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2010/ 11 Season

Getting Started

As your schools Cappies Advisor, you are responsible for making sure your school follows
the rules.

Please read (and, when requested respond to) Cappies emails. Through the year, please
make sure your schools database is complete and accurate, with correct names, phones,
and emails.

We urge you to work with your Lead Critic to make sure every C.I.S. User at your school
(you, Show Director, Mentors, and all Critics) know how to log-in to C.I.S. and use those
pages correctly.

You do not need to read the complete Cappies Rules. If you wish to do so, you can find
them on the Cappies web site,, on the Rules & Forms page. Some key
rules are set by the Steering Committee of your Cappies Program. Your Program Director
will advise you of those.

Enlisting Your Lead Critic

Your schools Lead Critic should help you, and others at your school, with all aspects of the
Cappies. If you participated in Cappies last year, please note that, this year, we are requiring
Lead Critics to take on several new responsibilities. We are counting on each schools Lead
Critic to do this well. If necessary, you can replace your Lead Critic at any time.


All Critics at your schoolincluding those who may have been Critics last yearmust

training. Your program may have an additional training session for Lead Critics. By the time
you get this binder, most (perhaps all) of your Critics will have attended this.
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Lead Critics are given the responsibilityon the first school day after their trainingto advise
your schools Cappies Advisor, Show Director, and Mentor to download their binders from

Your school may have more than one Mentor or Show Director (for two Cappies Shows), in
which case each one should have a binder. You can always download additional binders
from the website.

When the Lead Critic asks you (and the Show Director and Mentor, if they are other
teachers) to download the binder, he or she will ask to schedule a meeting with you (and the
others) before the first Cappies Show on the schedule. If you are familiar with the Cappies,
30 minutes will do. If not, please schedule one hour.

For Show Directors or Mentors who not Advisors, and who are familiar with the Cappies, this
meeting should take only about 15 minutes. For others, it could take between 30 and 60
minutes, depending on how many questions they have.

If any of these persons are not teachers, the Lead Critic will assist with the downloading of a
binder for themand then, on a later occasion arrange to meet with the Lead Critic.

All new and returning Mentors (including, perhaps, you) will need to attend a separate
training led by Cappies officials. Your Program Director will advise you of that.

Before the meeting, please look through your binder, and others should do the same.

In your meeting, you will do the following:
Review the materials in their binder. Point out what needs to be read carefully, and
what can be scanned more quickly. (See the Binder section for a list.)
If you are new to the Cappies, look through the The Cappies Advisor section.
Look over the Glossary section, very quickly.
If you are familiar with the Cappies, look through the New Rules section.
Look through the Consequences section.
Everyone who is a Show Director or Mentor should look through the Award Category
Guide, page by page, and the Award Category Eligibility form. Take as much time as
needed to review the basics.
If your Lead Critic cant answer a question, please email your Program Director.
Make sure everyone knows how to log into and use C.I.S.

In this meeting, you (as Advisor) should also do the following:
Decide whether you will ask Critics to take part in a writing exercise, like the one
suggested in the Review Writing section, before their first Cappies Showand, if so,
how this will be done.
Discuss how you and your Lead Critic will together oversee Critic attendance and
review writing performance over the year.
Schedule an initial meeting with Critics, at which you and your Lead Critic can both be
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When you schedule your meeting of all Critics at your school, please impress on everyone
the importance of attending it.
You and your Lead Critic should together run this meeting, during which please do the
Review with them the materials in their binders. Show them what the need to read
carefully, and what they can scan more quickly. (See the Binder section for a list.)
Look through the Consequences section, taking note of those that apply to Critics.
Look through the Award Category Guide, page by page, to make sure everyone
understands the basics.
Make sure everyone knows how to log into and use C.I.S.

Make sure every Critic submits a Parental Authorization Formvery important!
If they submitted one last year, they must do it again this year. They cannot review a
show until Cappies officials have this in hand.
You should collect these forms for your entire team, and then mail them wherever
your Program Director requests. You can help with this, as needed.

For rosters and schedules, please make sure they know to do the following:
Be able to receive emails and submit reviews online. (If any Critics do not have home
email, please find a way to do thisat school, a library, etc. Remember that Critics
generally need to write reviews on weekends.
Check their emails at least once every other day.
Use C.I.S. to volunteer for, or decline shows.
Whenever they decline a Cappies Show, they must (at the same time) volunteer for a
replacement show.
Alert the Lead Critic when they decline a Cappies Show assigned to your Team, so
you can make sure your Team has at least half its members attending that show.

When attending Cappies Shows, please make sure they know to do the following:
Get to shows on time (45 minutes before curtain).
Not arrive less than 10 minutes before curtain, or they might not get a ticket.
Stay until the post-show discussion is over.
Bring their binders, and a writing implement.
Bring the forms they need.
Make sure they know how to get to Cappies Shows
Drive safelyor, better, have an adult drive them to and from Cappies Shows.

