Student Participation Agreement

Hi,

Last year, my team had a bit of a problem with attendance (on the order of 10^0). As a result, the leaders have decided upon two things to fix this issue. First, the new attendance policy is “To miss one time is alright—to miss twice means take a hike!” Second, the student participation agreement is as follows:

By being selected as part of the Missouri Academy Robotics Club (used interchangeably with “MASMAbots”), I agree to the following behaviors, stipulations and methods of accountability:

  • Without fail, abide by the principles of Integrity and quality.
  • Earn and maintain a minimum trimester AND cumulative GPA of 3.0 by the conclusion of Fall 2008, without exception.
  • Attend and participate in meetings and activities as scheduled.
  • Abide by the schedule and time line set by the robotics club co-president, FIRST, or the robotics club adviser.
  • Positively represent the Missouri Academy and Northwest and understand that I must abide by all Missouri Academy and Northwest policies and regulations.
  • Pay expenses not covered by the Missouri Academy which may include, but are not limited to, meals before and after the conference, club apparel and other spirit items.
  • Be present and available at all departures for the competition.
  • Present the results of the competition and your involvement with the robotics club to the Missouri Academy staff no later than the end of April, 2008 unless directed otherwise.
  • Abide by all FIRST standards, policies and regulations.

I, _______________________________________________, accept this position on the robotics club of the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University and all of the responsibilities therein. In the unlikely event that I am unable to attend the competition in Kansas City, I will either find a suitable replacement to be approved by the co-presidents and advisor, or will pay the full registration fee to the Missouri Academy. Furthermore, as a delegate, if I am found responsible for violating any of the aforementioned or implied standards and policies, any delegate will be financially responsible for refunding the Missouri Academy the entire amount of registration, travel, and other costs associated with my membership.


Delegate Signature Date


Co-President Signature Date


Advisor Initial Date

Personally, I disagree with the highly ambiguous wording that our advisor (our school’s dean of student development) has included in this document. Consequently I also disagree with forcing members to pay an unknown amount of money (presumably at least six grand) for missing two meetings, or being unable to attend the competition.

I want to persuade our advisor to rephrase the entire document, removing major monetary commitments from our members. I would like to present to him an example of what successful FIRST teams have their members sign.

Please leave your thoughts on this subject, feel free to ask questions, and most of all, your team’s student participation agreement!

Thanks,
Mason K.

Hi Mason,

I must say I totally agree with you regarding this “agreement”. it looks much more like a deal with the devil than an agreement to participate in the best robotics competition in the known universe! :rolleyes:

I can relate to your attendance problem: we had a similar issue where we had about 15 registered team members but only 4 were really into the project.

Our approach to the problem has been to try and explain to people how much they can benefit from the project as well as how much work is put into it so they can be a part of it.

I can see a situation where a real agreement could be signed but I think it should be more in the spirit of:

  • I want to be part of the FIRST robotics Challenge.
  • I understand that lots of people work very hard to make it possible for me and my teammates to be part of the FRC.
  • I promise to do my best to attend all team meetings and events.
  • I will do my best to help the team as much as I can.

I think a list like that would be better for you, because you don’t really want anyone involved if they don’t want to - but you do want them to respect the program and commit to being a part of it.

Good luck!
-Leav

ditto it seems too unfair. A “suitable replacement” ? what the heck is that supposed to mean? I personally dont think that everyone on the team needs to go to a regional if they dont want to. remember: family, grades, and health are much much more important than FIRST. Keep that in mind. Won’t there be some exceptions to the rule? What if a funeral or wedding is during when the competetion is?

Would you find a suitable replacement by simply finding another student? that would not work.

just my opinions, vivek

If you really want more membership make them pay a “club fee” of 50-100 dollars. That way, the people that are involved will stay involved because of the monetary commitment. Also, plan the meetings to be fun and productive. No body likes being bored and not getting done at meetings. If that is the case, no body will show up.

I would say maybe make 3 meetings mandatory per week. and they can choose which ones they come to unless they are busy some day.

I understand the problem that your team is going through. Many teams have problem with attendance with their students.

