Policy & Procedures

Policy of Nondiscrimination:
The Irvington Performing Arts Academy prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or social or economic status. The Academy provides equal access and opportunity in employment as well as enrollment, in all of its programs and activities, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation or age.

Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Grievance Procedure:
Any student or parent who has a grievance involving harassment, intimidation, and /or bullying should contact the Artistic Director as soon as possible.  Students are responsibilities: conform to reasonable standards of socially accepted behavior; respect the person, property and rights of others; obey instructors and all adults; and respond to those who hold that authority with respect.

Message from Artistic Director, Michelle Shea-Russell:

Dear Student and Parent/Guardian:

This handbook has been designed to provide you with basic information about the guidelines you are expected to follow while a student at the Irvington Performing Arts Academy.  It is by no means a complete listing of all of the policies and procedures followed by the IPAA.

The Academy and instructors expect the best effort you can put forward in your classes, performances and in your general behavior.  Be assured that your teachers and administrators are giving 100% to make your time with us successful, and we hope that you too will attempt to commit to this journey in your educational experience. 

To paraphrase former President Herbert Hoover, “you (our children) are our most valuable natural resource.”  The entire staff at the IPAA will do everything in its power to make your experience rewarding.  We hope you will take advantage of what we have to offer, and make this experience one filled with growth, knowledge and wonderful memories.  Good luck and have FUN! 


Michelle Shea-Russell, Artistic Director


Mission Statement:
We believe every child comes to our world with musical ability.  As music teachers, it's our duty to foster and inspire this natural capacity.  We strive to bring out the innate musicality in each and every student.  Music is a necessary part of life and children need the beauty and expression of music just as much as they need to know how to read and multiply.

We also believe that the relationship between teacher, student and parent is essential to the success of music lessons.  Students will develop discipline, sensitivity, ability to focus, ability to analyze and solve problems, in addition to enjoy making music.

We recognize that every student has unique needs and abilities; therefore, we adjust our teaching approach to address those needs and maximize potential.  We believe that all children are capable of learning music and that teaching includes a never-ending journey of discovery to find out what enables them to be successful learners.

To provide a comprehensive knowledge of music though performance, creation and discipline.
Provide low cost high quality lessons for families.
To provide an environment that promotes and encourages life-long learning and professional and service-related collaboration.

Students should develop the ability to think critically and creatively. · Students should develop an appreciation of social and cultural diversity which are essential for success in a global society.
Students should participate in an interdisciplinary curriculum through a wide variety of educational strategies to promote lifelong learning

Instructors have been chosen who are professionals and have advanced knowledge of the classes they teach.  It is required that all instructors pass a background check at least once per year. 

Instructors develop their own teaching curriculum and the Artistic Director will support instructors based on their professional abilities.  Should there be a conflict between an instructor, we encourage each student approach the instructor outside of their class and attempt to solve the issue.  If a solution cannot be reached between the student and instructor, then parents will be notified to discuss a resolution.  The Artistic Director will step in if the above steps have not reached a resolution.  Parent participation in class is at the discretion of the instructor.

Attendance, Arrival & Pick-up:
All students should arrive 5-10 minutes before their scheduled class in order to be ready to start on time.  If a student must be absent, it is the parents responsibility to email, text or call the instructor at least 24 hours in advance.  If a student falls ill or has an emergency, please contact the instructor and/or Artistic Director.  If a student is late, they should join the class quietly and as quickly as possible.  Students must be picked-up promptly at the end of rehearsals.  If you will be late, please text the instructor as soon as possible.

Inclement Weather:
If IPS or Irvington area schools are closed due to weather, the IPAA will not hold class.  We will also notify local television stations to add us to their closed list.  If days are missed due to snow, we will do everything possible to schedule a make-up class.

Student Dress Code:
All students should dress appropriately based on the following guidelines:

  • Shorts/skirts/dresses should be modest in length.

  • Pants must be worn around the waist and not sag showing boxers.

  • Shoes must be worn at ALL times.  No flip-flops should be worn due to choreography.

  • Do not wear any clothing with degrading material (logos, emblems, phrases).

