Go Fight Songs! Go! Go! Go!
Can you think of a fight song of any of the schools you attended? For me, the first one that comes to mind is my elementary school's. Ours was so good that when we gathered at my high school reunion a couple years ago, do you know the one fight song we all remembered and sang? Yep, elementary school! This got me thinking...school fight songs are fun to sing, and they certainly feel good to sing, but is there any lasting benefit for the school to have a fight song? In other words, should schools purposefully create and introduce fight songs to further their marketing and retention efforts?
Good for your School
The answer is YES. Turns out, what my gut was telling me--that fight songs are a good thing--is true, and not only for those singing but for the school, as well. Indeed, singing fight songs, which are a symbol of your school's identity, foster feelings of hope, legitimacy, security and promote loyalty. All that from a song. It makes sense--you feel part of a group and, therefore, a strong sense of belonging when singing. These feelings, in turn, help with retention.
If you have a fight song, use it! Make sure every student knows it! If you don't have a fight song, see about getting one. This is a nice, discreet item to delegate...probably to someone otherwise less-involved with marketing your school. Talk to your music teacher, band or strings teachers, district music department chair, et al., until you find out how your school can get one, as in who can create one, any parameters, etc. Of course consider the message and what you'd like to promote about your school. If permissible and desirable, perhaps a parent volunteer could help. Did you send out a skills audit at the beginning of the year?
When to use it
Once you have your fight song and the kids all know it (not just your chorus or music groups), use it! Sing it at assemblies, field day, athletic events, fundraisers, spirit Fridays, etc. Having a fight song for students always at the ready is smart from a practical standpoint as sometimes schools are asked to do events at the last minute. Whether it's a remote TV broadcast, performing during halftime at a nearby high school basketball game or a local parade, you'll be prepared. It'd be even better to make sure the student body learns a couple of different songs. Why?
Having a go-to song just makes school marketing sense. Less last-minute scrambling = better image/performance and less stress for organizers. Besides, performing these songs is great for retention, which is great for your school. Send me links to your schools singing their fight songs! And be sure to read about 7 tips for handling a nearby popular charter school.