New York 2014

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Re: New York 2014

Postby olympiaddict » March 12th, 2014, 5:22 pm

Furthermore, our actual coach was contacted immediately upon disqualification. It seems perfectly clear who was the appropriate contact point, but East makes another relevant point- a couple of emails with a CC would have taken under 5 minutes.

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Re: New York 2014

Postby eidanjacob » March 12th, 2014, 5:27 pm

With all due respect Mr. Boyd, it seemed to me that some bias against Ward Melville's students discouraged Mr. Miller from making anything more than a weak effort to contact Ward Melville. They have been incredibly respectful to you considering the terrible situation they have been placed in, and I really think you need to give Ward Melville's students a chance.

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Re: New York 2014

Postby FueL » March 12th, 2014, 6:08 pm

Mr. Boyd, thanks so much for taking the time to bring up your concerns about this issue. Because they have already been addressed so effectively by other members of the forum, I'll respond to them briefly.

1. I believe the reason the response to our disqualification was so great is because multiple members of our team expressed on the forum how much Science Olympiad means to us and how hard we have worked. If Great Neck South had reached out similarly, I am 100% confident that the SciO community, which can relate perfectly to the amount of dedication fellow students put into this competition, would have supported them just as greatly.

2. Might I ask what expressing anger toward the auditor who could not come in because he was sick, our school's business office, or our own coach would accomplish in this situation? Our school principal has already taken steps to make sure our school district never makes this sort of administrative error again. Now we are asking NYSSO to change for the better as well, in a way that would benefit the future students that participate in this program.

3. Ward Melville does not have six active coaches. The two coaches listed for the Ward Melville team that was invited to the state tournament were never contacted by NYSSO.

Mr. Boyd, you stated that you have been a SciO coach for 17 years. I'm sure that over that period of time, you've seen how much heart kids put into their events, science, and Science Olympiad, and the bonds that have formed between them thanks to this organization. I ask you to empathize with everything Ward Melville SciO has gone through the past week. If there's anything that we as students have said that you have found inappropriate, I apologize. But we really hope we can start a discussion about what's happened, and what will happen, which brings me to:
I am not here to debate the merits of the policy or the appropriateness of the penalty for missing the registration deadline
This is what I'm sure every member of Ward Melville SciO wishes you came here to discuss. We have been shut out of the competition for something that was completely outside of our control. Yes, our school district should have handled the paperwork processing better, but in the end it was the students that were impacted, permanently and completely. That's why we're fighting for a change in this policy. Administration is administration, and kids doing science are kids doing science. That distinction should be made.
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Re: New York 2014

Postby haverstall » March 12th, 2014, 6:15 pm

Mr. Boyd, first off thank you for the service that you have done for the NYSSO community. While I am not involved in any way with New York Science Olympiad, it is evident with participation in the state and the general enthusiasm of friends in Science Olympiad that I have made over the years that you have a great program, and I hope that this tradition will continue in the future.

Without beating a dead horse, I do want address the point that you made, just to continue the dialogue.

1. I think there may be some sort of sensationalism due to the fact that Ward Melville is the defending state champions, but if the situation with Great Neck South had been repeated today, I believe that the Scioly.org community would fight just as hard, and possibly even more so.

2. In my mind, there is just as much anger directed towards the administration as with the NYSSO Board, but I think the main difference is that the administration has owned up to their mistakes and as a result of their failings have supported this cause. On the other hand, the NYSSO board, and specifically Mr. Howard Miller have not apologized for their side of the situation. I'm not one to stir up controversy, but this article has really changed my mindset about this situation. Initially, I thought all of the blame should be on the administration, the auditor, and the coaches, but after reading this article, I have changed my views on this situation. While the article does seem to put Mr. Miller is a slightly negative light, his reasoning for contacting the incorrect coach is something I would not expect from someone who has been responsible for running NYSSO. As many students have stated, the coach who was called was the one listed on the "Team 2" roster, not the "Team 1" roster. Common protocol would be to call the coach of the winning team, "Team 1" yet, Mr. Miller's reasoning for contacting the coach of "Team 2" was simply because he was familiar with her. Perhaps one phone call would have been acceptable, but in the article, it states that Miller left two messages. While I don't know the timeframe between the two phone calls, but if I had not gotten a reply from one out of three people, my next instinct would be to call one of the other coaches to ensure that the message would be sent across to the team. Why is the collective mind of Scioly.org focusing on NYSSO? Because unlike the administration of Ward Melville, NYSSO has not apologized for their mistakes in this situation as well, how small they may have been.

