Starting a new team (Div B)

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Umaroth
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Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by Umaroth » April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm

So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by MoMoney$$$;)0) » April 25th, 2020, 10:38 am

Umaroth wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm
So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
I recollect the days of when we tried to produce a successful Div-B team. It's painful starting a new team, since you usually need very dedicated individuals, particularity a head-coach. If your district has the money look into hiring a dedicated head-coach. Then go into finding a location where everyone can meet up, study, build, etc. (Unless you plan on everyone doing it on their own). Next, you need to go into funding and who's paying for it; just a suggestion try to fundraise not to have giant fees for every individual, since that might push people away from competing. Last and most important, select a method of getting a strong team together (just 1 for the first year, to start it off), and decide on if you will have try-outs, or have everyone compete and then pick the best of the best, to compete in reigonals, states, etc. The first year, maybe don't go for a try-out since you can help to select team-captains and such the first year by seeing who's the most dedicated. However, if it's a magnet school, then most students are probably already very capable of being competition ready. All of this is just a few personal suggestion, which you don't necessarily need to follow, but I hope you find it useful. But keep in mind you already have a strong team yourself, so ask you head-coach how they went about starting your team off; and how they got it to be successful and use you head-coach as a mentor to start off the new team.
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by SilverBreeze » April 25th, 2020, 11:05 am

Umaroth wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm
So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
Disclaimer: I've started/revived a couple of extracurriculars as a middle schooler, not from an outside position, and I don't have experience with something the scale of SciOly.

Maybe go to the website, get the names of the entire science department or something, and send a mass email? Usually for something like this you'd go and ask each teacher individually, but being a high schooler I don't think you'd have the time, and I'm not sure how well the teachers know you. Depending on how supportive or unsupportive of extracurriculars their office is, you could try asking them to ask if any of the teachers would be interested once the school is more established(I imagine the transition will be a bit chaotic). If they're against extracurriculars, though, it's not uncommon for them to just not tell the teachers or say that it's been discontinued, then go and tell you that no one was interested. If you know any people there, adult or student, that might be interested, you could ask them as well.
If the teachers are too stressed about the transition, it might be better to wait a year.

The first year, maybe put up fliers or ask science teachers to recommend it to their best students? You could also start by asking someone you know there to ask their friends to do it. Once you start getting more people maybe either ask and see if you could integrate with JTOK or ask if you can reuse the tests, to take less time?

To reduce fees, maybe skip going to an invitational the first year unless there's a lot of interest? I'd start small the first year.

Just some random thoughts and a few things that worked in the past, not exactly great suggestions but I hope they gave you some ideas.
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by Booknerd » April 27th, 2020, 5:49 pm

Here are some thoughts from the perspective of a middle-schooler who was part of a new school scioly team. My school had started a team last year, and it's been a wild ride ever since. These are, I guess tips? If you do start a team.

First off, don't expect a full team. Last year, we legit went to regs with 11 people and no-showed 2 events. I don't know how interested a STEM middle school in california might be in a scioly team, but we had little to no interest when we started. But we still did well as a team, because all 11 people had motivation. Motivation and interest >> number of people. It would be more worthwhile to get a small group of really interested people rather than a large group of uninterested kids, because the experience is much more rewarding and will encourage more people in the following year.

Encouraging lots of relationships and bonds between the team members is always something that should be remembered. Kids like to talk, especially middle schoolers. Don't expect to have practices be complete studying the whole time. To make scioly a worthwhile experience for everyone, make sure that enjoyable memories can be found everywhere. What really makes scioly fun is the chance to get to make new friends and make memorable experiences, which can range from winning medals at a tournament to wearing ridiculously large blonde wigs for a whole practice.

I think for a starting team, one easy invitational will be fine. We started with one really easy invitational, and it was a really good start. Knowing what to expect at a tournament can make a HUGE difference at a regional. Make sure it's an easy invitational though. For a starting team, going to a really competitive invitational can be very de-motivating.

Be flexible. Things won't be perfect, especially with a new group of middle schoolers.

Having a supportive school is nice. Knowing that your school is proud of what your doing makes a huge difference, so its nice to have school teachers and administration behind your back.

Overall I would just say that, for a first year it's more important for experiences, so that you can build up a steady and consistent team. Like I said, we came to regionals last year with 11 people, and this year we had a full Varsity and JV team. It was all mostly because everyone liked it the first year, and wanted to come back again the next year.

...So yeah. These are just some tips I guess for if you do start a team. These are all based upon my experiences, and things will probably be different with a STEM-oriented middle school, but I hope this still helps. :D
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by Tailsfan101 » April 28th, 2020, 9:24 am

Yes, I definitely agree with Booknerd in that having motivated students is better than having a full team. Our MS team has made it to Nats with teams of 13 and 12 students, and got second at state in our first year with ~11 students. For you, Umaroth, you're in an area with a lot of invitationals, so just going to one invitational like, say, Ladera Vista, would definitely benefit the students to get a feel for the competition.

Also, like Booknerd said, I strongly encourage having the students getting to know each other. Friendships has been one of my best benefits from Science Olympiad, so getting to know one's teammates is a big plus. For a middle school team, in my experience, going out for bowling or organized Nerf battles can really help make it more fun and not just focused on studying.
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by SilverBreeze » April 28th, 2020, 3:46 pm

Umaroth wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm
So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
You're pretty experienced from coaching Kraemer SciOly already and you've stated you're fairly busy as is, so my guess is you're more unsure of how to start a new team and help keep it running rather than how to coach it yourself while still in high school?
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by Umaroth » April 29th, 2020, 10:30 pm

SilverBreeze wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 3:46 pm
Umaroth wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm
So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
You're pretty experienced from coaching Kraemer SciOly already and you've stated you're fairly busy as is, so my guess is you're more unsure of how to start a new team and help keep it running rather than how to coach it yourself while still in high school?
Yes, that's basically it, I'm trying to figure out how to make it a thing even though I don't have much control over it because I will still be in school
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Re: Starting a new team (Div B)

Post by sneepity » April 30th, 2020, 11:43 am

Umaroth wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 10:30 pm
SilverBreeze wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 3:46 pm
Umaroth wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 8:33 pm
So next year, my resident school district is turning one of the elementary schools by my house into a middle school, and it's supposed to be fairly STEM oriented from what I've heard, so obviously I'm interested in starting a team there. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should go about doing so? I'm still going to be competing myself, so it would be difficult for me to be in a lead coach role or something since it's not as close to Troy as Kraemer is.
You're pretty experienced from coaching Kraemer SciOly already and you've stated you're fairly busy as is, so my guess is you're more unsure of how to start a new team and help keep it running rather than how to coach it yourself while still in high school?
Yes, that's basically it, I'm trying to figure out how to make it a thing even though I don't have much control over it because I will still be in school
good luck umaroth! I hope you can start a team and provide the middle schoolers with SciO, because SciO is a really fun competition. Hopefully everything sorts out for you.
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