Whether you are new to organizing FPS meetings or experienced, it is always beneficial to have a structured approach. Be thoughtful about the logistics around planning a meeting such as deciding on an effective method to hold meetings and setting up the right approach to ensure that the time is spent productively. Consider the logistics, type, and content of your meetings. Pre-plan meetings in advance based on the goals or events of that month. This minimizes times wasted on deviations and loss of interest from members. Find helpful reference resources to ensure you can conduct productive FPS meetings.
Fun Icebreaker Ideas
Two Truths & One Lie
Blobs & Lines
Tips For Thoughtful Meeting Planning
Consider the logistics of meetings you will run:
WHEN - Do you want to have meetings ad-hoc, weekly, biweekly, or monthly? Survey the schedules of your FPSers and identify the audience of each type of upcoming meeting.
WHERE - Decide on the location of meetings to promote a productive environment for the type of meeting. Some meetings will be appropriate to be in-person (e.g. classroom or outdoors), while others might be better conducted virtually (e.g. Zoom). Due to challenges related to COVID-19, it is recommended that meetings be conducted online as much as possible. Keep in mind health and safety considerations when deciding on location. NYFPS requests all teams and clubs to follow WHO, CDC, New York State, and local health protocols (e.g. social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing masks). Clubs also need to comply with guidelines for public gatherings including, but not limited to, social distancing, wearing face masks, and adhere to the maximum number of people who can attend gatherings. Health and safety come first.
WHO - It is not always appropriate to require all FPSers to attend every meeting. Identifying the correct audience for the specific meeting is key. Consider if the meeting is component specific (e.g. GIPS or CmPS). Taking attendance is often helpful to understand which participants are remaining engaged.
WHAT - Always establish a goal for the meeting and ensure that you communicate the objective which the meeting aims to achieve to all attendees. Putting together an agenda will keep the meeting on track towards that goal.
There are three types of meetings that FPSers typically conduct:
ORGANIZATIONAL/SOCIAL - These meetings are essential at the beginning of the school year to recruit new FPS participants (e.g. informational meetings) and familiarize participants on team or club rules. Other meetings in this category may also include fundraising efforts, team building events, and celebratory events after successful component submission for a competition. Remember to include icebreakers for your first few meetings. Find useful virtual resources for these types of meetings here.
EDUCATIONAL - A majority of FPS meetings will be aimed at teaching participants the six step problem solving framework. It is also important to brainstorm team strategies and how to position the team for success. Visit the Virtual Center for teaching materials for each component.
COMPETITION RELATED - These meetings are where participants work together on submissions for competitive component submissions. After evaluation feedback is returned to teams, remember to have meetings to review suggestions for improvements.
Example NYFPS School Club/Team Meeting Slate
Below are important meetings our successful teams have implemented in their school year:
Your school has held a club fair or you have completed the official sign-up process for your school administration, so it is now time to recruit new members from the broader student body. This is the opportunity to share what NYFPS offers and the components in the program. People find safety in numbers, so this is a good opportunity for people to get to know your team in a low pressure environment.
Collect a roster interested attendees and remember to follow up by keeping them in future communications distribution lists.
Scenario Writing Kick-Off Meeting
The annual topics have been announced for the school year and you have a list of interested students. Hold a meeting to go over the annual topics and have a general brainstorm of ideas for potential stories. During the meeting, be sure to go over the rules and key tips for completing a Scenario Writing submission. Find resources here.
Highlight the submission deadlines and schedule check-in meetings before the deadline approaches.
CmPS Planning Session
Gather interested students. Remember that each team has a maximum of 15 members, but each school can have more than one team (different projects). Review the Community Problem Solving (CmPS) process and brainstorm of ideas for projects. Allocate expected responsibilities to team members. Select a desired project and put together a structured approach to realize the goals outlined in your project. Find resources here. Note the submission deadlines and schedule project meetings before the deadline approaches.
GIPS Kick-Off Meeting
The annual topics have been announced for the school year and you have a list of students interested in Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS). Each team can have four members, but schools can register multiple teams. Discuss the annual topics and assign research responsibilities to team members. Remember to go over the rules and key tips for the GIPS competition. Find resources here.
Highlight the submission deadlines and schedule meetings for educational sessions as well as Practice Problems 1, 2, and QP.
CmPS Service Events
Time to put your service project into action. Remember to take attendance and keep records of the activity as part of documentation for your CmPS report. Enjoy making an impact in your community!
GIPS Educational Lessons
It is important to train your GIPS team members on the six step problem solving method and generate ideas on how to approach the competition. It is suggested to allocate at least one meeting per step in the method. Successful teams apply the learned concepts by doing practice booklets (beyond the expected Practice Problems) and evaluate the booklet themselves to become familiar the scoring process. Leverage the resources available here. Many teams also find having an On-Site Training event at their school very helpful in preparing them for the State Competition.
GIPS Submissions Sessions
The team will need to schedule a date with two hours to complete their booklets for the competitive submissions. Find a quiet location to facilitate the atmosphere required to have productive brainstorming and discussions. Submissions are performed online, so prepare a room with desktops or have laptops connected to the internet.
CmPS Reflection & Report Submission Meeting
The team has made significant progress in the service project and has tracked their impact on the community. It is time to review all the supporting material compiled throughout the process and to reflect on the experience of doing the project. The team will put together the report and create the display board. Students can practice presenting their achievements to fellow students. Presentation skills are essential since teams will be displaying their project at the State Conference and have the opportunity to present in front of other New York FPSers. CmPS reports will be submitted online.
GIPS Evaluation Feedback Review Sessions
The team will review all the feedback provided by NYFPS evaluators after each submission and understand how to improve. The team will strategize how to overcome areas of weakness and to bolster their strengths. Each iteration is an opportunity to refine each student's skills.
New York State Conference Preparation Meetings
Teams which performed well during the qualifying round will receive an invitation to the New York State Conference. Teams will need to plan the logistics of attending the conference which may require some students to travel a significant distance across the state. Coordination is essential to successfully attending the event and planning sessions will be necessary.
At the conference, GIPS teams will need to perform in the Skits Competition. Teams will need to prepare and rehearse ahead of the event.
New York State Conference
The big day has arrived and all your hard work has paid off! Ensure that travel logistics are smooth and all team members are aware of essential information. Enjoy the day and celebrate your achievements with your fellow New York FPSers.
International Conference Preparation Meetings
New York State champion teams receive an invitation to the International Conference. Teams will need to plan the logistics of attending the conference which requires students to travel across the United States to a hosting university campus. Teams will have to fundraise to cover travel costs. Coordination is essential to successfully attending the event and planning sessions will be necessary.
GIPS teams will need to prepared for the International GIPS Competition and Skits Competition. Students may decide to practice to participate in the Talent Show.
This week will be a life-changing experience and your hard work is being validated. Ensure that travel logistics are smooth and all team members are aware of essential information for this event. Enjoy each moment and celebrate your achievements with students across the globe. Make new friends from countries such as Australia or Singapore. Represent the Empire State. Pick up souvenirs from the Momento Exchange to remember all the new friends you've made.
Year End Reflection Celebration Event
This event is a good opportunity to express your gratitude to all those who supported your team throughout the school year. Recognize all members' contributions and achievements. Reflect on all the new memories made during the year. You can share details of your success to the local press and invite them to the celebration.
After the celebration, it is also a good moment to identify areas for improvements in the next year and to prepare to transition roles of students who are graduating. The summer is a good opportunity to prepare for the next year's competitions.