Meet The Pavers of Starpoint School
This story begins six years ago when the members of Starpoint School's FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) team, The Pavers, started at Starpoint.
Starpoint is a laboratory school under the College of Education of Texas Christian University (TCU), the only one of its kind in the United States.
Its charter is to provide a "teaching" lab for future educators with the desire to address special education needs. All our students (K-6) have learning differences.
Each member of The Pavers FLL team have spent his or her entire educational career at Starpoint.
For them, reading and writing is very difficult. They aren't "wired" like the typical student. They see words and letters much differently than you or I do.
However, thanks to the dedicated staff of Starpoint, they have developed tools and methods to overcome their disabilities.
These students love their school and feel secure knowing that it is all right to make mistakes here and that only through those mistakes can they learn, correct, and achieve.
However, they also know this is their last year at Starpoint. Next school year, they must leve Starpoint and face a world full of uncertainty and apprehension.
Being the type of school we are, our students do not have the opportunity to interact or compete with other students in athletic or academic compettitions. This adds to the isolation many of our students feel.
After six years, they begin to doubt themselves and become afraid they will not meet the expectations of their parents, their teachers, or themselves.
Three years ago, Starpoint introduced computer technology and I was immediately overtaken with the inagination and creativity of these sudents. What they may lack in academic skills is more than compensated for in their character, attitude, and natural curiosity.
Last year we added LEGO MINDSTORMS® NXT robotics to the existing technology program, and soon thereafter The Pavers were born.
Watching these students work on the challenge, trying different things, researching and preparing their project, and buidling and programming the robot was truly amazing.
Many of the days were very difficult, but many were also very rewarding. Seeing them use all of their educational resources andlife skills to meet the challenge was remarkable.
The day of the North Texas Regional event is one none of us will ever forget.
It is very difficult for Starpoint students to concentrate or stay centered for a long period of time, but our team did!
For the entire day, they not only stayed on course, they exemplified the best of the Core Values by sharing and interacting with the other 62 teams, judges, and tournament volunteers.
We entered the event expecting a little dose of confidence, but by the end of the day the team was awarded two first-place trophies for Robotics Performance and Robot Design!
It was truly the most amazing day these students have ever had.
The Monday after the event, I asked each student what he or she learned that day. Most of the responses were typical: surprise that they had won. surprise that they had performed that well. However, I think one response exemplifies the true meaning of the event.
She said, "I know know I never ever have to be afraid to speak to an adult or another student my age ever again."