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At a Cappies Show, please make sure they know to do the following:
Dress, and use language, in a manner appropriate to a school setting.
Keep the Cappies Room is for Critics onlybefore shows, too, although parents may
be setting up and/or serving the critics.
Dont sit with friends or family members in the theater.
Safeguard their valuables.
Dont meet and greet friends at the school whose show theyre reviewing.
Dont talk about the Cappies Show outside the Cappies Room VERY important.

During discussions, please make sure they know to do the following:
Treat Mentors with the respect appropriate to a teacher in a school setting.
Respect other Critics like they would other students in a school setting.
Refrain from side conversations during discussions.
Stop talking when shushed.
Raise a hand to speak, speak only when called on, and stand when speaking.
Make points briefly, allowing time for others to speak.
Listen courteously and attentively to comments from others.
Respect opinions that may be different from their own.
Dont make comments that are sarcastic or unduly harsh.
Discard any personal trash, and help clean up the Cappies Room.
.Be courteous to parent boosters who provide refreshments.
Leave the host school promptly, after turning in their forms.
Alert a Mentor if they need to wait for a pick-up, after a show.

After a Cappies Show, make sure they know the following:
Never discuss anything said in the Cappies Room about the Cappies Show with
anyone who wasnt there (including youunless there was a problem with decorum).
Never reveal how they scored a show.
Meet deadlines.
Follow rules on criticisms.
Always submit a review for every show they attend.


Your Lead Critic will need to make sure your schools Booster gets the Booster Binder, but
you might be able to help. Afterwards, the Lead Critic is asked to speak briefly with the
Booster by phone, to alert him or her about the need for Critics to get to and from Cappies
Shows safely, to describe what is required for your schools own Cappies Show, and to
answer any questions the Booster might have.
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2010/ 11 Season
Overseeing Your Schools Participation

If you are not the only Mentor yourself, you are responsible for making sure the Show
Director and Mentors from your school understand what they need to do, and comply with
rules that apply to them. Make sure they receive, and read, their materials.

Please look through the materials for them that are provided here.

Also, please make sure that any new Mentor from your school is trained, as required by the
rulesalong with experienced Mentorand that each knows any new rules and procedures.
Also, please confirm that each Mentor sets an assignment schedule on a timely basis, knows
those assignments as they approach, and requests any change in assignments on a timely

If a Mentor misses more than one assignment, or fails to comply with the rules, the Steering
Committee of your Cappies program may request you to replace him or her. (This is very
rarely done.)

After your Lead Critic has spoken with the Booster, you might want to check with him or her
to ask how he or she might wish to assist with your schools Cappies Show and help in other

Please check with your schools Newspaper Contact, to ask if the school paper is willing to
publish a Cappies review of your schools Cappies Show. Most school papers publish at
least one Cappies review, and many publish two.

When nominations and awards are announced, and as the Cappies Gala is approaching,
your Program Director may ask you for some assistance, on behalf of your school. Please
make sure your Show Director is aware that your school can name up to four Commendees.

Your school cannot participate effectively in the Cappies if any part of your database is
incomplete or inaccurate. Please work with the Program Director or Program Manager, as
requested, to keep your schools Cappies database complete and accurate. If you know of
any changes to any critics (or adult participants) email address or phone number, please
make sure that person updates his or her database, via C.I.S.

Overseeing Your Critics Team

As Advisor, you are responsible for making sure your Critics Team, and all individual Critics
(including Critics from your school who are on a regional team), meet their responsibilities
as required by the rules.


You have already named your Lead Critic. In addition to helping with training, your Lead
Critic should:
Know the rules well enough to help you make sure your school complies with them.
Understand C.I.S. wll enough to help others figure it out (including you or other adults).
Attend every Lead Critic meeting (or send a designee).
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Help you manage your schools Critics Team.
Assist with your schools own Cappies Show.

There will probably be two Lead Critics meetingsone at the start of the school year, and
one midway through it. The first one is particularly important, because thats when the Lead
Critics set the team schedules. If your schools Critics arent represented at that, your Critics
could end up with a schedule they dont like, with shows that are distant from where they live
or at times that pose possible conflicts.

Your programs Steering Committee may impose a sanctionadding to your schools
minimum review requirementif your school is not represented at a Lead Critics meeting.

The Lead Critic is responsible for setting, and if necessary updating, the assignment
schedule for your schools Critics Team. If your team needs to request a change in show
assignments, the Lead Critic should be the one to email your Program Director. This must
be done not later than 14 days before the assigned show, and the request must be
accompanied by a list of at least three acceptable replacement dates.