Tuition & Payments:
Tuition payments must be made directly to the Irvington Performing Arts Academy either by credit/debit/PayPal, check or cash.  All tuition must be received by the 3rd of each month.  Any payment received after the 3rd of each month will incur a $10 late fee per child in the family.  Parents will receive an invoice via email.  Tuition covers all materials not covered by the materials fee, licensing and performance rights, scripts, facility rental, lighting/sound equipment rental & direction, props/sets and some costume pieces.  Students are responsible for providing most of their costumes.  We keep this cost extremely low for parents.

Withdrawal Policy:
If for any reason a student withdraws from a class, the Artistic Director must be informed in writing.  If a student is participating in a production, it must be understood by students and parents that you are committing to the entire length of the class.  We have a limited number of spots in each class and it is not fair to others that wish to participate. 

**Note – Your child may become frustrated during the memorization process.  This is 100% NORMAL.  It is also likely that a child will not receive the exact part they want in an audition.  All parts are important or they wouldn’t be a part of the script.  Do not allow your child to quit because they didn’t get what they wanted.  We try to teach students that when them make a commitment, it is their responsibility to follow through.  What do we teach them if we allow them to just give up when they don’t get their way? 


Behavior Expectations

Parent Code of Conduct:
Parents are expected to adhere to the following code of conduct during all classes and events:

  • If parents plan to wait at the church during rehearsal, we ask that you sit either in the main lobby or the small room behind the elevator.  Due to increased distraction, parents will not be allowed to sit in the back of the room anymore.

  • Parents should NEVER speak out during rehearsals in order to give children direction.  This is distracting to all students and disrespectful to our professional instructors.  Instructors follow their specific lesson plans and may deviate from what a script says.  Any interruption by a parent or guardian is unacceptable and the parent will be asked to leave the rehearsal area.

  • Performance seating – All seating for performances will be general admission and parents will not be allowed to enter the seating area early to reserve seats.  Should a parent/family member place items on seats and leave the seating area, your items will be removed.  The Artistic Director will announce when audience members may enter the seating area.  Should you enter early, you will be asked to leave the area.  Once the seating area is opened, you may only hold 2 SEATS next to you.  Please do not reserve an entire row. 

  • If parents assist backstage during productions, PLEASE do not give students cues if they struggle with lines.  Even though the audience may not be able to see you, they can HEAR you!! 


Student Code of Conduct:
IPAA Students are expected to adhere to the following code of conduct during all classes and events:

  • Speak respectfully to instructors, adults and other students.

  • Come to each class and/or performance with a positive attitude and ready to have fun.

  • Do not back talk, disrupt the class or disobey instructors.

  • Never use foul or offensive language or language that is abusive towards others.  This includes harassment or disrespectful speech to anyone.

  • Respect each other’s personal space.  Do not touch, push, shove or hit ANYONE.  This is grounds for immediate removal from the program.

  • Do not use personal phones, iPods or other electronic device during any part of class.  The Academy is not responsible for ANY loss, theft or damage to these devices.

  • Come to class prepared to learn.  Bring all required books, binders, supplies and materials with you.

  • Do not touch anything that is not yours, including microphones, instruments, sets, props, etc.  Should this rule not be followed and damage is done, it is the parents responsibility to replace or repair the item.

  • Be accountable for one’s actions and realize that with privileges there are responsibilities.

  • Develop an appreciation for the rights of others including a respect for the rights of persons who belong to various cultural, social, religious, and ethnic groups.

Responsibility Toward Facility Property:
As guests of the Emerson Avenue Baptist Church, the students and parents of IPAA are to abide by the following rules.  Infractions of these rules will be dealt with by the Artistic Director and may include the denial of the person(s) involvement in future classes.

  • No smoking, alcohol or drug use in or on church premises.

  • Food & drinks are restricted to designated areas.  Students are encouraged to bring a tightly sealed container with a small opening for drinking.  Disposable drink cups from establishments such as fast food restaurants will not be allowed in the building. 

  • If you make a mess, clean it up immediately.

  • No running, jumping, throwing, chasing, screaming, yelling, etc. is permitted within the church building at any time. 

  • Respect any restricted areas in the church.  This includes the sanctuary and fellowship hall.

In the event there is damage to the church building or its contents, cost of repairs will be made by the particular student who causes the damage, to the satisfaction of the church.  Depending on the nature of the incident, an insurance claim may be filed.

​Lesson Termination: 

Students wishing to terminate lessons must give a 2 week notice.

Personal Items:  

The Academy is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.