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Junior/Secondary Handbook

Starting A Chapter

Who can start a chapter of the Junior Program (grades 6-8) or the Secondary Program (grades 9-12) of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts?

A Junior chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts may be set up in any private or public middle school, dance studio/academy, performing arts center, or community center with a dance program serving students grades 6-8 that is active during the school year. 

A Secondary chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts may be set up in any private or public high school, dance studio/academy, performing arts center, or community center with a dance program serving students grades 9-12 that is active during the school year.

  • K-12 schools seeking to establish a chapter should have a robust in-school dance program offering for-credit and elective classes and have a dance teacher on staff willing to serve as the chapter sponsor. 
  • Dance studios, performing arts centers and community centers may establish a chapter at their primary location where the majority of classes (and students) are taught as long as a dance teacher on staff is willing to serve as the chapter sponsor. 

Schools seeking to establish NHSDA chapters should aspire to provide high quality dance education programs that reflect NDEO’s mission of furthering dance as an art form. Education in the art of dance develops knowledge and skills required to create, perform, and understand movement as artistic communication. A comprehensive education includes technique classes (such as ballet, tap, jazz, modern, world dance, etc.), opportunities to perform, and exposure to improvisation, choreography, observation, and analysis.

Does the school need an NDEO Membership?

In order to establish a school chapter, the school first must obtain an NDEO membership at the Institutional Member level.The NDEO membership must be renewed every year if the chapter is to remain active. Membership information, costs and an online sign-up option are provided on the NDEO web site at Typically the school’s administration pays the dues, however, sometimes dance booster clubs or parent organizations may pay the dues. (Note: An institution that serves students in 6-12 grades may have both a Junior Program and Secondary Program Chapter of NHSDA, but only one NDEO Institutional Membership is needed.)

How do I apply online to start a Chapter?

  1. The main contact for Institutional Membership must log into their NDEO account.
  2. On the NHSDA webpage select "Start A Chapter" from the top menu.
  3. At the top of the page, click "Apply to Start A Chapter."
  4. Complete the Chapter Application and press save.
  5. You will receive an email within 1-2 weeks confirming that your chapter has been approved.

My school serves students in both grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Which type of NHSDA Chapter should I start?

If a school serves students in both age groups (6-8 or local middle school equivalent and 9-12 or local high school equivalent) it is up to the Chapter Sponsor to decide if they would like to sponsor a Junior Program Chapter, a Secondary Program Chapter, or both. This decision is based on what is best for the overall school policies and objectives. For example:

  • A studio wishing to encourage commitment to dance may want to only offer it to older students and only after they have taken classes for a set amount of time or achieved a certain level of classes.
  • A school with multiple grades may only wish to offer it to one group of students simply because the Chapter Sponsor has limited time and funds to support such a program.
  • A private or charter school with both middle and high school programs may choose to offer both programs, so students can be inducted into both the Junior and Secondary programs during their educational career.

You may only induct students into the appropriate Program Chapter for their grade level. For example, a student in grade 7 cannot be inducted into a Secondary Program Chapter, even if they have earned the requisite number of points for Secondary Program Induction. Exceptions may be made in the case of a school following a different grade structure. For example, if the junior high in your area runs from grade 7-9 instead of 6-8, then a 9th grade students can and should be inducted into the Junior Program.

How does the NHSDA chapter function as an organization within the school?

Decisions about the management and governance of the school chapter are at the discretion of the Chapter Sponsor, taking into consideration institutional policies, the ages, abilities and interests of the students, the nature of the dance program, time constraints, and so on. There are two main ways the NHSDA is set up within schools:

NHSDA Honors Only Model

 The chapter can be managed solely by the Chapter Sponsor and exists primarily to induct students who have met the criteria for induction.  In this model, the Chapter Sponsor maintains all records and coordinates the induction of eligible students. Chapter activities, if they exist, are often run by the Chapter Sponsor as part of the curriculum and program but the focus is on “earning the honor” and the induction ceremony.

NHSDA Club Model

 The chapter is set up as a student organization with elected student officers with the Chapter Sponsor acting as the faculty advisor. The school may require that the NHSDA chapter submit a constitution or bylaws. To the extent to which the Chapter Sponsor deems appropriate, the student officers have a role in maintaining records and coordinating induction ceremonies. In addition, the chapter may engage in other activities such as performances, fundraising, field trips, service projects and other activities that support the program’s mission and goals and students’ interests.  If desired, regularly scheduled chapter meetings can be held, along with any demonstrations or lectures that may be of interest to or enhance the dance knowledge of NHSDA inductees. When applicable, Chapter Sponsors or designated students should prepare and distribute to the inductees a calendar of upcoming dance activities and NHSDA meetings.

What do I include on the Chapter Application?

After signing up for an NDEO Institutional Membership at and paying the member dues, you will apply for an NHSDA Chapter. You will need the following information to complete the application:

a. Chapter sponsor’s name, phone and email if they are not the main contact on the NDEO institutional membership
b. The chapter's GPA requirement (must be a minimum of 3.0 for Junior and Secondary chapters). Each chapter is allowed to require a higher cumulative GPA for their students.
c. A brief summary of the dance program offered at your school. This description can include a mission statement, institution type (Private studio, public middle or high school, university, etc.), information about courses offered and genres studied, performance and choreographic opportunities,etc.
d. OPTIONAL - linke to chapter's web address

The Chapter Sponsor will receive a welcome letter and official chapter certificate in the mail within 2 to 4 weeks of their application being approved. The Chapter Sponsor may then begin chapter activities.

I've just started a chapter. How can I induct my current seniors in time for graduation?

In order to facilitate the start-up of a new chapter, it is permitted for soon to be graduating students who have been in the dance program and who already have met the induction criteria to use count previous activities toward induction. Points may be awarded retroactively for past activities as long as documentation of these activities is provided to the Chapter Sponsor. For example, if well documented, a Chapter Sponsor can retroactively award points for activities completed back to freshman year. The Chapter Sponsor may rely on grade transcripts, playbills from past productions, rehearsal schedules, and other anecdotal records in order to determine whether a student has met the criteria. Points should not be awarded retroactively for students who are not approaching graduation.

I’ve just started a Chapter. How can I induct my current juniors or seniors in time to apply for the NHSDA Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award?

Upon inception of the NHSDA Chapter, the Chapter Sponsor may find that they have one or more senior and junior students who are under a time constraint to earn enough points for induction into the newly established NHSDA Chapter, apply for the NHSDA Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award, and graduate with the NHSDA honor. Depending on how many senior/junior students are involved, it is important that the Chapter Sponsor plan backwards from seniors down line. In these situations, Chapter Sponsor should begin with the seniors/juniors to retroactively and concurrently award points, conduct one or more induction ceremonies, and simultaneously help the seniors/juniors prepare essays and a video for their award applications.

How long does it take a student to earn the appropriate number of points for induction?

On average it takes about one full year to earn enough points for induction into the Junior or Secondary NHSDA Program for a serious, dedicated dance student. A student who approaches dance on a more part-time basis may take up to two years to qualify for induction. For new chapters starting in the Fall, student dance activities from the summer before school started can count towards points.