Is this policy for the time during the six weeks, or for the entire season?
It seems a little strict in my opinion. As a former student, I know there were times when I just couldn’t make it, for a number of reasons. Since the agreement requires a 3.0 GPA for the entire time on the team, you might want to bring up to the advisor that students need to study for tests and finals, work on projects, etc. Sometimes students need a lot of time to work on such things, which could lead to them missing at least one robotics meeting, but probably a few more as well.

I definitely agree with you about the wording of the actual document. It is more foreboding than it is welcoming and about FIRST, and I get a little confused about the actual costs needing to be paid if a student ends up not being able to go to a competition. Do they mean the student will have to pay the entire $6000, or do they mean the student would pay his/her fraction of that cost? One last thing I’m semi-confused about is finding the “suitable replacement”. Are they referring to someone else on the team, or someone completely new? If it’s the latter, that would be difficult to do, as the team would be extremely far in the season and a new student would be thrown into something they probably know relatively little about.

These are some of things you should bring up to the advisor. Like Leav said, you want students who WANT to be there; if they keep coming because they are afraid of violating the terms in the agreement, the entire team morale could go down.

This is a very touchy situation. I wish you all the best with finding a solution!
:slight_smile:

That sounds impossible to maintain. People slip up, it’s a fact of life. I’d eliminate the grade quota.

well a 3.0 is B average. I would suggest making it atleast a c average. FIRST, although supposed to be for the academic elite in the beginning, has become something that gives people a chance to do something in their lives. Remember, this is a program that will affect a kids whole life. Chances are if they are in FIRST they will be motivated to keep up their grades so they can go into whatever career they want.

-vivek

I don’t have too much of an issue with the bulleted part. The GPA maybe, and the attendance bullet should include something about “unless prior commitments interfere,” but that seems to be all right.The attendance policy should probably be a little looser–twice unexcused would be better.

What worries me is the agreement part. The replacement/pay full registration fee for not attending the regional is particularly bothersome. There have been known cases of people getting sick at events. If the student was sick, I don’t think it’s fair to force them to come, which is what that sentence does. It’s also not fair to everyone else at the event who might get sick.

What is even worse is the last sentence.

Furthermore, as a delegate, if I am found responsible for violating any of the aforementioned or implied standards and policies, any delegate will be financially responsible for refunding the Missouri Academy the entire amount of registration, travel, and other costs associated with my membership.
OK, so if I am a member and I violate policies, who pays the ($6,000+)? Is it me, or is it someone else? Is the registration by share, or not? What are the implied policies?

Not to mention that the use of the term “delegate” implies a conference, not a competition. “Team member” would be more appropriate.

On my team, we only have two meetings that you have to show up at per week. Other than that, there is a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” that pretty much says “I agree to follow all the rules that are in the school Code of Conduct and imposed by our work area. I also agree to be careful and not engage in horseplay.” It’s a bit more detailed than that, but everything on there boils down to those two sentences. We’ve almost never had a problem.

I want to thank you all again for posting here, it will be a big help!

As it may be important, I would like to give a brief history of 2167, and perhaps this will answer some of your questions.

First off, 2167 is comprised of students from the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing. This is a residential high school program that essentially replaces the last two years of high school with the first two years of college at Northwest Missouri State University (which is your average small state college… with a great band and education program). There are entrance requirements that essentially set the demographic of students who have found their high school too easy, unchanging, and boring. to remain a student at the academy, you must keep a college GPA of 2.75 or greater, fail no more than one class, and avoid being expelled for non-academic issues. Because it’s a residential system, they have a privilege system that grants extra freedoms to students with a GPA at or above 3.25

Last year, I started the academy’s first ever robotics program, and proceeded to lead a pre-season lego competition. The idea was to get everyone in the mindset for build season. unfortunately, the majority of the team did not respond well to this, and meetings where more like waisted time. Come build season, we still did not have a professional mentor, and I comprised about 95% of the knowledge about any given game rule. though the first week of build season we conducted productive design and strategy meetings, I was commonly the only one “available” to work on the robot despite the fact that the robot room was open for team members to build from 4pm to 6pm every day. after about 4 weeks, I had spent too much time worrying about the fate of the team, and not enough on learning calculus, or staying awake during Chemestry 2. The Dean of Student Development then decided that it would behoove me to quit all affiliation with the robotics team for the remainder of that semester. At this point, our vice president, who helped me start the team took controll, and somehow everyone finally figured out that the robot wouldn’t build it’s self. The team went on to compete in the St. Louis regional, and receive “medallions of failure” as one team member jokingly called them.