3. I think I respond to this point fairly adequately in the above point. But if I may add one point, this coach had been retired for 6 years. Seeing as Ward Melville has been to the state tournament for these past 6 years, one would hope that the NYSSO board would familiar with this situation and perhaps even more familiar with the head coach of team. As a former high school journalist, when I would contact the head of a school team, I wouldn't go towards the assistant coach or a volunteer; I would go to the head coach to get the most information.

So those are my two cents. Take it as you will, but I do hope that you can see my point as an outsider to this situation, and why I am support Ward Melville in this case. Again, thank you for all this service and I hope this conflict will resolve itself peacefully and teach us all a valuable lesson.
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Re: New York 2014

Postby Luo » March 12th, 2014, 6:24 pm

Furthermore, our actual coach was contacted immediately upon disqualification. It seems perfectly clear who was the appropriate contact point
I think that this^ point is particularly compelling because it raises the question of whether Ward Melville was treated equitably in the situation. If Harold Miller knew immediately upon Ward Melville's disqualification to call Ward Melville's actual coach, why did he not contact that coach earlier, particularly if that coach was listed as Team 1's coach? I believe that a response from the NYSSO board regarding these actions is warranted, to dispel any appearance of impropriety if there is a legitimate explanation. While the NYSSO board uses equitability as the pillar of their insistence to not grant an exception, it appears that NYSSO's own actions were not equitable in the first place. If anything, this inequitable treatment of Ward Melville should be grounds, in and of itself, to make an exception for Ward Melville.
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Re: New York 2014

Postby Flavorflav » March 12th, 2014, 6:25 pm

I might add that when I heard about Great Neck South I spoke to Mr. Miller and another Board member to inquire as to the details, and expressed my concern that the penalty seemed harsh. I recall being told that the case was pretty clear and that they (Great Neck) had made little effort to secure their registration until a week after the deadline, IIRC - although I do recall that there was a bad phone number in that case as well.

It seems to me that there could be a grace period. We are all volunteers here, or near enough. It seems like simple courtesy.

Out of curiosity, Mr. Boyd, do you know how many personal checks Mr. Miller is holding? There was not a lot of lead time this year, and I know it was very difficult for many districts to meet the deadline. That all but WM were able to do so is to their shame, but that so many had to scramble for it is to SO's.

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Re: New York 2014

Postby blockhead » March 12th, 2014, 6:27 pm

To Mr Boyd
1.You find it interesting that Great Neck South didn’t garner the same level of support as WM. What are you alluding to? What difference between the schools are you implying is responsible for the bigger response to WM? Its some difference you don't feel should be impacting but I'm not sure what it is-large vs small school? What?

2. All but 3 teams have failed to get their registration in on time. That suggests that there is not such a big problem that SO has to impose such harsh penalties for a late registration. Does not sound like there would be a rush to hold out on registration in the future if SO made some humanitarian exceptions. On the other hand, that also means that 45 students have needlessly been DQ'd. Why?

There is no anger towards the people in the schools because there is great empathy towards them. Everyone makes clerical errors at some point. None of them did it on purpose. They probably feel terrible about what happened. They are not denying it. They made a mistake and owned up to it. They are good role models. They would reverse the situation if they could. In contrast, SO officials can very easily make the situation better for the students but have chosen not to. Not doing everything possible to avoid hurting kids is unforgivable. None of the other people involved knew they were doing something very hurtful to kids. SO does but is persisting anyway.