Your Lead Critic needs to manage the Critics Team to be sure every one of their assigned
shows is covered. For each one, the team must submit at least half as many reviews as
there are members of the team. If the team has 3 or 4 Critics, then the team must submit at
least 2 reviews. If 5 or 6 Critics, then 3 reviews. (If you have additional Regional Team
Critics, the required minimum is still 3.)

There is a clear sanction for failure to do this. For every review the team is short, one review
gets added to the teams yearly minimum. If the school fails to submit any reviews twice, the
Steering Committee can impose additional sanctions, including disqualification of your
schools own Cappies Show. Please work with your Lead Critic to make sure this does not

The Lead Critic will see the same Critic attendance and review record you will, so he or she
can help you make sure all Critics are on path to meeting their required minimum number of
reviewswhich will prevent your schools own Cappies Show from being disqualified.

As award voting nears, your Lead Critic will schedule your schools Critics for that.

A Lead Critic must be capable of being an emergency Critic-Mentor, if for some reason no
Mentors attend a Cappies Show. (This has only happened once in the history of the
Cappies, but it could happen again at any show.) The Lead Critic Binder has instructions
explaining what your Lead Critic should do in such a case.

Critic safety and security is very important. Your Lead Critic might help you, and your
Booster, to keep an eye on how Critics are traveling to and from Cappies Shows.

One key responsibility of Lead Critics is to help you to make sure that all Critics from your
school show good decorum at Cappies Shows. If you receive a report from a Mentor, or
(more likely) from your Program Director, that any individual Critic from your schoolor your
entire teambroke the rules on decorum, you should hold your Lead Critic accountable. As
appropriate, you might ask your Lead Critic to help improve things at future Cappies Shows.


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2010/ 11 Season
Critics must be students in grades 9 through 12 who are currently enrolled in your school,
and who has not bee prohibited by school authorities from participating in extracurricular

After initial training, you can add (or replace) Critics in mid-year, if you have space on your
roster. They will need to attend a mid-year training session for new Critics.

Each Critic must be able to receive email and submit reviews online. If you have any Critics
who do not have home email, please help them find a way to do thisat school, library, etc.
Remember that Critics generally need to write reviews on weekends.

In case of serious Critic misbehavior, Mentors are authorized to reprimand a Critic request
his or her name and school name, and make a report to the Program Director. A Mentor can
order a Critic to leave the Cappies Room, and/or Performing School, in case of disruptive
misbehavior. Upon receiving a report of serious Critic misbehavior, the Program Director will
notify you. You can take any disciplinary action you consider appropriate.

At any time, you can request that a Critic be removed from the roster.

If any Critic fails twice to submit a review for an attended show, that Critic will be removed
from the roster.

If, for any reason, you ever want to reinstate a Critic who has been taken off the roster, email
a request to the Program Director.


Your school can select an additional three Critics (beyond the six on your Critics Team) if
they are willing to be Regional Team Critics.

Regional Team Critics are assigned to the same number of shows as other Critics. Whats
important is that they will be assigned by the Program Director, and will be assigned to
Cappies Shows during weeks when many schools have shows. They can be reassigned,
not later than 14 days prior to a Cappies Show, to even out Critic attendance (and,
especially, to provide extra Critics where needed).

Its best to have Regional Team Critics be students who will not be in your schools major
plays and musicals, especially if your schools shows are performed during weeks when
many other schools put on their shows. These are the Critics who will need to attend shows
during those busy weeks. Some schools assign freshmen and sophomores to be Regional
Team Critics, for this reason.

Regional Team Critics qualify for Critic awards, just like all other Critics. If your schools
Critics Team is nominated for an award (or wins the Cappie), that nomination or award will
be shared by the six highest-scoring Critics from your school, whether they were on your
schools own Critics Team or on a Regional Team.

Regional Team Critics may volunteer for shows to which your schools Critics Team is
assigned, but they must also review their own assigned shows.

Your Lead Critic will need to supervise the work of Regional Team Critics. That will pose an
extra challenge, since they often will be attending shows apart from your schools Critics
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C.I.S. will automatically sent you all reviews written by Critics from your school. You will not
see how Mentors edit them. Please look through those reviews, to make sure every Critic is
doing work of acceptable quality. If you want, you can use this as a teaching opportunity
about theater, writing, or both.

In all likelihood, Critics from your school will conduct themselves well, do excellent work,
have a great time, and learn a lot.

Helping Keep Everything in Proportion

A key goal of the Cappies is to celebrate theater programs at all participating schools, and to
help build a sense of community among theater and journalism students from different
schools. You can help with this.

Please help keep school spirit within reasonable boundswhen reviews are received for
your own schools Cappies Show, when nominations are announced, and when Cappie
awards are presented.

