Burris Laboratory School

Class Sponsor Handbook - High School

General Observations

  • Each year, two faculty members are assigned to each high school class. In general these sponsors stay with their class until they graduate. However, one faculty member is assigned to Prom Sponsor and one faculty member is assigned to Senior Trip Sponsor. These two sponsors are not assigned to one particular class but stay in their position to provide continuity in planning these two activities. Student Council sponsors do not serve as class sponsors.
  • No matter what class you are assigned to, meet early in the year with the class officers. Discuss expectations and plans with the officers. Try to determine a tentative plan of action for the entire year.
  • Classes meet on professional development days for 30 minutes. Sponsors should meet with the officers prior to the class meetings in order to make best use of the time available.
  • Experience has shown that a small group of class members will carry the workload of the entire class. Depend on these students for planning and implementing major projects. Continue to involve all class members, but rely on the class strengths. Expect and require leadership, cooperation, and assistance from class officers. They have been elected for this purpose and generally follow through without much prodding.
  • Avoid fundraising companies unless you know the majority of the class will become involved. If you choose to use a fundraising company, avoid high-priced items that require taking orders. Individual, inexpensive items such as candy bars seem to be the most effective. PTSO affords groups the opportunity to benefit from one Market Day event.
  • Before scheduling any social activities, make sure you read the social event guidelines. Be aware of rules and regulations and try to anticipate problems before they occur. With the addition of the Academy, you will be responsible for supervising a much larger group of students – many of who will not know you or your position of authority. Social activities and fundraisers must be scheduled with the Assistant Principal and on the school calendar - Dynacal.
  • No matter what activity you are working on, you will need to advertise to be successful. Use posters (do not use tape on painted surfaces), the announcements and word of mouth to spread the news of your event. It is particularly important to make sure posters get displayed at the Academy if you want Academy students included.
  • Above all, do not be afraid to ask for assistance from other faculty members who have more experience. There are many others in the building who would be more than happy to offer suggestions and tips concerning class sponsorship.
  • Chaperoning all of these events is necessary. Please plan to be present at every activity. Another faculty member may be able to assist you if you cannot be present, but remember they also have chaperoning responsibilities that may occur at the same time.


Although there are fewer responsibilities in the freshman year, it is important to get the class started early because class officers lack fundraising and organizational experience.

    • This is a carnival sponsored by the PTSO and is held in November. Each participating group has its own booth with some kind of activity. It can be a good source of income if the booth idea is a popular one. Choose an activity (i.e. dart throw, pop toss, cake walk, etc.) and plan your booth. An activity usually remains with the class in succeeding years until the group gives it up. If the freshman activity is successful, you may choose to repeat it the following year; otherwise, try something new.
    • Although a fundraiser is not required, it is a good idea for two reasons. The class will need funds to host the Senior Tea and Sweetheart Dance and any extra funds will reduce the amount needed to be raised during the junior year.
    • Homecoming is scheduled for early January and coordinated by Student Council. Classes are responsible for Hall Decorating. This is generally done on Thursday after school and into the evening. A sponsor must be in the building to supervise their class. Halls are judged Friday morning and points go toward class competition. Student Council also asks classes to decorate parade floats (in a wagon) and a bed sheet to be displayed at the game. Usually on Thursday morning there is a parade of floats and sheets during which time they will be judged with points going toward the class competition.
    • This is the major freshman class project. This dance was assigned to the freshman class because it is later in the school year (as close to Valentine's Day as possible) in order to allow time for organizing and fundraising. This dance is semi-formal. Refreshments can be served and are supplied by the class members or by a caterer, depending on the location. Decorations also depend on the location. Pictures can be taken by a photographer, but must be booked early.
    • Following Senior Honor Night, the freshman class is responsible for the Senior Tea. Cookies and punch should be served. Decorations and location are the class' responsibility. The Family and Consumer Science teacher will assist with planning this event.


    • This dance is assigned to the sophomore class. Organization and planning is similar to the Sweetheart Dance. If scheduling does not permit the dance prior to Winter Break, this dance can be schedule in January as a "Winter Formal" or "Snow Ball." When scheduling, allow a reasonable amount of time between this dance, the Sweetheart Dance, and Homecoming Dance.
    • Prom planning begins in April/May of the sophomore year.


    • This dance is assigned to the junior class and is usually held in late October or early November. Schedule early to avoid athletic conflicts. Sadie Hawkins normally has a country theme. Decorations and choice of photographer is up to the class to decide.
  • PROM
    • Prom planning continues throughout the junior year. Meetings are scheduled for once a week. The most important decisions to be made concerns choosing a date, location, disc jockey, theme, favors and photographer. Senior parents have the responsibility of planning After Prom and the Prom Breakfast.
    • It is important to have the appropriate funds for the level of prom students envision at an early stage. You will most likely need to carry out more than one fundraiser. The number and type of fundraisers depend on your prom expenses, the ability of the class to organize and implement, and the level of cooperation among the sponsors.


There are not activities or dances assigned to the senior class, but the sponsor should be concerned with plans for a senior trip, senior gift and graduation.

    • If the senior class is in need of money for a senior trip or senior gift, fundraisers may be necessary. All of the options available to the other classes are still open to the senior class.
    • The class members decide on a class trip with the assistance of the Senior Trip "Sponsor". It should be permissible, affordable and manageable. Typical class trips include Kings Island and a day at a state park. Class trip plans should be cleared with the administration.
    • Class sponsors are responsible for auditioning speeches for graduation, the selection of junior "huggers" and ushers and line-up prior to the ceremony. The SENIOR LUNCH is held the day of graduation prior to graduation practice. The sponsors attend this lunch as chaperons. The class often presents its senior superlatives awards, i.e. Most Likely to Succeed, etc. It is customary for the senior class to present the school with a gift during the graduation ceremony. Previous gifts have included such things as clocks, plaques and trees. You will want to avoid gifts which need to be constructed because work must be done by Ball State Physical Plant employees in the past never seem to have gotten accomplished. Ideas and plans should be submitted early in the year to insure proper financing.
    • If there are still funds available after all senior obligations have been met, the class will want to decide how to spend those funds. The remaining class balance typically does not stay with the class after graduation. In the past, some things done with the funds include helping to finance the senior lunch and purchasing senior t-shirts.