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Laura,

I very much agree with your goals and your assessment that you had a good season.  I have always been lucky with my team parents.  I didn't always have an assistant coach,  but I always had a parent or two step up and guide the kids through project.  Some meetings I asked for a parent or two to stay and help.  One parent came and ran numerous teamwork activities with the group.  Most of the parents sent in snacks.  On the last night or two before the tournament, I asked parents to come and be judges while the kids practiced their presentations.  I also usually asked for a parent to be our timekeeper at the tournament so I could focus on the kids.  I think that the more the parents are aware of what the team is doing and what they are trying to do during the season, the more understanding they are of the team performance.  

Here are some things that worked well for me:

1.  Have a parent meeting when the team is formed
- give an overview of the season including schedule for meetings and tournaments
- explain your goals for the team ( my view is that while I want the team to win, I want each child to learn at least the basics of the robot and to be involved.  I think it would be more efficient and more conducive to winning to have only 2 - 3 kids build and program the robot, but have never actually tried it.)
- ask the parents what their goals are for their child in lego league.  (I  usually get leadership, learning to program, teamwork, speaking in front of a group.  I write these down for myself)  
- explain the finances -- I assess a certain amount to cover the cost of the field setup and the robot kit  and additional supplies.  The purchased items are kept by the team from yea r to year.
- have a sign-up sheet for any volunteer help that you need ( assistant coach, snacks, perhaps each parent should assist at one meeting, team party.)
- collect forms and checks
- provide a handout including all the information from the meeting for future reference, include FLL core values

2. Email parents periodically to let them know how the team is progressing

3. Starting about halfway through the season rotate having a parent or two come for part of a meeting and have the kids run through their missions ( even if none are working, just to build the habit), and through each of the presentations.  This allows the parents to see the other 3 components rather than only seeing the points from the missions.

4. Have all of the parents come to see the kids practice before the tournament.

5. Rotate as many parents as you can through being "historian" to photograph and/or video the presentations so that they can see what the kids do.  Share the videos with all parents.

6. Have the team make a core values tri-fold for the teamwork interview.  This is not needed for the interview, but helps the kids and parents to relate the team activities to the core values.  We took numerous photos during the season and I have them look for examples of the core values.

6. Have a team party after the tournament and recognize each team member for their contributions.  

Donna Cornwell
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On 11/17/12, Laura Dysart<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
 
My team had a good season- I didn't have parental help during season, never have- (I should say as a second coach) but did at the tournament which was nice. It is exhausting to be solo coach. I felt really proud of my kids, they worked hard, got a lot of positive feedback from judges- but parents who came to the tournament and had no involvement all year seemed obsessed by the "points" and then a little on "who will win." The children seemed fine! I feel like no matter how great our team functions- if no award- or low points- parents seem worried- question of parent buy-in-I think we had a GREAT season! Robot didn't perform as it did at school- and kids frustrated- but they got it- our best round was practice which didn't count- I had 2 ADHD kids and an Asperger's kid- lots of work as a solo coach on just being a team- and the fact that we got through the season and tournament as a true team in my personal goals- was a major feat! and they did well- they just didn't win. I felt like they really bonded. Parents always seem disappointed? Any thoughts? Have tried to educate about the experience for the kids not the win- "It's what we learn, not what we win." I really believe that and appreciate that about FLL. The experience in and of itself is huge!!!!

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