The Nevada Department of Education (NDE or Department) announced a $4 million dollar investment of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds to expand access to STEM and robotics programs Statewide. In partnership with FIRST Nevada, the Department will move closer to its goal of securing a robotics program in every school that serves K-12 students in Nevada.
“Providing access for our students to emerging technologies and STEM programs is essential as we recover from COVID-19 and redefine education in Nevada, and I recognize Governor Sisolak and the Interim Finance Committee for investing in this innovative program,” said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We are excited and grateful to have FIRST Nevada as a forward-thinking partner in moving us closer to our goal of ensuring each and every Nevada student is future-ready and globally prepared!”
“Inspiring Nevada’s young people to develop technology-based skills and interests will ensure not only success for our next generation, but economic vitality for the future of our State,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “I commend the Nevada Department of Education for establishing innovative programs and partnerships which will provide critical STEM and STEAM opportunities to our students and look forward to the expansion of FIRST Nevada programs Statewide.”
The mission of FIRST Nevada is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST offers a suite of inclusive, team-based PreK-12 robotics programs to engage students, including FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Robotics Competition. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, FIRST Nevada programs reached half of Nevada’s school districts and over 3,000 Nevada students and teachers, including 270 robotics teams Statewide.
“FIRST Nevada is thrilled and honored to be selected by the Nevada Department of Education as a recipient of this impactful investment to provide much needed resources to our schools and teachers while ensuring equitable access for Nevada’s youth,” said Angela Quick, FIRST Nevada Executive Director. “We are truly grateful for this partnership and our aligned vision to provide accessibility to these exciting hands-on robotics programs that will inspire the next generation of science and technology leaders.”
This partnership will help support robotics team retention post-pandemic and enable FIRST Nevada to increase the number of robotics teams Statewide. Support for public schools will provide tools, equipment, and resources to offer equitable access for students and teachers throughout the State.
Students who participate in FIRST programs are 2.9 times more likely to show interest in STEM, 2.3 times more likely to be interested in a STEM career, 3.7 times more likely to be involved in STEM activity, and 2.7 times more likely to show gains in STEM understanding. In addition, FIRST participants develop skills to become the innovators of tomorrow, such as improved problem solving skills, conflict resolution, cooperation, time management, and strengthened communication skills.
Nevada school leaders are encouraged to reach out to Angela Quick at FIRST Nevada at email@example.com to find out more information about starting a robotics program at their school.
ABOUT THE NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) leads and collaborates with Nevada’s 17 school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority to advance educational equity Statewide. With offices in Carson City and Las Vegas, NDE oversees all pre-K-12 education in the State, working to achieve its mission to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning, and promoting excellence. Under the leadership of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, NDE impacts the achievement of nearly half a million children and 30,000 educators.
ABOUT FIRST NEVADA
FIRST Nevada is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization promoting FIRST® robotics programs and STEAM education initiatives in Nevada. The mission of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. To learn more about FIRST® visit First Nevada or First Inspires.
This project aligns with the Department’s Statewide Plan for the Improvement of Pupils (STIP) value of Access to Quality, as well as its stated goal that “All students graduate future-ready and globally prepared for postsecondary success and civic life.” Additionally, it aligns with the Department’s COVID-19 federal relief funding Advancing Equity focus area.