Is Homecoming For All Grades?

Thursday, 2 September, 2021

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Homecoming Grades

Unlike Prom, Homecoming is an event for every student in High School to participate in, usually grades 9, 10, 11, and 12th. Homecoming doesn’t just include the dance, but usually some form of a Spirit Week and a sporting event.

 

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When Is Homecoming in High School?

Friday, 6 August, 2021

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Homecoming Dates

Homecoming is held in the fall.

Homecoming is typically held in late September or early October, though some schools may do them in August after school starts. It is typically tied to a football game.

Some schools that do not have a football team may do it later in the year corresponding to their school’s main sport.

 

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When is Prom for High School?

Friday, 6 August, 2021

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When is Prom for High School?

Prom is typically held towards the end of the school year in mid to late May.

 

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Planning a Virtual School Dance

Wednesday, 10 June, 2020

The one thing we thought would never go away, would never change, was the school dance. Prom, in particular, is one of the most significant events of a high school student’s career, a rite of passage that culminates their four years of hard work.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 created a problem we never imagined; students could no longer be together in the same place with their peers. COVID-19 set off a ripple in schools that affected not only academic learning but social and emotional development (SEL) as well. Developing relationships during adolescent years lays the foundation for future relationship success as students move to college and/or career.

If you follow school dances at all, which I assume you do being that you are reading this article, you might know that when it was clear that in-person school events would not be happening at the end of 2020, many organizations and groups began organizing virtual proms. Teen Vogue, MTV, various radio stations, social media platforms, schools, and even individual students worked to create meaningful experiences that connected friends from a distance and celebrated the accomplishments of the year. As the leader in online school-dance management platforms, My School Dance also sought to determine how to provide a prom experience to our schools and students. We decided to provide a unique virtual prom experience, which we called Virtual Prom Live, where we were able to simulate the best experience possible for students whose proms were canceled.

I wanted to share our experience in a 2-part blog series called Planning Your Virtual Dances. In this post, I will highlight what a virtual dance or virtual prom is, and what the benefits of having a virtual school event of any kind are. In the next post, I will share how to plan a virtual dance or event for your students.

What is a Virtual Dance or Virtual Prom?

In this post, I am going to refer mostly to our specific initiative, Virtual Prom Live, but this can be applied to most virtual dances and some virtual school events.

The main features of a virtual school dance are fairly consistent across the board:

  • Live talent, typically a DJ or maybe a band, playing popular music for 1-3 hours
  • A platform that allows students to view the entertainment and interact with other attendees
  • Contests, giveaways, and other ways to get students to interact with each other
  • Moderators who act as chaperones for the dance to ensure all students are respected

Optional add-ins for engagement and positivity include:

  • Influencer appearances
  • Discounts for items such as dress rentals, tux rentals, shoes, flowers, and food
  • Options for video communication between students (this piece is extremely challenging if you are organizing a virtual dance for students not in the same school)
  • Social media engagement with students before, during, and after the event

Virtual Prom Live hosted four different proms, each focused on a specific U.S. time zone. We gathered students from schools around the country into one place where we streamed live DJ talent, featured over 25 influencers, and provided giveaways from companies such as Enso Rings, Crocs, Charlotte’s Closet, and Door Dash. Students had the ability to chat in a moderated section with kids from around the U.S. and Canada and were encouraged to form group video chats either with friends, schools, or others in the event. We had specific vendors who provided discounts on tuxes (Friar Tux, The Black Tux) and dresses (Charlotte’s Closet), which many students wore, took traditional prom photos, and had dinners put together by family.

Benefits of a Virtual School Dance

The most important thing for Virtual Prom Live was that we simulated as much as possible a true prom experience. We know that a virtual school dance will never replace in-person interactions, but our hope is that we were able to provide some semblance of excitement for students who were stuck inside for weeks.

Some of the benefits of virtual dances are:

  • Shows students you care – Overnight the lives of your students completely changed. They were torn away from friends, teachers, classrooms, and end-of-year activities. Even though a virtual school dance will not replace the real thing, it is a step in the right direction to show your students that you care about their wellbeing, their social and emotional development, and their desire for celebration.
  • Gives students something to do – Let’s be honest, students are BORED. TikTok has had over 2 BILLION downloads, and there is only so much Netflix that can be watched. To prevent your students from getting bored, which can sometimes lead to not-so-great things, give them something to look forward to like prom night. Picking out a dress, getting ready, creating excitement with friends are all positive things students can focus their energy on outside of schoolwork.
  • Offers a safe space for certain students – Interestingly, from our experience with Virtual Prom Live, we noticed that many students thrived in a virtual environment who would not normally thrive in an in-person school dance. Just like how every person learns differently, I also believe that every person socializes differently. Some feel more comfortable being who they truly are behind a screen. Even when in-person dances begin again, there might be something to be said for having the option of a virtual pop-in for those students who might not otherwise attend or be as engaged in a dance.
  • Helps support local businesses – The events industry has struggled more during COVID-19 shutdowns than most and continues to struggle as at this moment, many states are still not allowing gatherings for more than 50 people. By organizing a virtual prom or dance, you can help provide income during this challenging time to local businesses like dress/tux shops, florists, DJs, and more.

