Butts in Seats

About Us

New 6th Graders

7th & 8th Grade

9th Grade

Butts in Seats

7th & 8th Grade


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


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