What Do Superintendents Do
In the Summer?
It’s certainly quieter here in the summer, but that
doesn’t mean that a superintendent can relax. For a superintendent,
students or not, school is a twelve-month a year experience.
You could say that the three R’s for our summer are
Review, Revise, and Regroup. Regardless of how successful our
school year has been, there is always room for improvement.
During the summer I can review our curriculum and other school
programs and policies with my administrative staff. We take
the time to review—look at how things have operated during
the past year and identify any areas that should be changed.
We then revise—deciding how to make the changes that
will have a positive result. Finally, we regroup by planning
how to make these revisions and assigning specific responsibilities
to individuals in order to accomplish the goals we have set.
One of the other activities in the
summer that takes the most time and energy is hiring. Teachers
often make life-changing decisions after the school year
is over. A fully-staffed faculty invariably becomes one with
openings each summer—and
those openings are often in the hard-to-fill category. In Syosset,
we are extremely selective with our faculty, and often need
to see candidates several times before we make a hiring decision.
Curriculum writing and enhancement
is another area that we focus on in the summer. Did you ever
wonder where teacher’s
lesson plans come from and how different classes across the
grade in schools and throughout the district manage to cover
the same topics? While each teacher presents a lesson in his
or her unique way, the overall outline for the curriculum has
to be approved by the administration. In our district we examine
curriculum areas from kindergarten through high school to see
what is working well, and what can be improved, replaced, expanded,
or eliminated. This is a time when we can brainstorm and consider
trying something new in a unit of study. We encourage our teachers
to get involved in curriculum writing projects in which they
work as a team to develop a specific unit of study for a subject
The financial issues in operating a school district also get
a close look during the summer. We take this time to carefully
examine how the funds we had budgeted were spent during the
year and confirm that we have planned the new budget accordingly.
Once all classes are over for the summer we have all the information
we need to completely finalize the budget for the coming year.
One thing is certain, the summer
goes by all too quickly for superintendents as well as for
students. I don’t mind
though. I always love the first day of school and seeing students
arrive ready to learn a whole new spectrum of information.
Education has to be the most exciting career path there is.
Each student holds endless possibilities for the future, and
it is a privilege to be a part of it.#
Dr. Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Central School District.
Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.