Butts in Seats

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New 6th Graders

7th & 8th Grade

9th Grade

Butts in Seats

7th & 8th Grade

Retention

Kids are more likely to stay if they enjoy your class.

Your Counselors are Key

Sit down with counselors early and

understand 6th to 7th to 8th grades

  • What additional requirements are placed on 7th/8th graders
  • What ‘new’ offerings open up in 7th/8th grades
  • If multiple counselors are they grade-specific or cohort-specific and how does that impact your program
  • Identify what may entice students to leave your program and how you will counter those situations
  • How do GT/Pre-AP classes affect band
  • Figure out the timeline of course sign-ups for 7th and 8th grades, scheduling, and deadlines for changes
  • Thank you notes and gifts after the fact
  • Talk to your kids BEFORE they do!

Track the Data

Rosters, retention data can reveal a lot

  • Identify target percentages that will improve your overall bottom line
  • Use Excel or Google Sheet to track who has signed up and who has not
  • Meet with those students not signed up for next year
  • Document all of this in the same tracking spreadsheet
  • Do not promise things that are false or sell your soul to kids
  • If you ‘save’ them – communicate with counselors, but be prepared to continue working on that student
  • For 6th graders, leverage your 7th graders and student leaders to make them feel special
  • This process will help identify leaks in the program

Retention is a Year-Long Effort

Social events throughout the year

Performances

Student interactions, connections

6th grade full rehearsals, checkpoint camps, side-by-sides

Have your top band play in the Fall beginning band concert

Hype up the benefits of staying all year long

Don’t forget to recruit the parents

  • Be an effective communicator all year
  • Make sure to spotlight student success with parents
  • Get them involved so they feel connected to the program and don’t want to miss out
Congratulations! You’ve kept them through 8th grade.
Now it’s time for the big jump:

Retention into

Freshman Year