2023 Student Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention Award Recipient

Princeton City Schools

Cincinnati, Ohio


The CHOOSE MUSIC Band, Orchestra and Choir Recruitment project helps district 5th graders learn about the music opportunities in store for them at Princeton Community Middle School and make choices about classes and instruments.


The objectives of this initiative are to bring awareness to the music program and guide students to choose to participate in band, orchestra and/or choir in the 6th grade, and to choose the instrument that best fits them.

Target Audience

The target audience of this initiative is district 5th graders. They are the focus because they have the opportunity to CHOOSE MUSIC in the 6th grade at Princeton Community Middle School and may choose band, orchestra and/or choir. We want the 5th graders to understand their choices and make the best choice for themselves.


The overall timeline for this initiative is February-August.

Overview of Planning and Execution

The Princeton 6-12 Music team was involved in the planning and executing of this initiative. The components and timeline were created, discussed and implemented collaboratively within the 12 member team.

March 2, 2022 5th Grade Recruit Concert: District 5th graders bus to Matthews Auditorium for performances by the PCMS Concert Band and Orchestra, Heather Hurley and Syndy Casey, directors.

Send home Try-It Night Flyer/Recruitment Letter, Kristen Brown created and distributed.

Show Princeton Music Promo at beginning of assembly, Jason Hollowell, auditorium manager showed.

March 15-25, 2022: PCMS Music Team (B, O, C) visits Elementary General Music classes to show Choose Music video, share info, and answer questions. Kyle Phillips, Todd Leonhardt, Heather Hurley, Kristen Brown, Syndy Casey, Marie Knueven, Shelley Miley and Jackie Ballman all made visits to elementary schools.

Update and Distribute Tri-Fold, taken care of by Shelley Miley. April 5 and 6: Try It Nights at PCMS 6:00-8:00pm “Instrument Petting Zoo.” Entire 6-12 Music Team attended event.

Marie Knueven took care of online sign-up and QR Codes. April 15, 2022: 5th grade music recommendations for 6th grade band, orchestra, choir due. Kristen Brown sent list to counselors for enrollment.

August 1, 2022: Syndy Casey (Orchestra) and Kristen Brown (Band) send e-mails to new 6th grade instrumental students with a welcome and necessary information for acquiring and instrument and a book. Recruitment is a team effort at Princeton!

Marketing and Promotion

Strategies we used for marketing and promoting our initiative include direct communication to each 5th graders including a backpack letter home, Try-It NIght Flyer given to them at the performance in Matthews, Tri-Fold given at elementary school visits, and a Passport given at Try-It Night (to get stamped for each instrument/station they tried).

We used the district webpage to share information, online sign-ups in both English and Spanish, and promotional videos.

District Webpage CHOOSE MUSIC info in both English and Spanish: https://www.princetonschools.net/Page/2013

Online sign-up in English: https://forms.gle/WUKu3yveFfPfCjVo8

Online sign-up in Spanish: https://forms.gle/6jzrEFE7pJfy3jJN7

Recruit Letter to District 5th Graders: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oD_tupagG_jpeuhx-m8m3b0IkD-o6Bx-b6fHRbdB2ac/edit?usp=sharing

Choose Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQPeSrJv0Cw&t=6s

Princeton Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og8g1EnVtK8

Recruit Try It Night Flyer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dd99_uiYVSVXQ59HXET2zWSNDD7iHBci/view?usp=sharing

Recruit Tri-fold: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wPOup7HiM89_X6FKiiJp92QEtLL-hSsO/view?usp=sharing

These strategies positively impacted our efforts as information was shared directly with students in handouts and online for parents. Information was easily available to all.


Princeton City Schools took care of all printing costs for the Recruit Letter, Try-It Night Flyer, Tri-Folds for Elementary Visits, and the Music Passport for Try-It Night.

There were no expenses for website postings and online sign-ups.


This year was the first in-person recruit after 2 years of remote recruiting. The challenge this year was to provide information and encouragement for each student/family’s need. We adjusted our recruit process this year to reach all families by providing both written and online opportunities for information and sign-up. We adjusted our Try-It Night to have smaller groups of students at each station at a time, and we brought in an outside music store to provide the mouthpiece sanitation.

Success/Effectiveness Measurement

Our advocacy initiative was effective, as we signed-up 46% of incoming 6th graders for band, orchestra and choir. We have 71 signed up for band, 52 signed up for orchestra and 52 signed up for choir, out of 381 in that class.

Community Impact

Our recruit initiative positively impacts our music program, as it provides the basis for the outstanding middle and high school music program.

Our recruit initiative positively impacts our school as it brings awareness to the music program and provides an opportunity for students to CHOOSE MUSIC, take an interest, develop a passion, and find a place to belong.

Our recruit initiative positively impacts our district because we collaborate with the elementary music teachers, the 7 elementary schools in our district, and promote our district mission of “Empowering students for college, career and life success!”

Our recruit initiative positively impacts our local community because Princeton has a tradition of excellence in music, and the community shares their personal experiences, encourages other families to get their student involved, and provides opportunity for positive press.

Advice for others?

The advice I would give to someone who is looking to improve their recruiting strategies is to work with your district to reach every child and every family. Students/families need information available a variety of ways, and you need to make it easy for them to be informed and sign-up.

Supporting Materials