What does your school do for FIRST?

From talking to different people there seems to be two different types of school involvement in FIRST. There are the schools who become really involved, they advertise it as a good program and encourage teachers and other school faculty to get involved, they help fund the team, give them a space to work, and most importantly recognize all the kids on the team as leaders and really make them feel like what they are doing is important and worthwhile. Then there are the schools who seem to want nothing to do with FIRST, they might give them a closet to work out of and a little funding but they don’t help advertise and they don’t recognize the kids which can make it had to recruit new members. So I would like to try and find out two things with this thread. First if your team is supported by a school like the first school above what exactly dose your school do for your team? Secondly if your team is from a high school like the second school from above what dose your team do to rally support and find new members?

We get funding (most of our funding is from them), plus a room to work in. Some of the administration will come down for a couple of hours at our local competition.

Funding pays for teachers, practice field, and the kid and competitions I believe.

I think it’s hard to just classify schools as one extreme or the other. At Vanden High School, we’ve been lucky to get $5000 each of the past 3 years and I get to teach a robotics class for the past two. But in CA, times are changing for the public schools, our superintendent who gave us the $5000 from her budget, has now left and I was also informed last week that next year, they won’t pay for my substitutes during the competitions - it’ll have to be taken out of my sick leave or raise extra $$ to reimburse the district. On the other hand I still get to teach a class with handful of dedicated students - which is nice. We work out of a small room in the back of the school that was built by ROP Construction students years ago - it’s to small to fit any major equipment just our supplies, drill press, work table, and a computer. Last year, we got a TIG Welder, Drill/mill/lathe combo unit, and a CNC but they are kept in yet another storage area. It’s a real pain to try and supervise students in three or four work areas, but it’s better than it all being in my classroom.

At my school I have been able to create classes to supplement the learning involved in FIRST.
The Principal has been our biggest supporter and is willing to give money as we need it. Last year he gave us about $6000 and this year has already given $4000 and is waiting for me to ask for more.
Tomorrow Wed. March 9 will be a big day for us as we will be recognized infront of the entire school for our Peachtree Chairman’s Award during the Basketball State Championship Pep Rally.
Even on TV during the State Basketball game our principal mentioned that our robotics team was competing.

Our schools started out in the 1st scenario, we had great teacher support, the school supported us, all was well. Then over the past 4 years the support has been steadily declining to a point now where I see the ‘absolute’ minimum support that they could possibly give us and keep their name on the robot. There is zero $$$, all comes from my company, the kids don’t fund-raise at all, the engineers end up having to babysit as well as try and teach, it is really frustrating. It has finally degraded to the point where most of the mentors are looking into switching teams for next year unless a mojor overhaul takes place. The principal of the school was a strong supporter and has now moved on, the new principle either doesn’t see this as valuable or believes that the GM mentors will run the whole thing and it isn’t necessary for the school to provide any support.

When people take the time to volunteer they should ALWAYS be treated like volunteers, things that you EXPECT from a paid employee can’t be expected of someone who is giving up their time and effort out of the goodness of their heart and their belief that this is a valuable and great program for tomorrows engineers and scientists. When I volunteer at a FIRST event, FIRST makes it clear to you that they couldn’t do it with out you.

We get funding from our school, they give us a place to work and encourage teachers to get involved. In the past we have received monetary support from our school board. Our principal gave us permission to have 2 courses in teh cirriculum for robotics, giving students involved credits for their involvement. However, even though our school supports us, we are only allowed to bring 4 teachers to Pittsburgh. Even if we pay for the supply teachers, we are only allowed 4 teachers. It doesn’t make sense because normally our principal supports us. This Friday would be the only day the teachers miss and seeing as it is the Friday before our March Break (which is a huge joke, no one goes to class at all), our principal still will only allow 4 teachers to go. Other than that, we have our own classroom (small, but at least it gives us a place to store our tools and what not).

The total extent of our school’s involvement is that the teachers don’t have to go to the faculty meetings during build season and we have a room to build in. In fact this year we had our business team send a letter out to all of the faculty inviting them to come by and see the students at work and ask questions, and not 1 teacher stopped by to support the team. As a teacher myself it makes me very disappointed in my colleagues. The principal did stop by one evening, which was a positive experience since we had representatives from several local companies in the shop at the time. Still, they have even cut our bus transportation on Thursday and Friday (our regional is local). Very disappointing.

