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Administrative Professionals Day Ideas in School - 15 Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Team

administrative professionals day ideas in school

Hands down, our Administrative Professionals are vital to the success of a school! They are the face and the voice of the school for so many families. Often the first people any student or family meet are the talented team who works in the Main Office and behind the scenes to keep operations running smoothly.

Whether you call them your administrative assistants, admin professionals, or secretaries, they are so important and deserve celebration - not just once a year, but every day! That said, there is one day per year that is recognized across the US for this special team.

Once per year, Administrative Professionals Day is celebrated in the United States on the Wednesday of the last full week in April.

Here are 15 fun ways to show your appreciation for them on the annual Administrative Professionals Day in your school. Choose one or mix-and-match some of these fun ideas to celebrate them!

1 - Organize a potluck lunch or breakfast for the Administrative Professionals in your school.

food for administrative professionals day ideas in school

My team of Admin Professionals loves to plan lunch parties together. They find all kinds of reasons to celebrate - birthdays, holidays, and "just because" days! Since they usually do the planning for these fun gatherings, I like to take the opportunity to plan one for them on Administrative Professionals Day.

It's easy to partner with the Parent Teacher association (PTA or PTC), to gather volunteers from various teams and departments, and to supplement with a few discretionary dollars to celebrate these teammates.

Whenever planning a potluck, I like use an editable Google Sheet or Signup Genius to get signups from across the organization. The only rule is that the Admin Professionals can't sign up - the meal is to celebrate them! Think of it as a "Meal Train" for this amazing group.

2 - Give them a small gift basket, or gift card to a local coffee shop, restaurant or spa.

gifts for administrative professionals day ideas in school

Whether your team prefers sentimental or humorous gifts, there are fun ways to recognize your teammates. Depending on your budget and team size, consider gifts to make them smile and feel appreciated.

Coffee, gifts, and other little appreciations go a long way!

Some of my teammates love a good laugh and to see the "bright side" of their tough work. While others are sentimental and love heartfelt gifts. Here are some of the favorites that we've gifted over the years - with resounding success.

As we know, gift cards have rules and stipulations especially if purchased with public dollars. Consider leaning into your PTA or PTC, parent or community donors, or even a staff pool to bring pampering and joy to this awesome group!

3 - Set up a photo booth with fun props and take pictures with the Administrative Professionals. Better yet, let students join the fun!

Interactive and so memorable, it is always fun to capture photos of the school team. My experience is that the Admin Professionals Team is rarely in photos, since they are busy handling urgent matters like visitors, phones, and more. Make it a point to capture this special team by setting up a photo station for them. Bonus! Set it up in school where students can join in the fun! Be sure there's a visible sign that says "Happy Admin Professionals Day" so that the cause is well-known.

Each year, our theme for the photo booth is a little different - last year's theme was School Super Heroes. To keep the focus on these amazing teammates, we hand-painted the names of each Admin Professionals on small signs around the photo booth.

Here's the photo booth props and supplies used for the School Super Hero theme (click to see them on Amazon):

super hero backdrop for administrative professionals day ideas in school
props for administrative professionals day ideas in school

The total cost for this backdrop and the matching props was less than $40.

4 - Plan a special just-for-them Scavenger Hunt during the school day.

If you want to see your Administrative Professionals have fun during their special day, a Scavenger Hunt is a wonderful idea! I know, Admin Professionals are the "first responders" who are usually working the phones, managing the front office, interfacing with visitors, and solving a myriad of problems. What if they could sneak away for 15 minutes (on the clock) to go and have a little fun?

Some scavenger hunt ideas include:

  • Create a 5-clue sequence that they follow to find a grand prize. There's nothing more fun than watching them follow clues, visit corners of the building in which they rarely get to go, and greeting students and staff throughout the building.

  • Invite them to get selfies with some of their favorite people (this group is often beloved but rarely in the center of attention)! Selfie Bingo can be a blast!

  • Visit designated people/placed to pick up cool items (school swag, flowers, gift bags with goodies, etc.)

5 - Have a giant "thank you" card or note-writing station for employees and students to express their appreciation.

Handwritten notes are always a hit among school staff! In our lunchroom, we place a "Thank You Note" station for all students and staff to visit during the day. Then we schedule times when students can visit the stations (during lunch, before school, passing periods, etc.) to personalize these cards.

We've done both "Jumbo Cards" like this one (which comes in a 6-pack)...

thank you card for administrative professionals day ideas in school

And mini personalize-able "Thank You Cards" like this pack of 210 cards:

thank you mini cards administrative professionals day ideas in school

6 - Host a happy hour or after-work event.

Who doesn't like a great social gathering away from the office? At the first school where I was an administrator, the teachers would always informally schedule a happy hour during the week of Admin Professionals Day and treat their colleagues to their favorite bevs. This will not be the main "school sponsored" fun event of the week for obvious reasons. But it's a great way to continue the festivities!

student recognition cards for school principals

7 - Decorate their offices with balloons, streamers, and banners.

Office decorations always make a teammate feel seen and valued. Why not bring that "treat wagon" vibe to their offices, too?

