Phillies v. Pirates Baseball Game Fundraiser

Join the Coalition for a night out at the ballpark to support our work for Philadelphia’s youth. Help the Coalition-supported team of your choice raise funds by purchasing tickets for the Thursday September 23, 2021, baseball game at 7:05pm at Citizens Bank Park. A portion of the sale will be donated directly to the team you indicate on the order form.

Register Now: August 2021 Coach/Mentor Training

The Coalition is pleased to announce the return of our in-person coach/mentor training programs for summer 2021. These trainings are designed to be accessible to new coaches/mentors while also allowing more experienced participants an opportunity to hone their craft.

The trainings provide:
• Introduction to FIRST programs in Philadelphia
• Hands-on experience with robot kits and code
• Discussion/collaboration time with colleagues

Location: Urban Technology Project, School District of Philadelphia, Basement, 440 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA

The Coalition supports three different FIRST robotics programs in Philadelphia, each program has separate training. Be sure to select the correct program/training option. If you wish to attend training for multiple programs, please complete this form multiple times.

FIRST LEGO League Explore (grades 2–4)
Monday August 16, 2021, 1:00pm–5:00pm

FIRST LEGO League Challenge (grades 4–8)
Tuesday August 17, 2021, 9:00am–5:00pm

FIRST Tech Challenge (grades 7–12)
Wednesday and Thursday, August 18–19, 2021, 9:00am–5:00pm
**This is a two-day training. Participants should attend both days.**

Register here to reserve your place. Training is free for coaches and mentors serving Philadelphia public school students. Other coaches/mentors may register as well, the fee is $50 per training day.


Neubauer Family Foundation Renews Support for Coalition

The Neubauer Family Foundation has renewed its support of the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition with a $55,000 commitment of general operating support over the next three years.


The Foundation was the first to support the Coalition when it was proposed by a group of Central High School Robotics students in the fall of 2016, fueling the Coalition’s launch from idea to reality. The Foundation’s support has continued as the Coalition has grown and matured.


Rebecca Cornejo, Executive Director of the Neubauer Family Foundation, addresses teams and dignitaries at a Coalition event in 2018.
Rebecca Cornejo, executive director of the Neubauer Family Foundation, reflected on these past five years of partnership with the Coalition: “When we were first introduced, the number of robotics teams in the city was on a steady decline and your focus was on how to return funding to this vital opportunity for students. Fast forward to 2021, and the Coalition now supports 41 member teams with 360 student participants in grades 4–12. Not only that, but you have established the Coalition as an independent nonprofit, articulated a thoughtful strategic plan, and are well on your way to hiring a full-time Executive Director to take the reins for this next exciting phase.”


This grant will be especially important in the coming year as the Coalition moves to support member teams, coaches, and students as schools reopen for in-person learning and programs resume.


We are so grateful to the Neubauer Family Foundation for their continued support of our mission, our organization, and the students of Philadelphia.

FIRST FORWARD: New season theme announced!

FIRST has unveiled the season theme and game names for the 2021-2022 school year. The FIRST FORWARD season will present students will transportation-inspired challenges and robot games. With the recent news that School District of Philadelphia students will be returning for full-time in-person learning in the fall, we are so excited to see our teams tackle these new games and challenges together!

“Transportation drives us forward, impacting economies around the world and making us all more globally interconnected. In our 2021-2022 robotics season, FIRST® FORWARDSM presented by Qualcomm, our teams have the power to reimagine a path forward and invent the future of transportation.” – FIRST

Read more and watch the season trailer at

Coach Zoe Rooney wins Lindback Award

Congratulations are in order for FIRST Tech Challenge Coach Zoe Rooney, an algebra teacher and school based teacher leader at Strawberry Mansion High School!

Ms. Rooney has won the 2021 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching which honors excellent teachers across the School District of Philadelphia each year.

The Lindback Foundation presents this award to Philadelphia public school teachers “who demonstrate excellence in promoting learning at the highest levels. The teacher award recipients will be chosen based on their activities that improve the intellectual and character development of students.” Read more at

Coach Zoe Rooney prepares for a robot match with her student robot driver at the Philadelphia FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier in winter 2020. Their robot is seen at their feet.

