Brought to you by Delaware Creative Activities and Problem Solving

coordinatorYour mission, should you decide to accept it, is to join with our team of Odyssey organizers to help the students at your school find coaches, organize teams, provide judges and get pertinent information. As always, should you, or any member of our organizing team be stuck, the entire team is stuck. You may not skip your turn, nor pass, but you may repeat (and be the coordinator again next year!) Have fun, and good luck with your mission. The following briefing will help you get started, and will NOT self-destruct!

WHY BE A SCHOOL COORDINATOR?

You believe every child should have the opportunity to be creative, learn to solve new problems, and have fun learning.

You believe every child should learn to work as part of a team to foster success in today's world.

You know that any worthwhile program needs an organizer.

You know that by working together, adults who make Odyssey of the Mind™ happen for the students can make the program better.

You are willing to work an average of an hour or two each week to help Odyssey succeed in your area.

In short, you are willing to make a difference in the lives of all the Odyssey of the Mind™ participants at your school!

STEPS TO GETTING STARTED (JUST SUGGESTIONS):

1. Talk to the principal about the goals and the value of Odyssey of the Mind™. Get approval. Explain what might be required in terms of sending flyers home, having An Awareness Meeting one evening at the school, enlisting a faculty sponsor (mandatory at secondary schools,) and perhaps soliciting teachers to be judges at the Regional Meet in March.

2. Discuss who might finance the $135 membership fee and whether any funds might be available to pay meet fees or coaches' training fees.

3. Talk to the PTA/PTSA president about Odyssey of the Mind™. If funds are not available from the principal but he or she approves, ask the PTA for funding.

4. Invite interested parents, students and teachers to an Awareness Meeting to tell them about Odyssey and how to form teams. (Board members can help you with this meeting if you wish.) The information about this meeting can be sent by flyer, PTA newsletter and/or announcements over the PA system.

5. Recruit coaches by explaining a team cannot be formed without a coach. (Some schools have had much success by requiring each team parents have some responsibility, either as coach, assistant, spontaneous coach, etc.)

6. Have students sign up and juggle their interests, ages, and available coaches to form teams. (Ideally, all interested students should have the opportunity to participate.)

7. The official Delaware Odyssey of the Mind school coordinators training sessions are being held in mid-October, free of charge. All school coordinators are highly encouraged to register online and attend one of the workshops, even if you are comfortable in your role as a program coordinator. This is an excellent opportunity to develop an Odyssey network and to share best practices with new coordinators.

Although there is one session planned in each of Delaware's Odyssey of the Mind regions, school coordinators may attend the session of their choice. The same information will be shared at each session. Please pick and attend the session that best fits into your schedule.

Coordinators Training Sessions in October. Please review Training Events for venue/date.

  • Presentations from official Delaware Odyssey of the Mind school coordinators training sessions sessions will be posted on this website for download soon after workshop. This will allow coordinators to refer back to the presentation content to reinforce the key points discussed during the sessions. Coordinators who are unable to attend one of the sessions also may refer to this presentation for basic information and program expectations for the coordinator role.

Any coordinator who is starting the program later in the school year and is unable to attend any of the October workshops may contact either of the following DELCAPS officers via email for assistance.

8. Provide initial support to coaches by giving information, copies of the rules and of the problems. Information about training will come from the local region; rules and problems are sent in a packet from New Jersey when you join.

 

The Role of Coordinators

The official Delaware Odyssey of the Mind school coordinators training sessions are being held in mid-October, free of charge. All school coordinators are highly encouraged to attend one of the workshops, even if you are comfortable in your role as a program coordinator. This is an excellent opportunity to develop an Odyssey network and to share best practices with new coordinators.

Although there are multiple sessions planned in Delaware, you may attend the session of your choice. The same information will be shared at each session. Please pick and attend the session that best fits into your schedule.

Coordinators Training Session

Please register for Coordinator Workshop if interested.

Presentations from official Delaware Odyssey of the Mind school coordinators training sessions sessions will be posted on this website for download after training. This will allow coordinators to refer back to the presentation content to reinforce the key points discussed during the sessions. Coordinators who are unable to attend one of the sessions also may refer to this presentation for basic information and program expectations for the coordinator role.

Any coordinator who is starting the program later in the school year and is unable to attend any of the October workshops may contact either of the following Delaware Odyssey of the Mind board of directors via email for assistance:

We generally have all-time excellent turnout and participation in mid-October at Coordinators Workshops with more than 70 program coordinators from throughout Delaware participates in a session.

