May 11, 2017
Theatre in Our Schools month is a campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs for all students. While activities may take place any time, March is designated the official month for TIOS.
The TIOS campaign is jointly sponsored nationally by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, the Educational Theatre Association, and the International Thespian Society. Hundreds of schools and thousands of students and theatre educators spread the word online and took the message to their communities, school boards, and elected officials about how their school theatre experience is giving them 21st century skills.
Participation in TIOS is open to all, with Thespian troupes taking a leading role. Thespians are students who have been inducted into the International Thespian Society, which has been honoring student achievement in theatre since 1929.
Thespian troupes at four schools have earned an award for their activities during March.
First place: West Potomac High School, Troupe 1899, Alexandria, Virginia
Second place: Flushing High School, Troupe 7892, Flushing, New York
Third place: Nuview Bridge Early College High School, Troupe 8117, Riverside, California
Honorable mention: Oswego East High School, Troupe 6874, Oswego, Illinois
All the winning schools employed announcements and displays in their schools to raise awareness. What distinguished their entries was efforts with school board members, elected officials, and their communities.
West Potomac High School, Troupe 1899, secured an online news story from the Greater Alexandria Patch, making a detailed case that theatre is essential for the development of a well-rounded student. Their meeting with school board members advocating for school theatre was covered in the school paper. They also contacted their U.S. senators and representative, placed posters in the public library and community businesses, and distributed bookmarks to 700 students at feeder schools.
Flushing High School, Troupe 7892, sent letters to elected officials expressing appreciation for their support of funding for the theatre program, reiterating how important it is to students’ overall development, and followed up with an invitation to a performance. They distributed brochures to nearby businesses, highlighting how theatre combines research, history, engineering, mathematics, physics, linguistics, literature, and more to bring learning to life. The advanced acting class presented a student-written and student-produced play at an elementary school, addressing the power of theatre and the use of role-play in developing healthy relationships.
Nuview Bridge Early College High School, Troupe 8117, met with the county board of supervisors, which issued a proclamation for March as TIOS month, citing the beneficial impact theatre has in promoting critical thinking and problem-solving through which students gain confidence and self-esteem. The troupe also invited their school board and superintendent to their production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, for which the superintendent participated as a bee participant.
Oswego East High School, Troupe 6874, made a presentation at a school board meeting that was livestreamed throughout the district and covered by local news media.