BOD Minutes of May 24, 2005

To: Los Altos Robotics Board of Directors

That you for participating in last week's board meeting. Attached below are minutes for the meeting from Michael Schuh and myself. We greatly appreciate input from the board in setting direction for this group and in helping drive the group to sound decisions for upcoming activities.

Since that board meeting, we have decided we need someone to volunteer to manage the web content for the web site, An initial draft of the web site has been created which is largely based on Michael's site. Currently, the web-based Plone system is used to manage content and make it easy to manage these types of organizational web sites.

If you have interest in this webmaster role, or want to recommend someone, please contact me at

Edmond Macaluso


Minutes for Los Altos Robotics (LAR) 5/24/05 board meeting. [*] indicates an action item for a board member.

  1. Los Altos Robotics Registration: - All unassigned players register with LAR as "unassigned" to a team. - Organized teams register each individual player with LAR as "assigned" and specify a team name. - [DONE] Michael needs to send Eitan the email-based registration form so that Eitan has an idea what the web-based form should contain. - [] Eitan needs to get registration up and running pretty soon. - [] Eitan needs to send Edmond information on how to query the registration information or report from the server. - [*] Eitan or Edmond should include step-by-step procedures on registration for both individuals (simple) and coaches (a bit harder). For coaches, remember to provide a link to where they register their teams with the national FLL and who to contact within LAR about kit leasing.
  2. First Lego League (USA) Registration: - We discussed the National FLL registration procedure. In the past, Michael took care of this and simply leased kits himself. Now the teams will do it themselves and decide how to handle kits. - All teams will register teams with (USA) and order their "challenge kits" (Ocean Odyssey parts and playing field mat). - Teams will acquire robot kits on their own. We recommend 1 kit for every 2 players. Choices for getting kets are: a. Purchase FLL Robot Kits when you register the team (about $300 per kit - basically a Mindstorms kit plus several extra parts including an extra motor, rotation sensor, light sensor, and some other less critical gears and software). b. Purchase retail Mindstorm kits, either new or on Ebay (about $220 new and generally just as expensive on Ebay. By the time you get the extra parts you need for FLL, it is the same price as an FLL Robot Kit and you don't get the extra software). c. Lease used FLL Robot Kits from Los Altos Robotics. One season lease is half the price of a new kit (if you return it with all parts sorted).
  3. The New Kit Policy, Transition plan and the comments by Fairfaxes were discussed. After a good discussion, it was approved by a unanimous vote. [] Michael will contact the coaches and let them know where they stand as far as the kits they have in their possession. We will likely end up with plenty of kits to support new teams as we move forward. [] Lew volunteered to coordinate the kit program for the this year.
  4. Los Altos Robotics name and web site approved - [DONE] Michael needs to set up a meeting with Eitan and Edmond to get content transferred to - [*] Edmond needs to find someone to be a webmaster for content on the web site. There may be several contributors, but someone is needed to handle it overall.
  5. Team formation will be handled by Edmond with Michael's help. We will attempt to assign "unassigned" players to either a new or existing team. Factors to consider will be having teams of kids in the same grade level and preferably the same school.

    We will not guarentee a team assignment. This depends on finding coaches for teams and that is often the limiting factor.

    We discussed and rejected the idea that we would require "unassigned" players to write a paragraph when they register, with the topic "why they want join a robotics team". We will also not have a paragraph contest since it would not be used for registration. The issue we are trying to address is to avoid having players sign up who don't really want to participate, but their parents sign them up anyway. This issue is discussed on Michael's web site and we will need to make sure parents are aware of the issue.

  6. Parent orientation meeting was approved for Aug 30th, 8pm.

    There was a lack of time to discuss the contents at the board meeting. I think Michael, Gordon, and Gita (girl recruiting) should definitely be there. [*] Edmond can plan this in August.

  7. Gita volunteered to drive a sub-committee?? to figure out ways to get more girls involved.
  8. Paul offered to help with marketing/advertising the upcoming season and the May-August action items.
  9. Tournaments were approved for Saturday, Nov 19th, at the same time but in different locations. Oct 16 scrimmage date was also approved.

    Quite a long discussion on tournament dates, however, the same day was selected for (a) fairness to teams and (b) to strengthen the league by getting 2 complete sets of judges for 2 tournaments.

  10. State slots for 2 tournaments were discussed and it was estimated that LAR would get 6-7 slots total. It was decided that we should have 2-3 slots per tournament, and 1-3 wild cards that could come from either tournament.

    It was never decided how the wild-cards would be picked but highest scores was certainly recommended by several participants. - [*] Michael and Paul should iron this out.

  11. Tournaments to be divided geographically. Approved.

    There were several suggestions made on giving people choices about dates, organize by team strength, organized by mixing grade levels, etc.

    Probably there will be a North/South league: North: Egan, Almond, Santa Rita, Bullis, Covington, (Palo Alto?) South: Blach, Loyola, Oak, Springer, Montclaire, (Mountain View?)

  12. Junior robotics was mentioned and there was some interest in it. - [*] Edmond to email the overall league about interest in this program.
  13. New coaches training was approved. - [*] Gordon to drive it. Focus is on new coaches. - Include information about kid and coaching mentors. - Include information about dealing with kid problems and problem kids. - Include information about coaching Q&A meetings (blog) - Include information about kit leasing.
  14. Kids training was rejected. The feeling was that too many kids in one room would be chaos. - [] Instead, a mentor program was discussed where teams would have a mentor visit them occasionally. - [] Need to have mentor volunteer box on registration on the web site. - Mentor session occur later in September and October after the kids get some time to work with the kits and challenge.
  15. Coaching Q&A sessions. - [*] Gordon volunteered to hold a few coaching Q&A sessions (bi-weekly) for coaching to discuss problems and get questions answered.
  16. Encouraging girls to participate - [] Gita will head up an effort to present FLL so that it is more attractive to girls. As part of this effort, she will organize demo days at one or more schools and in Girl Scouts. The first one will be at Oak School on June 6. Dave relayed that his daughter says that FLL would sound better to girls if LEGOs were not mentioned since this makes girls think it is a building blocks program and miss out on the robotics and other aspects of the program. Michael relayed that Sally Ride (former NASA Space Shuttle Astronaut) advises to recruit girls in clumps. [] Edmond and Michael will add a "Want to be on an all girls team" check box on the registration form.
  17. Calendar Additions - These items were added to the calendar that Edmond sent out. [*] Edmond will update the calendar and redistribute it. Aug 1, Playing Field Coordinator will contact those currently possessing playing fields and ask them if their table needs any repair or replacement before the season starts. Aug 20/21, Playing Field Coordinator will repair and replace fields. Sep 3/4, Playing Field Coordinator will build first set of new fields. Sep 17/18, Playing Field Coordinator will build second set of new fields.
  18. Coaches Email List - [*] It is requested that Eitan will add a coaches email list to LosAltosRobotics.Org. Maybe we should have five lists. 1) Info - for those not on teams that want to be kept informed of activities 2) Teams - Coaches, team members and their parents 3) Coaches - Team coaches 4) Board - Board of Directors 5) All - email sent to this goes to all of the lists
  19. Playing fields - Playing fields (flat board with 2x4 border) can be hard for teams to build. Therefore, Los Altos Robotics provides a board for every team. The cost is $40 plus the team MUST transport it themselves. - [] Gordon said he would coordinate the playing field program. date are on the LAR calendar. - [] Inventory existing fields with existing coaches and collect fields from non-returning coaches. - [] Get volunteers as needed to help with building fields. - [] Build new fields as needed.