3. Does any of this really matter. Regardless of why, the registration was late. No matter how you consider it, the students are blameless. It is simply a cruel action to deprive the students of the opportunity to compete. And being cruel in the past does not justify repeating it. Didn't you notice the cruelty when the previous team was DQ'd? I didn't know the details. Did you?

Nobody purposely violated the rules. Even reasonable rules, when applied unreasonably, become unreasonable. I had respect for SO. Now it seems hopelessly weighed down by outdated bureaucracy in a way that is inconsistent with science of 2014.

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Re: New York 2014

Postby caseyotis » March 12th, 2014, 6:58 pm

I hate to say it, but I'm glad that NYSSO is getting some bad publicity for this. Reading Mr. Boyd's comments made me a bit sick, and I lost a little confidence in the organization. Not all of it, but a sizable amount. All of my concerns were addressed in past questions, though.
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Re: New York 2014

Postby Flavorflav » March 12th, 2014, 7:08 pm

That's a bit strong. I can see how the Board felt bound by precedent. What I can't see is not giving a bit of leeway once it became clear that the messages had not not been received. Moreover, there is quite a bit of hoop-jumping involved in getting the check in on time and from this vantage at least the deadline seems arbitrary, so it seems like some leniency would be in order. Seriously, what happens if the checks aren't in two weeks ahead of time? Has any school ever stiffed the organization? What major problem is this rule designed to fix?

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Re: New York 2014

Postby gneissisnice » March 12th, 2014, 7:20 pm

First, full disclosure: I am a member of the NYSSO Board of Directors. I am also a current SO Coach (and have been for 17 years), I've been a Regional, State, and National event supervisor, and the New York State Science Olympiad Web Master. I am not here to debate the merits of the policy or the appropriateness of the penalty for missing the registration deadline, but rather to make some observations regarding the discussion of this issue:
We appreciate the response. I know people have already went through each point, but let me give my feedback anyway:
1. The policy being discussed was adopted by the Board in June of 2010, and has been posted on the web site since that time (click on the State Policies link and scroll down to June 26, 2010). It was first applied to Great Neck South for the 2011 State Tournament. I find it interesting that when a member of the Great Neck South team posted that the team would not be competing in the Tournament because of a "small" error (see page 38 of the New York thread in the 2011 archive), that post received a grand total of 3 responses (one asking for more information, one stating how sorry the poster was to hear about this, and one stating that the policy was "ridiculous"). If you look through the 72 pages in that thread, you will notice that there were a number of Gelinas and Ward Melville students who were very active in the thread, yet none of the three people who responded to this posting was from either school. Now that Ward Melville has been given the same penalty for the same infraction, the response has been an uproar, requiring two additional threads to contain students' outrage. I just find it interesting that when it was Great Neck South, only one person on the New York thread felt compelled to express his/her outrage over the policy and its implementation, but now that its Ward Melville the response has been so great.
I'm not sure why Great Neck South's disqualification didn't get the attention that it deserved. Maybe the team wasn't as aggressive about spreading the information. But I don't really understand what your point is. The fact of the matter is that Ward Melville DID get attention, and rightfully so. We posted here on the forums, on Facebook, spread through word of mouth, etc. It's not only the Ward Melville kids that are complaining, it's kids from all over the state and all over the country. The fact that this happened to last year's state champion might explain why the uproar is significantly higher, but the amount of outrage that was generated in 2011 is irrelevant.
2. Since the policy was implemented in 2010, 7 deadlines for registration for the State Tournament have passed – 4 at the High School and three at the Middle School (the current B State Tournament is not until April, so that deadline has not yet passed). A total of 323 teams have received invitations to compete in those 7 tournaments. Only three teams – Great Neck South, Bethlehem, and Ward Melville – have failed to meet the registration deadline. In some cases, coaches sent in the registration with their own personal check, which was returned when the District check arrived (the Ward Melville coach knew this was an option and decided not to use it). Whatever you might think of the penalty, there is a REALLY easy way to avoid it – get your registration and check to the State Director on time, and the overwhelming number of New York teams have been able to do so. While you may be unhappy with the Board because of the decision to follow our own policy, I see little anger directed at the people who actually caused the situation. Some people have expressed anger with the auditor. How about the person at the Business Office who was informed of the deadline and told the coach there would be no problem getting the check out? Or the fact that the Business Office never informed the coach that problems on their end would prevent them from mailing the check in time to meet the deadline? Or the coach who never bothered, in the two weeks between the time he dropped off the registration and the deadline, to follow up and make sure the check and registration had actually been mailed?
If so few people have had issues with getting registration in, do you really feel that the absurdly harsh penalty is justified then? A penalty of this severity seems like it should only be implemented if absolutely necessary, and the way you describe it, it's not necessary if you have so few problems. The fact that coaches have to personally write out checks in order to meet this deadline suggests to me that there's a problem with the deadline itself, not with the teams. Why should the coaches have to personally write out checks if it is REALLY easy for the teams to get their money in on time? That sounds like a flawed system to me.

