We Had a Great Meeting With the School Board on Monday

On Monday October 19th Walt Whitman joined over 30 students from 4 other Montgoemry County Robotics teams to meet with two members of the Montgomery County School board. We talked about FIRST robotics in the county and how they School Board could join our team in making robotics louder.  The team’s were focused on educating the school board and discussing some things the school board could do to hep teams in the county be more successful.

  • Help us change CUPF policies to remove $3,500+ costs per team
  • Help us ensure School Business Managers purchasing policies are streamlined for robotics
  • Help us purchase and maintain tools and secure space in our schools

The teams showed the above presentation and did FRC and FTC robot demos for 3 school board members;

  • Student Member: Eric Guerci
  • District 2: Rebecca Smondrowski
  • At-Large: Jill Ortman-Fouse

After the presentation, we discussed each of the three asks we had in great detail and the school board made some recommendations for the teams to take back with them on work on.

  • Follow up with your school about dual use time to reduce costs
  • Discuss with your school business manager the purchasing policy that is used for athletics and try to get a similar waiver for robotics
  • Get in touch with your school’s administrator in charge of maintenance and file a request to repair school tools
  • Contact the county council to discuss budget for STEM activities
  • Contact the School Superintendent about policies regarding tools

We were also fortunate to have some school officials in attendance:

  • Principal: Damon Monteleone
  • Assistant Principal: Mark Brown

The Richard Montgomery Principal made some great points that really helped move the conversation along.

  • He talked about how RM is able to provide a lot of dual use time to his teams
    • Offered up Richard Montgomery as a working location to other teams
  • He talked about the price per student playing varsity basketball vs playing robotics. It looks like robotics is cheaper
    • Really liked the tag line a sport for the mind
  • He talked about how RM provides sports and theater greater flexibility around spending and how that could be extended to robotics
  • He talked about a warehouse that could be used to replace broken tools
    • The school board talked about getting the team’s an inventory of the warehouse so that they could take advantage of what is in there

Teams in attendance:

  • FRC 449: The Blair Robot Project, Silver Spring
  • FRC 1389: The Body Electric, Bethesda
  • FRC 4099: Falcons FIRST, Poolesville
  • FTC 5421: RM’d and Dangerous, Rockville

After the 120 minute conversation and demo the teams tasked the school board with a few things they could do to help us work on the three asks above.

  • Check on getting robotics teams a debit cards
  • Get robotics teams an inventory of the MCPS storage ware house
  • Work with budget ombudsman’s to create a guidance document for school business managers to work with robotics teams
  • Connect team’s to possible sponsor discussed at the meeting
  • How and where is the teacher stipend money spent


 Thanks for your time Montgomery County School Board. We can’t wait to see what we accomplish!!



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