By: Sharon Aron Baron
Three schools from Parkland along with 53 other Broward County Public Schools, are recipients of a $227,000 grant by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation and NASA, which will provide robotics equipment, materials and teacher professional development for all district schools.
Heron Heights Elementary, Riverglades Elementary, and Westglades Middle School are the local recipients of the grant which will be implemented over the next four years.
During the new school year – the first year of the grant, the new robotic equipment and resources will enhance STEM+Computer Science (STEM+C) opportunities currently offered at 56 schools across the district. Additional schools will be added each year of the grant. The focus is on aligning robotics instruction among feeder schools within the district’s Innovation Zones, to provide seamless opportunities for students to build upon their skills as they transition from elementary school to middle and high schools.
“We are incredibly excited to be chosen by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation and NASA for this grant,” said Dr. Lisa Milenkovic, STEM+C supervisor with the District’s Applied Learning Department. “The funding supports our efforts to expand opportunities for students to experience and learn about computer science, and understand how the skills they are learning can be utilized in many different career paths.”
Early introduction to STEM+C, including robotics, is the foundation of the district’s ongoing #BrowardCODES initiative, which is dedicated to building a strong computer science community within BCPS. Computer science courses, curriculum and activities are now offered in 100 percent of District schools, thanks to support from partners such as Code.org, the National Science Foundation, Google and the Broward Education Foundation.
In 2016, the White House also recognized BCPS for its commitment to increasing computer science in schools.