Get ready for the summer with EdFuel’s Summer Must-Dos

Kristina Campa Gruca| June 13, 2019

“I need a vacation from my vacation.” I’ve heard this phrase from friends and colleagues and have experienced the pain of enjoying time off only to be bombarded by the work of catching up once I return to work. This year, I was determined that wouldn’t be the case. A few weeks ago, my family road tripped to my grandparents beachside hometown in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to celebrate my brother’s 30th birthday. It was a celebratory and restorative break, and I returned feeling refreshed and ready for the work ahead.

In order to avoid that “needing a vacation from my vacation”, I created a Must-Do list that was essential in helping me identify and prioritize high-impact actions that would allow me to enjoy vacation while positioning me for success upon my return. For me, that list included completing all the work I would need for the first week back from vacation, clearing my inbox, cleaning the apartment, removing perishables from the refrigerator, and running countless loads of laundry.

Your list may be different, and to help get you started before you head out on vacation (or staycation!), the team at EdFuel has compiled their personal and talent-related Must-Do action items. Check out our list below!

Must-Do #1: Keep your summer hires and returning staff engaged.

It’s going to be a hot summer, so don’t let your staff cool off! Whether you’re fully staffed or still on the hiring grind, summer is a critical time to ensure ongoing communication with your staff. In the case of new hires, we’ve heard from countless leader that after a candidate accepts their offer, they may not hear from the organization until it’s time to report for orientation, 3-6 months later! There are a few actions that are low effort and high impact, allowing you to enjoy your vacation while ensuring you don’t have any summer surprises.

  • Communicate Regularly.  Ensure summer hires and returning staff hear from you regularly (once per month, at a minimum).
    • Topics can include HR reminders, save the dates for orientation, etc.
    • Pro Tip: If you’re out-of-office or want to make your processes more efficient, use Gmail’s schedule-ahead feature or an add-on like Boomerang which allows for automatic responses and scheduled emails.
  • Generate Excitement. Capture that summer rejuvenation energy to generate excitement for the upcoming year, reminding staff why they chose to work at your organization, and sharing notable events, celebrations, annual goals, etc. If it’s in your budget, we are also a fan of sending summer swag to new and returning staff (t-shirts, pens, notebooks, flags, etc.).
  • Cultivate Community.
    • Pair new hires with returning staff who can serve as a resource over the summer and once the school year begins.
    • Host a summer soirée for new and returning staff to get to know each other ahead of orientation. 

Must-Do #2: Refresh (or Create) your Strategic Talent Calendar. Summer is the right time to reflect on your Talent Strategy and ensure you and your staff’s actions throughout the year position your organization to recruit and retain your best people.

  • We recommend mapping your talent actions month-by-month on a Strategic Talent Calendar. By creating (or refreshing) your Talent Calendar, you are able to gain a birds-eye view into how talent functions (recruitment, hiring, retention efforts, performance evaluation, etc.) intersect and reinforce each other throughout the year.
  • If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our sample Strategic Talent Calendar.

Must-Do #3: Prioritize your – and your team’s – wellness! As the school year wraps up, leaders – indeed all staff – should take time to breathe, step back, and rest before beginning the work of preparing for the next school year in earnest.

Must-Do #4: Create a summer playlist! Summers are remembered for their long, sunshine-filled days, and the essential summer soundtrack. The EdFuel team has compiled their favorite summer tunes for your aural pleasure!  Note: Some songs may include mature language or themes.


  • Sister by K.Flay
  • Harmony Hall by Vampire Weekend
  • Turn Up on the Weekend by Branchez & Big Wet


  • Revamp (Elton John tribute album) by Various Artists (Alessia Cara and Lady Gaga’s covers are my favorite!)
  • Soulmate by Lizzo
  • Here With Me by Marshmellow feat. CHVRCHES
  • Cross Me by Ed Sheeran feat. Chance the Rapper
  • Kerri-Ann
  • The London by Young Thug (feat. J. Cole & Travis Scott)
  • Decisions by Rotimi
  • Boasty by Wiley (feat. Stefflon Don, Sean Paul & Idris Elba)


  • Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony
  • Beach – I Wanna Make You Mine by Will Joseph Cook
  • Drummer by Niki & the Dove
  • Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor

Mary Mason

  • Sucker by Jonas Brothers
  • Coming Home (album) by Leon Bridges


  • Before I Let Go by Beyonce
  • Homecoming (album) by Beyonce

Treona, Walton-UNCF Summer Fellow

  • Middle Child by J. Cole
  • Higher by Nipsey Hussle, John Legend & DJ Khaled
  • Ex (Remix) by Kiana Ledé & French Montana


We want to hear from you — what are your summer Must Dos and favorite summer tune? Tweet us!

Have a great summer!