We appreciate the hospitality extended to our organization and our workshop participants by the staff and administrators at each event locations. These partnerships are an integral part of our program.

For any question on training, please email Training Director at training@delcaps.org.

Odyssey Training for Coordinator/Coaches/Judges

Coordinator Workshop

The official Delaware Odyssey of the Mind school coordinators training sessions are being held in mid-October, free of charge. All school coordinators are highly encouraged to attend one of the workshops, even if you are comfortable in your role as a program coordinator. This is an excellent opportunity to develop an Odyssey network and to share best practices with new coordinators. Although there is one session planned in each of Delaware's three Odyssey of the Mind regions, school coordinators may attend the session of their choice. The same information will be shared at each session. Please pick and attend the session that best fits into your schedule.

Coaches Training - Long Term/Style

The Creativity Kick-off is the annual coaches training workshop. School coordinators also are encouraged to attend. Based on feedback from participants over the past couple of years, we have trimmed this full-day training session to a half-day session. These sessions will be held from 8 a.m. to noon. During this half-day workshop, Odyssey of the Mind coaches will participate in various educational sessions to help prepare them in their role as an Odyssey coach. Breakout sessions include tracts for new and experienced coaches. Topics will include but not be limited to Getting Off to a Successful Start, Script Writing, Style, Performance Techniques, and Outside Assistance. Please use Contact Us "Creativity Kick-off Workshop" option from drop down for any questions.

Coaches Training - Spontaneous

The Spontaneous workshop is for coaches, co-coaches and coordinators, not for teams of students. These sessions will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Spontaneous Workshop features hands-on instructional sessions to teach coaches and coordinators about the various types of spontaneous problems the teams may experience. The problem rotation will include Verbal, Hands On, and Hands On/Verbal problems. The goal is make school coordinators and coaches comfortable with Spontaneous such that they can plan and run their own spontaneous events for their teams. The workshop also will serve as a networking forum for smaller schools to team up with other small schools or local districts to join forces and pool volunteer resources to coordinate their own events. All workshops are provided at no charge and are open to all Odyssey coaches, co-coaches and coordinators. However, registration is still required. DELCAPS will provide bottled water and light snacks on-site for the sessions, but lunch will not be served. Participants, who plan to attend the Creativity Kick-off and Spontaneous Workshop on the same day are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch, or they may choose to leave the premise and go purchase lunch from a local business between sessions.

Coaches Pre-Tournament Meeting

The agenda for the meetings will include an overview of the logistics for tournament day. These will include parking, prop drop-off points and prop storage areas for each problem, guidelines for prop storage and identification of problem sites. We will review team paperwork requirements, the team check-in process. We also will share with you details on Food Services and Merchandise Sales that will be available during the day. This is a mandatory meeting for all coaches, even if you have previously coached a team that competed at this tournament location. Space requirements for each problem occasionally differ from year to year, so problem site designations may be different. Plus, we are constantly making changes to improve the tournament experience. There will be differences from last year that coaches will need to be aware of. Coordinators also are highly encouraged to attend.

Judges Training

This year, we are continuing interactive classroom approach to training and will ask experienced judges to become more engaged in welcoming and helping the Problem Captains trained the first-time judges. Our goal is to develop effective judging teams and create an experience such that most first-time judges will want to return and judge again for us in future. As the number of students participating in the program continues to grow, so should our corps of experienced judges. To achieve this goal, we will need a concerted effort from everyone.

 

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

Not in the basic job description, but you could:

  • Help teams with spontaneous practice
  • Be an Odyssey judge or volunteer
  • Organize parent resources and perhaps hold a "skills" workshop to teach students some basic skills, such as sewing or painting
  • Have a "Spontaneous Night" at your school. Each coach provides a problem and runs a station. Assistant coaches bring the teams around to each station
  • Help the Regional Board find sites for trainings
  • Send information about teams to your local newspapers
  • Start an Odyssey Resource Library for your school. Buy a few books at Coaches' Training and/or order a video from New Jersey, and add to the collection yearly
  • Try your hand at writing a few spontaneous problems for the teams at your school to practice
  • Plan a "Coaches' Recovery Party" and/or an Awards Ceremony for just your school
  • Arrange for teams to rehearse at the school and perhaps give a performance to the other students

PROCEDURES SPECIFIC TO INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS

  • What funding is available and who provides it
  • How teams are formed
  • What flyers you want to send home
  • How to best disseminate information
  • How & when to put articles in the school newspaper
  • Whether to have an in-school or PTA performance
  • How to recognize team members after the competition

HOW TO DEAL WITH MEET REGISTRATION!

