County robotics program changes locations

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chilton County’s robotics program soon will be more accessible to students from all county schools.

The program, formerly based at Isabella High School, will be housed at LeCroy Career Tech Center starting Aug. 20.

Jay LeCroy, general science teacher at the career tech center, founded the program several years ago and led the robotics team to many state and national competitions.

“We had a tremendous amount of success with this program at Isabella, but there were students from the rest of the county that wanted to participate,” he said. “Putting [the program] at LeCroy will allow them to participate.”

The program’s new, tentative name is the LeCroy Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The program is named for its new location, which did not derive its name from the teacher.

LeCroy said the program is designed to benefit students planning to earn a four-year engineering degree, students planning to earn a two-year engineering degree, and students who need technical skills to go into the workforce when they graduate high school.

“They learn programming, design and maintaining a robot,” LeCroy said. “They visit campuses when they compete. That gives them the opportunity to be recruited by other colleges.”

The year-round program will consist of one morning class and one afternoon class every day.

Students would be required to attend half a day, every day, in order to earn one physics credit and one engineering credit on the block system.

LeCroy will teach the physics side of the program, while Building Construction instructor Jason Sosa will focus on the engineering side.

Based on funding, the program will have 48 seats, with 24 in the morning class and 24 in the afternoon class.

The first class will be Introduction to Engineering Robotics, and all classes will feature what LeCroy called “project-based learning.”

“They learn how to work with each other in groups,” LeCroy said. “From the class, we will build a competitive robotics team to compete at different events throughout the county.”

LeCroy Director Tommy Glasscock credited Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden, the Board of Education, state Rep. Kurt Wallace, Sen. Cam Ward, counselors and others in the community for supporting the program and helping it grow.

“We just think the sky’s the limit on where we can take the program,” Glasscock said.

For more information or to check space availability for the robotics program, call Career Tech counselor Dara Norman at (205) 280-2986.