This year, my GPA is 2.83, and is too low to think about leading any clubs or organizations. I passed the power to our two most active members. Also, the Dean of Student Development decided that he should advise the club, seeing as we spent $11,500 of our $9,500 “projected budget”. This year, our budget is $9,000 (if I’m not mistaken). And, as I mentioned before, the new team leadership has taken two steps towards fixing the attendance issues.

If I where still team leader (Grad Master, under the constitution set out at the beginning of last year) I would be confidant that because we have 100% of our members who have not graduated from the academy returning, they will spread the message and need of attending build meetings to our new students. Also, I would amend to the constitution a need for all members to sign a contract stating that they are aware of the commitment that the task requires to be done correctly, and that they plan to contribute as much as they can, within reason.

And if you’d like to skip all that text…

I would still like to see an actual example of another team’s student agreement!

And Also, I want to ask all of you if it would be alright for me to quote your statements, as I try to persuade our advisor.

Thanks so much,
Mason

Looks like I was wrong about the Gentlemen’s Agreement. It’s actually on the application to join the team.

You can use what I said, other than the last paragraph of my last post in this thread. I personally think that the advisor will agree about his statement being extremely vague. (In contracts, the more specific, the better, so that everybody is sure of what they need to do/what the penalties are.)

I found a copy of the SciBorgs Constitution already uploaded to CD.

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/1862

There have been a few minor amendments since then, but this should help you greatly.

As to attendance: we have a small team overall and an even smaller truly dedicated team. However, we do try to recruit and give everyone, veteran and fresh recruit, a packet of forms to fill out and sign every year. We don’t have grade or meeting requirements and rely mostly on personal honesty and trust everyone’s list of their own priorities.

As to forms: we have a contact and medical, a student/parent expectations form (see below), consent and release forms for the competitions, personal vehicle use forms, the school’s medical forms and the school’s field trip permission forms for individual trips (competitions, demos, public relations, etc).

This is our team’s expectations form.

~Begin Form~

We expect all team members to follow some basic rules of conduct and participation. To indicate your understanding
and acceptance of these expectations, please read each of the following sections, and sign at the end.

Student Expectations

Every student team member agrees to the following:
This is a team.

I will treat other team members with respect.

Many adults support our work. I will treat mentors, parent supervisors, and faculty advisers with respect. I will follow the rules established by these adults.

The tools we use can be dangerous. I will exercise appropriate caution and follow safety procedures when using tools. I will ask for instructions before using tools I am not familiar with.

Any member’s actions reflect upon the whole team. I will conduct myself in a responsible and mature manner at all public team events.

We do not have a team bus (yet). I will arrange my own transportation when attending team meetings, competitions, or other team events.

Critical team communications occur via email. I will check my e-mail as regularly as possible for robotics-related purposes.

Parent/Guardian Expectations

The parents of student team members agree to the following:

My son/daughter is joining the M-A Robotics Team. I have read and support what is expected of them (“Student Expectations”).

All families share the responsibility for providing food and supervision. I will try to have my family contribute at least one food or supervision slot during this year’s build season.
Parent awareness improves support.

I will keep myself informed, by attending parent meetings and/or reading the email meeting notes.

~End Form~

This has been modified since 2006, and is on one sheet of paper. Putting both the parent and student requirements on a single sheet of paper increases the chances of both sets of expectations being read. We haven’t ever had problems with discipline or anything else, so we no longer write out the disciplinary measures if the expectations are not followed.

