Prop KIDS could increase student opportunity

Students working in robotics instruction at Troy Middle School.

Students working in robotics instruction at Troy Middle School.

When the Troy Middle School (TMS) Parent Teacher Student Organization spent $1200 to purchase one Vex Robotics kit, teacher Brandon Franck knew exciting things were to come at TMS. One kit equaled a first-ever robotics team for the middle school. Franck applied for a matching grant in order to obtain two VEX robotics kits.

Even with two VEX Robotic kits, Franck knew selecting students to form the team would be incredibly difficult. “I wanted to give as many students as possible the opportunity to participate on the Technology Student Association (TSA) robotics team,” he said. Ultimately, Franck created a seventh grade and an eighth grade team and offered eight slots for each group. Most successful robotics teams throughout Missouri typically have four members per team.

The selection process included an application, which included a short essay on why a student wanted to become a member of the robotics team. Fifty students applied. Franck and TMS technology teacher JJ Hoskins reviewed the applications and essays together. The duo then looked to grades, surveys and MAP test scores.

In all, Franck had 50 students apply to be a member of the robotics teams; only 16 made the cut. Eighth grade student Nick Bishop joined TSA this year. “A lot of my friends were already in the club and I like to build things, so I joined,” he said. Bishop was one of the 34 students not garnering a slot on the robotics team.

“I knew it was a limited number of people that would make it. I knew the chances were going to be tough, but I was close,” Bishop said. The 14 year old Troy Middle School student was one of five of the applicants that took a test to serve as the tie breaker.

Proposition KIDS, if successful on April 8, can help increase the number of opportunities for middle school students. A second middle school would pave the way for two of each organization, club, sports and co-curriculars such as FFA, choir and band. Community Relations Specialist April Bryant said opportunity for students has a greater implication for our community.

“Getting students ‘plugged in’ has a direct correlation to students’ attending and enjoying school in some cases. When students are attending school and involved they are more likely to make it to graduation day and become contributing members of our community,” she said.

Proposition KIDS, Keep Improving District Schools, is a no-tax increase bond issue appearing on the April 8, 2014 ballot in the Lincoln County R-III School District. The measure asks voters for permission to construct a second middle school for the district and continue to make improvements at Troy Middle School. If successful, a second middle school will open in August 2016 with a capacity of 600-650 students.

A second middle school is the final piece of the Lincoln County R-III District’s current Long Range Plan. Four years ago, the Long Range Planning Team, which consists of employees and community members, deemed a second middle school a top priority, but the R-III District did not have enough bonding capacity to complete the project.

For more information, please visit the Proposition KIDS Information Station story on the district’s website – www.troy.k12.mo.us.

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 8:51 am