Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Challenges and differences? We all have them! And, they are even brought more to light during a tough financial climate.
But the importance of having good, quality places for young people to learn and for teachers to teach not only provides a purpose for our community and accessibility to all, but lifts the spirits and aspirations of everyone who uses them.
We continue to talk about buildings, but it is more than a building!
It is a school plant: The sum total of buildings, equipment, textbooks, learning materials including the surroundings where teaching and learning take place. School plants tell students who they are and what they should think about the world.
School plants help improve students’ performance and achievement. School plants improve attendance and reduce dropout rate. School plants improve attitudes toward learning. School plants increase teacher retention rate. School plants boost teacher effectiveness.
Moods and behaviors are influenced by our environment. Research by BRE Trust as part of its Better Performing Schools Project (2007) suggests pupil concentration, energy levels and mood are influenced by basic environmental factors such as natural light, noise, air quality and temperature.
Anyone who has taken a recent tour of Wa-Hi can attest to issues with each one of these components.
We are a rural community with strong support of our social and civic institutions, and our community tends to revolve around Walla Walla High School.
Town meetings occur in this facility. Residents attend sporting events, cheering for the kids they know, which tend to be most of them. A school play is an opportunity for our entire town to roll out its support and to visit with all our neighbors.
Students and staff support community needs and rallies. And because of its economic and social implications, Wa-Hi is often greeted with all the enthusiasm of a celebration. But because we don’t live there on a day-to-day basis, we forget it is aging.
Yes, we can have our challenges and differences but a school plant is essential to achieving positive outcomes in the teaching-learning process. It is the pillar of our community and supports teaching and learning activities.
The site, size, arrangement and other aspects of the classroom, support facilities such as labs, technology, toilets and other equipment can either be welcoming or repulsive.
Let’s make it even more welcoming! Please join me in voting “yes” for the Wa-Hi bond!
Connie Kay Taylor-Randall