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Tarpon Springs Recruitment

Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts, FL

1411 Gulf Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, USA
Pinellas County Schools
Director: Kevin Ford
Category: High School Recruitment Program
Award: Silver, 2019

Project Description

Pinellas County, Florida, home to Tarpon Springs High School, is one of the largest counties in the state. It is unique in that almost all of the high schools in the county offer some type of magnet program in order to entice incoming students to choose their respective schools. This scenario creates unusual challenges for each high school as they compete for student enrollments. Thus, one of the biggest challenges faced by the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts (TSLCA) is the recruitment of new students in order to ensure its continued growth.

For its part, TSLCA has established a number of ways in which to create a consistent flow of students each year to join its program. TSLCA has forged strong relationships with our northern county public and private middle school bands and their directors; regional youth cultural (instrumental and dance) development programs such as the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater; as well as area school recruiting initiatives.

To gain first-hand experiences, middle school bands; color guard and/or dance programs, as well as students with an interest in the performing arts are invited to join Conservatory students several times per school year for various performance opportunities. During our annual “Middle School Night”, students join us to perform at a Friday night football game. While their students are rehearsing with the band, middle school parents have an opportunity to speak with our Band Boosters about the Conservatory. This introductory time together of discovery, information sharing and discussion takes place in a casual, welcoming environment. Middle School Night provides our program a platform to begin personal conversations.

In April, middle school bands are invited and are featured performers at our Annual Showcase Concert. The Tarpon Middle School Color Guard students perform during our Conservatory Spring Dance Recital. These combined events provide experiences of performing in front of larger audiences, and permits our boosters to build relationships with families initiated at Middle School Night.

Young artists begin their instrumental and/or performing arts experiences through our North Pinellas Band Camp and Conservatory Dance Camps. These programs attract children from neighboring communities and greater Pinellas County. The summer programs open the door to children who would otherwise not have these opportunities and to be exposed to the arts.

Throughout the academic year, the Conservatory hosts industry professionals to work with students in intimate and interactive sessions. Students get engaged and gain insight into what it takes to succeed as artists and as leaders. During the 2017-2018 school year, TSLCA hosted Grammy Award-Winner Terell Stafford. Mr. Stafford spent two days with instrumental students providing valued-instruction and his musical talents by performing with jazz and wind ensembles during our Spring Concert.

Visits by these award-winning artists reinforce the Conservatory’s tenets and empowers our students to know the value of dedication and hard work; to be open to the vast possibilities of where musicianship can take them; and, most importantly, to be the very best version of themselves.

Target Audience

Students are the lifeblood of any academic-based organization. This entry’s objective is to explain and describe the recruiting efforts undertaken by the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts on an annual basis. Recruitment takes places throughout the entire calendar year, including summer programs. The efforts of the TSLCA instructional staff and leadership is tireless, selfless, and constant. Leadership has spent years developing and executing programs designed to attract future students to the program once they are of age.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown

  • T-Shirts for Middle School Students @$1.00/each=$187.00
  • Promotional Flyers/Posters for each school
  • Staples – Copies $104.64
  • Staples – Copies $104.64 – (2nd batch of flyers/posters rescheduled date due to hurricane Irma)
  • Pizza for students $470.00 – Middle School Night
  • Printing cost for dance recital program $333.31

New or recurring project?


How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

Our students and boosters realized our meeting space was extremely cramped due to growth of the program and general interest of our middle school families. We expedited the sign in procedure for our students and moved our booster time with families into the school gymnasium. These two changes lessened time waiting and allowed boosters to utilize time with families for increased discussion.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

The effectiveness of recruiting can be discovered through the consistent growth trajectory of the program. The journey from starting as a program of twelve student performers – to one with a national reputation for excellence is rife with the recruitment efforts of the TSLCA directors. By providing opportunities and exposure to music that is not afforded at the same level anywhere in the region, the conservatory continues to ensure its future by reaching out to the youth in the surrounding area and affording them various avenues for success.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

Invitations to see, hear, taste, touch outweigh any words. These types of events are engaging and fulfilling experiences for the student and his/her family –

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