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UBTECH Education Announces Early Innovator Grant Winners

Students in 21 schools and districts around the US to receive free access to high-quality STEM robotics and coding opportunities

As part of UBTECH Education’s commitment to equity in robotics and engineering instruction, the organization today announced the winners of the Early Innovator grant, a competitive program that will provide two years of free robotics kits, curriculum, and professional development to K–12 school systems interested in integrating robotics instruction into STEM programs.

UBTECH Education launched the Early Innovator program as part of its effort to help address inequities in STEM education, leveling the playing field by exposing more students to robotics and engineering—not just those students who can participate in out-of-school camps, clubs, and classes.

Grant winners will implement the company’s award-winning UKIT solution and curriculum in their elementary and middle school classrooms. Developed by experts who helped write the NGSS, the UKIT solution immerses students in hands-on learning by merging modular robotics construction with engineering, math, and language arts, as well as physical and life sciences.

Participants represent a diverse cross-section of American public education

After a competitive application process that yielded nearly 250 submissions from geographically and demographically diverse school systems across the United States, the UBTECH Education team invited the following school systems into the Early Innovators program:

  • Austin Independent School District (TX)
  • Broome Tioga BOCES (NY)
  • Bullitt County Public Schools (KY)
  • Bulloch County Schools (GA)
  • Cajon Valley Union (CA)
  • Catalyst Schools (IL)
  • Chicago Public Schools (IL)
  • Fort Worth Independent School District (TX)
  • Guy-Perkins School District (AR)
  • InspireNOLA Charter Schools (LA)
  • Juab School District (UT)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District (CA)
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools (TN)
  • Mt. Adams School District (WA)
  • New Brunswick Public Schools (NJ)
  • New York City DOE District 4 (NY)
  • Newark Public Schools (NJ)
  • Providence Public Schools (RI)
  • Richland School District Two (SC)
  • West Feliciana Parish Public Schools (LA)
  • Windham Northeast Supervisory Union (VT)

“The importance of STEM education is only increasing as we look to the future of work and an increasingly globalized, tech-driven economy,” said Jamie Sachs, senior director of education at UBTECH. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2018 and 2028 STEM occupations will grow by 8.8%, far out-pacing non-STEM job growth. Our children need to be prepared for this future, but the reality is that not all schools have the means, financial or otherwise, to help their students build strong STEM foundations. UBTECH is proud to support school systems’ efforts to prepare their students for a brighter tomorrow‚ and the Early Innovator grant is part of our commitment to creating equitable opportunities for STEM learning.”

Grantees share their perspectives on equity in robotics

Representatives at winning schools shared their reasons for applying to UBTECH’s Early Innovator grant program:

  • Keith Barnes, digital learning coach, Bullitt County Public Schools: “We’re using the UKIT as a springboard to chart a course for success in creating a STEAM educational experience that incorporates community resources to [create an] ecosystem that will enable our students to be successful in the STEAM careers of tomorrow.”


  • Krystle Bassett, innovation specialist, Juab School District: “One thing that excites me is the accessibility of the UKIT. As a learner, I can work through a build at my own pace. It is both accessible and flexible, which makes it a great fit for students.”


  • Kathryn Galasso, science teacher and robotics coach, New Brunswick Public Schools: “I want to bring robotics to the core science curriculum to give every student exposure to this field.”


  • Dana Jarnecke, director of teaching and learning, Mt. Adams School District: “This opportunity will provide us with assistance in starting a quality program and developing a strategic partnership that will increase STEM opportunities for students.” Jarnecke will implement UKITs in a rural school that sits on the Yakima Indian Reservation.


  • Maureen Smith, science instructional support specialist PK–12, Broome Tioga BOCES: “Being that our districts are extremely diverse we focus very heavily on equity and making sure that our programs and initiatives are accessible to all. I think that this grant would be a major step forward in the right direction as we really begin implementation of our STEM plans.”


The first implementations of the Early Innovator Grant Program will begin in Fall 2019. For more information and to receive updates on the Early Innovators, sign up for the newsletter at www.ubtecheducation.com and follow @ubtechedu on Twitter and Facebook.

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