What Is A School Theme? An AMAZING Idea In Motion

What is a school theme? Sometimes it is not always easy or obvious to define what a school theme is, but great schools use them all the time.

World globe

And it’s sometimes hard to pick your school-theme.

Let’s decide up front… one important concept: there is no ONE best school-theme.

Although the possible topics are unlimited, themes are really all about serving students through programs that explore learning opportunities beyond traditional boundaries.

These experiences expand student horizons and explore specific topics in great depth.

There are lots of theme choices for lots of schools and we’ll share some of them.

Your School Theme Treasure Chest !

Treasure chest

When you think about choosing a school-theme your thought process goes something like this…


  • What school theme idea did we use last?
  • Was it good?
  • Who will pick our new theme and be responsible for promoting it?
  • Is this more trouble than it’s worth?
  • What are the benefits of using a theme for our school?
  • We’ve got to figure out theme timing, theme shirts, community involvement, decorating ideas, staff incentives, academic relevance and more.
  • How’s our budget – what can we afford?
  • WOW, we’ve got a lot to do… better get started !

And what better way than to provide a show and tell example of exactly how to implement a popular prom theme?

Captain’s Ball Prom: Get Ready For A Fantastic Voyage!

Prom theme example shared by a reader

Submitted By: Karen Sullen

Setting sail for high adventure, everyone knows that life after graduation will be an exciting journey. That’s why a cruise ship prom theme is an excellent way to set the stage for what lies ahead. From nautical décor to themed party favors, this flexible idea can be done on a grand scale or a small budget, which makes it perfect for just about any school.

Here are a few ideas to help chart a course for fun.


First impressions are important. So..

  • welcome guests to the prom by creating a “pier” at the doorway – just like the real thing
  • place large anchors and life preservers around and have a few “crewmen” or even the “Captain” (a.k.a. the school principal) to welcome everyone aboard the USS (School Name)
  • once they enter, get them in the mood with lantern centerpieces, flags from different ports of call or nautical hats on the tables
  • you can even have champagne buckets with bottles of sparkling cider chilling inside for a “grown up” touch.

Remembering how majestic an illuminated cruise ship looks at night, be sure to include white/clear rope lights around the cruise ship backdrop, walls, dance floor or any other place you’d like to spotlight.

If there’s a need for a podium, disguise it behind an oversized captain’s wheel. Be sure to place plenty of life preservers, anchors and cruise ship directional signs, like “This way to the lido deck” around the area.

And, don’t forget to create an area with balloons and the name of your school on a personalized sign to take pictures with the “Captain.” Place them inside a “passport” holder as a souvenir party favor.

Red, white and blue are classic colors for this theme, but you can also use the school’s colors.

Food & Favors

Themed favors - life savers candy in a boat shaped containerSince cruises are known for their elaborate buffets at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even midnight, creating one is a must with an ice sculpture centerpiece, delicious foods and desserts. Wash it all down with non-alcoholic piña coladas or other tropical drinks, just for fun.

Candy Life Savers in little boats or silver dishes on the tables is a nice touch, and they can also be given as party favors. Another great idea is to set up the party favors in the ship’s “souvenir shop.”


You can’t have a cruise without fabulous entertainment! From magicians to parades, there’s always a party going on.

Let that guide your entertainment options and provide a featured “show” for the “passengers”, a casino, a comedian or an amazing juggler. You can even “travel” to a tropical port by enlisting a calypso or steel band to provide some island music and end the evening with some regular dance music.

If you decide to use the sparkling cider as a party centerpiece, have a toast led by the Homecoming King and Queen before dancing the night away.

What is a School Theme?

theme ideas | theme winners | theme acronyms

A School Theme is an “idea in motion.” Think about that for a moment…

Each theme has a name or title but… it’s the energy, creativity and thought behind the name and behind the scene that will determine its success.

Your school has its unique culture, style, character and needs as does every other school. When you choose your theme, you will implement it a little differently than any other school.

That’s what makes your school special.

You have staff, size, location, budget, community, personalities and a host of other considerations that will help determine HOW you can best use your theme idea.

And your decisions will be different from other schools using a theme with the same title.

There is no one best way… or one best theme for your school.

So… a school-theme is an idea – put in motion by your staff, students, and in fact, your entire education community can help!

Get Your Favorite School Theme Today From Our Shop!

So what does a school theme provide?

Each theme is an ebook of about 15-20 pages (theme Combos 45-50 pages) providing descriptions, examples and guidance about how each theme can be used to help boost your school spirit AND provide a positive learning environment for students.

Each Theme includes:

  • School Wide Theme Purpose
  • Theme Benefits
  • Theme Creation Strategies
  • Reward Suggestions
  • Theme Timing
  • Theme Kick Off
  • Community Involvement
  • Decorating Ideas
  • Theme Shirt Ideas
  • Staff Incentives
  • Example of Academic Relevance

And let’s not forget the FUN and excitement part. We’ve opened the treasure chest full of theme ideas to help you promote school spirit.

We leave plenty of room in the theme process – for additional creative thoughts from you and your staff.

After all – your school is unique… you have special logos, motto’s, school colors, gifted education programs… etc. As you know, every school has it’s unique culture and needs.

We invite your creativity to help unite staff and students in the promotion of school spirit.

Please visit our School Theme Shop page to review your selection choices.

If you’re ready to develop your own theme, using your personal presentation skills, some of the words or phrases below may help create additional ideas you can put in motion. If you’d like to print this list, you can do it here.

teamwork trust ethical dilemmas euthanasia
freedom convictions social change communication
friendship acceptance customs money
choices denial discrimination resourcefulness
nature friendship belonging memories
honesty bullies activism commitment
guilt heroes good and evil humor
help immigrants adoption loss
loyalty hope leadership loneliness
death and
courage love diversity
hatred responsibility peer
pride prejudice safety anger
racism peace patriotism discovery
propaganda community self-esteem violence

Building school spirit can be a rewarding experience for students, teachers, parents and your whole community. School spirit adds a sense of excitement to everything you do. And… this encourages everyone to be supportive of their local school.

So, what is a school theme? I hope you now have a better idea for crating a special theme for your own school. I’d  love to hear your ideas below in the comment area if this helped you with your school theme.

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What Is A School Theme?