K12-WORKFORCE CASE STUDIES
Northwest Vista College & SpaceTeam
In 2004, Northwest Vista College was looking for creative ways to engage area students in math and science. Working with their Director of Altternative Programs, we helped the College explore the use of educational robotics in summer camps to bring students on campus, expose them to math and science, and introduce them to careers. We then helped the College start a yearly summer camp program for elementary and middle school students, and later helped them expand through high school and expand their program into a state-funded model for programs throughout the state.
DaVinci Minds helped the College explore the program, cast vision, and identify funding sources. We also helped them identify local resources for robotics, explore robot vendor options, and connect with others exploring educational robotics. After program startup, we reviewed operational details and made operational recommendations.
After two years of operations, DaVinci Minds identified a state funding source and developed a program idea that would expand the program to high school, connect explicitly with local career pathways, and turn the program into a statewide model. That transition is now in progress. Recently, DaVinci Minds completed a sustainability study and made recommendations to help move the program beyond the grant funding period.
With DaVinci Minds' help, Northwest Vista College created SpaceTEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Science), an educational robotics summer camp themed around our nation's future mission to Mars. We helped the College raise $270,000 in funding for the first three years of camp operations. We then helped the College raise an additional $470,000 in funding to create the Texas Institute for Educational Robotics (TIER). TIER expanded the program into high school, creating a Grades 3-12 pipeline of students being exposed to robotics. TIER also explicitly connected the program to local career pathways. With TIER funding, a replication package is being created to expand the program throughout Texas.
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