Team 1559 Devil Tech out of Victor, NY, USA is looking to increase the rigor of their team. We are looking for examples of Student and Mentor Contracts that we could modify based on our teams needs for the upcoming season. We are specifically looking for those that have an attendance policy and a volunteer hour policy.
What we have done is you cannot go to competition if you do not have enough hours or volunteer hours, that is how we enforce stuff. I personally think having a outreach hours requirement is a great idea. We stick with 75% attendance
Also to include onto @AndrewI answer as Citrus has a phenomenal resource we include a 80% minimum grade requirement to attend competitions as we do not want students to fall off their school work during the season.
Although our team was created in 2005, we have never had a handbook or a contract.
This past season our student leadership team struggled navigating poor student attendance and students not taking initiative. Our leadership team made the suggestion of looking into a contract to assist with the low attendance and providing a higharcy to assist other students who might not know what task to jump into. On a whole separate issue, we had mentors over stepping bounds of what should be student led versus mentor assisted. We are also looking to a contract to assist newer mentors know their role on the team.
We don’t have contracts - any member of the team will get out of it what they put in. We, however, have expectations and requirements.
For students, 50% attendance during the build season is required to travel with the team, and 80% is required (among other things) to letter.
For mentors, we define expectations based on the amount of time they can provide, separating into “full time” and “part time” mentors. Basically, full time mentors are expected to be there almost every meeting, while part time mentors are more project-based.
Similar here. We have a handbook, but no contracts. Our students know that engagement is (1) how they get and stay on the team, and (2) how they get to travel with the team. In my tenure on the team, I don’t recall anyone not making travel.
Engagement looks different at different time during the year. If you are on design/manufacturing/controls then Jan-Apr will be very busy (we equate it to being a starter on a varsity sport). The most active members put in 200+ hours. Almost everyone puts at least 70 in Jan/Feb. But if you are primarily outreach focused, then May-Aug may well be your most active time.
Every once in a while, some students don’t make hours or raise enough money. We had two students this year that fell into this category.
The way it works for us is, I, as the head coach, make the decision that they do not travel. Then, these two students have an opportunity to make a presentation to the team, and the team can vote to override me and allow them to travel. So after the presentations the students leave and the team deliberates and then blind votes. One student was voted forward without restrictions, and the other students was voted forward, but with conditions that he had to meet at the first comp, to be allowed to go to the next comp. He did meet those and was allowed to travel the rest of the season.
The presentation usually consists of;
1)Why the constraints weren’t met.
2)What value they were able to add during build season.
3)What value they will add at competition.
So we require every student raise $350, but if they tried to cut me a check from their family I wouldn’t take it. Its important to me they work for it.
We work all the Notre Dame home football games in the concession stands which require 18 people to run which yields about $7,000 per game. Plus we also run the seat install and unstill for the entire stadium and rent the cushions our at the game which require another 6 people, 2 per booth for 3 booths. Cushions usually yield about $10,000. We usually make about $45,000 doing these events.
We also have a sub team that works on grants, and Partnerships within the community which is why I have that rule that says, “if a student raises $10,000, they are except from the 80% build hour requirement.”
Ah yes, the tried and true “one of our students is struggling to meet the requirements we set forth. let’s make them explain to their peers why they’re performance is inadequate.”
I’m surprised this has worked for you.
If a student isn’t meeting expectations, in what world is the solution anything other than to sit down with that student in an individual or small group setting and understand why? If a student isn’t meeting requirements to be on the team, but still wants to travel with it, odds are they have something going on, whether it be competing priorities, a family situation, a personal situation, or something else meaningful. There are the occasional folks who don’t want to do the work but want to reap the reward, but those folks are few and far between and still deserve an individual conversation.
We require everyone to put in a certain amount of time/effort for fundraising, but don’t tie it to dollars. A student may spend plenty of time working on a grant submission (and, in the process, learn a lot!), but whether they get it or not doesn’t matter for the requirement.
I, as the coach, do sit down with them, usually weekly, to see how things are going and keep them informed. I publish the build hours to the team every couple of days and allow them to see who is on pace and who is not. These meetings start with me and usually escalate to a parent meeting. If the situation is rectifiable then they are allowed to remain on the team. If the situation is not sustainable, then we have to have that conversation about trying again next year.
Based off these individualized conversations, these students were not allowed to present to the team. Them, their parents/guardians, and I determined the best course of action per their unique situation.
See below the emails I send out weekly starting in week 3 to the student and their families to begin this dialog.
Yes, the two students were not able to make the hours because of other commitments with other teams such as basketball. They were also first year team members and did not fully appreciate what the team was, is, and what it can offer them for their future. They both became indispensable to the team at Comp and were the first two to turn in their application for next year.
I originally did not do this. It was started last year when some of the students approached me about giving some students a second chance.
Its more like Shark Tank for the students to accept each other and become more of a team. Also in the two years I have done this, I have never put a student in front of the team who I knew wasn’t going to get voted forward. SEL is always the #1 thing for me with each student. This is a team of inclusion and is a safe space. The point is not exclusion with this exercise, but of team acceptance and bonding. The team always comes out of this experience stronger. I would never allow this if I thought for one second it would emotionally scare a student. SEL is always my number 1 priory.
When we have a student not meeting the requirements to travel/letter, we don’t get the rest of the team involved. I think doing so would create a high pressure situation that could very easily result in hard feelings between peers. Instead, it’s a discussion with the mentors, one that starts early enough that it can easily be rectified within the scope of the season. The secret? While the rule is right there in black and white, we’re flexible. Every year we end up providing “extra credit” shop hours that anyone can attend. We give students options to work on projects remotely (where applicable) and get credit for that time spent. And sometimes we fudge the numbers a couple of percent to get someone to travel - specifically when the reason they didn’t get the numbers was out of their control. The key here is to work with the student, make the goal attainable, while also helping them to realize that they need to work for what they want in the real world.
It’s the same with leadership positions on the team, and really any decision that is going to have a big impact on an individual. We work to hold those discussions in private, and work with the student before anything about it becomes public to help lesson the shock and make it easier for them to handle their disappointment in public.