Diversity in S.M.A.R.T.

SMART: Spruce Mountain Area Robotics team Diversity Plan

Statement On Diversity and Inclusion:

We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively address the issues that face our communities. It is our aim, therefore, that our team members, and team strategies reflect these core values.

Definitions:

Diversity: the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socio-economic status; work and behavioral styles; the perspectives of each individual shaped by their nation, experiences and culture—and more. Even when people appear the same on the outside, they are different!

Inclusion: a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best. Inclusion also includes assess to all team area and events and areas that team work of perform. Example: classrooms, shop area, pit area, hotels and competition areas.

Introduction (Reasons for having Diversity Plan):

A well thought out and executed diversity and gender equality plan is a critical aspect to an organization’s success. As a FIRST robotics team and a contributor to our community, SMART is committed to being an advocate and supporter of diversity and gender equality, and has identified gender equality as a strategic priority for our team. We are committed to educating and spreading the ideals of diversity and its attempt at constructing and maintaining an environment of inclusion as well as equality. To this end, SMART is committed to developing and implementing this Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and for it to be reviewed on a yearly basis after competition season.

Spruce Mountain Area Robotic teams: History, Background and mission:

The communities that make up RSU #73 schools are rural mill towns; two paper mills have long been the major employers in our communities. The last decade has seen one mill close, but the other remains a model facility. Thirty years ago, other industries existed in our community. These companies employed students right out of high school and put them to work stitching shoes, making wool cloth, or manufacturing wooden pieces and parts. Thousands of jobs existed within a reasonable commute of our towns. These industries have moved to other locations around the world, and the jobs that are left are low-paying or highly-skilled positions. We have developed programs in our schools that encourage our students to pursue career paths to become the highly skilled workers that can anchor and build those industries in our community. Student understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) is critical to this mission. If we could increase our student’s and communities aspirations through the FIRST Robotics Challenge, we could attract new high tech industries to our community in addition to the paper mill. This will provide a vibrant financial future for our Towns. Success for our FIRST Robotics Challenge team really is about developing and supporting the establishment of a team of students, supported by parents and community members, who are working together to complete a complex robot in a short term problem solving activity, and in the process learning that they can be the next generation of engineers and highly skilled workers in our community.

 

The SMART teams and it’s three robotic programs.(FLL, VEX and FRC) are designed to motivate students at Spruce Mountain Schools to challenge themselves to take on more difficult and demanding career paths. The advancement of technology into almost every aspect of our lives has left us with an overwhelming responsibility in preparing our students to live with and adapt to constant change. Leaders in technology tell us that the body of knowledge that we are responsible for is doubling every five years or less

Academic Diversity: The strengths of SMART is due to its diverse population of students. SMART serves three distinct populations of students. The first group is composed of students who struggle to make it through high school. The second group is primarily students who are going on to vocational education and/or community college. The final group is composed of college bound students who take this course to round out their education. Teamwork is a must when dealing with diverse population of students. The college bound students find programming and designing robots to be a primary interest. The vocational students love the hands-on part of building robots. The students who struggle to make through high school find robotics interesting enough to attend school on a regular basis. Collaboration of these three groups of students has led to success. The college bound student lack the hands-on experience that the vocational students excel at. The students who struggle to make it through high school seem to like the self-directed nature of building robots and being part of a team.

Gender Diversity: Our team takes pride in the fact that it is the most diverse team in the high school, featuring all grade levels, all levels of academic ability, culturally diverse students, economically diverse students, a cross-section of extremely involved as well as less-involved students and equal amounts of male and female students.

One key to our success is accepting and promoting the capabilities of all students.  The success of the girls on our team has increased our female participants every year.  From the beginning, girls have taken on leadership roles on the team and despite their uneven percentages at the team’s initiation, have been represented equally in leadership roles.  When students feel they are successful and that they are part of the team, it is easy for them to recruit others that have similar interests. Every team member is expected to share their experiences and recruit new members.

We do not recruit girls specifically to have more girls on our team. We want girls because they have the skills we need. They join because they know those qualities are appreciated and rewarded.  They stay because they are successful. That success brings in more girls.

Community makeup:

Regional School Unit 73 is madeup of the towns of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls, Maine. 53 percent of our student receive free or reduce lunch. The following is based on the 2010 US census.

Jay: As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 4,851 people, 2,032 households, and 1,394 families residing in the town. The population density was 100.3 inhabitants per square mile (38.7/km2). There were 2,252 housing units at an average density of 46.5 per square mile (18.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.1% White, 0.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population. There were 2,032 households of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.78.The median age in the town was 43.3 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 30% were from 45 to 64; and 17.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.

Livermore: As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,187 people, 1,316 households, and 809 families residing in the town. The population density was 161.9 inhabitants per square mile (62.5/km2). There were 1,534 housing units at an average density of 77.9 per square mile (30.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.1% White, 0.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population. There were 1,316 households of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.95.The median age in the town was 38.1 years. 25.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.6% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

Livermore Falls: As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,187 people, 1,316 households, and 809 families residing in the town. The population density was 161.9 inhabitants per square mile (62.5/km2). There were 1,534 housing units at an average density of 77.9 per square mile (30.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.1% White, 0.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population. There were 1,316 households of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.95.The median age in the town was 38.1 years. 25.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.6% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.Source: Wikipedia https://www.wikipedia.org/

Goal #1: Inclusion of all students in all activities no matter their physical handicaps.

