Robotics is expanding in WCS. As of the 2019-20 school year, there are programs in 10 middle schools and Hillsboro School, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
As part of the Strategic Plan to increase Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math opportunities for students, robotics programs have been added into more schools in Williamson County. The robotics program covers all of the Tennessee Computer Science Standards for Digital Readiness within one class.
Grassland Middle School was the pioneer in 2015, and, in five years, robotics has grown from a beginner class for all grades to three different levels of classes for students to advance through. Last year, one of Grassland Middle’s competitive teams won the state championship. WCS Tech Coach Tina Finley led the charge at Grassland Middle and is now aiming to do the same across the district.
“Our eventual goal is to have robotics curriculum available in some fashion at all levels,” Finley said.
After Grassland Middle’s success during the 2015-16 school year, both Page and Spring Station middle schools launched a LEGO robotics class during the 2016-17 school year. In 2017, Mill Creek Middle began its own VEX robotics class. As of the 2019-20 school year, VEX classes were added at the remaining middle schools and Hillsboro School.
In addition to middle school programs, two high schools have VEX robotics instructional programs. Students at elementary schools with Learning Commons are also gaining coding experience by working with WeGo robots.
In the future, the goal is for all middle schools to continue their robotics classes and add competitive robotics teams. Several high schools will also have competitive robotics. The district is working to partner with Brentwood Academy to host the VEX State Championship beginning in 2020-21.
“A critical part of achieving that Strategic Plan goal is having something available at all age levels for our students,” said WCS Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning and Assessment Dave Allen.