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School Concert or Sports Game?

School Concert or Sports Game?

It seems to be the never ending balance between athletics and the performing arts. At our school, we're very careful to schedule things so that there are no conflicts, however, this year, we've had two instances in a short period of time where the sports teams have advanced to regionals/finals, etc...but those events conflict with curricular concerts (think Jr/High school). The music staff is having difficulty understanding why a curricular concert (where they get graded), that has been on the calendar since June, does not have priority over this addition to the calendar.
What is your school's policy? Do the students attend the concert or do they go to the sporting event?  What sort of research does anyone know of which we can utilize in our discussions with administration?
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on October 22, 2013 7:20pm
I teach at a private K-12 school.
Our policy - for regular JH and HS team sporting events vs. a concert (which we try as hard as possible to avoid) students MUST attend the concert. Period. The athletic director is on board and enforces this (if a student decided to skip the concert and go to the sporting event, they would not be permitted to play.) For us, 9th and 10th grade students are required to participate on one sports team per year as part of their PE requirement, so the sport is actually sometimes co-curricular as well. So the main rationale is not necessarily co-curricular vs. extra-curricular, but that there are many, many more games than concerts, so the concert takes priority. I do try to be flexible with kids who are doing both things - If a game is running until dinnertime on the afternoon of an evening concert, I will often allow students to come a little late - I'd prefer as a parent that they get a shower and some food before showing up to play or sing. 
For sectionals, finals, etc., the rule is that the student attends the sectional or final game, not the concert. The rationale there - there is only one sectional/finals, and several concerts over the course of the year. We do our best to work with athletcis to schedule the concerts outside of the sectionals/finals weeks to avoid this problem, but every few years we have a surprise collision. Now, frankly, it's pretty rare that most of our teams make it to sectionals, so that makes it easier on us. And although we have some decent sports teams and a few very good ones, we don't have that sort of "athletics over everything" culture that I've experienced at other schools.
This mostly works because we, as a department, create the master performing arts schedule together with the athletic department. We know when the new sports are starting and will affect after-school play rehearsals, when the sectional weeks are, etc. We are a small school, and they don't want to be missing those students at their games, either!
One other thing - I've seen a variety of policies at the different schools where I've taught, and in my opinion, the successful ones make sure that the ADULTS (teachers, coaches, administrators) are making the decisions together. Not the children.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on October 22, 2013 8:23pm
I love Kristina's answer. I am no longer teaching at the high school level, but I did want to weigh in just a bit. Sectionals/regionals/play-offs, etc. are not set at the school level - the athletic director has no control over these dates. I think her school's two-tiered approach is very reasonable and fair.
on October 23, 2013 6:08am
I just want to comment that I think Kristina's school's rationale is perhaps the most reasonable and well-thought one I've ever seen. Bravo!
on October 23, 2013 8:11pm
Every good policy I've ever taught under followed this philosophy.
on October 24, 2013 10:51am

I like all the responses and when I was teaching full time at high school, I would work very hard to avoid conflicts as much as possible....but as we know it is not always possible.  Let me share with you a my own experience when I was in high school and in the band, which played/marched at all the football games. I was also on the football team.  As a junior I made the varsity.....conflict. I went to the band teacher and told him I could not play at the games and explained why.  He was not happy and let me know.  He however allowed me to miss the games with the band.  I often think of him and realize how grateful I am to him.  I know that I would have quit the band had he said no.  Quitting the band would have been musically wrong for my later "career".  However I knew that I would never play football past high school and there was no way I was going to miss that.


It is also important to remember there are times that we all miss "important" commitments: illness, family emergencies....or as I use to tell my kids "The only reason for missing a concert is DEATH.... YOURS!  It is important to have a policy and to adhere to it as closely as possible.....but you know "life isn’t always fair".  The choir will survive if he/she is not there.

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