Attendance for non-audition-based after-school programs is tough to control. We did ask the students (and their parents) to sign a contract that laid out the policies for participation, and everyone signed and returned it, but…well, homework, and sickness, and holidays and suddenly we were averaging 16 out of 25 kids each week. We came up with a bunch of ideas to address the issue, but the principal offered up what I think was the best approach. Before the winter break, he talked individually to every student who had missed a day and asked in person for their commitment to NOC. Amazing! Thanks to those one-on-one conversations, most students reinforced their committment pledging not to miss anymore, and we had only 2 students drop out of the program. So, we are now 23 strong. I hope that we can hold at that number. Attendance is a problem we face over and over again with after-school programs. I’m curious how other theatres combat the problem. Ultimately, since we do not give out grades, what’s the worse that could happen by not attending? The student is asked to leave the program? Then, they just have more unstructured free time, and we don’t want that. Kids can call our bluff on this issue. So, we will see how it goes when we return after the break.
I discovered the Flip Cam granting program, and it rocks. For non-profit organizations, you can apply to get a 2 for 1 deal on Flip Cams at http://www.flipvideospotlight.com/SpotlightHome.aspx
This is going to allow us to have twice as many cameras for documenting the program than we originally anticipated. This is great news on so many levels. We can document class work from different POVs, and keep cameras both at the theatre to record discussions and student matinees, and at the school. It is exciting, and we doubled our money. Check it out.