When it comes to starting and sustaining a robotics team, the most precious resource is the human resource. Adult mentors, and especially the coaches primarily responsible for the team can easily make or break a program.
Most teams meet after school for three to four hours each week. When you add in weekend time spent at workshops and competitions, most coaches spend in the neighborhood of 150 hours with their teams each school year. For the most part, schools do not have the budget to fairly compensate robotics coaches for their time.
Through a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Gifted and Talented Programs, we have arranged for District teachers to be paid for 20–25 hours of robotics coaching time each year. This is certainly better than nothing, but hardly counts as full compensation.
As our Coalition grows we aim to see these teachers fully compensated for their time, and to compensate the parents and community members who also serve as the primary coach of a robotics team.