's important to come alongside your leaders and assure them they are not alone, you are there for them. Here are a few simple ways to help out: Offer to help serve food to kids in the community, provide food for the custodians as they work to clean buildings, or simply collaborating around communications out to the district.


3. Be Creative - These times require us to find creative ways to positively support our students and staff.

Two outstanding school leaders, Allison Apsey and Jim Orichosky are leading FB Live and Virtual book reads for kids.

  • CLICK HERE to view Allison's book read and

  • CLICK HERE to visit Jim's school's FB Page Wingate Elementary School to watch his book read.

  • Create a fun Tik Tok dance video and share it out

  • Write and perform a rap that talks positively about washing your hands, social distancing, and how to continue learning while at home.

  • Host a FB Live session to answer student and parent questions

  • Host a Twitter Chat for your community

  • Start a Wild Goose Chase with staff

Please share with me the creative ways you are supporting your students, parents, and staff during this time. Send them to my email at drbillziegler@gmail.com or share them with me on Twitter at @drbillziegler


4. Fact Finder - Mistruths are swirling around our world right now more than I ever remember before. Serving as a fact finder and guiding students, parents, and staff where to go for the facts and how to dispel mistruths can help calm fears and increase confidence that we will get through this together.


Here are some reliable sources to fact find on this virus:


5. Inspire Hope - So many of us are consumed by fear right now. The messaging we are hearing through media can overwhelm us and cause us to fret and worry. We need to be sending messages of hope, encouragement, and good things. I believe people are hungering for things to read, view, and listen to that distract from all they are hearing through the media. Share success stories of alumnus from your school, showcase student work, post student artwork on social media, and share videos from your school. It's time that we inspire hope and empower our students, parents, staff, and community in a way that gives them hope that we will get through this.


I'd love to hear how you are leading your school while it's closed. Contact me and let me know what you are doing. Share a comment for everyone to see or email me at drbillziegler@gmail.com Twitter at @drbillziegler


CLICK HERE to listen to Dr. Ziegler's Podcast for Principals - Lead the Way, A 5 Minutes or Less Podcast for Principals

CLICK HERE to order a copy of Dr. Ziegler's latest book, You Don't Need Superpowers To Be a Kid's Hero