In June of 2021, the i.am/Angel Foundation and the Los Angeles Unified School District partnered together to announce an initiative to create robotics teams for over 400 LAUSD middle and high schools. This initiative was a first of its kind in creating and implementing robotics teams for a major metropolitan public school district at scale.
Given that Los Angeles Unified is the second largest public school district in the United States, the i.am/Angel Foundation worked in partnership with FIRST Robotics, an international robotics competition for K-12 students, to roll out robotics kits to schools and provide professional development training to teachers. Working together, they created a tournament structure for students across the LAUSD to compete with the robots they built and programmed from scratch.
Although the robotics season came with its challenges, the pilot year for the program was completed successfully, capping it off with the Los Angeles Regional Championship hosted at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights. Over 200 students were in attendance at this competition, with Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies and Rancho Dominguez Prep School crowned as LA Unified’s inaugural FIRST Tech Challenge champions. Teams also won various accolades to conclude the tournament, including the FIRST Inspires Award and the Innovation Award, among others.
This program is seen as a step in the right direction to ensure more students have access and resources available to them for these opportunities. In fact, in the 2019 FTC season for SoCal, only 5 teams out of 160 registered were LAUSD affiliated. In comparison, a total of 86 FTC teams competed in the LAUSD League, amounting to a growth of 1620% in its first year.
With the start of the 2022-2023 school year just around the corner, the i.am/Angel Foundation is happy to announce that a 2nd year of LAUSD Robotics will be offered to returning teams. The new robotics season kicks off on September 10th.