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Premier Communities
for Theatre Education

Recognizing schools and school systems that exemplify excellence in theatre education.

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A high school cast poses at the end of a musical number.

Premier Communities for Theatre Education is a distinction from EdTA that recognizes school systems that exemplify excellence in theatre education.

Rooted in EdTA’s Opportunity to Learn Standards for Theatre Education, the distinction is awarded to schools and districts that provide teachers and students with the resources to achieve at or above standard as suggested by the National Core Arts Standards in Theatre. The Premier Communities for Theatre Education distinction supports EdTA’s mission to support theatre educators to deliver equitable, transformative learning experiences for all.

Preparing Your Application

To learn more about preparing your Premier Communities application expand each numbered area below, or download the PDF version.

1. Gather the required data points.

Make sure the school representative filling out the application has access to:

  • Student demographics
  • Teacher/student ratio
  • Course enrollment dates
  • Theatre education electives offered at your school
  • Theatre teacher qualifications
  • Standards used for assessing theatre education
  • Theatre facilities at your school
  • Budget/funding (including Title I and Title IV usage)
2. Check that your school is eligible.

To apply for the Premier Communities distinction, school theatre programs must meet the following criteria:

  • Program uses standards-based instruction
  • Program offers at least one curricular theatre course
  • Performance space is safe as proven by regular inspection from certified technicians and inclusion of first aid/safety materials and instruction
  • Program adheres to licensing, copyright, and intellectual property laws
  • Program provides production opportunities for students
  • Program has at least one qualified theatre teacher on staff
  • Program provides teachers with qualified evaluators who use meaningful evaluation methods to measure instructional design, classroom management, and pedagogy in the theatre classroom
3. Prepare documentation showing adherence to criteria.

To receive the Premier Communities distinction, applicants must provide evidence in the following categories as indicated by the EdTA Theatre Opportunity to Learn Standards. Applications and evidence will be evaluated for accuracy by EdTA staff, and the distinction will be awarded to schools/districts whose evidence successfully proves the claims made in the application form.

Section C: Curriculum and Curricular Resources

Required Evidence:

  • Theatre course syllabi

Additional Evidence (choose one):

  • Student assessment example
  • Student work sample
  • Production contract sample
Section D: Scheduling

Required Evidence:

  • Daily bell schedule

Additional Evidence (choose one):

  • Performance rehearsal schedule
  • Facility use scheudle
  • Master course schedule
  • Master extracurricular activities schedule
Section E: Staffing

Required Evidence (choose one):

  • A copy of teacher evaluation procedures
  • A blank copy of teacher evaluation

Additional Evidence (choose one):

  • Completed worksheets from EdTA Theatre Educator Evaluation workbook (available here).
  • Proof of highly qualified/effective teacher (licenses; national board certification; CTE certification; SAG/AFTRA membership; completed, de-identified evaluations)
Section F: Resources and Equipment

Required Evidence (choose at least one):

  • Theatre blueprint/floor plan
  • Proof of ADA compliance
  • Photos of classroom or storage spaces
Section G: Safety

Required Evidence:

  • Facility safety manual/procedures

Additional Evidence (choose one):

  • Completion of EdTA/NFHA safety course
  • Schedule of maintenance
  • Inventory of safety equipment

Submitting Your Application

To access the application, you must register for a free EdTA account.

Fill out the application any time between August 1 and January 31. The distinction will be awarded each year in April. The distinction is applicable for three years, after which schools must re-apply and submit new documentation to ensure continuing adherence to the qualifications of the distinction.

The application is free for members. Non-members must submit a $129 application fee, which also includes a one-year professional EdTA membership for one teacher at the school.

Texas Educators: Texas Thespians has created a tiered application especially for you to earn dual-distinctions at both the state and EdTA levels. Submission dates for Texas Thespians state applications will be September 1 – January 1, and EdTA applications from January 15 – March 15. Access the Texas versions of both Premier Communities applications. These applications are ONLY for educators in the state of Texas.

Premier Communities for Theatre Education Toolkit

Recipients of the distinction will receive a toolkit with resources to help publicize your school as a Premier Community for Theatre Education. This toolkit includes:

  • Tips on how to promote your program and its distinction as a Premier Community for Theatre Education.
  • Facts about theatre education to use in your advocacy efforts and promotion.
  • Promotional Assets:
    • Official certificate
    • Access to order exclusive official banner
    • Customizable press release template
    • Social media graphics
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