People aren't directing a ton of anger at the administration because they know they screwed up and can't reverse what they did, but are trying their best to make amends and support the team. People ARE directing their anger toward the state director because he is the only one with the power to actually reverse the decision and make things right and is choosing not to for no good reason. As for anger toward the coach, he did what was required of him and got the check and registration to administration as early as possible, which brings us to our last point:
3. Much has been said about the fact that Mr. Miller tried to contact a retired teacher rather than the head coach. While the discussion of this ranges from "she helps out occasionally" to "she hasn't coached in years" the fact is she was included on a registration from Ward Melville as an active coach. The fact that contact information is requested for all coaches listed on the registration should be an indication that these forms will be used when the State Director needs to speak with a coach from the school. The first time the Director would need to speak with any team's coach would be December 15, when the registration cutoff for the number of medals a region will receive to hand out occurs. The next time such contact would need to be made is in February, if there was a problem with the team's registration for the State Tournament. Both of these dates are in the winter, yet it has been stated that this individual spends the winter in Florida, so why would the head coach list a contact person who couldn't be reached on the registration papers? If all of the coaches listed on the three registration papers were legitimate coaches, it wouldn't matter which one Mr. Miller contacted – if he got any of the coaches, I'm sure the information would have been relayed to the appropriate person.
This is the crux of the argument. The coach that Mr. Miller attempted to contact had been retired for years. She is still a huge help to them and is somewhat of an assistant coach, but she hasn't been the head coach for years. Not since I was in my junior year in 2008. So yes, she helps out frequently, and she was included on a registration form, but you'll notice that she wasn't on the registration form for the team in question. See, Ward Melville brings multiple teams to regionals because we have so many students that are interested in science and engineering. This coach in question was listed as a coach for a team - the B team. Our A team is the one that qualified for states, and for that registration, it was clear that we had two active coaches for this particular team. The coach from the B team should not have been the only contact when you have two active coaches from the A team, the team that actually is going to states. Neither one was contacted.

And speaking of contact, I would argue that there was still no contact made. To me, contact means that you actually talked to the person. Calling someone, leaving a message, and hoping she hears it is NOT contact, by my definition. There was no effort made to ensure that the information was actually relayed to the team, and this could have been easily remedied if our state director had taken another 2 minutes to call a different coach to ensure that he actually got in contact with someone. I would argue that a legitimate attempt at contact was not made, because there was no point where Mr. Miller actually made contact with a real person. He apparently knew enough to contact the head coach one day after the deadline, and that does not sit right with me.

That contact was crucial. If we had known that that the check was not sent yet, we would have scrambled to get the paperwork in before the deadline. But we remained unaware that the district had not sent out the required paperwork in time. Of course the school administration is largely at fault, even taking into account the weather that had prevented our auditor from approving it in a timely manner. But that does not mean that this outcome is deserved or reasonable in any way.

So thank you for your input, Mr. Boyd, but I must respectfully disagree with each of your points.
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