Objective: To train other teams and FIRST venue about the needs of physical

handicaps team members.

Action: Letter to FIRST and proactively work with venue.

Goal #2: Recently our female population has dropped to less than 50%. Increase our female participation to 50% which is a true reflection of our school population.

Objective: To look for and promote female mentors/parents to work with the team.

Action: Out reach to our community and sponsors.

Accomplishments in 2015 with the Society of Women Engineers grant.

1) Wrote and implemented a diversity plan.

2) All team members participated in a diversity awareness program; the Outreach 4 Change Learning Experience.

3) SMART students implemented internships program. (below) Two of them are women-owned and/or run by women.

US cellar phones retail business. Attended US Cellars kids safety day. Participated in internships at our sponsors businesses. Students; Shane Riley, Devon Daring were given a tour US Cellular distribution center and cell tower.  Ted Berry took Curtis Farmer, Shawn Lecowitch, James Herlihy out in the field to show how they do underground inspections. Howies welding gave Sydney Shaffer, Hunter Quirrion, Shawn Lecowitch, Austin Greely and tour of their shop and taught them to TIG weld. US Cellular Livermore Fall Store gave Devon Daring, Calleigh Norris tour of the store and talk about the retail part of the US Cellular business.  Over all the week was a win-win with the SMART team being mentor and learning how mentor others. Both Howieís welding and US Cellular store are women own and run. Howie’s Welding & Fabrication, and Industrial Supply Store Inc.

4) Contacted area Society of Women Engineers local. No response. We do have an ongoing relation with our Society of Engineers and have received team and student grants.

5) Wrote a letter to FIRST and worked with FIRST and it district events to make sure one of our teammates was include and all aspect of robotics. Fundraising, Build team and competition season.

 

Spruce Mountain Area Robotic Team: A FIRST Robotics Competition Team  Internships and Business Partnerships

The Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team (SMART) is an extra-curricular activity for Spruce Mountain High School students. The team competes in challenging and entertaining FIRST Robotic Competition (FRC) tournaments, designing, building, and programming industrial-quality robots.  The skills that SMART members learn are essential in any college major or career:

  • Computer skills including CAD, programming, and 3-D printing;
  • Entrepreneurship (business management, leadership, accounting for a $20,000/year budget);
  • Industrial safety best practices, first aid, OSHA requirements;
  • Artistic design (costumes and wardrobe, web site development); and
  • Communications, marketing, and social media development.

SMART wants to create internships and partnerships to give our student hands-on experience in our local businesses.  The programís ultimate goal is to spur student interest in our local business; direct involvement with those businesses will illustrate the skill-set that is needed so that students can plan a path to qualify for challenging jobs with local companies.

What a student gains: One- to two-day experience with a local business, which may lead to a longer experience and/or internship and, hopefully, employment after post-secondary education.

What the team gains:  SMART is always looking for mentors and team sponsors, and ongoing relationships with local businesses are crucial to our long-term success.  Interns share their experiences with other team members, increasing other studentsí awareness of workplace requirements.

What a business gains: A chance to work with some of the best students in our community, with team mentors help and support. SMART members are among the most motivated students in our school, and they have been exposed to many career-related activities with the SMART Robotics team. Businesses have the opportunity to highlight, to the education community, the specific job skills they most need in candidates for future job openings.

What an internship or partnership looks like:  Each local business determines the best use of the internship; SMART robotic students apply for the internships based on their interests.  The team is looking for one- to two-day experiences, but if a student has time for it, it could be longer.  SMART robotic students of participate in multiple school activities, so summer internships may work best.

The communities that make up RSU #73 schools are mill towns; one of the two local paper mills closed recently, while the other remains a model facility.  For many years, other industries existed in our community, employing students right out of high school stitching shoes, making wool cloth, or manufacturing wooden pieces and parts.  Thousands of jobs existed within a reasonable commute of our towns.  These industries have moved to other locations around the world, and the jobs that are left are low-paying or highly-skilled positions.  SMART is one of the programs in our schools that encourages our students to pursue the highly-skilled careers that can anchor and build those industries in our community.  Student understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) is critical to this mission.

 

For more information, visit our webpages or contact us:

SMART 2015 WINNERS OF WOMEN IN ENGINEERING GRANT

Our team takes pride in the fact that it is the most diverse team in the high school, featuring all grade levels, all levels of academic ability, culturally diverse students, economically diverse students, a cross-section of extremely involved as well as less-involved students and equal amounts of male and female students.

One key to our success is accepting and promoting the capabilities of all students.  The success of the girls on our team has increased our female participants every year.  From the beginning, girls have taken on leadership roles on the team and despite their uneven percentages at the team’s initiation, have been represented equally in leadership roles.  When students feel they are successful and that they are part of the team, it is easy for them to recruit others that have similar interests. Every team member is expected to share their experiences and recruit new members.

We do not recruit girls specifically to have more girls on our team. We want girls because they have the skills we need. They join because they know those qualities are appreciated and rewarded.  They stay because they are successful. That success brings in more girls.

Through the generosity of the Motorola Foundation and in collaboration with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), this grant is meant to distinguish teams in the FRC program for their efforts in creating (rookie) or maintaining (veteran) team gender equality while additionally recognizing a woman driver within their ranks for her qualifications to represent the team in such an important capacity.

About SWE

For more than six decades, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has been the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. A not-for-profit educational and service organization, SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and receive the recognition and credit for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders. Visitwww.swe.org to learn more about this valued Strategic Alliance.