Westtown School


Contact: Lynette Assarsson, Westtown School Communications; 610-399-7853                                                  lynette.assarsson@westtown.edu


Teaching the Teachers: Student Leads Robotics Course

WEST CHESTER, PA - Some teenagers spend their summers lounging at the pool or going to the beach; Joseph Rue spent his teaching teachers how to build robots.

Under the auspices of the Westtown Science Institute (WSI) and Westtown Robotics, Rue, a junior at Westtown School, designed, planned, and taught a teacher professional development workshop this summer.

The WSI has been working with Westtown alumni Bill and Chris Sharples of SHoP Architects in New York across a wide range of initiatives, among which is helping Benchmark School in Media, PA design and implement a robotics program. The Sharples brothers, known most recently for their design of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, were encouraged by the steps Westtown has taken to help Rue realize this project.

Rue, who began his career as a roboticist with the Westtown School Lego League program, has become a consultant and assistant to both the current Lower and Middle School programs at Westtown School, and is a member of the Upper School "Metal Moose" robotics team.

His summer program with Benchmark teachers was held six hours per day over a three-day period at Westtown’s new Science Center. It was an immersion course in Lego Robotics.

The Benchmark teachers were impressed by Joseph’s implementation of the workshop. “He was an excellent teacher, guiding us rather than providing a solution to the many challenges we encountered in learning a brand new skill,” says Carol Rydel, a Benchmark teacher. “It was a wonderful three days that flew by because of Joseph's organization of time, materials, and projects. I can't imagine a better way, a better teacher or a better venue to start our adventure in robotics.”

Math Department Head, Dr. Betsy Cunicelli, agrees with Rydel’s assessment. “He was always patient, knowledgeable and helpful. Joseph was unintimidated by his teacher audience and provided us clear, explicit instruction every step of the way. We could always count on his unfailing support, no matter how simple or complicated the issue might have been. Joseph has given us the confidence to take the first steps in setting up a robotics club at Benchmark and with his continued support we feel certain we will meet with success.”

“The WSI is thrilled to be working with distinguished alumni of Westtown School and current robotics team members to help Benchmark inaugurate a robotics program,” says Steve Compton, Director of the WSI. “Very few schools could help develop and challenge a student like Joseph, who can single-handedly run a professional development workshop for adults. His work was extraordinary, and he will continue to work with Benchmark faculty during the course of this school year.”





Westtown School, a pre-K – 12 college prep school that offers day and boarding options, was founded by Quakers in 1799. Westtown offers a challenging and diverse curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, creative problem-solving, collaboration, service and social action

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975 Westtown Road      West Chester, PA 19382-5700      610 399 0123

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