Teacher Appreciation Week: 5 Steps for Involving Your Community

A few days ago, one of our community business owners came by with a $50 restaurant gift certificate he wanted to donate for our Teacher Appreciation Week.
teacher-appreciation
When we thanked him for the gift, he said, “With the kind of budgets schools have had to work with this year, it’s a no-brainer that teachers deserve some encouragement.” Amazingly, his donation was one of 32 other give-aways donated to tell our teachers thank-you.

Over the years, we’ve consistently tried to provide something special for our teachers during Appreciation Week. But this year, my site secretary Ms. Stephens, approached me about gathering more support from around the community. I was thrilled with the idea, but I was even more surprised by the measure of generosity we received by simply asking.

As our teachers have enjoyed celebrating, I asked Ms. Stephens if she would share some of the steps she followed to organize the effort. So here are 5 tips anyone can use to engage the community in Teacher Appreciation Week:

1. Use a great inquiry letter.

A brief but direct letter helps people know what you need. Click here to see sample letter. Ms. Stephens arranged to deliver these by hand. She scheduled three days with two-hour blocks of time after lunches to canvas our community with requests for support. Visiting face-to-face gave her a chance to thank supporters in person. The letter provided a way for some owners or managers to think about how they wanted to participate. Some donated right on the spot, and others called back after a few days of thinking how they could help.

2. Use follow-up conversations as a way to connect, remind, or collect.

In addition to these initial outings, she also planned for follow-up visits with those who wanted more time. Some places needed to schedule a time for a manager to visit with her. Some of the community members called back by phone with ideas or donation offers. As gifts came in, we began to strategize how to make the week rewarding for everyone.

3. Celebrate with food, food, and more food!

Because some donors gave food or meals as a way to contribute, this allowed us to have two breakfasts and two luncheons. Our teachers enjoyed items like biscuits and gravy, fruit trays, juice, doughnuts, sub sandwiches, and chicken tenders. We also hung a big “Teacher Appreciation” banner for the week.

4. Plan for giveaways.

We had over 30 area businesses donate gift cards, T-shirts, services, and goodies! So each day, as a part of our daily announcements, we would draw names to call out winners. Spreading these out throughout the week has made the entire week fun and eventful.

5. Send thank-you cards.

Of course, generosity must be followed by gratitude. So remember to send thank-you cards to generous friends in the community highlighting their kindness and support.

Conclusion

Appreciation can be expressed in lots of ways, but engaging your community in the process is another way to make teachers feel appreciated. For other ideas on appreciating teachers, check out the Prinipal Matters archives for my post 7 ways of showing appreciation to teachers all year long). Or see this awesome list of 66 ideas from Education World.

Now It’s Your Turn

I know others can share great ways to show teachers appreciation. What are ways you have also enhanced these celebrations at your schools? Share your ideas with the rest of us!

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