FONTANA, CA – Fontana Unified School District will send 24 teams to compete in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) – USA National Championships on Sept. 15, where students will test their collaboration, programming and robotics skills against elementary, middle and high school students from across the country.

Students from Beech Avenue, Canyon Crest, Live Oak, Randall Pepper, Redwood and Shadow Hills elementary schools, as well as Southridge Tech and Wayne Ruble middle schools, will compete in the national championships, which are sponsored by Juniper Networks and will be held at the Juniper Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale.

“Robotics has motivated our students to want to do math and they are comprehending concepts better than before,” Beech Avenue Elementary Principal Michele Mower said. “They’re very confident in their abilities, and it can be seen across all of their daily assignments. Attendance has improved, because they don’t want to miss out on a single lesson. They are very proud of their accomplishments.”

Students will design and build robots capable of completing challenges centered on the 2019 theme, “Smart Cities,” exploring concepts, ideas and technology aimed at building the cities of the future.

Fontana Unified recently celebrated a triumphant return from the WRO Friendship Invitational in August, in which Wayne Ruble Middle School and Randall Pepper Elementary School competed against nearly 150 teams from 33 countries.

Randall Pepper Elementary’s fledgling team returned home with the International Friendship Award for its slogan, “3 Countries, 3 Teams, 1 Friendship,” created in collaboration with students from Germany and Nigeria.

The District’s rapidly growing robotics program is a cornerstone of its science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) instruction, which inspires students to develop a diverse skillset to thrive in a variety of academic and professional fields.

The robotics program is supported in part by a partnership with Upland-based Engineering for Kids, which provides after-school robotics curriculum and coaches for eight Fontana Unified schools.

“Coding and robotics provide foundational STEM skills that benefit students both academically and professionally,” FUSD Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “We are proud of our students who will represent Fontana at the national competition and thank the educators and volunteers who support our students every step of the way.”