A couple of teachers are terrific – awesome – magnificent. The school itself? We get to use the woodshop during build season. No financial support from the school the PTA or the booster club. At least so far :). Next week, we start financial and organizational development work for '06.

We get great support from one of the School boards some money and interest. We are a four High School team. Three from one district and one from another. The previous two years we got from the three school district a great shop teacher and space in one school, last year it was the shop. That teacher retired, and doesn’t have access to that space any longer. We were supposed to get space and a teacher from the single high school, The new teacher went to a couple of meetings and It became clear that he was too busy, and access to the wood shop was going to be a big problem. So we bought a drill press and moved the build to our clay studio and garage. Year four will be a big challenge.

We get to pay about $2,500 to use the school :D. Aren’t we lucky?!

The administration itself is pretty good though, but they like the sports teams better :frowning:

My principal gave us $2000 toward the entry fee for our regional. We use my Tech lab and machine shop to build in, and I get some duty days to attend competitions. That’s the good stuff. On the other hand I get very little help from my colleagues, which is not good, and that translates to little support from the student body, which is worse. So I guess the glass is half full, or half empty, just depending on your viewpoint :slight_smile: I’m just happy to be here!

wow! most of you guys seem to get money from your schools…that’s really nice…we don’t at all…some recognizing but not a lot…the teachers get some money but not a lot for their work…but it is nice that they allow us to continue on having a team and having a pit at south fork hs…most money goes to our sports teams which is normal…one cool thing that came out of having a team was for the current new hs in our area, Jensen beach hs…the school board talked to one of our machining sponsor groups…the treasure coast round table and came up for the engineering program at Jensen beach…so that was cool for us…but i’m glad to hear there are various school districts that fund teams…so much money to raise…

wow! i’m impressed (jealous) of the support that so many schools share with their teams. our team combines 2 high schools and in the 7 years we have received a total of 500. the school board does not show support, we pay for our own local transportation, the administration doesn’t show up, teachers are not paid for their time BUT when we win, then we are “their team”. they feel that our sponsors will take care of everything. it does get old after awhile. our team fundraises year round as do many teams in the FIRST community

our team is pretty lucky but it only came after many years of hard work and some lobbying

  • of course the school gives us some storage rooms and a limited tech space to work on robots (most of the real work is done at the BMS facility)

  • our buses to the local events are “arranged” by the science supervisor ( a team leader)

  • the head coach (me) and my assistant have stipended positions on par with a coach of a team sport such as soccer. I think this was the first position of its kind in our area but others are forming. Of course robotics season is year round at NBTHS.

  • the district pays about $3000 for the travel expenses of the chaperone staff to the long distance events.

Generally half of our operating budget is student raised and the rest- a huge chunk of change- is due to the extreme generosity of Bristol Myers Squibb, our sponsors and mentors. We could never operate without them and we are indebted to them deeply.



After thought- perhaps the best thing our school does for us is lets us be. As a coach I have a lot of freedom to operate that other coaches don’t have. We repay them by giving our best to make a quality team the school can be proud of.

we got a lot of money from the school this year from a principal that we don’t always agree with. So that is definitely good. We also get 2 rooms and the gym to work and practice in, which is really nice for the school too. So I guess, this year, our school has really given us a lot of support, when in the past they barely want to recognize us, let alone give funding.

Our school, Nonnewaug High School, decided years ago to cut all funding to us. We currently have no staff members from our school working with us. They do no provide a space for us to work on the robot. We have students from other high schools and from middle schools in town and out of town. Our town and school seem to hate us, but we somehow come out strong, hence the fact that this is our 8th season. Now, THAT is called stickin’ it to the MAN! heh, had to say it

My team is inbetween the two. As far as funding, we are all privately sponsored, and as far as getting the word out, we’re mostly on our own. However, we do get the support of some of the administration, the pricipal’s daughter was even on a local FIRST team a few years ago. Also, we get the support of some of the maintenence staff and the industrial tech teacher gives us the woodshop afterschool for work, and the auto shop teacher lends tools. Not really one extreme or the other, though. Our first year there was virtually no support that I saw, we didn’t have a teacher, we worked out of a student’s garage, and the school administration didn’t even have any idea where we worked, but this have changed, thankfully.

