Back-to-School Staff Appreciation Ideas

Suggestions, Tips, & Printable Appreciation Notes for PTOs and Principals

Back to school is right around the corner – set the scene for the school year by showing your teachers and other staff members how much you appreciate them. Find inspiration with these staff appreciation ideas and tips!

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the fun printable notes of gratitude at the bottom of this page – perfect for pairing with other welcome back rituals.

back to school staff appreciation ideas - teacher receiving a treat

Welcome Back Staff Appreciation Ideas

  • Create a grateful and uplifting playlist to pump over the PA system during teacher pre-planning / work days prior to the first day of school. Think classics like “Thank You for Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, or more recent hits like “Thankful” by Kelly Clarkson and “Happy” by Pharrel Williams. (Pro Tip: You can also find songs specifically written to thank teachers on YouTube, like this Teacher Appreciation Song and The Thank You Song.)
  • During the first staff meeting of the year, hand out raffle tickets to every teacher and supporting staff member, giving them the opportunity to win door prizes provided by the PTO – things like preferential parking spaces, an extra 30-minute break every Friday for a month (staffed by a parent volunteer), gift cards to the local coffee shop, cute travel mugs, etc.
  • Distribute t-shirts of gratitude to all the teachers and faculty members to wear on the first day of school – include messaging like “#1 school staff”, “Not all heroes wear capes”, or something similar.
  • Get a small group of band, choir, or orchestra students to serenade teachers and other faculty members as they enter the school – this could occur on a teacher work day prior to the start of school or the first day of school.
  • Hang entry and hallway banners and bus signage welcoming back teachers. (Pro Tip: Use SignUp to organize a sign-making party a week or two before school starts.)
  • Give flowers or balloons to the school’s front office staff.
  • Offer welcome back treats and hang signs for the school custodians, lunchroom workers, and other supporting staff.
  • Post school-related graphics on social media to show appreciation for staff and to spread excitement for the big day. (Pro Tip: Skip making your own graphics – download SignUp's free B2S social graphics instead!)
  • Provide yummy breakfast foods and treats in the teachers’ lounge.(Pro Tip: Ask local restaurants to sponsor the lounge treats each day during the first week of school.)
  • Hand out teacher survival kits including things like instant coffee packet or tea bag, stain remover wipe, hand sanitizer, mini lint roller, pencils & pens, post-its, mint lifesavers – wrap in cellophane or place in empty tissue boxes.
  • Write notes to put on staff members’ windshields like "You did it! Thanks for a great first day!!” (Pro Tip: Ask local businesses to provide coupons for a free or discounted treat to include with the note.)
  • Pair the clever and cute appreciation notes below with an inexpensive gift you can pick up at your convenience, such as candy or a gift card. Our Back-to-School Printable Appreciation Notes are the perfect way to say “So glad to have you on our team this year” – to teachers, principals, janitorial staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school nurses, front office staff, and more – as a new school year kicks off.


Recommended Supplies:

  • Free printable "Back-to-School Appreciation Notes" PDF
  • White printer paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Pen or marker


1. Click on one of the images below to open the 6-page "BTS Appreciation Notes" PDF.

2. Print all 6 pages (or just the pages you need) on standard-sized white copy paper or card stock.

3. Write your name or group's name on each card.

4. Cut out each card and attach it to the relevant small gift. 

5. Hand them out to your teachers and other school heroes during the first day of school.

Click Any Image Below to Open the Printable PDF File:

back to school appreciation notes page 1

school staff appreciation notes


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