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The Marching Arts as Part of a School’s Athletic Department

Miamisburg High School, OH

1860 Belvo Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342, USA
Miamisburg City Schools
Director: Steve Aylward
Category: Engagement with Administrator-Administration
Award: Gold, 2020

Project Description

Several years ago, all of the marching arts programs at Miamisburg High School, such as the marching band, winter guard, and indoor winds ensemble, were placed under the umbrella of the athletic department. This means that the school’s athletic directors, Jason Osborne and Jason Shade, directly oversee the school’s extracurricular marching arts offerings.

Since this began, the ensembles have flourished as the students are treated as equals to all other interscholastic sports. Band athletes receive access to the medical staff, equal opportunity when it comes to scheduling facilities, both outdoor and indoor, and even recognition as “Athlete of the Month” on Miamisburg Athletic social media sites.

The staff has benefited because there is now a clear chain of command to follow. The directors of the ensembles directly report to the athletic directors. This has streamlined things like director evaluations, paperwork such as medical forms and physicals, as well as bus and facility scheduling.

In addition, the arts programs have benefited financially from this arrangement. Both the band and winter guard boosters have had the opportunity to operate concession stands at events. The band boosters run the visiting athletic concession stand at all football games, and both organizations profit from concession at local MSBA, MEPA, and WGI events. Both of the athletic directors are also incredibly visible and involved at all pageantry events held on school grounds.

Finally, the marching arts being treated as a sport has helped the students at Miamisburg as students are able to receive physical education credit for participating, the same way that athletes are. This has allowed many hardworking students the opportunity to take other classes that they may be more interested in as opposed to having to take PE while participating in marching band.

Target Audience

The target audience for this project is any school that wishes to streamline their process for how they do things in the marching arts, and also for schools that wish to see musical athletes viewed as equals to all other athletes in the school. This would be applicable to any secondary school in the country, regardless of size or demographic.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

This process began in the spring of 2015. The impetus for this was the realization that the marching arts needed additional oversight from the school and there was a very clear lack of definition of who staff, students, and parents should report to as far as the chain of command goes. The decision was made to transition the position of Assistant Athletic Director, who is also the Middle School Athletic Director, from a part-time position to a full-time position. In doing so, the person holding that title would be responsible for all middle school athletics, assisting with high school athletics, and would also be directly responsible for all high school and middle school pageantry arts.

Jason Shade, who was already serving in the position, transitioned to a full-time administrator position and immediately began overseeing marching band, color guard, and winds. All pageantry arts students were then expected to sign the same athletic code of conduct as all other student athletes, and those ensembles officially started as members of the athletic department during the 2015-2016 school year.

Community Impact

Every aspect of the community has improved as a result of this. The band and guard continue to receive publicity from the athletic department, and the community takes great pride in the quality of these ensembles. The band and guard have also become more a part of the “school culture,” including a joint pep rally held for our football team and band when both were competing and a school-wide “send-off” for the marching band before they performed at BOA Grand Nationals last year.

There is not a single part of our program, school, district, or community that has not been improved by this change.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown

There is no direct budget for this situation. Our booster organization has continued to function as it always has and we also receive additional funding directly from our central office.

New or recurring project?


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

This change just created greater clarity and consistency for all staff, students, and parents. Before this change took place, it was very unclear how the pageantry arts fit into the overall school environment. There was significantly less oversight and consistency on how to handle the administrative tasks inherent in these types of activities. Mr. Shade and Mr. Osborne have also provided incredible support to all of our athletes and staff.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

The only challenges really faced were making sure the athletic directors truly understood the marching arts activities and the kinds of supports that would be needed, and also just for parents becoming acclimated to the way that the athletic department did things. This included new systems for turning in medical forms and physicals.

The transition did not take long, however, and within a few months, everything was running smoothly.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

The program’s effectiveness can be viewed in how our school’s ensembles run much more efficiently and with much greater administrative support. The athletic directors have a consistent presence at pageantry rehearsals and events. In addition, these ensembles are treated as equals as the other athletic teams when it comes to facility scheduling. The band staff are treated as coaches, and this has also increased the rapport with the coaches of the other interscholastic teams.

Our band and guard program has flourished since this change took place. We have continued to experience unprecedented growth while also achieving quality results, both in the quality of importance, and in competitive results.

We continue to streamline and improve the process and our athletic directors remain very involved and our programs continue to improve.

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

Begin a conversation with school administration and try to research ways to improve communications between the marching arts and the athletic department. If the athletic department is in a place where they can take something like this on, start to explore ways to make it happen.

Supporting Materials

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