School event quality reflects on the campus administrator. Often these events represent the attendees’ only interaction with the school and form the basis for their opinion of the entire campus. A good example is a graduation ceremony in which many of the attendees will be visiting the campus or district for the first and only time. The experiences from a well or poorly run event will be shared.

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Most campus special events recur on an annual basis. A good strategy to improve annual campus special events includes the following:

  • Detailed record keeping of all planning notes, agendas, and copies of other materials from the event.
  • Actively soliciting the staff and stakeholders for feedback following the event.
  • Updating your planning checklist for the meeting immediately following the event with any identified modifications or improvements based on observation or feedback

Conducting a Site visit

It is important during the planning process to conduct a site visit of the location of the event. Even if the event is a meeting in an office, visiting the site to review layout, electronics connections, temperature, accessibility, appearance and other data collection activities will help ensure a successful; production.

A successful site visit also includes modeling and demonstration of the movement flows of attendees during the event. For example: how will they enter and leave, do they need any signage, is there appropriate queuing area for lines, etc.

Automated Reminders

Utilizing automated annual reminders to begin the planning practice and reviewing notes, materials, and feedback from previous events are other best practices for successful event planning.

Event Project Manager

Designating an Event Project Manager and delegating decision-making authority to that Project Manager is another recommended best practice. Failure to make this designation will lead to decision-making delays and unresolved conflict amongst team members working on the event preparations.

Event Checklist

Utilizing an Event Planning template will minimize the mistakes that characterize poorly planned events.

Components of the checklist might include:

Planning for the Event:

  • Designate a Project manager
  • Select a date for the event (consider setting an inclement weather date)
  • Review notes, materials, and feedback from the prior versions of this event (if applicable)
  • Establish or review the budget
  • Communication with any potential sponsors or vendors
  • Reserve event location
  • Conduct a Site walk-through
  • Communicate the event to stakeholders and update all affected calendars
  • Event logistics:
    • Security
    • Food and drinks
    • Sound, Photography, and Video
    • Tickets
    • Maintenance and custodial
    • Lighting
    • Air conditioning/Heating scheduling
    • Signage and directions
    • Parking
    • Agenda for event
    • Scripts for speakers
    • Marketing
    • Invitation list (Board members, Central Office Administration, etc.)
    • Staff and Volunteer assignments including set up, monitoring and cleanup teams
    • Event supplies

Before the Event

  • Confirmation with service providers for the event
  • Complete walk-through
  • Sound, Lighting, Video checks
  • Temperature check
  • Bathroom and other facilities check
  • Building access check
  • Security check

After the Event

  • Solicit feedback from attendees
  • Make adjustments to planning notes based on observation and feedback
  • Communicate necessary thank-yous

Additional Practices for Certain Special Events


  • Review any proposed themes
  • Establish dress code for the dance
  • Establish dance attendance eligibility
    • Non-students
    • Parents/Guardians
    • Age restrictions
  • Provide rules or guidelines to attendees along with their tickets
    • Emphasize pickup time
    • Communicate any dance behavior guidelines
    • Communicate attendance eligibility
  • Meet with DJ prior to the event to communicate music expectations

Pep Rallies

  • Involve everyone affected in the event planning
    • Athletics
    • Band
    • Cheerleading
    • Drill Team
    • Other as applicable
  • Review plans and create contingencies to ensure that the pep rally ends at the correct time rather than too early or too late
  • Review and communicate plan for seating in the pep rally location including student entrance and exit from the pep rally

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