Broward County Schools get boost to robotics programs with NASA grant

Broward County Public Schools are getting a boost to their robotics programs thanks to a generous NASA grant.

The $227,000 grant will help the school district educate more kids through technology, doubling the amount of schools offering the VEX Robotics competition program.

According to Lisa Milenkovic, the supervisor of STEM and computer sciences in the district, 60 more schools will be included, making it a total of 113 schools participating in the program.

“We have a huge career gap here in Florida,” said Milenkovic. “We have like 20,000 unfilled jobs that require computer science knowledge in the state of Florida right now that would be great if we can get more students interested in going into that as a field.”

Through the VEX Robotics competition, students spend the year designing and then building robots to complete the challenge they’re given.

“This grant provides a robot for each school. Each elementary school gets one that’s for the lower level. Middle school actually gets two,” said Milenkovic. “They get one to compete with the elementary and to compete with the high schools for that transition year in middle school. At high school, they get another robot.”

The grant is in its second year out of four years in total. The plan is to add more schools each year.

The money also funds training for teachers, as the competitions change each year.

Students attending the district’s Applied Learning Institute camp said they’re glad the program is being expanded.

“I feel like it’s good because they’re introducing it to children now,” said student Ehrengton Craig.

“For us, it was really fun, and it’s going to be super cool to see other people do the same thing,” added student Isabel Reyes.

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