George Lucas Educational Foundation
Administration & Leadership

The Faculty Handbook: The Most Important Document a Principal Will Ever Create

January 27, 2015 Updated January 24, 2015

Background

Principals are notorious for wanting to bring too many new initiatives to a campus over a short period of time.  Sometimes we will go from training to training wondering if we can implement a new program or initiative that we just saw or heard of.    The result is that we begin to collect too many ideas that never make it to the implementation process.  When I became the Principal at Southside High School, I began to evaluate ideas I had picked up through trainings, conferences, or  from peers.  The result of  this evaluation process influenced what later became my vision and mission of the school I currently lead.  In retrospect, all of the ideas, programs, and initiatives that I brought to our campus supported my mission and vision of the campus.  These selected ideas were published in what became our Southside High School Faculty Handbook. 

The Process

The process of creating, editing, and finalizing our faculty handbook begins in late July for our campus.  A team of administrators, counselors, teachers, and staff members begin discussions on what information will be most beneficial for all members of the Southside High School Learning Community.  The handbook committee works diligently for days hammering out all of the details in order to produce the best possible product for our school. The committee takes great pride each year in producing the best handbook in the history of the school.  Once all revising and editing has been completed, we send the handbook to be printed by a professional.  The teachers receive their new handbook on the first day they report from summer vacation.  In addition, they receive a half day of staff development that is dedicated to the review of our new faculty handbook.

Key Components

Our faculty handbook will always include the following components:

1)  The cover page should include pictures and items that help identify our school.

2)  The first pages are dedicated to a message from the Principal, a brief history of our school, and the mission and vision of our campus.

3)  The faculty handbook will then include all key staff members and their roles and responsibilities for the upcoming school year.  Note:  Everyone wants their name in the handbook so it is critical that everyone's name, position, and responsibilities are accurate.

4)  A very important part of our handbook is the Instructional Focus Calendar, which maps out all campus academic events from August until June of the following year.  Teachers find this extremely helpful in their planning process.

5)  Our handbook also includes the Instructional Blue Print for the upcoming school year.  In this component we present what we feel teaching should look like at Southside High School.

6)  Bell schedules and campus  policies and procedures are outlined in an A-Z format so that they can easily be identified in the handbook.

7)  District and Board Approved Policies and Procedures are also outlined in the handbook.

8)  Finally, the back cover of our handbook will always include the school district calendar for the current school year.

Conclusion

The Southside High School Faculty Handbook contains a total of about 80 pages that help identify who we are and what we are doing at Southside High School.

To View the Southside High School Faculty Handbook, Follow the Link Below:

http://www.southsideisd.org/vimages/shared/vnews/stories/547fcaab55ca8/SHS%20FACULTY%20Handbook%2014-15%20FINAL%208-14.pdf

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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