Planning Guide For School Assembly Shows

Inviting a performer, speaker, or author to your school might seem like a lot of work, but follow the steps in this handy checklist to make the process easy as pie!

  1. Choose a topic.
    James Wand has five shows to chose from: reading, anti-bullying, Red Ribbon Week, online safety and test taking tips. You can read more about James Wand’s show options  or for other assembly ideas, visit
  2. Ask the school to provide a couple of possible dates/times. 
    James Wand school shows are 40-45 minutes long. If you have more than 400 students, you should consider doing two shows back-to-back. 
  3. Call/email the performer to check availability and ask questions.
    Once you have agreed upon a date/time, ask the performer if there are any special requirements. James Wand brings his own sound system and does not require a projector or any other A/V equipment. He can perform in either the gym or on stage in the cafeteria. Other performers might have specific requirements, so now is a good time to check. 
  4. Confirm the fee and ask for a discount!
    James Wand does not charge for mileage, but many performers do. Make sure you confirm the total cost of the performance and ask if there are any discounts available. For example, most performers are able to provide a discount for block bookings or if your school is a Title I school.
  5. Go get the money!
    Most performances are paid for out of PTA/PTO funds, but there are multiple sources available to pay for school programs. Here is an excellent article about paying for assembly shows and how to save money.
  6. Paperwork
    The performer should send you a confirmation outlining all the details of the booking – date, time, cost, etc. If your school district is paying for the program, they may require further paperwork such as a vendor form. Your school office should be able to provide this information. If your PTA/PTO is writing the check, the performer’s confirmation/invoice should be sufficient. Check with your PTA president to see if any other paperwork is required. James Wand does not require a deposit and usually receives a check on the day of performance, but other performers might have a different process. Check with the performer to make sure.
  7. Inform the school
    Make sure the school adds the program to all their calendars. Let them know if the performer has any special requirements and make sure the performance space (gym or cafeteria) is reserved.
  8. One week before performance
    Email the performer to reconfirm date/time and reconfirm with the school.
  9. Day before performance
    Double-check that the school is ready for the visit and the performance area is clear.
  10. Day of Performance
    Put a cone in a parking space to reserve it for the performer. Make sure the performance space is clear. Arrange to have someone meet the performer in the office. Performers appreciate a bottle of water! Have the check ready in an envelope.
  11. After the Performance
    Offer to help the cafeteria staff get the room ready for lunches. Write down your impression of the show. Ask teachers and kids what they thought of the show. Keep a record to pass on to the next program officer. If you enjoyed the show, performers always appreciate a kind word via email or a review on their Facebook page, etc.
  12. Go home and have a well-deserved nap!

Most school performers are professional and easy to work with. They are happy to answer any questions you might have, so never be afraid to ask. Feel free to contact James by email or call 214-546-5769 any time for a chat! 

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