Robots Programmed by Students Ease Staff Shortage Strain

Robots Programmed by Students Ease Staff Shortage Strain

Grapevine-Colleyville (Texas) independent school district students are learning practical technology skills to ease staffing shortages in its facilities and maintenance department, according to an article in EdTech magazine. 

The district’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Kyle Berger is using robots programmed by students in the district to automate tasks such as cutting the grass and cleaning the floors in schools. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons are used especially to program robotic automation and device repairs. 

K-12 schools nationwide today face challenges with staffing. Teacher shortages make headlines across the country, and schools are feeling the strain in other departments, too, such as IT, transportation, food service and maintenance. Berger is sharing what he has learned with other districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and beyond. Few K-12 schools use robotics and automation for facilities maintenance. 

Berger’s ideas for robotic automation and device repairs generally do not generate pushback from administrators due to the bottom-line benefits. Projects that cannot be completed by students, such as network upgrades, are sourced out to services. 

Grapevine-Colleyville independent school district (GCISD) has 11 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 high schools, 2 alternative schools and a virtual academy. In 2021-2022 the district had a student population of 13,930. As a District of Innovation (a concept created by the Texas legislature), GCISD may choose to be exempt from uniform start date, minimum minutes of instruction, class size ratio, the 90 percent attendance rule and other items.

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