Multi-School Teams

#1

Anyone have tips or advice for starting a multi-school team? I’m working with a prospect, and knowing a little about his school district, I think a multi-school team would really be the way to get a program running. I should be seeing him for kick-off, and hoping to get some more insight on starting a multi-school team.

Thanks in advance!

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#2

We have 2 high schools in our district. Here are some of the things we did:

Made sure the team did not favor one school over the other, picking team colors and name that was not from either school.

Have at key faculty advisor at each school. We also chose to have a student co-CEO from each school as well.

Coordinate transportation from one school to regular meetings. Ofiginally this was an organized parent carpool system, ultimately the district provided a dedicated bus :slight_smile:

All the administrators are on the same page regarding the team, schoolwork and grades, homework during team travel - all the academics are very clearly the top priority.

Teachers know “those robot kids” as the ones who take responsibility and accept accountability (which buys them some slack at times), and team members are reminded often that their behavior reflects on the team at all times…

All the teachers also know who to go to when robotics gets in the way, and we make sure things go well.

Being in the same district, things like insurance and liability are simplified. We also meet at one school exclusively because they have the room for us. Every adult is either a teacher or has been through the background check process used for teachers (at team expense) - fingerprints, criminal check, etc.

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#3

I want to build on the items Don mentioned. Assuming this will be the first FRC team in this school division decide on a base school to meet at, if you line up a faculty sponsor and get the school administration on board it will make all other dealings with the other schools and school board much easier.

Its been my experience that “Central Office” has two major concerns, liability insurance and money handling, assuming PA handles student insurance much like VA then all students in the division should be under the same division policy and this should be a non-issue.

If you are thinking a community based team instead of a school division based team you need to look at the specific laws allowing participation in “school activities.” Now these are commonly referred to as “Tebow” laws, in VA we can’t accept out of division or home schooled students onto our school based team.

I am also assuming the intent is to use the school divisions tax exempt status which means dealing with the school’s finance department. If the school division has a “Education foundation” they can very quickly be your best ally in dealing with the school when its comes to funding and business connections.

One last piece of advice is use your “local” FIRST resources, Patty Cook from VA FIRST helped us with starting Team 4472 last year I imagine you will find the people in PA just as helpful.

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#4

Wildstang started as a two school team (Wheeling WILDcats and Rolling Meadows MuSTANGs) We have allowed students from any of the 7 schools in the district and any home schooled students within our boundaries to be part of the team provided they register through their counselor. We are a ninth period class, with grades and influence on the GPA. Currently, three schools predominate in team makeup.

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#5

This may not be applicable, but we have a somewhat similar situation. We are “regional team” taking kids from seven or eight different schools plus some home-schoolers.

In this case we are basically independent of the schools. One school is our official sponsor, but even they are pretty hands-off. We have a workspace that is independent of any school. We raise money independently, although two schools contribute small dollars. We control our own budget. We do not need to involve school faculty, although some faculty have served as mentors. We have occasionally conducted classes at one of the schools at their request. We do not have a mascot, team colors, etc. that relate to any school.

Of course, there is a downside. We have to work only on the weekends since the kids don’t have the same school schedules. Attendance and consistency are huge problems. We don’t get the synergy between the school work and the team. Still we have done pretty well - final four or final eight in most recent years at the Granite State Regional.

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#6

For many years, Team 223 was comprised of multiple schools, bouncing around at multiple ones. I can only really speak for 2007 and on where (until 2009) the team was Lakeland Regional HS(a public HS) and Piscataway Vocational-Technical School. Due to the resources each of the schools had, as well as the teachers involved, the LRHS students were generally responsible for all the design, and Piscataway Vo Tech did most of the construction/machining. It wasn’t always the easiest situation, but it was a manageable one that worked (it only ended due to a teacher’s retirement), so that could be a possible type of relationship to look into between the schools.

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#7

What kind of multi-school team is this? 2 schools, a school district, a general area… I think that information will help people here give more targeted advice.

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#8

This is closely similar to the MARS Rovers, we are a regional team as well out of our own facility. Thought we do take students from five schools and home school, most of the schools are VERY loving of our program due to the fact that no one school has to cough up all the money it takes to run a FRC program. The best thing we found for ‘uniting’ the schools as a whole is that we have gotton our students listed as varsity players and recieve letters.

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#9

Also, it helps to be your own entity outside of schools. For us, we are apart of our own system as MARS Inc. (Muskegon Area Robotics Students). This keeps all the schools as supporters, which seems to help us out as far as the schools being all fair as far as which school is in charge. Of course we do have one school that is our main school for 501c3, ect. until our non-profit status is passed.

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#10

Are you talking about a multiple school team that is still associated with a school(s) or a truly independent team not associated with any school, but accepts students from anywhere? MOE and Exploding Bacon are examples of the latter. There are pros and cons to both, and different funding scenarios.

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#11

There are actually 3 high schools in the same district, and a vo-tech school, which I believe is a separate entity, that I would like to get involved.

Right now, I only have one teacher, at one school showing interest, and I will hopefully be talking to him more tomorrow at kick-off.

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#12

We are a county team operating through the Voc school. We include students from all the districts within the county, including home school. It works very well, for the team and the school.
The only thing we run into is the local schools running middle school Lego teams as after school programs and competing for students for our Middle school FTC team.

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#13

And as far as using local FIRST resources, well, I am the local FIRST resource. I recently got involved with the Recruitment Committee for MAR. I have been receiving wonderful advice from the rest of the committee, and just thought I’d reach out to the rest of the FIRST community as well.

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