Again, I would never say that a virtual school dance could replace an in-person one, they are just not the same. However, I do think there are benefits to having a virtual option over no option, and I also believe there might be a need in the future for hybrid school dances both online and offline. In the next blog post, I will give you some guidance on how exactly you can begin to plan a virtual dance for your school or organization. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@myschooldance.com or hello@virtualprom.live.

Happy Dancing!

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#SAVE PROM: Virtual Prom 2020

Monday, 6 April, 2020

Saturday Nights from April 18 – May 9

We are all affected by the closures and regulations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Canceled vacations, postponed weddings, and abrupt school closures are just a few of the ways our lives have been impacted.  For high school students, social distancing means no school events – including prom.  My School Dance has teamed up with Virtual Prom Live and No Kid Hungry to bring the party to your living room while raising money for a great cause.

My two high school daughters have been struggling with the fact they may not see their friends again for weeks, perhaps even months.  My high school senior had already picked out a prom dress and was eagerly awaiting the big event. Then her school closed. 

I was trying to come up with a way she could still have some kind of “prom” event with her friends online, but organizing something like this was all new to me.  That’s why I was so excited to learn that people far wiser than I had already planned just such an event. 

My School Dance, partnering with Virtual Prom Live, have joined forces to create not just one but a series of online prom events for students across the country.  Not only are these events free, but money being raised through donations is going towards feeding hungry families.  

Free For All

Every Saturday night from April 18 – May 9, students can participate in a virtual prom experience along with 1,000’s of students across the country.  A live DJ will play music, sponsors will provide contests and prizes, and kids can dance in their living room while interacting with friends digitally.  

In addition to free registration, an online clothing boutique is also lending party attire to young ladies who may not have lined up their dress for the evening yet.  Dresses are limited, and more information can be found by contacting help@charlottes-closet.com.  

A Party For A Good Cause

Although the virtual prom events are completely free, it’s a great opportunity to give to a good cause.  Donations to an organization called  No Kid Hungry are being raised to help feed people who are having difficulty during this challenging time.  What a great way to give back. I was going to suggest to my daughter that she donate some of the money she would have spent on hair, makeup and a prom ticket to  No Kid Hungry.  Thinking of the needs of others is always a great lesson for my kiddos!

How To Join The Party

Getting signed up is easy – all you need to do is visit Virtual Prom Live and choose a date that you would like to attend.  Regional events are planned each Saturday evening from April 18 – May 9.  Students can sign up for any date and time, no matter where they live. 

Each virtual prom event will feature a different DJ and start time.  For example, the virtual prom on April 18 is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm Mountain Time.  DJ Joune, the official DJ of the Utah Jazz will be spinning tunes throughout the evening! No matter which night your student “attends,” it is designed to be entertaining, interactive and memorable.

Kids can share the link and encourage their friends to register as well.  They can then interact online during the event, making it even more unforgettable.  What a great way to have fun and make a difference for others, while celebrating prom in a unique way.  It is sure to be a story our kids tell for years to come!

Check out Virtual Prom Live on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (@VirtualPromLive)!

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Written by: Angela O’Brien

Prom Safety for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Wednesday, 11 March, 2020

You’ve probably spent months planning your school’s spring prom – the hallmark event for your seniors. However, amidst fears about the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19), some schools are contemplating canceling large social events altogether. While each school’s decision is completely discretionary, if your school does decide to proceed with having a prom or other large social event, here are some tips to keep things clean and sanitary:

  1. Hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE – You can never have enough hand sanitizer. Keep hand sanitizer stations convenient throughout your event space. Perhaps even give it to students as a favor at the dance.
  2. Circulation – If your prom is in a place where you can open windows or doors (weather permitting), do so to allow circulation throughout the event.
  3. Offer a mask decorating station – If you are extremely concerned about the spread of germs, ask all students to wear masks. Consider a mask decorating contest using fun jewels, stickers, or markers to align with your theme.
  4. Consider alternative activities to dancing – Proms can be challenging, especially asking students to avoid close physical contact. Instead of facilitating a dance floor, consider other activities instead of dancing where you can properly sterilize things. Some examples of this would be video game or board game stations (with sanitizing wipes nearby), outdoor games or a field day (weather permitting), an outside picnic, or simply good music and a nice dinner, without dancing.
  5. Make all attendees sign a waiver that they will not come if experiencing signs of sickness – Recently a person attended a dance that ignored a directive not to attend due to potential exposure and cited that it was because he was “never told”. Most schools have students, parents, and out of school guests sign off on behavioral agreements to attend the prom, and if your school does not do this, we highly recommend it to reduce liabilities. My School Dance allows you to customize these agreements for electronic distribution to all necessary parties. An example of a clause you could put in at the bottom of your agreement is: “If in the last two weeks, you or someone living in your house has been experiencing flu-like symptoms or has been in contact with someone carrying COVID-19, you are not permitted to attend the dance. If found in violation of this, you could face disciplinary or legal action and will endanger hundreds of other students and families. Please be respectful of the health of our community.”

