Selection of students to attend competitions

Posted by David Kelso.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Coach on team #131, C.H.A.O.S.-, from Central High School and OSRAM SYLVANIA/ Fleet Bank.

Posted on 11/7/99 7:02 PM MST

Every team goes through this…You have 30 - 40 members
and can only take 18 to the competition. Does anyone wish to share their system for selecting the students who will be in the ‘‘18’’?

Posted by Michael Martus.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Coach on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central H.S. and Delphi Automotives Systems.

Posted on 11/7/99 7:20 PM MST

In Reply to: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by David Kelso on 11/7/99 7:02 PM MST:

Chief Delphi establishes the team size before selection of the team members. The amount of team members depends on the amount of finances and anticipated finances for the year.

We start with a club in very early September. During the club phase the students prove their committment to the team. In late December after a second interview the official team is selected. Most of the club members make the team. All students go to all events unless there are extenuating circumstances that would prevent them attending.

Participation in fundraisers during the club phase is important as well as participation in many activities.

Posted by Jason Morrella.

Coach on team #254, Cheesy Poofs/Bay Bombers, from Broadway High and NASA Ames.

Posted on 11/7/99 10:10 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Michael Martus on 11/7/99 7:20 PM MST:

Good question, we have always been curious how other teams/schools decide this. Here is what we do.

If we raise enough money, everyone goes. But if not, the students know in advance what criteria we will use to choose who goes to each competition.

#1 students must have A’s or B’s in all of their classes for the entire year
#2 their ON TIME attendance in school must be over 90% in EVERY class, including 1st period every month
#3 we chart the hours that each student spends on team functions, events, meetings, etc.

This way the students know what they need to do and what is expected of them if they want to be guaranteed to travel with the team to competitions. I think it works well, especially since for us the main purpose of FIRST is to get the students to value their education and excel in school across the board - not just in the robotics class.

Jason

Posted by Justin.

Other on team Blue Lightning Alum from RWU sponsored by FIRST-A-holics Anonymous.

Posted on 11/7/99 10:41 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Jason Morrella on 11/7/99 10:10 PM MST:

We (Blue Lightning) never really knew what the citeria was. Unfortently in many cases it came down to the preferences of the advisors this got messy as u can imagine. I’m interested in the fact that most teams seem to make it clear the # of kids that were going at the very begining. We always found the problem with this is the if we had 30 ppl and 20 were going then ppl would look around the room and start counting off the 20 that were going once they determined they weren’t in the running they slacked off. On our team it usally wasn’t hard to know who was going because there was typically a group of 15 that basically were going regardless these were the kids who were drivers/opps and usally the seniors that put a lot into the program…and then whoever else after that. Some might say well so what if the kids who didn’t think they were gonna make it slacked off. Well the problem with that is they would do this after they already had candy to sell, or roles to play. To some extent all of this was cause by the very cliquey nature of the our team…the veterans were very intimidating to the new members. This was our expirence.

-Justin

Posted by Susanne Krussell.

Coach on team #349, RoBahamas, from International Academy and Ford Motor Co…

Posted on 11/8/99 6:50 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Justin on 11/7/99 10:41 PM MST:

Justin, You make some excellent points.

If you can’t take 30 or 40 kids with you, then why have 30 or 40 kids on your team? What a terrible disappointment for a kid. It will break down any team building efforts you make throughout the year. This can make for very ugly competition between the kids, some subtle,and some blatant. A unified team working toward a common goal is what to work for. When they know they’re all going, they will all work together better.

And after several years of FIRST experience, I can tell you that an ‘A’ student does not always equal a good team member. Don’t neglect to look at those ‘B’ and ‘C’ students. ‘A’ students are good on paper, but frequently are not risk-taking survivors, nor are they necessarily mechanically inclined, or creative at design.

I didn’t see that anyone has mentioned parents yet, but they can be a serious issue. Unless you have your requirements spelled out in great detail and in advance, you may come across the parent from hell if their kid doesn’t get to travel. Yet another reason to choose only the number of kids you can really support.

Posted by Fran .

Other on team #166, Team Merrimack, from Merrimack High School and Unitrode/R.S. Machines.

Posted on 11/8/99 9:01 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Susanne Krussell on 11/8/99 6:50 PM MST:

Everyone on our team has the opportunity to go provided they can afford it. We barely raise our fees plus paying for 4 chaperones and t-shirts, so the kids fundraise and candy sales count for their own personal credit and then they must make up the balance. The school requires that teachers sign off on each student and grades of C are required. The team requires active participation in any area…some just want to do animation and that is ok, some do it all, some ‘just build’ but no one goes unless they actively do something. We take 30 to Disney usually but we have a team of 45. Those who don’t go usually have personal reasons like a job or prom or state band committment ot parents who object to kids going to Disney on their own or maybe they couldn’t raise the money. We have only forbidden 1 or 2 kids who didn’t keep up their end of the bargain and we have found money to help 1 or 2 who did a lot but couldn’t raise the money.

Fran
Team 166

: Justin, You make some excellent points.

: If you can’t take 30 or 40 kids with you, then why have 30 or 40 kids on your team? What a terrible disappointment for a kid. It will break down any team building efforts you make throughout the year. This can make for very ugly competition between the kids, some subtle,and some blatant. A unified team working toward a common goal is what to work for. When they know they’re all going, they will all work together better.

: And after several years of FIRST experience, I can tell you that an ‘A’ student does not always equal a good team member. Don’t neglect to look at those ‘B’ and ‘C’ students. ‘A’ students are good on paper, but frequently are not risk-taking survivors, nor are they necessarily mechanically inclined, or creative at design.

