Problem solvers head to global competition


Meadow Elementary School 4th and 5th-grade students place first and second in the New York State Future Problem Solving 2021-2022 Competition. This year three teams from Meadow competed: Project S.M.A.R.T.S. (Social Media Awareness for Responsible Tech-Savvy Students), The Purple Solving Mates, and The Wild Brains. All teams are advancing to internationals.

Founded in 1974 by innovation pioneer, Dr. E. Paul Torrance, the Future Problem Solving Program’s goal is to stimulate critical and creative thinking skills, encourage students to develop their vision for the future, and prepare students for future leadership roles. The program is meant to engage students in creative problem solving within the given curriculum and through competitive opportunities. 

In the Community Problem Solving portion of the competition, Project S.M.A.R.T.S. gathered data about social media habits among students in the Baldwin community and made a series of podcasts, public services announcements, and posters to help students understand the risks of social media use at a young age. Not only did they teach students about this important issue, but they also presented at Parent Teacher Association meetings and local businesses to educate parents about appropriate social media use. 

 The Wild Brains and Purple Solving Mates prepared a skit for the Presentation of Action Plan portion, showcasing their action plan best solution. This year, the teams had a mandatory topic of mining, a mandatory prop of a sock, and a mandatory quote of “if you want to build high you must dig deep.” Each team that participated in this competition wrote a script, also creating props to explain their best solution, and created a YouTube video of their performance.

“We are so proud of our scholars. They dedicated weeks to researching these challenging topics and their hard work paid off,” said Echele May, principal of Meadow Elementary School. “I look forward to these scholars using what they have learned to make a positive impact in the world.  They have already made a significant difference at Meadow Elementary School.”

The Purple Solving Mates secured their spot, even when placing in second, by scoring greater than all the other middle and senior division teams. Typically, rules dictate that only the team that wins first for the Global Issue Problem Solvers category or the Community Problem Solvers category can advance. All twenty students will now represent Baldwin in the Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI) competition in June at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 “Congratulations to Meadow’s Future Problem Solvers. To have three winning teams from one school is outstanding,” said Dr. Shari L. Camhi, superintendent of schools for Baldwin Union Free School District. “We are so proud of our students for all their hard work, and dedication to helping to make our world a better place. I want to thank Mr. Coccarelli, Ms. Bascelli, Ms. May, and our Baldwin families for helping to lead these teams to victory.” 

The five-day international competition begins June 8, drawing 2,500 problem-solving champions from the 250,000+ students who compete at local and regional levels throughout the school year from 37 states and 14 countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.