How do your administrators help you?

The leadership team of our team is going to a meeting with the district superintendent and principals to talk about working with them to help the team and STEM education in our schools. I have some things I would like to bring up but I wanted to know how other teams were treated by their administrators to put things in perspective. I would really appreciate it if anyone could tell me how their team is treated by administrators, be it poorly or well.

Our administrators treat us well. Can you be more specific?

We are treated very well by our board, superintendant and administrators. They visit us during build season, at competitions, and honor us every year for our accomplishments. Not to mention support our needs for build space.

As educators, they see the value to their task of education of our team bringing in tens of thousands of dollars of educational effort from our sponsors. They understand the science, math, language, writing, technology, and every (!) other subject in school (even sewing!) that we bring to the students via the team. We show them how our kids grab us by the lapels and DEMAND we teach them the physics they need to design a beter robot. We show them how our students’ average grades actually go UP during build season. Our kids give speeches explaining the impact of the program on them.

That’s the basics, at least, of how we get such treatment.

The school district and school administration here in Mt. Olive are very supportive of our robotics curriculum and FRC Teams 11 & 193. I have a very open and supportive relationship with my principal, board of ed members, team sponsors, and parent association. To directly answer your question about administrators, they support our program in many ways: financial, STEM curriculum support, allow us to use the school facilities for state FLL tournament and MAR District Event, allowed us to expand our robotics engineering labs from one to four rooms which are currently under going a renovation this summer, approved our request for varsity team status, and supported our request for stipends for our team advisors? It’s been a long time and process, but we are at a point where it’s a win-win for all involved. Hope this helps, if you need more specifics or have further questions, drop me an email at

Good luck,

Our 2008-2012 principal and other admins consistently visited us. Our current principal for 2013 does as well. This is her first year at our high school. Previously, she was at Presentation High School (90% sure on the name), with the team Presentation Invasion, fairly close to us. One year, they went to the Hawaii Regional. However, the parents of the single girl on the team didn’t feel comfortable sending their daughter with all male students and mentors, so the principal paid her own way to Hawaii so the girl’s parents would let her go.

In the past (on 1261), the administration was super supportive. They had their restrictions (in regards to limits on student attendance and stuff), but both the school administration and the country administration had out backs.

I believe the county paid somewhere in the 2-3K range to the team. I recall that number being a little higher, but I don’t want to overshoot. Additionally, the county had a representative that communicated with FIRST teams and try to get more resources (in terms of hardware).

The school administration itself was supportive in their own right. They stopped by our meetings and were extremely understanding when we did something naughty. Furthermore, the principal and VPs would come out to the competition (but it is a 5 minute drive).

All in all, it was a supportive, understanding relationship. Mutual respect was the key, and it served everyone very well.

  • Sunny G.

Our team was actually started because of a push by our administration. (Although they may have felt a push themselves from local engineering and manufacturing businesses.) Team Driven (1730) had a team the year before and the other two high schools (1986 & 1987) began partly in response to their success.

There was a lot of “figuring out” to do with this program. The administration wasn’t ready to put in the financial backing that our state wide sports get, but they did recognize it was going to be way more resource intensive than our traditional clubs. Fortunately the Kauffman Foundation provided rookie assistance grants to get the program off the ground in the Kansas City area.

Administrators have attended competitions (on occasion flying out to meet with the team when we travel), arranged a small stipend for coaches, helped with funding for charter bus transportation, made us a part of school assemblies, arranged prominent places in the school to display our robots, banners, and trophies, allowed use of the building to run summer camps and science carnivals, let students and staff off work to attend competitions… And a couple of years ago the robotics program was placed on a bond issue that allowed us to renovate an old wrestling facility into a year round build-site.

Our relationship with administration grew as the program proved its worth to the students and the community. This year our principal will be negotiating with the district level administration for coaching stipends in line with the state sponsored sports.

We still have a fundraising burden of nearly $50,000 annually outside of the schools assistance. One of the mixed blessings of having a large and successful team.

PS. Team Titanium will be presenting at the Missouri Superintendent’s Conference this summer with the opportunity to convince top level administrators to start their own teams. I think our name popped up on their radar after winning an award on the world stage at the Championship Event in St. Louis. We are very much looking forward to this golden opportunity. We’ve got a presentation in mind, but any suggestions on what to say are welcome.