Reviews are sent to the Show Director, usually on the Monday following the Cappies Show.
If youre not the Show Director, you might want to see those. In all likelihood some student
work will receive critical comments, some students will be praised more than others, and
some students may be disappointed in not being praised or mentioned.

This very seldom comes up, but please be aware that it is against the rules for you, the Show
Director, or any other teacher, parent, or student from the performing school, to discuss any
review (published or not) with a Critic.

The spirit with which the reviews are received by a cast and crew can depend on how you,
and the Show Director, respond to the reviews. Please encourage them to take whatever
useful things they can from the reviews, while keeping in mind that each review is one
persons opinion, nothing more nor less.

Nominations are announced within one to two days after the voting. Most Cappies programs
post the nominations online. Per the clich, the chips fall where they may. Your school may
receive several nominations, or not many. (In large programs, some schools receive no

Tickets for the year-end Cappies Gala, tickets will be made available for your school to
purchase. The number of available tickets, per school, and the price of tickets, will depend
on the size of your Cappies program and the size of the Gala venue. The Show Director will
be in charge of this, but you may wish to assist with ticket purchases, pick-ups, and

Understandably, the size of each schools Gala ticket request may depend to some degree
on the number of nominations that school has received and on any invitation for students
from that school to perform at the Gala. Along with the Show Director, a Cappies Advisor
can greatly influence student decisions about whether to attend a Cappies Gala, even if
some disappointment is felt about a schools list of nominations.

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We encourage teachers and students from all participating schools to attend the Gala, cheer
for students from all schools, and celebrate all the fine shows performed through the year.

Cappie Awards are announced at the Cappies Gala. Your students may win the awards for
which theyre nominated, or not. If they do, kudos to everybody. If not, hooray for whoever
won, and its on to summer (and next year).

Yes, it can be exciting, and feel rewarding, to your students (and to you) when your school
receives multiple nominations and wins awardsbut please do your best to encourage your
students not to let it feel like a major disappointment if your show is not recognized as much
as you expected.

As your schools Cappies Advisor, you can greatly influence the attitude students take toward
nominations and awards. Treat it as a learning experience. Remind them that the
competition was very tough, which is almost always the case. Reassure them that receiving
nominations and awards (or not receiving them) doesnt make a show any better (or worse)
than it was when the curtain came down. Please encourage your students to keep the spirit
of theater alive.

No voting system is perfect, of courseand any outcome merely reflects the viewpoint of the
judges, not any absolute truthbut great care is taken by program officials to make sure
Cappies voting meets very high standards of fairness and integrity. If your students are
disappointed in the results, it is important that you, as your schools Cappies Advisor, not
give the students any reason to believe that the voting was in any way unfair or illegitimate.

If any person wishes to appeal any voting outcome, he or she may do so by contacting your
Program Director. This will result in a careful audit of the results by the Steering Committee,
with the outcome of that audit reviewed by the Cappies Governing Board. The decision of
the Governing Board will be final. Under the rules, no oneincluding a person appealing a
voting outcomemay see the raw voting data.

No matter where the awards go, students at your school (and you) will have a wonderful time
at the Cappies Gala.

Using C.I.S.

The Cappies is a web-based organization, with a web site ( and C.I.S.,
the password-accessible Cappies Information Services. Nearly all the email youll receive
from the Cappies will come via C.I.S.

Always, please read the Cappies emails you receive. If an email asks for a response, or
some action by you, please respond, or take that action, as soon as you reasonably can.

Make sure your spam-guard does not block out emails from any Cappies address. If you
do not know how to do this, please ask your Lead Critic (or another student) to help you.

You will have access to your own C.I.S. page. This will enable you to find up-to-date
information about schedules, the performance of your own schools Critics Team, and other

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Your C.I.S. username will be your schools two-letter code, followed by a dash, followed by
the first letter of your first name, followed by the first seven letters of your last name. (If your
school is South High, initials sh, and your name is Sam J ohnston, your username would be:
sh-sjohnsto). You will receive a password as soon as your schools on-line application is
approved. As the Cappies Advisor, Show Director, and Mentor for your school, your
username and password will be the same, for all three.

A new feature will soon be added to C.I.S. enabling each schools Advisors, Show Directors,
Mentors, and Lead Critics to email each otherand enabling all of them to email the schools
Critics and Booster. This will assist you greatly in communicating directly with each other.
You will be advised of this new feature when it is available.

Please read the instructions for C.I.S. Spend some time with your schools Lead Critic to
make sure you understand how to log-in, and how to use it. C.I.S. may seem daunting, when
you first encounter it, but its simpler than it looks.

Making Comments or Asking Questions

If you change your email address, or any of your phone numbers, during the year, please
use C.I.S. to insert the change in the Cappies database.

If you have any questions or comments, as you read this or anytime thereafter, please send
an email to your Program Director via C.I.S.

Thank you for your time, and for all youre doing for the Cappies!