RTHS has two ways for STEM volunteers to make an extended commitment to working with students. The first is acting as a tutor.
Beginning in late October, our second quarter, students who show needs in math, science or reading are assigned a local industry volunteer tutor to accelerate closing the gap in their missing skills. Tutors meet weekly for 55 minutes with two students; that is, 20 minutes with each. Before starting, tutors are trained by a team of teachers, experienced tutors and administration, and then are assigned to two students based on the volunteers' schedules. An October-to-May commitment is required (with room for absences and travel, of course). This is considered one of the most rewarding roles that volunteers can undertake within the school--a chance to build relationships with two young people and guide them to stronger study skills and knowledge.
The second way to make a deep commitment with students at RTHS is to serve as a mentor. Mentors support (or lead) two STEM programs: FIRST Robotics and Technovation.
FIRST Robotics is the well-known national high school robot build competition. The ‘build’ season runs for six weeks beginning early in January, with competitions taking place first locally, then regionally and nationally in the late spring. Mentors add technical expertise and guidance to the RTHS team on a weekly and even twice-weekly schedule, as the robot-build accelerates.
Technovation is a lighter project on a similar schedule, with less time commitment. Technovation is a Silicon Valley-based program for teams of four to five girls to research, code, and market a smartphone app. Also beginning in January, mentors lead the girls through a proscribed curriculum with tools from Technovation itself. The regional competition winners are invited to San Francisco to “pitch” their products. Both of these programs are heavily supported by RTHS’ administration. We strongly encourage women engineers and computer scientists of color to consider leading a Technovation team each year.
For more information on becoming a tutor or mentor, contact Pamela Blizzard.