Single team from multiple schools?

Team 1595 is based in a very small school (~120 kids in the high school) and thus has never had a very large team. However, we are considering opening up the program to other schools in our area in the hopes of getting more students and mentors. That being said, there are some logistical challenges, such as times for working (right after school really isn’t an option, and going from 4:00-6:30 might cause issues for students who need to take the bus), as well as some members being left out of the loop because they don’t attend the base school and can’t be present for all progress which is made.

Does anybody have any thoughts or experiences about teams made up from multiple schools? How do others find adequate work time?

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IIRC, 125 is made up of students from 4 schools in the Greater Boston Area:

Brookline High School
Boston Latin School
Revere High School
Urban Science Academy

Many teams are composed in areas where the schools are completely unwilling to host any sort of FRC team, and so get students from every area school and homeschoolers as well.

We’ve found the homeschoolers to be some of the best students, due to several factors, including that schedule flexibility. Put school (slightly) on hold to learn some stuff…

1678 has students from 5 schools.

1810 is made up of students from the two high schools in the district; Mill Valley & Desoto. While Mill Valley is the main school, Desoto was only added five years ago when students showed an interest in it and reached out to join. We meet from 6-9pm for weekday meetings so that way students have time to go home, do homework, and eat dinner. Mentors will also be off work by the time we start our meetings.

We try to make sure we present opportunities to join our team the same at both high schools by attending the same events at both schools (Incoming Freshmen night and Freshmen day primarily). There’s a definite difference in the amount of students from the two high schools and distance from MV can be hard when you’re driving to and from every night for six weeks. The schools are in different cities 20 minutes apart from one another. I believe some do carpool to get to the school, which also becomes easier as older students who drive themselves join.

Team 1732 has students from two schools, Marquette University High School and Divine Savior Holy Angels High School. During the build season, we met at MUHS, where our shop is, from 6:30-9 on Monday through Thursday and from 9-4 on Saturdays. During crunch time when we extend hours and call extra meetings, we are understanding of the travel times for some students.

For communication, we started using Slack this year and have had great results. Each subteam has a channel for whatever they want, we have a nightly update channel to post pictures and project updates, and we make channels for different events so we can keep information in one place. We also do big email blasts before tournaments, kickoff, and other events, to send all the information out to parents. It still isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a huge improvement, and really helps keep everyone up to date.

The vast majority of our meetings are held at MUHS, but we try to have a few at DSHA every year. We’ve held our post-kickoff meetings there for a few years, had travel meetings there, and had build meetings in their backstage area while we were locked out of MUHS. We also run demos there and go to events like their open house to try to be more involved.

Our team branding is a problem that comes up every so often. We use the name, mascot, and colors of just one school. All of our shirts have both school logos, plus our pit has giant versions of each, but that still means one school is really underrepresented. This is still an open issue that we haven’t figured out yet.

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First, congratulations on your team’s insanely great 2017 season! DCA+4BB=uber:cool:

Next: many teams (maybe yours?) have mentors who arrive sometime after 5pm. On some teams I have mentored, the time between end-of-school and arrival-of-mentors is a challenge for the (often solo) adult leader in charge of the physical work location. We have a policy that students may not work on robotics until they have finished their schoolwork assignments – this way, school gets its deserved priority instead of being put off until late-night after robotics adjourns. This policy keeps students on the good side of teachers and parents, and it helps keep the team GPA high.

During the hours between 3pm and 5pm, most of our students are studying. A few, who are caught up on schoolwork, are on previously assigned robotics tasks. My current team only admits students enrolled at the host school, but on my previous team there were students who traveled to the robotics site from a different school, or from home, during that time.

At 5pm we start our team meeting, at which student leaders review project status and assign tasks for the evening. Then we eat. Parents and mentors take turns hosting the meals, and we have had good luck getting meal hosts for all work sessions during build season. We work 4 or 5 weeknights until 9pm (later near bag deadline) and Saturdays from 9am until early/mid afternoon.

Team 1305 (Ice Cubed), from North Bay, ON, Canada has operated as a multi-school team for many years.

When we first started, we were able to recruit teacher mentors from mutliple schools and got the support of the local school board. They allowed us to use space at a few different high schools around the community. We tried to be as fair as possible to all of the students, and we split up meetings between a few different schools (Business/Chairman’s Meetings at one school, Build/Robot Meetings another). In order to fit everyone’s schedules, including community mentors that had to work until 4:30-5PM, we start our meetings around 5:30PM, and usually run until 9-10PM during Build Season.

A few years ago, a Teacher Strike forced us to stop meeting at all of the high schools. Luckily, we were able to form a partnership with the local College, who gave us tons of space and access to their Machine Shop. Since then, we’ve operated as a Community Team, not tied directly to any school (but, the School Board is still a big supporter and sponsor of the team).

95 has students from 4 local high schools and home schoolers.

It tends to work out alright, and I’ve always liked the way that it brings students from different schools together. There are some strong rivalries between our schools and sometimes things get a little over heated between them. But on the team I’ve seen kids from these schools become fast friends. That’s pretty awesome.

Scheduling is pretty simple. During the build season we meet every weeknight 5 to 9, and all day Saturday. Obviously no one attends every meeting, but everyone is bound to have at least one meeting a week that works for their schedule.

After that it’s just about making the team and meetings fun and attractive enough that students (and coaches!) prioritize being there.

2877 is made up of students from Newton North and Newton South high schools. During preseason we split our two weekly meetings between the schools but during build we have all of our meetings at Newton North. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

1257 is comprised of 5 schools on a single campus as part of a district, so our situation is a little different.

1923 is made up of students from two schools, but I think their actual mentors could speak to it better.

2826 is open to any high school aged student in our county. We’ve had kids from 4 public high schools, 2 or 3 private religious schools, and several home school kids over the years.

There aren’t very many frc teams in my state, so we pull in students from all over our school district. We usually have our off build meetings from 5:30 - 8:30. This makes it so mentors can have time to drive over after work and so it doesn’t alienate students who live further out.

During the build season, we meet Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 - 8:30 and on Saturdays from 8:00 - 8:00. The only conflicts that normally happens are with other after school activities.

No guarantee that these times will work for you, but they’ve worked well for us for many years.

We are a 4H community based team - I’d guess 90 percent of students from 1 school (Guilford CT High School), but we have had as many as 7 schools represented, I believe 5 schools this year.

My team (IronHorse Robotics) just became a community team last summer, after having been at our high school for 8 years. At first we definitely faced some recruitment issues but we’ve remedied that. We’ve created a website that includes a series of guides on how to successfully move to a community team. Check it out at Hope it helps!

4468 has students from schools all over the county, homeschoolers, online schoolers, and (I think) outside of the county. We meet Wednesdays from 4 to 6:30 and Saturdays from 9 to 4ish, but more frequently during build season. It works pretty well, and some people come to us instead of their school’s team.

Here in the PNW you should talk to 2471 and 4450.

At 1902 we have kids from 12 schools and 5 counties, including home schoolers. We have students from all over an area spanning 1200 miles. The challenge is that we aren’t a school team, we run through 4-H and have to find and pay for a build site that is local enough to all our members.

…And 753 in Bend, OR. :slight_smile:

3230, PrototypeX, is composed of 15-20 team members from multiple schools, charter schools, and homeschoolers, and it has worked very well for us. The trick is finding place to work since the schools our team members come from don’t have an FRC program.