After reading all of the replies, it makes me feel lucky that our team recieves much suport from our school.

The schoolboard built a new middle school 4 years ago, and basicly gave us a building that we can work in. We have 2 classroms and a dedicated shop for our robot, as well as a break room. We recieve much support from our schoolboard, as they gave around $6000 to us to go to regionals and nationals. Our schoolboard has a certain fund of money that comes from vending machines, lunches, etc. to give to groups that go to national competitions, which basicly paid for the regestration.

Also, we get alot of funding from Virginia Tech. We are funded by the Virginia Tech School of Education for $1000+ dollars a year, as well as many other sponsors. Virginia Tech also offers a mentoring program, where Engineers can recieve collage credit for helping our team out. Our team has greatly benifited from these ties.

The schools also do their fair share in helping us out. We draw from four high school in our area, with the robotics class being offered as a vocational, mathmatics, or science credit at each school. This provides a boost to membership in our program.

After reading these posts, I see that our situation is more of the exeption than the norm. But our school is very suportive of our team, startig with our superintendant, who was hevily involved with first, and recognized the good that can come out of cooperation between the school and team.

Thats my $0.02.

Wow, some schools really have it bad.

The first year our school participated, several other high schools(about 5, it was before I started High School) in our district were completely funded for the competition. That was the first year the schools in our district had vending machines, so all of the high schools in our school district were funded, at the very least to one regional and a couple thousand dollars for funding.

Our school district is the area around the Silicon Valley Regional. Every year since, we started in the 2000-2001 school year. Three years later, as our district was phased with budget problems we received less and less, until we received no funding in 2003. We have had Compaq, San Jose State University, and United Defense as our sponsors. Only United Defense has stuck with us. But, a couple of parents provide funding for food, and our mentor digs into his pocket for drinks and food as well. Years before students would provide their own food and drink, but our main mentor got really organized better this year, and we have lots of things to thank for that now :slight_smile:

We have two mentors that help us from school. Our main mentor is the technology, and computer science teacher. He has a huge room, with lots of tools and spends so much time with us during build time that he almost becomes estranged from his wife and family. He does most of our fund raising. He is always looking to get support from the school and the district(He is heavily involved in the Teachers union for our school district). Our other mentor from school is our Physics teacher who invest as much time as he can. Although they enjoy helping us, they would both be happy with a stipend for helping us, or at the very least get more attention at school.

Our other mentor this year is an engineer that works for United Defense. He’s a great guy that has really helped us out this year. He’s really thought us a lot of things, and I can actually say, truthfully, that I learned many new facts and skills this year.

Our original principal a few years ago would acknowledge us, and would encourage people to show up. A few would, and thats what counted, especially considering it was a ten member team up until last year. However, our district has an unfortunate policy that does not allow a principal to remain at the same school for more than 5 years I believe, and he had 8 at ours. So our new principal last year didn’t really acknowledge us until she showed up for an hour at the regional. She was appalled that we did not have universal team shirts for everyone, so she really looked around for funding and got us money for shirts, and safety glasses, for everyone on our team from construction company that is putting in new windows throughout the school. She’s letting us borrow the school mascot suit as well this year, so watch out for a bulldog at the Silicon Valley regional this year.

I know the district has even tried putting together a FIRST LEGO robotics team at most of the middle schools in our district, but only one actually participates.

We really don’t have problems with transportation since the city bus goes from our school to San Jose State University, where the regional is held.

My school does not really support our team much at all. They clear us for regionals and nationals but that’s about it. The principal didn’t even bother to come to our open house, although a vice principal did. We get more “recognition” from the Kokomo Area Career Center. They help with some of the fabrication and the head of the KACC came to the open house and he is also very much for PLTW (Project Lead The Way). Hopefully, if we win nationals again, the school will finally give us some backing… :o