FAQ for Home and School Associations & Other OotM Supporters

1. What is Odyssey of the Mind?
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students in grades K-12. It's not a math or reading program, although it is co-curricular in that students may use information or skills they've learned in school to solve their long-term problem. Five to seven students make up a team. Teams choose from 5 different types of problems: making a vehicle, building a structure, solving technical problems, exploring a classic topic from literature or history, or writing an original humorous play.

2. How much does it cost to fund Odyssey of the Mind?
An annual membership is $135. 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. There is also a registration fee of $60 per team for the regional competition.

As illustrated below, an OotM membership allows a school to have one team in each division, in each problem type. The number of teams supported by a membership depends on which grades occupy the school. Elementary schools include teams in Primary, Division I and Division II. Middle schools include teams in Division II and Division III. High School includes teams in Division III.

OotM Memberships

There are other costs associated with OotM but parents pay those. Parents share all the costs related to solving the long-term problem and may contribute up to $50 or more to the team for this purpose. Parents also pay for their students to wear NPSD t-shirts at the OotM competition.

3. Why Should Home and School Fund Odyssey of the Mind?
There are a number of reasons why! Here are just a few!

Most Home and School organizations exist to provide important enrichment opportunities that students would not otherwise have. Most enrichment activities are extracurricular, that is, they offer learning opportunities outside of the curriculum. Odyssey of the Mind is a co-curricular activity, which means that it draws on the academic skills taught in the classroom. Every OotM problem requires research, writing, public speaking, team work and problem-solving skills of all kinds. Funding OotM provides a tremendous enrichment opportunity for students.

Odyssey of the Mind is a program for students in every grade K-12 and every academic level.

Odyssey of the Mind is an academic competition comparable to Reading Olympics. When teams compete, they represent their school.

4. Shouldn't parents pay the membership fee?
If OotM is funded privately, parents who pay for the membership are under no obligation to share information about the membership or share information about OotM as an activity. In schools where Home and School pays for the membership, there's a designated building coordinator who promotes OotM within the school, assists with the formation of new teams, and acts as an in-school resource about the program. When Home and School pays for the membership, all students in the school have an opportunity to learn about and participate in OotM.

5. But since parents coach OotM, isn't it really more like scouts than a school activity?
No. Unlike scouts, OotM is a district-sponsored, academic activity. NPSD pays a district coordinator to promote the program, to support coaches, and conduct OotM events such as Spontaneous Fun Night. The district also recognizes successful teams with school board proclamations; proclamations are only given for district-related activities. Odyssey of the Mind is comparable to other academic competitions like Reading Olympics, Math Counts, and Academic Decathalon.

It's also worth noting that Odyssey of the Mind is one of the few academic competitions open to elementary school students.

For more information on the Odyssey of the Mind program, visit the national website at www.odysseyofthemind.com

For more information about North Penn Odyssey of the Mind, visit the district website www.npenn.org, click on For Families, click on Odyssey of the Mind.

If you have questions or would like the OotM District Coordinator to speak at a Home and School meeting, email Joanne Wiernusz at wiernujs@npenn.org