Full-participation Announcement

Click below to view a brief, introductory message from Mr. Hale.

To dive into the details, see the FAQ section below (and check back periodically to see answers to new questions). To ask a question that hasn’t been addressed yet, scroll to the bottom of the FAQ section for instructions


Questions About the Policy Revisions

What is the Full-participation Policy?

At AHS, we don’t hold tryouts and auditions for our extra-curricular activities (athletics, choir, orchestra, and drama) to see who makes the cut. Rather, we hold tryouts and auditions to assign interested participants to a role and skill level commensurate with their preparation. We believe in the power of extra-curricular activities to develop our youth, and we therefore want every student to have the opportunity to participate. Most do, which is why every year, one-third of our high school students join the musical, and we field 16 basketball teams (across three different leagues) on a middle- and high-school population of only 700 students.

What are the Changes to the Policy?

We are no longer just providing the rights of participation to students—we will now expect of them the responsibilities of participation. Students opting into a given activity will now be expected to commit to a minimum level of participation and contribution. Casual participation will no longer be allowed to dilute the experiences of non-casual participants or adults running the programs.

We will also no longer allow student to simultaneously participate in both a sport and a play. They must pick between the two and give the baseline commitment expected.

What is the Commitment Baseline?

The commitment baseline will be different for each activity and will largely be determined by the coach, conductor, or director running the activity. Baselines will be lenient enough to afford reasonable flexibility, acknowledging that other things are happening in life, but they will also be strict enough that they may require some degree of sacrifice to bring a participant’s participation in line with the needs of other participants. Commitment baselines will likely vary by ensemble and team level: students desiring to participate at higher levels may be asked to adhere to a higher commitment baseline, while students desiring a lesser baseline may find that their desired commitment is accommodated only by the lower ensemble or team.

Questions About the Policy Implementation

What Happens to a Student Who Falls Below a Commitment Baseline?

Each coach, conductor, and director will determine their own commitment baseline as well as the consequences for falling below it. We are encouraging these adults to be clear, early, and consistent with communicating these expectations as well as the consequences for falling short. Failure to meet a baseline commitment could result in any number of consequences including adjustment of a student’s assigned role or dismissal of the student from the activity.

What if My Child’s Preferred Play is Scheduled in the Same Season as their Preferred Sport?

We are sorry. This is the downside to programming for 1,200 students. We can’t always give everyone everything that they want. We do hope that, over time, students get most of what they want and that they walk away from their second-choice experiences with positive feelings and new-found passion.

Other Questions

What about Choir, Orchestra, Improv, and Ballroom Dance?

Students participating in the above-mentioned extra-curricular activities will similarly be subject to a commitment baseline specific to each program. Unlike athletics and drama, students involved in the above-mentioned extra-curricular activities will not be expected to simultaneously abstain from athletics or drama productions. The reason for this is that the above-mentioned programs aren’t exclusive to a single season (they rather cover the nine-month school year) and participation in them is often limited to just one day a week.

What are the Plays Being Offered Next Year?

We will go from two plays to four. We will have three high school plays (one each athletic season) as well as a middle-school play (winter season). The plays are as follows:

  • Newsies:  Fall High School Musical (Directed by Mrs. Oelrich with Mr. Walstead)
  • Trail of Hope: Winter Play (Directed by Dr. Anderson)
  • Children of Eden: Spring High School Musical (Directed by Mr. Walstead with Mrs. Oelrich)
  • Middle School Musical: still TBD (winter season) (Directed by Mr. Walstead)

How do the Plays Line Up with the Three Athletic Seasons?

In the graphic below, the four plays and nine sports are shown within the context of the three athletic seasons. Seasons don’t always have clean beginnings and endings for all activities involved, and we will therefore administer this policy in a manner that allows for some flexibility (e.g., tryouts and initial rehearsals for a spring play could potentially be held before a winter sport concludes post-season competition).

athletics and fine arts grid7-25-23

What if My Question Was Not Answered Above?

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