Philadelphia FIRST LEGO League Tournament Award Show

This week, teams are competing in the fully-virtual 2021 Philadelphia FIRST LEGO League Tournament. Teams of 2nd–8th graders have been working all spring to design robots and complete projects related to the season theme: Game Changers.

Join us Saturday, May 1, at 5pm on the Coalition YouTube channel for the live awards show. Click and subscribe for notifications.

From FIRST: “This robotics season, we’re stepping into the world of sports, play, and fitness – moving, collaborating, competing, and celebrating. In RePLAYSMFIRST® LEGO® League Challenge students will explore the activities we can do in different spaces for play and how we can ensure that our games and activities are fun and accessible for everyone involved.”

The teams are presenting to volunteer judges and uploading robot videos for referee review throughout the week. On Saturday, we’ll celebrate the teams’ accomplishments in a live awards show on YouTube. We’ll also be sharing some of the team’s presentations to the judges so that everyone can see the awesome work the team’s have created.

Central High School has best underwater robot at Seaperch Competition

The Robolancers from Central High School won the Vehicle Performance Award at the 2021 Greater Philadelphia Seaperch competition Friday. The team’s underwater robot safely disposed of underwater “mines” and “debris” to make the “ocean” cleaner and safer. Nailah Shabazz was the team captain, and Calvin Macatantan was the vehicle operator.

Several Coalition teams competed in the event, which is organized by the US Navy and Temple University. Sincere Walker from Parkway Center City Middle College also got a special shoutout for carrying his team to competition.

Four School District of Philadelphia Teachers Selected for Naval Education Workplace Training Program

Four School District of Philadelphia high school science teachers have been selected for the 2021 inaugural cohort of the Naval Education Workplace Training (NEWT) Program.

The teachers are Maya Bhagat of Frankford High School, Lee Burwasser of Academy at Palumbo High School, Paula Miller of Abraham Lincoln High School, and Jason Perez of Murrell Dobbins CTE High School.

The NEWT Program gives teachers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learning engineering skills and conducting research side by side with Navy engineers and scientists. This 8-week summer program will give teachers a taste of life as a professional engineer, and give them crucial insights that they will be able to bring back to their classrooms.

Teachers will work with Navy mentors to develop demonstrations and curriculum materials, and will receive continued mentorship throughout 2021-2022 the academic year including a classroom visit to give students a chance to interact directly with STEM professionals.

The program is a collaboration between Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division and the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition. Teachers receive a $10,000 stipend for completing the 15-month program.

The first-hand experience gained in the NEWT program will give these four teachers insight and perspective to better prepare their students to be the STEM leaders of tomorrow.

NSWCPD Renews STEM Charter, Lauds Partnership with Coalition

Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division has renewed its STEM Charter which aims to support a pipeline of young talent to join the naval engineering workforce. An article in the Department of Defense internal news roundup explains NSWCPD’s current outreach efforts and highlights several partnerships, including the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition.

Philadelphia high school robotics student Jeechieu Ta learns about career opportunities in the Navy at the American Society of Naval Engineers conference at Villanova University in 2016. (PC: RoboLancers)

Since 2019, the partnership between the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition and NSWCPD has matched Navy scientists and engineers with student robotics teams at over 20 Philadelphia schools. This mentorship is valuable for the students who get to build relationships with professional engineers and envision future careers for themselves.

The program is valuable for the mentors as well, who get to meet colleagues from other departments at NSWCPD, and learn project management and communication skills that they can bring back to their work at NSWCPD.

Beyond team mentorship, NSWCPD provides summer internships for high school and college students. And new for summer 2021, the NEWT Program (Naval Education Workforce Training) will give four School District of Philadelphia high school teachers an intensive R&D experience.

Read the full article here.

Deadline: FIRST LEGO League Event Registration

FIRST LEGO League teams planning to compete at the Philadelphia events this spring must register for those events by Monday March 1.

Use these links to navigate to the FIRST Mid-Atlantic event registration system:

Register for the 2021 Philadelphia FLL Challenge Tournament (grades 4-8)

Register for the 2021 Philadelphia FLL Explore Expo (grades 2-4)

Both events will be held virtually on Saturday May 1, 2021.

Concentration and excitement at the 2019 Philadelphia FIRST LEGO League Challenge Qualifier.