By far, the most common question I received in the first batch of emails for ‘Frank Answers Friday’ was about Districts. While these aren’t hard questions, I think it’s important for me to deal with them sooner, rather than later, because they are clearly on the minds of many. Also, while I would normally publish the full question that came in, for this particular topic I’m going to just list the folks that asked instead. The questions they asked touched on several aspects of Districts, but had much in common.
These individuals asked questions about Districts:
- Bar Danino, Team 2212, Lod, Israel
- Francis O'Rourke, Team 190, Worcester, MA
- Nate Laverdure, Team 122, Hampton, VA
- Jay O'Donnell
- Evan Raitt, Team 174, New York
- Isaac Rife, Sterling Heights, MI
- Navid Shafa
(Quick note: When you send in questions, please let me know your team number – if you have one – and where you are from, so I can include this information in my response)
We will be continuing to expand the District system over the next several years. The system allows teams to get more plays, closer to home, while also being more scalable than the Regional system. For the 2014 season, we are targeting starting Districts in the Pacific Northwest and New England areas. A great deal of work is going on now to make this happen. The schedule for expansion of the District system in 2015 and beyond has not yet been set, but we would like to bring up a similar number of Districts each year as we are planning in 2014. There may be some geographic areas in which the standard District model does not make sense. If we find this is the case, FRC will still continue to be supported in these areas, of course.
Our intention is to evolve the existing District system to allow for cross-District competition. We have begun work on a standardized points ranking system, and a standardized way in which teams will advance from District Championships to the FIRST Championship. As we grow, it’s important for us to maintain consistency between Districts. In addition to helping us maintain the quality of the FRC experience, this will give us the best chance of evolving the system to the point of allowing cross-District competition.
The concept of some type of Intermediate Championship for FRC, like a ‘Super-Regional’, between District Championships and the FIRST Championship, has been talked about as one possible way to support the continued growth of FRC. FTC recently announced plans to introduce Super-Regionals in their program. However, these discussions as it relates to FRC have been brief and speculative. We don’t have firm plans to proceed with this particular concept, although it’s still being considered. While you may have seen a PowerPoint slide that’s been floating around on websites and forums purportedly showing a detailed breakdown on how FRC Super-Regionals will be implemented, you may want to check the dates on that slide. It’s a good two years old, and was created as one potential concept, not a firm plan.
Thanks for your questions.
Frank Answers Fridays is a new weekly-ish blog feature where I’ll be answering ‘good questions’ from the FRC community. You can e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, team number and where you’re from, which will be shared, if selected.