I’m sorry for being long-winded, but so is the list of forms. Luckily these forms only need to be filled out once a year. A necessary evil, as my friend (Co-President, so I guess that’s what one of the Co-Presidents must do) and her mom (who deal with the paperwork) put it.

We’re a generally small team and, as with most of you, only have about four dedicated members. I believe the only forms filled out were the school’s medical/extracurricular documents. We didn’t make up anything for our club, but the basic ruling was to attend 80% of the meetings. Though most people were fine with it, come time to build the robot they didn’t really do much, if at all. Personally, I think the forms depend on the teams and their situations.

Also, I agree that the costs clause is perplexing. After reading your second post I understand where they came from with that document, but it almost have the nature of a luxury business trip form. Too tired to be original, so ditto what EricH said. :smiley:

http://www.usfirst.org/community/frc/content.aspx?id=7022
check out some of the examples for expectations for students in these team manuals.

MARS developed a form that students and their parents are asked to sign upon joining the club. It explains our basic expectations. A copy of last year’s form can be found here: http://marsbot.org/files/2007expectations.pdf Perhaps this will be helpful.

To follow up on Mika’s post, here is a link to the actual PDF file for the form we ask students to sign, in our case called “Team Expectations”:

http://team.marobotics.org/forms/07/team_contract.pdf

As mentioned, Team 766 isn’t exactly inundated with membership applications, so we wanted to avoid having a contract that seemed too intimidating. Besides, for the most part the students on our team are cooperative and enthusiastic, so it’s not like we have a great need for regulations and rules. However, we still like the idea of having some kind of participation agreement, hence the aforementioned form being one of the two essential ones required in order to be considered a member (the second one being the team medical/contact info form in case of emergencies, as noted by Mika).

Compare this current version with our previous rendition, which was a bit on the authoritarian side, focused on consequences, and included mentor expectations (:confused:):

http://team.marobotics.org/documents/RoboticsContract.html

I strongly disliked the older version in both its tone and its efficiency, so I took it upon myself to rewrite the expectations in as positive and succinct a manner as possible. In particular, I provided a clear reason for each request we were making to try and emphasize that the purpose of the expectations is to streamline team activities, not to entangle people in unnecessary strictures.

Personally, and by personally I speak on the behalf of team 1024, we had a huge issue the past couple years with several (maybe about 6~8) people who magically showed up on the day we were going to leave to go out of town, and were registered for the team, but never showed up on any or many of the work days. Obviously they just wanted to cut class.

So, after rummaging around in the attic of McKenzie career center, we found a timecard puncher and a huuuuuge stack of timecards. Now we have a forty hour requirement that is surveyed by your subteam leader (programming, electrical, etc.). Basically, if you don’t have forty documented hours, you don’t travel.

Of course my programming kids won’t have any problem with that… considering they’ve already met the 40 hour requirement and the season HASN’T EVEN STARTED…

Does that make me mean? :]

Quick swerve off topic: The programming project I dreamed up for us to work on ‘does the wave’ with a row of 8 airplane servos… turned out rockin sweet. I’ll have to post video of it sometime… makes what looks just like ocean waves with a row of notecards… unfortunately, I opened a whole can of worms diving into some trig stuff: Now they want to build a small pen plotter! Oh if only we had more time before the season started…

-q

i think the grade thing is not a good idea i may scare off some kids who need this program to help them,
get the students on the team then help put up there grades
as for atendents rules will not help you need to make them want to come the meetings in the season
as for off season meeting while that a different story they may need some force

Since our team operates on a 5 day build schedule, We have 4 days mandated. You can miss one day a week, but Saturday is mandatory! Otherwise you are considered inactive unless you talk to our club supervisor. This means you can participate in functions, but not go to events that we have to stay overnight!

well, thank you all for trying to help me and my team through this. It seems like we’ve concocted a plan to rally up support while not angering our advisor… and hopefully this action will alow us to operate closer to the ideals that first represents. thanks again!

i think your team should put minimums on the amount of work that the team members have to put in, such as:
3/5 days a week or minimum 15 hours a week during build season.

Thats a bit less threatening and maybe even only allow team members with enough hours to go on trips and so on.