It can be hard to find just the right gift for a school principal. When that principal is retiring, there's even more pressure to think of something that expresses the perfect sentiment. Parent group leaders shared these ideas to express appreciation to a principal.

We have asked all the teachers to have their students do a writing prompt on “What does Mrs. XX do all day?” I’m binding them all into a book for her. There are some pretty cute stories in there! - Crysti C.

We had each student thumbprint on a vase that was later decorated into bugs, butterflies, etc. Each student placed a flower into the vase after we presented it to her. - Julie P. 

We had every student in our school draw our principal, and then hung all 600 drawings around the building. It was funny, creative, and really amazing to see what they came up with. We also had the face of our principal put on photo booth sticks and kids took picture with him all over town and school! We made it into a PowerPoint. We had kids write letters as well! - Codi S.

Our principal was big into sports. When he retired we had the whole school sign a football for him. Put it in a football case and presented it to him that way. He loved it. - Stacie L.

Spread the word—schools thrive because of hard-working parent groups

Last year we did a photo book with pics of each class holding up a chalkboard that said “We think Mrs. Gates should read...” Then they held up the book. As an inset we put the class name, book cover, name, and author on each page. - ShaRonda C.

Last year our principal retired and we had a local shop make her a pendant of our mascot (penguin). - Leigh W.

Our school did a star (like on Hollywood Blvd.) on the front walk when our last principal retired.
- Barbara B.

We gave an Adirondack chair with an engraved plaque attached. Her plan was to sit and read in her garden. - Leslie K.

We did a custom garden stone with a quote from his favorite book! - Kate M.

A tree planted in his name. - Nikki P.

Have each grade level do a quilt square. - Sonia Z.

We did a plaque in front of some special new garden and had people sign The Giving Tree book.
- Tammy S.

T-shirt quilt of all of the school T-shirts. - Leslie P.

A picture or letter from each student put into a plastic sleeve and then put into a binder. - Tami F.

We did a scrap book with a thumb print of all the kids by class, the thumb prints were made into animal shapes and each class had a theme for their page. - Tanya D.

I gave our retiring principal a clock shaped like the [school] mascot when she retired. - Emily D.

We put a bench at the front of the school with a plaque commemorating their time at the school.
- Stephanie V.

 Several leaders suggest a brief (but heartfelt) speech to express appreciation to the principal. "I would thank him/her for all their hard work and dedication to the students, staff, and families of the school. I also would thank him/her for all their support of the PTO and making our organization shine and allowing us to be the best that we could be." - Renee S.

Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.