School Dances: A Thing of the Past or an Opportunity for Student Development

Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth
4 min readSep 25, 2019

Guest Post by: Stephanie Hamilton, Marketing Manager, Merrillville, IN, @myschooldances

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

A platform that benefits teachers that manage and plan school dances or events.

School dances aren’t like they used to be. Back when I was in high school, we looked forward to every single dance because it was a time to not think about schoolwork and actually be able to enjoy your peers’ company. In recent years, school dances have slowly been dying out due to decreased student interest, difficulty planning, and a greater risk for behavioral issues. This could definitely put a toll on students’ development and affect their social interactions as they get older.

DECLINE OF SOCIAL INTERACTION

In today’s world, it seems that teenagers are more disconnected than ever. On average, high schoolers spend up to 9 hours a day connected to digital media ranging from social apps (like Facebook and Snapchat) to computers and television. With all of this screen time, students have less opportunity for face-to-face interactions.

Taylor Buckley, My School Dance’s Chief Operations Officer, said, “When in school, students spend time learning and studying, sometimes also behind a screen. At home, between extracurricular activities and homework, they are checking Instagram stories and streaming the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars. Most of the time, once kids get to high school, they are no longer having playdates with a variety of friends.”

I’ve learned over time that social interaction is one of the most important things that you can take from your school. In the past, school dances, like homecoming and prom, served as a place for social interaction. Students are forced to find a date or group of friends to accompany them, go to the store and purchase an outfit, and have real, sometimes awkward, contact with other kids at the dance.

Lately, school dances have largely been replaced by technology — a frightening development, especially with all of the new technology that’s being introduced in classrooms — and they’re becoming a thing of the past. If dances and events get cut from school budgets and agendas, what’s next? Will students only communicate strictly from their mobile devices?

Buckley said, “Part of it has to do with lack of student interest in actually interacting with others outside of a screen, an issue that needs to be fixed regardless, or future generations will all be walking around like zombies with no communication skills. Another reason is that teachers and administrators don’t want to plan school dances due to how much work they have been in the past. Finally, with greater parent involvement, schools have come under fire for disciplining students who do not abide by school rules for behavior at these types of events.”

BENEFITS OF SCHOOL DANCES AND EVENTS

Schools don’t realize how beneficial school dances are to them and to student development. Below I’ve listed just a few reasons why schools should fight to keep their dances and events alive:

They are incredible fundraising opportunities

They create a greater sense of community within the school, improving the climate and culture throughout the building

They allow students to develop social skills that will be valuable to their life

“Bringing dances back to life requires a change to how they are run. Currently, dance planning is stuck in the stone age of binders with past information, cash boxes, selling tickets at lunch, and paper permission slips. Neither students nor parents operate like that anymore. Since students are on their phones for several hours a day, they want to purchase tickets online, and parents want to receive forms to sign via email,” said Buckley.

SOLUTION

My School Dance provides a platform that moves dances from paper tickets to digital downloads, and there is no cost for schools to use it. Some of its convenient features include:

Online ticket sales

Student, Guest, and Parent Signatures signed and collected online

Promote your dance on social media platforms

Downloads for budgets and checklists

User interaction between teacher and student dance planners

Most importantly, My School Dance is the solution to:

Preventing fundraising money from dance ticket sales getting lost or stolen

Chasing students down for permission forms and signatures on behavioral agreements

Reducing liability for schools based on student behavior

Losing the school dance and all the benefits that come along with it

My School Dance was created to help schools easily manage the difficult event-planning logistics. By using this platform, schools are able to create more dances and social events in a much easier way allowing for more face-to-face social interaction between students.

Think about how impactful school dances were to your high school memories. If you’ve noticed that school dances have been dwindling in your community, My School Dance, could be the app that brings them back.

Stephanie Hamilton is the Marketing Manager for My School Dance in Merrillville, IN. Contact her at stephanie@myschooldance.com for more information.

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Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth

I am a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Tech Teacher, Attorney, Author and Blogger, Learning Enthusiast and EdTech Consultant