As a teacher, May always felt like the longest month! We are teased by mother nature with hints of summer weather, the countdown until summer break surrounds us, but yet we still wish we had more time with these students. That feeling grew into a very unique (and successful) school fundraising activity….May Days!!!!
It was my first year as an Assistant Principal, I had survived first semester and we were well into second. Our building had an amazing instructional coach whom I respected dearly; during one of our monthly meetings she approached me about organizing a staff-run fundraiser to help raise funds so our second graders could go 1 to 1 with chromebooks the following year. I was intrigued with the concept, loved that the funds would directly go towards technology, but honestly didn’t know how much more I could put on my plate; but as all good administrators do when their staff has an idea I fully supported her initiative and offered to help in any way I could.
Being the overly organized and prepared educator that she was, she laid out all the logistics for me:
- May Days would run the first 3 weeks in May
- Staff members would work individually, in teams, or in pairs to provide fun enrichment activities to our students
- All activities would run for an hour either before school or after
- Educators would pick a day or days on the calendar they would offer their activity – the activity could be completed in one session or may take multiple sessions that occur in one week or be spread over the 2-3 weeks; whatever worked for their schedule and activity
- On a given day there may be multiple sessions taking place throughout the building or possibly only one
- Students will get a menu of offerings to choose from with each session costing between $5-$7 to participate in
- Staff members must be with their group at all times including until the last participant is picked up
- Staff members may choose to do as many sessions/different activities as they would like.
She had my buy-in, but would the staff be as receptive? They were an AMAZING staff, but it is May we are talking about here. We are asking them not only to put more on their already full plate at the end of a year, but to plan and organize each activity!! As she presented this concept I held my breath, there were a few clarifying questions but I didn’t get a negative vibe….only time would tell. At the end of the meeting we sent out the Google Doc for teachers to list the activity/activities they were willing to “host”. I checked in on the Doc each day hoping that staff would be empowered to run an activity. At the end of the sign-up process we were officially hosting over 40 unique activities for our students to participate in!!! – Did I mention they were an awesome staff??
I was blown away by the offerings: “Brownies and Bracelets”, “Rocking Recorders”, “Waffle Bar”, “Yoga & Yummies”, “Martial Arts Class”, “Soccer Skillz”….the list went on and on. Where were these after school activities when I was in school??? The registrations came flying in. Students and parents alike were very excited about this unique opportunity.
There were many roadblocks that may have prevented this initiative from coming to fruition, but we persevered and the month went off without a hitch. Not only was the fundraiser successful financially, but the May Days added an excitement and joy to the month that can, at times, drag on. I encourage everyone to do their best to make memories in May, we have less than a month left with this group of students!!!
If you would like more information regarding May Days or would like help starting a similar project within your school please don’t hesitate to send me an email, I would love to help support you and your school!!!
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning