When it comes to picking school assembly programs some people know exactly what they would like to schedule. Some don’t have a clue! (There is a lot of that mentality about, actually!) When you set out to determine what shows to schedule you will find that you may have some staff who saw, say, a guy doing a Martin Luther King program at another neighboring school and thought it was great. They would really like you to get it for your school. You may also find that the principal really wants something on character issues or "character counts”. You may have a librarian who really wants to get in a particular author. The art teacher may want a residency by a particular artist. And so on.
First, you need to determine your needs. You want the program to be entertaining and exciting, obviously. But what field, what discipline, what subject? Fine Arts? Science? Writing? If you are able to have several programs in a year this is an easier question to answer, but if your budget limits you to one or two then you need to make some hard choices.
The best place to start is with the teachers and the principal. Try to find out if the staff have ideas or wants or needs. Is someone focusing on Earth Science? Maybe a grade level is focusing on astronomy or the founding fathers. Perhaps the whole school is struggling with writing scores, or math scores. There are school assemblies available (from Mobile Ed and elsewhere!) that cover all these themes. So start with the staff and find out if they need or want something specific. They don’t need to have a presenter or a company in mind necessarily, just an area of interest.
But be prepared, as you may not get any feedback at all.
I always recommend searching to see what you can find that is out there that YOU think looks good before soliciting for ideas from other parents and staff. Once you have some ideas you can then listen to everyone else’s idea’s. There are some advantages to this approach. First, since you are the one doing the legwork, you will be more committed to the project if you feel your own ideas are in the mix. Second, if no one else does have an idea or a want, then you can offer your ideas as suggestions.
Once you have some ideas you can raise them at a PTO/PTA meeting or, better still, send out an e-mail to all the staff explaining what you have found as options and asking for feedback and other suggestions. One tip, save yourself some time by not offering too many choices. Narrow the options before presenting them to the staff. Otherwise the process can take forever. Once you have heard back from most everyone (or after a decent interval of time, if they seem slow in getting back to you) get with the principal to finalize what you want your first choices to be.
The next step is looking for options to fill those needs. But first, before you start looking at all, you will need to know one thing. How much can you afford to spend? More on that next time.
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN. He also spent ten years coordinating assembly programs for the elementary school where his own children went to school.