Planning to retire or move to another school or district? If this year will be your last as an adviser with your current chapter, or if you’re looking for ways to prepare for next school year, take time to think about what you can do to ensure the transition goes smoothly. The process involves more than just handing off a box of Honor Society chapter supplies and assuming the next leader will have it handled.
Consider implementing some of these best practices for a seamless transfer. If your school is ending the year virtually, many of these tips can still apply:
- Notify the national office using the Adviser Change form on the website. This keeps the database up to date, providing the new adviser with the monthly newsletter and other important communications they’ll need as they get started.
- Update the officer and member contact lists before you depart. Did your chapter hold officer elections for the coming year? If so, now is a good time to make sure that information is current.
- Plan a retreat or set a date for members to meet the incoming adviser. This is especially valuable before the start of the new year and can help establish trust between the new adviser and chapter members. If you have to go virtual, plan a video conference to get everyone introduced.
- Review the prior year’s activities, offer feedback for the new adviser (ideas that worked, ones that needed more tweaking), and propose new or updated activities for the coming year. Use this also as an opportunity to reflect back on what the chapter accomplished, which can help give you a feeling of closure.
- Point the incoming adviser toward the Adviser Resource Center on the NHS and NJHS websites, as well as the Adviser Online Community at https://community.nassp.org. Being an adviser doesn’t mean you’re alone—remind them that there are peers all over the country with ideas, tips, and advice to share.
Even if you don’t have any plans to step down as adviser, the end of the year is a great time to do a chapter checkup. Review your current policies to ensure they are in compliance with the national office, and see if any chapter bylaws need to be updated or made clearer. Remember that changes to bylaws require the approval of your membership and faculty council.
Some good reasons to amend bylaws:
- Statements no longer suit the chapter or school situation
- Essential information is hard to find (this can happen when an old document undergoes several edits over the years)
- Elements have caused a long-standing disagreement
- Provisions violate individual rights or local/state policies
- Existing provisions prevent the chapter from adapting to change
Whether you’re stepping down at the end of this year, or you plan to continue for years to come, following these best practices will keep your chapter in good hands.