Press Release - April 23, 2012

FIRST Announces Alliance with National Parent Teacher Association

FIRST and National Parent Teacher Association Combining Efforts To Influence Next Generation of Innovators

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 23, 2012FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and the National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA®) today announced a national Alliance to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in K-12 education. FIRST and the National PTA (NPTA) will mobilize their collective resources to collaborate and promote K-12 after-school participation for the FIRST progression of four robotics programs.

The Alliance between FIRST and the National PTA is fitting as both organizations work diligently to promote opportunities for student engagement and enrichment. While the mission of FIRST is to inspire children to become science and technology leaders; the goal of the National PTA is complementary to this mission, striving to make every child’s potential a reality.

“Having a strategic channel that allows parents across the country to learn about FIRST and translate that into action as Coaches/Mentors for our FIRST students gives our organization a tremendous new source of Volunteer resources,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and President of DEKA Research and Development. “As a leader in all things ‘parents,’ NPTA knows what after-school programs can do for individual students as well as school systems. We value the expert advice on what parents ‘really want’ and what they ‘really see’ as the best competitive advantage for their schools and for their families.”

The National PTA will receive support from FIRST in the form of resources such as materials, guidelines, and criteria for starting robotics teams, as well as marketing support.  In turn, National PTA will recruit their own members and Volunteers across the nation to assist FIRST regional, affiliate, and operational partners in growing teams and Sponsors in their areas.  To promote this growth, National PTA members and Volunteers will take on the important and influential roles of Mentors and Coaches to FIRST teams and students. In addition, the Alliance between the National PTA and FIRST will encourage K-12 schools that do not already have robotics as an after-school program to take notice and join the ‘robot revolution.’

“As data shows that American students now rank 25th in math and 21st in science, it’s crucial for families to be engaged in ways that can help our nation’s students return to the head of the class. We’re proud to support this program and help link valuable resources and programs with families and students,” said Betsy Landers, National PTA President.

Members of the National PTA will work with regional FIRST leadership, partners, and events at the local level to increase awareness of and support to FIRST within their own communities.  The ultimate goal of the Alliance between FIRST and the National PTA is to increase the numbers of active participants – both students and adult Volunteers/Mentors/Coaches – across all FIRST programs.

About The National Parent Teacher Association®

Membership is open to anyone who believes in the mission and purposes of Parent Teacher Association. Individual members may belong to any number of PTAs and pay dues in each. Every person who joins a local PTA® automatically becomes a member of both the state and national PTAs. “Together we are a powerful voice for children. With your help, we can continue to work toward PTA's goal of a quality education and nurturing environment for every child.

  • PTA Vision: What the future will look like if PTA accomplishes its mission.
    “Making every child's potential a reality.” PTA Mission: The overall purpose of PTA “To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.” PTA Values: What PTA stands for: Collaboration - We work in partnership with a wide array of individuals and organizations to accomplish our agreed-upon goals. Commitment -- We are dedicated to promoting children’s health, well-being, and educational success through strong parent, family, and community involvement. Accountability -- We acknowledge our obligations. We deliver on our promises. Respect: We value our colleagues and ourselves. We expect the same high quality of effort and thought from ourselves as we do from others. Inclusivity --We invite the stranger and welcome the newcomer. We value and seek input from as wide a spectrum of viewpoints and experiences as possible. Integrity -- We act consistently with our beliefs. When we err, we acknowledge the mistake and seek to make amends.

About FIRST

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

Media Contacts:
Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph. 603-666-3906 x460
cwalsh@usfirst.org
Haley Dunn, FIRST
Ph. 603-666-3906 x494
hdunn@usfirst.org