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Photo of Seattle Academy Red Shift Robotics Logo

The mission of the Seattle Academy Robotics program is to offer willing students a place to learn foundational skills in building, coding, and business administration. For students that want to excel and commit more time they will have an opportunity to explore high engineering problems and advanced coding techniques. We believe deeply in a student run program with mentors to give support and vision. Students are assigned project manager roles and participate in weekly engineering planning.  Students have to manage budget restrictions and sponsorship and public relations for the club.  Through the season, student have a sense of ownership and commitment to the program that far exceeds any teacher led projects.  

Seattle Academy manages three to four teams in FTC Robotics which is part of the National FIRST robotics program.  Seattle Academy supports this program as a club that meets 3-4 times a week after school with three SAAS teachers devoted to mentoring students through the season.  The program has produced highly competitive teams that have competed at the World Championships in Houston along with winning the Washington State Championship.

Upper School Robotics Calendar

More Than Robots:

The Red Shift program spends a lot of time designing, building, and testing robots but our program includes a significant community service component. In the last two years, Red Shift has done more than 4,000 hours of community outreach. Students have taught robotics to elementary students, they have volunteered at Unified Robotics, built and donated NXT robots to students in Zambia, mentored other robotics team in both FRC, FTC, and FLL and motivated local professionals to support and mentor FIRST robotics programs. The program also has many students that work on our engineering notebook that outlines process, designs, and heavily leverages CAD drawings to execute ideas. Students give to community, write about engineering processes, and use modern software to accelerate our designs. The team is more than robots.

Cost and Family Involvement:

Red Shift robotics is supported and run by Seattle Academy but our program thrives with the support of families. The monetary support for the team comes in two forms. 1) Snack sign ups. Students come to practice for three hours after school and our coveted snack closet very much is a needed part of the program. Parents are asked to provide snacks for the club occasionally usually through an online sign up. 2) World Championships travel. For the most part, all of our competitions are in State and close by. In the event that a team qualifies for the World Championship we will ask families to cover some of the cost of the trip. It is expected that this cost is between $500-$800 per student.  

Our robotics lab

Photo of Seattle Academy Upper School Student in the Robotics Lab

In the Fall of 2016 Seattle Academy opened a brand new robotics lab to students. In the basement of our beautiful STREAM building, we have a shop with a mill, lathe, drill press, and band saw. The larger workshop is fully equipped with power tools, hand tools, electrical equipment, raw materials, and all things robots.

2019 Team Tesseract Judging Performance

Recent Awards and Accomplishments


World Championships in Houston

  • Think Award Winners 

2017-18 Relic Recovery

Western Super Regionals

  • Innovate Award 2nd Place

Washington State

  • Winning Alliance
  • Inspire Nomination

Regional Tournament

  • Winning Alliance
  • Inspire Award Winner

2017-16 Velocity Vortex

World Championships in Houston

  • Finished in top 20 teams
  • Inspire Award Nomination

Western Super Regionals

  • Elimination Semi-Finalist
  • Design Award 2nd Place

Washington State

  • Inspire Award 2nd Place
  • Washington State Champions

2015-16 Res-Q

Western Super Regionals

  • Finalist Alliance 2nd Pick

Washington State

  • Inspire Award Nomination
  • Think Award Winner

Regional Tournament

  • Finalist Alliance Captain
  • Inspire Award Winner

Robotics at SAAS FAQ

How much experience do I need to participate?

Student with no experience are welcome to join the robotics team.  We have many students every year that have had no background in robotics and just want to learn.

When does it start?

The FTC build season starts in early September and the team will often start practicing a couple of weeks before that.  Often, the team practices start at the start of school or that week.

What is the time commitment?

Red Shift robotics is comprised of three teams that can accomodate students with a varying level of skill and time commitment.  We ask that student make a time commitment, but that time can be different for each student. Students will be asked to plan and commit to their specific timelines.

Is the robotics team a class or a club? Can I get class credit for Robotics?

The robotics team is considered a team and does not meet during a regularly scheduled class period; however, because of the high level of time and developed skills SAAS does give credit for participation in the club. Student can earn a credit for fall trimester and another credit for winter trimester. 

What kind of programming is done in robotics?

The FTC system is programmed in Android Studio with Java. There are pre-built libraries that offer access to our motor and servo controllers along with pre-built Android App that is used by all teams.  

Can I do a sport and robotics at the same time?

Sport overlaps are common and we consider these for each individual student.

How do I get involved?

Show up and commit to a practice schedule. Communicate with one of the team mentors and come to practice after school on a practice day.

Robotics News