Handbooks - Do you have a team handbook? Do you need one?

Posted by Jacinda Miller on

Does your team, group or studio have a student handbook? If you have not created a handbook yet, you may be missing out on an opportunity to share with your community your vision, goals and how your organization will operate. You can use this step-by-step guide to create your own handbook.

Page 1 is your title page so you will want to have the name of your program and your logo. You may also want to include your mission statement, vision, goals for the current year, address, email and contact information. 

For Page 2, I love to include a letter that is a welcome from me, the director. I include a high level overview of our classes, programs, goals for the upcoming year. 

At this point, if you have both a recreational and competitive programs or different types of offerings (ie, music, dance and baton twirling) then you may want to consider separate sections of the handbook for each group or a separate handbook altogether.  You will want to decide if the information has enough differences that it justifiies a separate handbook or not. 

For Page 3, I would recommend a description of each of your classes including the purpose and goal of each class.  This section is for parents to see what class their child is in, what they will learn and how that class fits into your overall program. 

For Page 4, we share expectations for our students while they are in our classes.  Some ideas for writing your expectations is your expectations for attendance during the season, during the week of a performance, expectations for dress code, behavior in your location (for example, picking up one's garbage), behavior towards other students (for example, kindness, inclusion, encouraging - whatever is important to you).  The next section that we include is what we expect from our parents. This can include parent behavior both in class and at performances or competitions, wearing studio or group apparel, on time payments. 

Following this then we will cover our rules and regulations. This can include information on:

  • Attendance Policy & Consequences 
  • Covid-19 policies

Page 5 is our Calendar. On our calendar, we include our:

  • Start Date & End Dates
  • Closure for Fall  Break 
  • Closure for Thanksgiving
  • Winter Recital
  • Closure for Winter Break
  • Closure for Spring Break
  • Class Pictures
  • Spring Recital

For my program, we have a separate calendar for our competition and recreational students. Over the years, we found that it was confusing to our recreational students to see the competitions on their schedule. For our competition students, we add our competition dates, team building activities, team holiday party and additional practices. 

Page 6 covers the financial aspects of joining our program. This includes:

  • Tuition - When is it due? How will you collect tuition? Are there late fees?
  • Supplies (such as batons, shoes) and when they need to be purchased
  • Fees - Do you have recital fees? Competition fees? Late fees?
  • Discounts or Refunds
  • Costumes, Team Apparel -What is the cost? When will they pay for it? Is there a fee for late payments?

Page 7 includes your waivers for:

  • General Liability
  • Covid-19
  • Consent for treatment of minor injuries
  • Photo and video sharing release

I hope that this will  give you ideas for creating a great handbook that encourages a positive and productive relationship with your students and their families.