(or, How to Make Sure Your Teams are Legal!)

  1. Receive Meet Registration information in mail in November.
  2. Photocopy a copy of everything for each coach and yourself.
  3. Give copy of registration to coach. Give each coach a deadline for returning the forms to you or deadline for mailing separately. Allow yourself time to receive them, check them, and mail them in.
  4. Determine how meet fees will be paid. If the school is paying for all teams, make sure you start the process immediately so that you will have the check before the winter break.
  5. Make sure each team has the name, address and phone number of a judge. Make sure teams are providing a volunteer, if required.
  6. Mail all the completed forms with check or checks to your Regional Director at address on the form.

$$$$$$$$ COSTS OF ODYSSEY OF THE MIND. $$$$$$$$

WHAT DOES Odyssey COST?

  • Membership from Creative Competitions $135 (subject to change annually)
  • Tournament fee, per team $ varies by region; (subject to change annually) generally $20-40
  • Coaches. training, per coach $ varies by region
  • Materials and supplies, per team $120 or less (average per team; may be more or may be less)
  • {Cost for a 1st place team that advances: $250-$7,000
  • (State Finals averages $40 or less per team member; World Finals up to $1,000 per team member)}

WHO PAYS?

In most schools, the principal or the PTA funds the membership fee to the national organization and the PTA may fund the cost of coaches. training and Meet fees. The individual team members and parents are usually responsible for the remaining costs. Most team members can, therefore, participate for approximately $30-$35 per child, even when you add in the occasional pizza!

HOW ARE LOCAL FUNDS (MEET FEES) SPENT?

Your local fees may pay for (among other things):

  • Building use fees and custodial fees for judges, coaches, coordinators, tournaments
  • Postage for mailings (newsletters, registrations)
  • Printing (coaches. manuals, newsletters, judges. handbooks)
  • Officials. T-shirts and meals for officials
  • Renting walkie-talkies for the meet; building balsa testers,etc.
  • Spontaneous supplies for the tournament

RESOURCES FOR YOUR TEAMS

Balsa Suppliers:
SIG Manufacturing: 1-800-524-7805
Balsa USA: 1-800-225-7287
Superior Aircraft Materials: 1-310-865-3220
Books: Your school library, your local library, Border's Books, Amazon.com, ZANCA (1-800-397-4156) and Creative Competitions, Inc. (1-856-456-7776)
Games: Toys-R-Us, The Gamekeeper, Zainy Brainy, ZANCA (see above)
Internet sites: http://www.odysseyofthemind.com (Creative Competitions, Inc./Odyssey of the Mind.)
Raw Materials:
Home Depot, local hardware stores, MJ Designs, Michael.s, Pearle Art Center, local hobby stores, mail-order suppliers, Zainy Brainy, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Total Crafts, etc.
Skills: Ask shop, drama, art, and home economics teachers, or parents who can teach how to act, sew, put on make-up, dance, wire batteries to a motor, etc. Just make sure that the person teaching a skill knows that he or she may NOT teach directly to the problem that the kids are trying to solve. Showing the kids how to operate equipment or several ways to put something together is OK, though. Consider a workshop on a Saturday for all the Odyssey teams at your school.
Teamwork: Some team building activities are given to coaches at training. Difficulty with individual children might be addressed by meeting with the school counselor and the parents.

A FEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: How can I be sure which division a team is in?
A: Ask students to put their birth dates and grade levels on the sign-up form when you first start organizing teams. That way, you will be certain what at which level they should compete!

Q: What if a team wants to have team members from more than one school?
A: This may happen, but only IF both schools have memberships and IF both schools. principals agree. The schools can even be in different Odyssey regions, but ALL INVOLVED SCHOOLS MUST HAVE MEMBERSHIPS.

Q: How do we find enough judges to provide for the tournament, especially if we have a lot of teams?
A: Start at the very first Awareness Meeting. Inform parents that they must each have a role, whether coach, judges, volunteers, spontaneous problem provider, or whatever. Then, start in October to recruit judges. Talk to teachers, co-workers, team parents, or team parents. relatives (18 or more years old!) Ask someone who has coached before but is not coaching this year. Give coaches some ownership in this problem also: they must provide a judge in order for their team to register for the Meet!

