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This is a "how to" guideline for schools forming their first Tenacity Challenge teams. These are recommendations only, as different schools tend to generate their own unique approaches. With this year's competition scheduled for March 18th, 2023, we recommend that teams form and begin preparing any time between October 1, 2022 and December 15, 2022. This allows for between three to six months of preparation.


1. Identify a faculty advisor: The faculty advisor serves as a team convener, coordinator, advisor, and if he/she has a subject area expertise, a coach as well. Many schools pay a stipend to the faculty advisor, but as is often the case with clubs and activities, sometimes not until the second year. The advisor should familiarize him/herself with the competition rules, rubrics, etc. so that students don't lose points by missing deadlines or misreading event requirements.

2. Recruit student participants: Teams may be composed of eight members (there may be less, we suggest not less than            four, but not more than eight). A school may send more than one team. Schools may determine how they select students.          The preference is to have teams made up of students who reflect the range of skills and achievement levels within the              school, but some schools select their strongest students. We recommend having mixed grade teams so that:

  • There is continuity from year to year

  • The range of math content is from pre-Algebra through Algebra

  • Recruiting Tool: Our award winning seven minute video,, is a very effective recruiting tool. The students' powerful testimony and excitement are infectious.

  • Our experience: Many schools report that it is often more effective for teachers or administrators to tell students that they want them to join rather than ask them if they are interested. As a strengths-based approach to closing achievement gaps, this program is about communicating high expectations and belief in students' ability to meet them.


3. Division of Labor: It is important to be clear with the students from the beginning that not all team members are expected to prepare for all three events. This would be overwhelming and if students misunderstand this, they may be reluctant to participate. Most teams then create their own division of labor based upon interest and often facilitated by the students themselves. The three "events", each of which is fully described on the website, are:

  • Leadership Action Project

  • Math Quiz Bowl Challenge (Pre-Algebra and Algebra)

  • Global Voices Literary Analysis


4. Home Base/ Teacher Coaches: The faculty advisor typically provides a home base for team meetings. These are usually weekly, increasing in frequency as the competition nears, but they may also initially be bi-weekly, with students doing some early small group work in between.

  • Students are encouraged to reach out to teachers (the advisor can facilitate this if necessary) to provide coaching/advice during the months of preparation- after school, during an activities block, etc. An email from the advisor or principal to the faculty can help to facilitate this process. Commonly, the team will assemble at the home base after school or during advisory or activity blocks and then go to the library, to their teacher coaches, etc. to work on their tasks.

  • Any teacher or staff member would be a great coach for the leadership project.  English teachers frequently give feedback to students on their literary analysis/rationale and performance. Art, math and science teachers also similarly provide assistance where needed.


5. Send in Registration Form and Pay Close Attention to Deadlines:

  • The registration form and $100 fee per team have due dates listed on the website.

  • We need T-shirt sizes on time so we can provide for all participants.

  • There is a deadline listed on the website for sending in a video of the Literary Analysis and Rationale.

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