One of my favorite professional practices is to handwrite birthday postcards to students.
I started this habit as a high school principal six years ago when I came across the idea in The Power of Positive Leadership and haven't looked back since. When you have 1,500 students (both as a high school principal and superintendent) the workload wasn't too bad (about 4 cards per day)
However, this year I took a new role where I suddenly find myself as the superintendent of 10,000 students. When I wrote my entry plan for this position last year, I indicated that I would write a personalized birthday card to every student.
We've had to get much more organized this year!
"You're crazy," some suggested. "No way you can write that many postcards!"
Never one to back down from a challenge, I worked with my assistant (Pam) and our communications team to set up a system for distribution.
Each day, I devote 30 minutes to write 30 birthday postcards (on average).
"Wow, that's a lot of time," you might be thinking. "Don't you have more important things to do?"
While some may say a superintendent has "more important" things to do, I disagree. Aren't kids our most important priority?
I can think of few ways better for connecting to 10,000 kids. Besides, you would not believe how many kids - of all ages - ask "Wait, are you the guy who sent me the birthday card?" when I'm visiting buildings.
Add in the fact that parents love the postcards and you can double-down on school branding (our "Be Bold" mantra goes on every card), this practice is a win-win for everyone.
Birthday Postcards - the gift that keeps on giving!!
While birthday postcards require time, setup, and money ... I would highly recommend this professional practice to any school leader who is passionate about ensuring that every kid feels special.
Did you find value in this article? My first book Learning Curve is full of of useful ideas on leadership, education, and personal growth.