Q: What if a team has 7 members, but then one or more quits?
A: If a team has discussed the long term problem AT ALL with 7 people, those 7 are carried on the registration for that team until this year.s Odyssey season is over. They may not be replaced. The team may continue on, however, even with fewer than 5 members, if they wish.

Q: What if some parents are giving Outside Assistance, either with or without the coaches. knowledge, and I find out about it?
A: As in all volunteer activities, a certain amount of tact is called for. However, it does not teach the ethics that Odyssey of the Mind. wishes to promote if you allow this to continue. If the coach is not aware, let him or her know and suggest a letter home to ALL the team parents stressing the importance of allowing the team to "own" their own solution. If the coach is aware, and is allowing this to happen, have a meeting of all your coaches and go over the detrimental aspects of Outside Assistance (and not just penalties, though those are important.) If it continues, discuss the situation with your Regional Director.

Q: How do we handle a student who is a discipline problem?
A: Always inform the parents of the problem first. Enlist their help. You may want to find out if the child really wants to do Odyssey or if his parent pressured him or her to join. If he/she really does want to do Odyssey, find out why he or she is having difficulty getting along. Have a meeting with the coach, parent, and child and set conditions for continuing on the team. If those conditions are not met, inform the parent, perhaps employing the "three strikes, you.re out" philosophy. Odyssey always wants every child to succeed, but one student should never be allowed to submarine the efforts of the rest of the team. Remember the school counselor might also be a valuable resource.

Q: How do schools determine who can participate?
A: Each membership operates as an individual entity in making these decisions, so.it.s up to you and your members. Factors which influence the decision are: number of students who want to participate, amount of funds available, support by parents and the administration, and how many coaches you can recruit. Ideally, all students who wish to participate should be given the opportunity to be on a team. However, you may have too few coaches, students that simply cannot work in a small team environment, or such a wide variety of ages that forming teams is difficult. If you should choose to limit participation, you might: have auditions; have students do mini-projects to demonstrate interest and commitment; or even simply make this a first-come, first-served activity.

Q: What ages can I put together?
A: You may consider mixing grade levels, but be certain you know the birthdates of the students so that you can be sure in which division they must compete. You might mix 4th and 3rd graders, for example, and still have a Division I team. But if you add a 6th grader, you might end up with a Division II team, depending on his or her age on May 1. Caution is advised in mixing students two grades or more apart (e.g. 3rd with 6th.) Different ages can get along just fine, but in verbal spontaneous their exposure to information will be very different and in the Long Term problem their skill levels may be very different. It is also difficult to have an elementary child on a middle school team, as the daily environments are so different and some level of communication/shared experiences is lost.

See the this year Program Guide for the Division criteria (mailed in the packet with long term problems).

Q: How do we find enough coaches???
A: TELL PARENTS AT THE VERY FIRST MEETING THAT THEY MUST ALL PARTICIPATE IN SOME WAY, whether as coach, judge, or volunteer. Suggest that they co-coach or be spontaneous coach. Emphasize that they will have lots of help, training, and support.

Q: Who can answer any questions I have later?
A: Your Regional Director can usually answer any questions you may have. Questions about Long Term problem interpretations, however, should be directed to Delaware by a team via a clarification form or by e-mail. Any questions your Regional Director cannot answer, you may refer to the State Association Director by e-mailing director@delcaps.org

IT'S TOURNAMENT DAY!!

What does a coordinator do at the Tournament??

Enjoy the day!

Come to the meet if you can and watch as many different problems and teams as you can find time to watch.

Bring a lunch or plan to buy lunch and eat with a friend or a team.

If possible, check on your school's judges and volunteers and make sure all is going smoothly.

Enjoy the students, parents and other coordinators!

Talk to people about their experiences. Help students or parents who are lost or confused. Listen to compliments or complaints and let the Regional or State Board know later how we're all doing.

Enjoy your school's teams!

Watch as many of your school's teams as possible. We try to schedule them so you can get to their performances … this will depend upon how many teams your schools has.

Enjoy the other schools' teams!

If you have time, go cheer for other teams, also.

Enjoy the awards ceremony!

Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the excitement of the closing ceremony. If your school has a team that places first, you are welcome to come to the meeting for winning teams after the awards to hear details about the State Tournament.

It is the school coordinators that make Odyssey of the Mind™ possible for all the students in your region. Without you, teams would not be organized, coaches would not be informed, the Regional Board would not be aware of teams' and coaches' needs, and creativity would not be flourishing through Odyssey of the Mind™. You make it all happen, and have the thanks of all our team members, who believe that together we truly can make the world a better place in which to live.