Consider hanging appreciation banners and balloons in their spaces on Tuesday after school. These are cost effective (use them all year for the various appreciation days/weeks) and are easy to hang. Pair them with balloons for an over-the-top effect.

Click the photo to see this low-cost, high-quality banner on Amazon (available in various colors):

appreciation banner for administrative professionals day ideas in school
colorful balloons for administrative professionals day ideas in school

8 - Provide a catered lunch or dessert bar.

As an assistant principal, I appreciated seeing my principal buy our Admin Professional team lunch every year on their special Wednesday. On the preceding Monday, he would distribute a lunch menu to them and ask them to circle their preferences for Wednesday's lunch. It would be delivered, fresh and ready to eat, at a special time for them to enjoy.

The administrative team would spring them from their responsibilities (we would man the phones and the front desk) so the Admin Professionals could enjoy a catered lunch all together, interruption-free.

Another option is to host a special dessert bar for them! Think cupcakes, brownies, and hand-held treats they could enjoy throughout the day. My favorite touch for any "food bar" is to include small to-go boxes like these. That way, this busy team could perhaps take a few treats to enjoy as work ebbed and flowed, or they could take it home and enjoy it later.

9 - Give them a personalized desk accessory or office supply.

Personalized sticky notes and note pads are always a hit! The great news is that, unlike other desk accessories, these will not "grow legs" and disappear.

Consider purchasing customized note pads or stationary for your team. Keep in mind that these do require a little time in production - be sure to order early so that they arrive in time for the special day!

Here's a cute example from Amazon. These come in a set of 300 Post-It brand stickies for a great price:

personalized note pad for administrative professionals day ideas in school

10 - Organize a volunteer event or donation drive in their honor.

In addition to celebrating the individual teammates from your Admin Professionals Team, why not do a donation drive in their honor?

coin drive for administrative professionals day ideas in school

Over the years, we've asked our Admin Professionals about a charity or cause that is close to their hearts. Our school has done some of the following:

  • Sock Drive

  • Canned Foods Drive

  • Trash Pickup on Campus

  • Coin Drive (ex. grade vs. grade)

  • Money Drive Competition - One of my favorite variations that is VERY engaging for students is to see which Admin Professional can "raise" the most money! Use giant water cooler bottles with each staff member's picture on it and place them in a very public place (ex. main entrance table). Coins in the container ADD to the staff member's total, while dollar bills SUBTRACT from their total! At the end of the contest, all the coins are added up while the dollar bills are deducted, to see who has the highest amount. The bottom line is that ALL the money goes to charity. This is a great way to really rack up donations for a great cause!

11 - Create a video montage of employees thanking the administrative professionals team.

Each year, I purchase a subscription to We Video for our school. That's because it's a drag-and-drop video editing software that we use across our school each year.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate our team (like Counselor Appreciation Week, Custodian Appreciation Day, School Board Appreciation Month, Classified Appreciation Week, etc.) is with an appreciation video montage.

Simply film short video clips of students and staff as they share their appreciation for your Admin Professionals! Using We Video, add a cover video, transitions, music, and your school's logo for a classy yet personalized video.

How long would something like this take? I recommend having someone on your team (ex. Dean of Students or even leadership students) gather the thank you footage. Airdrop that to your laptop or phone. Then, the actual editing can be done in about an hour. The more you use We Video, the more adept you become at how the platform works. However, it's so intuitive that even those of us who are less "tech savvy" can catch on quickly.

12 - Host a trivia game with questions about the administrative professionals and their roles.

blue question mark on pink background

As a middle school principal, trivia was always a great way to build engagement and get students excited. During Lunch, we'd use the microphone to play trivia with students - guessing who is the best person to go to for various things (ex. schedule questions, medication needs, etc.). Students love games, and why not put our favorite teammates in the game?

13 - Spotlight them on social media.

There are many ways to celebrate these teammates on social media during Administrative Professionals Day. Over the years, we've done this a little differently each year. This year, we'll be scheduling to post an image of each teammate every hour of the day as a "thank you."

Another fun idea is to create a "thank you" photo montage from students and staff to the team. Here's a free, quick tutorial on one of the many ways to create a staff "thank you" montage for social media!

14 - Have a company-wide meeting or announcement recognizing the administrative professionals.

In my state, our professional development and staff meetings are always held on Wednesdays - convenient for this special celebration! During the Wednesday meeting on Administrative Professionals Day, our team gives these rockstars a much-deserved round of applause. We publicly thank them and shine the spotlight on them for a few meaningful minutes.

Otherwise, if your staff meetings are held on other days of the week, be sure give them a special shoutout on your typical meeting day. It's always amazing to me how the Admin Professionals show such surprise at being recognized! This group of humble heroes often go-go-go's and forgets their important day. They are so insistent on celebrating others and rarely take the praise they so deserve!

15 - Give them a small gift basket with their favorite snacks or treats. We call this "A few of my favorite things." Staff LOVE this!

Finally, each fall I send my team a survey of their "favorite things," for use throughout the year. I reference this list when building a basket with personalized gifts for the Admin Professionals! You can find a sample of the Staff Survey linked here.

educator retirement gift ideas

Have a great time celebrating these amazing teammates! They are life-changers for our students.

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