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Unread 10-15-2009, 07:03 PM
OConnor3015 OConnor3015 is offline
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Parents Meeting

Our team is growing fast and like most other successful team we are getting more parents involved. To help with this, Team 3015 will be giving their first Parents Meeting next week. Anybody willing to share suggestions or materials that they have used in the past?
Thanks!
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Unread 10-15-2009, 07:49 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Well, explain the calendar of FIRST to them, so at least they know what to expect. Also explain that it is likely a 5 or 6-day-a week thing for six weeks.

Our team gets parents to provide dinner to the team, each night at 6 pm, so we can work until 9 or 9:30.

Lots of team members do their homework at meetings in small groups. With focus, it goes fast. They CAN build robots and keep up grades at the same time! Lots of parents will be worried about grades, trust me. Explain your plan to manage that (and if there isn't one. make one!).

Be sure to explain what FIRST is all about - GP and helping others so everyone gets better. And emphasize it's NOT battlebots!

Also explain how parents can help. Bring cases of water (we don't drink soda, it bad for you). If ANY parent has a little spare time, invite them to help the team - builders, mechanics, engineers and programmers are good, but even an accountant or tax lawyer or stay-at-home mom knows SOMEthing that will help the team, ask them to please come share what they know with the students. It's NOT about the robot!

I'll let others chime in now. I could write about this all night....
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Unread 10-15-2009, 08:02 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

I don't have any material to add, but do make sure your meeting is efficient and timely. Nothing is more embarrassing than when a parent comments on how inefficient the meetings are. So make sure what you tell them is relevant, avoid side conversations, and keep things moving. Keep checks and balances, have someone on the side who tells you when you're going to fast, or when you need to move past a subject.
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Unread 10-15-2009, 08:08 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Handouts and pamphlets are a really good idea in my experience - Include calendars of events, stuff the team does (helps them get that it's not just building a robot), contact information for key mentors, and pictures. This will be really useful for team information and keeping parents informed.
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Unread 10-15-2009, 08:09 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

One of the biggest things we bring up each year is the AMAZING opportunity for scholarships available to students on FIRST teams.

Unfortunately, college isn't getting less expensive anytime soon.
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Unread 10-15-2009, 08:18 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Make sure you truly define the word Commitment. For me, there's no sadder sight than a FIRST student who isn't putting in all they've got into the team.
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Unread 10-15-2009, 09:01 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

we usually show the 10 minute FIRST promotional video. it has lots of energy in it, and also explains the bigger picture of first.

also, a game animation can be fun. We say "this is like what we will see the first Saturday in January, and then we decide how to play the game and what to build".
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Unread 10-15-2009, 09:48 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Introduce them to the FIRST website and show them how to find/locate information in it.

I would also share with them at this meeting that they are going to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information, time commitment, and demands that it will take to get the team through the season but that it's ok - you will all get through it together.

One thing I think that is important for every team is to remember that the more you know, the more you realize that you don't know. The more you organize, the more organization you realize is needed. If you approach these aspects of the team like you do the game challenge, it can be a great ride and a lot of fun.

Good luck this season, 3015!
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Unread 10-15-2009, 10:22 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

One of the tools you can use is to show a triangle pointing upwards. Then you explain that one side is the students and one is the mentors and administrators.

The bottom is the parents, because without the bottom, the whole thing will eventually collapse.

Then you explain how they can help--meals during build, transportation, volunteering for the odd proofreading or building job, referring sponsors, and all that sort of thing.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 06:26 AM
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Re: Parents Meeting

A parent's meeting is the perfect place to have a signup sheet for volunteer needs for the team. Fundraising, community service, public demos, end of the year meeting planning, etc. Many parents want to help but just don't know how or what might be available on a robot team. Essentially our needs are similar to those of a sports team or marching band.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 08:30 AM
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Re: Parents Meeting

There have been many good suggestions in this thread.

Let me recap:Parent Meeting should be in the evening to allow more parents to attend .The meeting needs to be rehearsed and timed - tell them what time you will end. My suggestion is not to go over an hour. If anyone wants to stay longer, then thats OK.Show a FIRST Video.Show them how they can find out the calender of events - website, newsletter, text alerts.Sign Up sheets. Scholarship opportunites.Everyone has a talent FIRST can use.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 10:11 AM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Parent meetings are a great idea! We just finished our formal parent meetings and actually make attendance of parents at a parent meeting a requirement for the students to be on the team. If the parents can't make one of the formal sessions we will schedule them for a session at their convenience.

Here is a link to a version of the presentation that we used a few years ago. http://penfieldrobotics.com/Rookies/...%20Meeting.ppt We have volunteer and contact info forms that we have the parents complete and I'm trying to get a copy of them to send to you.

As you go through your 2nd successful season, remember that Team 1511 is just across town and we are available to help! We have lots of lessons learned to share!
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Unread 10-16-2009, 05:59 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

we suggest they exchange phone numbers to set up a carpool
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Unread 10-16-2009, 06:18 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Make sure you collect all the parents' contact information - phone, address, email - for both mom and dad. We know all students are enthusiastic about keeping their parents informed, but somehow a notice sent home with the student just doesn't get there. If you email directly to the parents, you cut out the unpredictable step.
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Last edited by GaryVoshol : 10-16-2009 at 06:22 PM.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 01:30 PM
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Re: Parents Meeting

Something else to add - you may want to have medical permission forms for the parents to sign. Also consider season-long driving permission slips (to ride with another parent, NOT with another student) whenever you have to go on trips.
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