Saturday, December 8, 2012
The proposed remodel of Walla Walla High School needs community support.
I am a science teacher at Wa-Hi, teaching advanced placement biology and honors freshman science in a classroom that lacks laboratory infrastructure. The room does not have Bunsen burners, outlets for microscopes, laboratory space or a lab demonstration desk.
The room does have one sink that 36 students can share. My colleague, who teaches anatomy and physiology, does not even have a sink. The only way his students are able to wash their dissecting trays is to use the sinks in the bathrooms.
The current infrastructure does not allow for learning opportunities that are basic in a high school science curriculum. The lack of Bunsen burners deprives my students of laboratory experiences that are basic in science.
This week, my freshmen were unable to complete a protocol that required them to measure the melting point of several salts. To use microscopes in biology, students drag furniture to the wall to reach the outlets for power strips and extension cords that create a trip hazard.
There is inadequate ventilation for working with chemicals, so I omit certain protocols to keep students safe. Even worse, there is inadequate temperature control for student learning.
When the outside temperature climbs to 80 degrees, student motivation sinks because our building is not air conditioned. I have three box fans in my room that make so much noise that students strain to hear my instruction. The noise makes classroom discussions impossible.
Here is why our community should support the Wa-Hi bond: These students are our town's kids.
Open the Union-Bulletin and read about their accomplishments in academics, debate, athletics, music and theater. When I read about our students, I practically levitate with pride. Our students not only deserve a first-class science education, but they deserve a first-class high school that will allow teachers to provide student learning experiences that their peers are receiving in neighboring towns.
Please support Wa-Hi students by voting "yes" on the bond to remodel their school. Still skeptical? Go on a patron tour.
Talk to the students while you are there. Compare what you see to what you experienced in high school and what it should be in 2012. It should be better in 2012. Is it?