We hope you still want to provide your students with a memorable prom experience with the right precautions. If you choose to cancel or postpone your prom, that is ok to do as well. The health and safety of your students are first and foremost above everything.

Stay informed. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are updating their sites with the latest information.

Happy Dancing,

My School Dance

St. Patrick’s Day – A Golden Opportunity for Festive Learning

Monday, 9 March, 2020

March 9, 2020

Thinking about how to bring St. Patrick’s Day into the classroom for your high schoolers this year?  There are a variety of ways to use this holiday as a teaching opportunity, while also enjoying the whimsy and charm of rainbows and leprechauns.  

St. Patrick’s Day is a special day for me – as my name suggests, I come from Irish stock and have the freckles to prove it.   My three children are now in high school, but they still enjoy decorating the house with lots of gold, green and shamrocks.

Something our high schoolers may not realize is that St. Patrick’s Day is more than four-leaf clovers and rivers dyed green (shout-out to Chicago where My School Dance is based!)  Our students can definitely benefit from learning more about the holiday and how it is celebrated – on both sides of the pond.

St. Patrick’s Day Customs and Traditions  

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated as Ireland’s National Holiday, and banks, schools and some businesses close for the day.  There are parades throughout the country, and some people observe the day by going to church or spending the day with family.   

Here are some lessons and information you can share with your students about this day:

  • Visit History.com to find information on who St. Patrick was, the history of the holiday, and other facts and traditions.  You can even assign the link on Google Classroom and let students explore, then report back with their findings.
  • The NEA (National Education Association) has put together a wonderful list with ideas for free lessons, activities, videos and books to read about St. Patrick’s Day.

Fact vs. Fiction

Debunk the myths about St. Patrick’s day by exploring some sites that delve into the facts and fiction about the holiday.  Did you know, for example, that the original color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue? Ask your students to research this, and other interesting tidbits and in teams and report back.  Incorporating technology by sharing what they have learned via Google Slides or other digital platforms can be an added bonus.

Irish Literature & Folktales 

St. Patrick’s Day is a great reason to explore Irish literature and folktales with your students.  Of course, English teachers likely have more than a few of these authors in their repertoire. Just in case, here are some lists and free links to Irish literature that may help round out your St. Patrick’s Day instruction:

School Spirit and Whimsical Celebrations

Now for the rainbows, leprechauns, and pots of gold I promised.  St. Patrick’s Day is a self-designated spirit day, as students are most likely going to wear green anyways to avoid the dreaded St. Patrick’s Day pinch.  As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  

  • Enlist the ASB, Activities, or student leadership/culture organizations you may have on campus to promote the day with posters, announcements, and social media messages.  Give out prizes in various categories: most original and most school spirit, for example.
  • Do a door decorating contest, again using your student leaders to spread the word.  Prizes encourage participation!
  • Food – while fish and chips in your math class may not be feasible, what about another classic: Irish soda bread.  Many grocery stores sell it around this time of year. Or, give out a recipe like this one and have students work in teams to bake a loaf at home and bring it in to share.  Offer lucky Irish extra credit for participation.

Having a St. Patrick’s Day dance or event?! Manage it for free with My School Dance!

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Written by: Angela O’Brien

Prom, the 2020s meet the Roaring 1920s!

Monday, 2 March, 2020

March 2, 2020

The first Prom Committee meeting is underway and you’re looking for the best prom ideas- epic prom ideas.  The year is 2020 and someone suggests, The Roaring 20s!  I mean it’s perfect, right? Now what?  Where do you go from here?    Take one this suggestion one step further with the ideal theme.  There are some great iconic 1920s songs, phrases, and cultural images that come to mind that would make the perfect prom theme.  This was the age of Jazz, the Charleston dance craze, the Great Gatsby, Swing music and dancing, New York jazz clubs, Chicago gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies.

Our top ten roaring 20s theme suggestions:  All That Jazz – The Great Gatsby – Dixieland Ballroom – Swing City Blues – Rhapsody in Blue – Puttin’ on the Ritz – The Cotton Club – Ragtime Ball – Southside Swing – Windy City Speakeasy or Chicago Speakeasy or even better look up some of the names of your hometown historic speakeasies!

