FAQ For Principals and Administrators

FAQ for Principals and Administrators

Question Man

1. Is Odyssey of the Mind a district-sponsored activity if parents coach and
meetings are held outside of school?

Yes. NPSD sponsors OotM by hiring a district coordinator to promote the program, to support coaches, and to conduct events such as Spontaneous Fun Day. The district also recognizes successful teams with school board proclamations; proclamations are only given for district-related activities.

2. I have concerns about parent coaches. How can I be sure my students are safe?
NPSD has procedures in place that help to keep students safe.

First, all OotM coaches are required to have all the clearances required of any NPSD volunteer, including PA Child Abuse History, PA State Police Criminal Background Check and Report of Federal Criminal History Record (if applicable).

Second, at least two adults are required at each OotM meeting.

Third, parents sign a Parental Consent Form. This form allows parents to give permission
for their child to participate in OotM and to provide important medical information. The form
also makes it clear that parents are responsible for all transportation, all OotM-related costs
(except membership), and for ensuring that their children are in a safe environment.

With safety concerns addressed, parent coaches are valuable partners in offering
enrichment to students. The OotM program allows students to work closely with coaches,
many of whom are professionals in the community who can share the problem-solving
strategies unique to their field of expertise. Parent coaches also make it possible for
many more students to participate in OotM.

3. What if I get complaints about Odyssey of the Mind?

Please contact the NPSD OotM District Coordinator with any complaints or expressed concerns about North Penn Odyssey of the Mind.

If your school does not have OotM as an activity and parents are asking about how to
bring it to your school, contact the District Coordinator to arrange for an OotM Information
Night at your school.

4. What if there are not enough coaches for all the students who want to participate?

As with many activities, if there are not enough volunteers, the activity will be limited.
Encourage parents to consider coaching themselves or recruiting someone else to coach.
There are veteran coaches who will mentor new coaches and the regional organization for
Odyssey of the Mind also provides a day of coaches' training in November. All of our current
teams are coached by parents. You can always direct parents to the Building Coordinator who  can answer questions and may be able to assist in forming a new team or finding an existing  team that is looking for team members.

5. How do OotM teams form?

The District Coordinator schedules an OotM Information Night each year in the fall.
Interested students and their parents attend this meeting and express interest in joining a
team. Students are grouped by grade, teams begin to form and coaches are recruited. Only
teams with a committed coach are able to move forward. Building Coordinators facilitate the
formation of teams at their schools. The District Coordinator also works with Building
Coordinators to help students and coaches form new teams.

6. Why should I support Odyssey of the Mind at my school?

There are many reasons to support OotM, but here are just a few.

  1. OotM is a really co-curricular activity which means that it requires students to use the
    knowledge and skills they acquire in school. Every long-term problem requires reading,
    writing, research and problem-solving of all kinds.
  2. Students in every grade, K-12 and every academic level can find a place in Odyssey
    of the Mind.
  3. For the same reason that NASA supports OotM! NASA invests in Odyssey of the Mind
    because "it's team participants are exactly what they look for in future scientists." There
    are also problems that encourage future engineers, future architects and even future
    comedians! Every problem encourages team work, time & money management and
    problem solving.
  4. OotM costs very little. Usually, Home and School organizations pay the membership fee
    ($135) and some pay the per-team registration fee ($75) for competition. Because so
    many North Penn schools now have Odyssey of the Mind teams, the district has qualified
    for a multi-school discount. Therefore, the membership fee for each North Penn school is
    $100. Parents pay for all other costs involved in solving the long-term problem as well as
    team tee shirts and transportation costs.
  5. Currently, eleven of the seventeen NPSD schools have Odyssey of the MInd
    memberships. More and more parents are interested in the benefits of OotM since
    it reinforces academic skills learned in the classroom and promotes team-work and
    creative thinking.

Click on the links below for more information about Odyssey of the Mind:

www.odysseyofthemind.org

Odyssey of the Mind and NASA Curriculum Activities for the Classroom