Eligibility/Participation Rules

Eligibility/Participation Rules #

  1. Membership: The Wisconsin Interscholastic Speech & Dramatic Arts Association (WISDAA) membership year begins July 1. Schools must pay dues and submit a membership form before participating in Association activities.
    1. Schools: Membership in WISDAA is open to public schools, nonpublic schools that qualify for Section 501(c)(3) status, and charter schools as established under Wisconsin statutes (s. 115, Stats).
      1. Online/virtual schools that meet the definition above (§1.1) may enroll in WISDAA membership and participate through virtual pathways. Those schools may participate at in-person WISDAA contests at any level provided school personnel meet requirements per §2, and the school communicates to the state office exactly which students will participate at which in-person contests and with which adults.
      2. Students in a home-based private educational program as defined by Wisconsin law (s. 118.15 (4), Stats), who have filed and can produce a copy of their Department of Public Instruction (DPI) PI-1206 Homeschool Enrollment Report (HOMER), may participate through their attendance-area school, following requirements enumerated in Wisconsin law (s. 118.133 (1) and (2), Stats.).
    2. Dues:
      1. High School: annual dues are $380.
      2. Middle Level: annual dues are $150.
      3. Middle/High School (same campus): annual dues are $530.
      4. Schools who enroll membership by October 1 and pay before November 1 shall receive a $50 discount per school ($100 for a combined middle/high school as per §1.3).
  2. Supervision and youth protection. For each WISDAA activity in which a school participates, the principal must identify at least one advisor of record (“coach” or “director”), who serves as the point-of-contact, legal agent of the school for registering students allowed to participate under that school’s approved eligibility requirements, and who accompanies and supervises students at WISDAA contests. This is identified as part of the school’s annual membership enrollment process, but amendments/changes may be filed with the state office as needed.
    1. High school state festivals and other events held at UW System schools require one (1) responsible adult (“designated individual”) per every 10 students, with a minimum of two (2) designated individuals to accompany students at all times they are on a UW System campus or affiliated venues, who meet the following requirements:
      1. The school must conduct a criminal background check (C.B.C.) for each designated individual accompanying students, including volunteers, chaperones, and parents traveling and/or assisting with the production and in contact with students. Each individual’s C.B.C. must have been conducted within four (4) years of the conclusion of the event (i.e., state festival).
      2. Each designated individual must complete WISDAA-approved training by the NFHS, Protecting Students from Abuse, which covers mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect and preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence (prohibited conduct). Certification of training must be documented to have been done within two (2) years of the conclusion of the event (i.e., state festival).
    2. Designated individuals should never be in one-on-one (1:1) contact with any student, other than their own legal child as a caregiver (parent/guardian), unless they have notified another designated individual and are observable and interruptible.
    3. As part of the State registration process, each school must provide WISDAA with a list of all designated individuals, their dates of birth (D.O.B.), date of C.B.C., and date of training(s) completion, to provide the UW Campus Youth Protection compliance officer when audit of records is requested. The head advisor (coach/director) for each school also must certify that they have reviewed the Safety & Emergency Plan for that festival (which will be provided to advisors during the State Festival-specific registration process.
  3. Student Eligibility: Any bona fide pupil in good standing and in regular attendance in grades 6-12 of a member school shall be eligible to compete in events conducted by the Association. Students may participate only in those programs sponsored by the school in which they are primarily enrolled, who have primary responsibility for their curricular programs, and per the school’s established interscholastic eligibility requirements.
    1. In Speech, students in grades 10-12 must participate at the high school level; students in grades 6-8 must participate at the middle level. Students in grade 9 at a junior high school may participate in middle level Speech if their school does not participate in high school Speech; students may not concurrently participate in both the middle and high school levels. A school must pay dues per §1.2 for each level – middle and/or high school – in which it participates.
    2. In Theatre and film, a high school may allow younger students in a number up to 10% of total participating fully enrolled students to participate in performance facets of an entry. The advisor must simply be able to furnish proof of permission from a school administrator.
  4. Eligibility exceptions
    1. The Eligibility Review Committee will consider – but not guarantee – petitions under two sets of conditions:
      1. A student may attend a special program or class at another school and their schedule is such that participation in Association activities at the special school is thought to be more practical; or
      2. Schools from separate school districts may desire to combine their programs in Theatre, Debate and/or Speech due to circumstances preventing either school from having a program on its own.
    2. Required conditions and procedures when applying for exceptions:
      1. The petition must articulate a reason in accordance with the Association’s objective of promoting participation in Speech, Debate, Theatre, and Film activities.
      2. Both schools must be dues-paying Association members in good standing.
      3. The principals and district administrators (or for independent schools, heads of school) for each school must agree to the exception.
      4. For allowing individual students to participate with a different school as per §4.1.1, the student(s) must be enrolled in academic classes at both schools.
      5. For combining a program at two schools per §4.1.2, the president of the school board/board of trustees also must agree to the exception.
      6. Petitions must be received by the state office no later than six weeks prior to the first Association contest in which participation would happen; the committee must render a decision by four weeks prior to that contest.
      7. Petitions will be granted by the committee for one school year at a time.

Eligibility Exception Petition Application #

This policy is similar to how co-op teams work in athletics, but with consideration that WISDAA does not have the revenue stream of athletics to sufficiently support schools. For both schools involved in all petitions, obtain names and emails for the following:

  • Principals
  • Superintendent/head of school

For combining programs of non-related entities, additionally obtain names/emails of:

  • Board chairs/presidents
Updated on 01/02/2024
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