Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Robotics and More Coming to Westbrook Classrooms

In an effort to increase STEM class offerings at the middle and high schools, Westbrook Public Schools has announced five new robotics courses starting this school year with more coming next year.

Over the last several years, there has been a major push in school systems to incorporate courses that emphasis the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The hope is that more students will realize that jobs in the STEM fields, even ones that don’t require a college degree, can lead to fulfilling and quality careers.

A press release from Westbrook Public Schools announced that in the upcoming school year, Westbrook High School will offer “to students interested in exploring robotics and programming: Automated Systems I (2021-’22), Robotics and Automated Systems II (2021-’22), and Basic Robotics and Design Thinking (2022-’23).”

Robotics I and Robotics II will be offered to students in grades 7 and 8.

At both the middle and high school levels, the courses will feature hands-on experiences, new technologies, real-world applications, and critical thinking skills.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristina Martineau said that part of the reason for the push for the courses was from community interest in more STEM offerings. Martineau started her position in December and bringing more STEM courses to the school system was one of her goals upon being hired.

As Martineau met with more and more stakeholders in the community, it became clear there was a shared appetite for more courses. The schools have already had a robotics club and Martineau said some pieces were already there before the full-fledged courses were designed, so a robotics course made sense.

“It came up as a demand pretty frequently, and it was something worth pursing,” Martineau said.

Martineau said that there will be partnerships formed with businesses in the community, and even other schools, to further enhance the courses.

“We can’t wait to share success stories and students’ works,” said Martineau.

Martineau said that one thing about the courses that she likes is that the interests developed in the course can stay with the students and turn into a serious passion or possibly spark an area of continued study in college.

“I like that it provides personal and individualized instruction in a course that will be of interest to those who choose to take the course,” Martineau said. “It’s something that could turn into a lifelong passion or a career.” Besides the robotics courses, down the road more STEM courses could also find their way into the curriculum.

“We want to keep it so in our high school that we’re offering these comprehensive programs,” Martineau added. “We will continually assess what are students are interested in. This wasn’t a one-time revision.”


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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