: I didn’t see that anyone has mentioned parents yet, but they can be a serious issue. Unless you have your requirements spelled out in great detail and in advance, you may come across the parent from hell if their kid doesn’t get to travel. Yet another reason to choose only the number of kids you can really support.

:

Posted by Tom.

Other on team none from none sponsored by none.

Posted on 11/9/99 11:29 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Susanne Krussell on 11/8/99 6:50 PM MST:

Susanne,

I am not so sure that I agree with you on your point of 'If you can’t take 30 or 40 kids with you, then why have 30 or 40 kids on your team? '. When I was a sophmore in high school in 1996 i worked on the project long and hard (300hrs+) during the six weeks, but I still got left off of our traveling team that year. Sure I was upset, at first, but after thinking about it a little while longer I knew that it might have been one of the most important things to happen to me during my high school years. To me it was a challenge, it inspired me to work even harder the next year. The pupose of the program is to inspire kids in the fields of math and science and not to bring everyone to disney world. Kids that get left behind can get just as much out of progam as the kids that do travell. I think that the more students you can infect with the ‘FIRST’ virus the better off those kids will be in the future. Just my opinion.

Tom

Posted by colleen.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Other on team #246, a FIRST-aholic, from John D. O’Byrant High School/BU Academy and Boston University/Wentworth Institute of Technology/MassPEP.

Posted on 11/10/99 4:26 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Tom on 11/9/99 11:29 AM MST:

Despite the fact that i made the travel team all my 4 years of high school, i have to agree that kids should realize that that isn’t what FIRST is about. We always welcomed everyone on our team… and had a yearly average of 60 or 70 who sign up to begin with… and in some way shape of form… probably at least 40 or so… participate on the team. even knowing that, my past team never took 40 kids to disneyworld… but that never stops those 40 from helping out…

my point, if the kids easy enough stop doing work because they think they won’t go, then they are likely in it for the wrong reasons… yeah, everyone wants to go to disney, but if you’d rather count yourself out cause you know others will do more work then try and at least work up to that level, you’re missing the point. i know that was always something that drove me to work harder the nights i’d see other sitting around doing nothing, or knowing i could be out with my non-FIRST friends… if it wasn’t the fact that i was addicted, it was the fact that if i knew if i wanted a chance to travel with my team and take part in the nationals, that’s what it took…

and i commend people like Tom who can see that FIRST isn’t about the trip to Florida but what you learn and being on the team… i remember that year too… there were 20 kids my team wanted to take… and they could only afford 18… even knowing he was not going, Tom was there working right up 'til the robot shipped, and there those 3 days after regionals… when some of the kids on the travel team weren’t…

Posted by Andy Baker.

Engineer on team #45, TechnoKats, from Kokomo High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 11/7/99 11:28 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Jason Morrella on 11/7/99 10:10 PM MST:

During the past two years, we have had two main criteria for allowing student travel.

  1. Grades
  2. Point System (based on involvement)

Our ‘student contract’ signifies that if a student doesn’t have a ‘C’ average or better, then they cannot travel.

Also, we have had this point system. Students would get 10 points per meeting in the fall (plus some for events), and points in Jan. & Feb. for hours they were productive. In order for thier time to be recorded, a coach had to sign for them. We had a minium point level that had to be reached before they were approved to travel. Our point level was 300 points, while we had some students who had over 1200.

This point system was difficult to keep, needless to say. Jeff Burch did a great job with it, but we are going to try something new this year.

We still are going to have the grade requirements, but we will treat each student case by case. With the student’s input, we decided on a new system.

This system includes three things: a task sheet, a journal (optional) and two meetings.

The task sheet is a tool that a student can use that is sorta like the badges boy scouts get for completing tasks. If they get trained on a band saw, they complete the task. If they make a presentation, then they complete the task. If they design a sub-assemlby… you get the idea. We’ll have many tasks to complete.

Any student who will not be spending as much time with the team as others (like if they have a part time job, of if they’re on a sports team), then they need to keep a journal of thier efforts. This journal comes in handy during the two ‘meetings’.

The ‘meetings’ consist of a leadership group (coaches and 1 or 2 student reps). These will take place during the end of Jan. and the end of Feb. Students who have made ‘questionable’ efforts will be reviewed during this meeting, and then given a chance to step-up their efforts. By the time the next meeting in Feb. comes up, then either the student has improved, or they haven’t. This improvement is measured by their completing their ‘tasks’ and how much they have done, which should be recorded in their ‘journals’.

We’ll see how it goes. This change is reflective with our team getting older and our students maturing. Also, this gives them some more responsibility.

I’ll stop rambling.

Andy B.

Posted by Greg Mills.

Engineer on team #16, Baxter Bomb Squad, from Mountain Home and Baxter Healthcare.

Posted on 11/8/99 8:44 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: Selection of students to attend competitions posted by Jason Morrella on 11/7/99 10:10 PM MST:

We select the team based on interviews, a submitted resume, teachers referrals, etc. This selection takes place in the Spring. We have 24 members this year and all will go unless a student doesn't keep up their end of the deal (one time in 4 years). We don't use grades as a citeria, alot of our team doesn't start with good grades. Some of our students are picked because they are doing great, some are picked because they aren't doing great. The hope is to inspire the underacheivers by making them part of a team that includes people that they normally wouldn't interact with. The team selection is a tough deal, we had 18 students from the '99 team that applied and weren't picked for the 2000 Squad. We only carry over about 5 students each year with the rest of the team rookies.