Meta Boosts Queen Creek Unified Robotics
(CTN News) – Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta has donated $55,000 to Queen Creek Unifier’s two junior high schools to boost robotics programs.
Thanks to Meta, we will have the opportunity to grow our programs and attract more students who are interested in technology and engineering,” said Michael Larson, a junior high robotics teacher.
According to Larson, Meta’s donation “will help build future tech leaders.”
Students take robotics courses as part of their science, technology, engineering, and math courses, or STEM courses, in schools.
Queen Creek schools are known for more than double-digit student growth.
Ken Brague, outgoing Governing Board President, says the school’s robotics program has earned a reputation for beating its peers.
“We have an incredible robotics program because we have engineering parents and volunteers who come in and build these things,” Brague explained.
“It’s another community benefit for these kids. Our robotics teams have achieved amazing results.”
The district is allowing junior high school students to “play up” in statewide robotics competitions because they are so well-trained in robotics.
Usually, it’s a high school competition, but we sent a middle high school robotics team and they did phenomenally well,” he said. The third graders use robots to code.
From early elementary school years through high school years, we teach robotics and coding.
In his final meeting as a member of the Queen Creek school board,
Brague credited the town’s focus on cultivating partnerships with businesses that came to town for the Meta donation.
According to Brague, Queen Creek is heavily involved in community outreach and getting to know its neighbors. “We have all of these industries coming into town.
There are so many different opportunities out there, and I’m really interested in partnering with the surrounding area so students can shadow professionals, intern, have professionals speak to them, and see what opportunities are out there.”
Despite leaving the governing board, Brague intends to continue working on behalf of students to pursue partnerships that are key to the schools’ success.
His goal is to build relationships by joining The Queen Creek Schools Education Foundation, which, according to its website, promotes excellence through leadership in education.
Partnerships with companies like Meta are critical to Queen Creek Unified Schools, according to Superintendent Perry Berry.
Berry expressed gratitude for the generous donation, which will create unique opportunities for students.
In Queen Creek, we understand that partnerships are beneficial in both directions and we encourage student leadership and a sense of community among our students.”
The Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce recently held a summit on business and education to address the shortage of work-ready graduates.
STEM-based education, according to the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence, can change this.
According to the center’s website, too many Arizona students graduate from high school unprepared for college and the workforce. “STEM learning in out-of-school time programs allows Arizona youth to develop critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills that will prepare them to compete in today’s global economy.”
A robotics kit will be purchased for each of the district’s junior high schools and interactive engineering opportunities will be developed.
Brague said, “Our robotics programs need it.” We recognize how imperative science and STEM are and one aspect we wanted to emphasize is real-life science, and robotics is just that.
Robotics is one thing that these kids should be exposed to more and more of.”
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