Dance Team Start-Up
I’m trying to start a dance team at my high school, and have been circulating a petition to teachers and parents. Everyone seems interested, except our school board. What else can we do? —Brooke N.
Two reasons the school board may reject your proposal are Title IX rulings and funding. Title IX laws require schools to offer equal sports opportunities to boys and girls. The board may not accept a new one just for girls, so a co-ed team is a good idea. Also, since tight school budgets make funding a new activity difficult, be prepared to fundraise.
To move forward, I suggest taking the following actions:
Write a plan of expectations for the dance team’s first year of operation, including rehearsal and performance schedules and expenses for uniforms, travel and competitions. Propose partial school funding supplemented by team members. For example, the district could pay the coach’s salary, competition fees and/or provide bus transportation as needed, while dancers could fundraise for uniforms, shoes, poms and props. If the first year has strong participation, the school board might agree to fund more in subsequent years.
Ask your athletic or activities director to suggest training rules and help with scheduling a season length, practice times and places and performance dates. In your plan, be sure to state that the dancers can be positive student representatives, benefiting the school and community.
Conduct an interest survey. Ask dancers to show intent by signing up in the school office. Find one to three qualified dancers or teachers in your area to judge the tryouts pending the administration’s approval.
Present your plan at a school board meeting with as many interested dancers and parents as possible in attendance. Ask at least one student and one parent to present your proposal, and ask a willing coach candidate to make a convincing case for the benefits and importance of a school dance team.
It may take more than one attempt to get approval, and you might have to set things in motion this year to have a team next year. If resources are very limited, start a team without tryouts or high expenses for the first year by allowing everyone who wants to participate join the team, and don’t travel or compete. At the end of the season, you can be satisfied knowing your efforts brought it to fruition. —Kyle Regynski, coach of the Hazen Highlights dance team in Hazen, ND