You’ve picked your theme now choose the colors you’re going to use for everything from the invitations to the decorations.  The classic style for the 1920s era was Art Deco and a great color scheme for any of these prom themes is black, gold, and white.  If you choose Swing City Blues, replace the black with blue.  If you use Rhapsody in Blue, try using blue, black and white/gold.

Depending on your chosen theme, add to your list of decorations jazz musician silhouettes, a Rolls Royce cut out, art deco columns, or a backroom speakeasy backdrop.  Table decorations of white plumed feathers or an art deco style light with each table named for a 20s dance, slang phrase, or person: The Bees Knees, The Cat’s Pajamas, The Lindy Hop, Bugsy’s, or Capone’s.  Placemats made to look like newspaper headlines captured from the 1920s would make a great keepsake to use for scrapbooks with pictures.

Get a photo frame or photo album keepsake engraved with the prom theme name and your class year using an art deco font.  Each printing service offers its own selection of fonts and most likely will have an  “art deco” font.  Some other common fonts would be: Bernhard Fashion, Blakely, Broadway, Metropolis, Mona Lisa Recut, Mostra, and one of our favorites, Silvermoon.  Be sure to pick up props with headbands, gangster fedoras, beads, feathers, and lace fans for great keepsake photos. Check out our favorite decor and favor retailer Anderson’s!

Now, to make prom not just a dance, but an EPIC experience.  What’s great about having a theme based around the Roaring 20s are not just the amazing decoration ideas, but activities you can have leading up to prom to get your classmates excited and involved in prom.

Here are just a few ideas to get everyone ramped up for the big day.  Host a silent movie night in the school auditorium, you could even talk to the band director and get the school orchestra to play music for the films!  Contact the local historical society and host a 1920s fashion show to get your classmates in the mood for dressing the part.  Announce that there will be ribbons or prizes to the best-dressed couple, the best ‘Zoot Suit’, and the best ‘Flapper’.  Have Roaring 20s trivia during lunch periods at school during prom week and have Charleston and Swing Dance lessons during the week.

When prom night arrives, have the DJ or band play the top songs of the era and stage great photo opps as they enter with the jazz musicians, Rolls Royce, and art deco columns.  Get one of the teachers (even better the principal and vice-principal!) to dress as maître ds to escort couples to their tables.  At various locations, have the prop tables set up for additional pictures throughout the night to make for some great memories.  Since you’ve had the Charleston and Swing Dance lessons that week, hold a dance contest!

No matter what theme you choose, get ready to have a Roaring Good Time! Sell your tickets online for free with My School Dance! Half off processing fees for prom!

Written by Midge Brody

If you want more activities or tips for your school, check out these blog posts next: The Ultimate Prom Planning Timeline, 3 Ways To Effective Classroom Management.

 

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Tips for Running Extra-Curricular Activities

Friday, 23 November, 2018

November 23rd, 2018

 

Hi everyone! If you don’t know me already, my name is Stephanie Hamilton and I am the Media & Marketing Specialist with My School Dance. Extra-curricular activities are a must for any school. Not only are they great ways to get more involved, but you also make some life-long friends out of it. They allow students to have real face-to-face interaction rather than just texting on their phones.

 

Extra-curricular activities can be anything from a sport to a school dance. These type of activities were always my favorite part about school. It’s where kids create the most memories and have fun. Plus, having a teacher who is passionate about the activity makes it even better. The kids look up to the teacher and can come to them as a mentor. Since extra-curricular activities are so important, I wanted to give the teachers some inside tips for running any type of activity.

 

  • Get Everyone InvolvedThe more people involved, the more significant of an event it becomes. Get more students, teachers, and faculty to join in on the fun. It creates a better culture within your organization/club and allows more people to connect with one another.
  • School CultureHaving a competitive culture, helps to promote a healthy competitive environment with a sense of direction for the activity.
  • Get Teachers to Run Activities they LoveIf a certain teacher used to be in Debate club and loved it, let them be in charge of it. If a faculty member used to be in charge of planning dances, let them be in charge of the school Prom. It’s always more fun to have the person in charge enjoy the specific activity.

 

Extra-curricular activities allow kids opportunities that they may not always have access to. My School Dance wants kid to interact more with face-to-face interaction rather than over screens, which is what we tend to see a lot today. That’s why My School Dance was created. We wanted to make the dance planning and management process easier for teachers/faculty. This way more activities such as a dance or an event can happen for students. If your school needs help with the management process for any type of event, My School Dance is here to help!

 

Sign your school up today and start planning your next event with My School Dance!

Contact:

Stephanie Hamilton

833-336-8656