Monday, January 28, 2008

WOW!

That's all I can say about Saturday's FIRST LEGO League tournament at Riverbank State park in Manhattan. About a 1000 teachers, administrators, kids and parents as active participants and high school and college students joined by people from the business/corporate world as volunteers and contributers, plus around another 1000 there to support them and cheer them on. We were on the edge of capacity and victims of our own success. We are already talking about next year.

This blog can get pretty negative about what's going on in the NYC school system but working on these projects and being with so many people active in a positive way is a great counterweight. We even had cooperation in getting the word out from the DOE publicity department. Due to their efforts, look for a profile of a team in the NY Times this week.

Everybody is in a good frame of mind at FLL events and here I schmooze with the principal of Bronx Latin HS, which won 4th place overall.

Hōs successus alit; possunt, quia posse videntur.
('Success nourishes them; they can because they think they can.')

Photo by Gary Israel

2 comments:

  1. Let me be negative for you. I'd be willing to bet even money that with the DOE involved they will take credit for this wonderful event and achievement, while we all know it is despite them. I applaud all the teachers who fought for the time in their schools to do this, and I further applaud the administrators who had the courage to give them the time. My guess is much of this was done after school? Still it sounds like fun. I loved Lego's growing up. They were definately my #1 toy.

    Unitymustgo!

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  2. As far as I can tell the DOE has not moved to take credit. When I spoke to people in the press office, they were supportive. But not one rep from Tweed was there and there were lots of press there if they wanted to jump in and take credit.

    Most programs are supported because a teacher or principal got "hot" about it and they often die in a school after the key person leaves.

    There were 2 Regions that created region-wide programs. I was hired by the tech lead person in Region 4 to set up a program from scratch and we funded every middle school and a bunch of elementary schools. We hired a full-time robotics coach to coordinate and train people. (I only wanted to work 1 day a week.)

    Region 2 did a similar program, also hiring a retired robo guy like me to coordinate things in the Bronx. Since the R2 supt is also running a learning support network, these activities continued in R2 this year while the R4 program was dismantled. But my former boss is in charge of Manhattan tech now and is working on grants to pump up the program next year.

    Staten Island middle schools have been in from the very beginning due to the great gang of teachers from Staten Island Tech who have trained and nurtured them without any real outside support from the district or region.

    Most programs are after school but I am tracking a bunch that are done during the school day. I visited one school and have some video.

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