Tuesday, March 11, 2014
As an English teacher at Walla Walla High School, whose job is to create educational opportunities for students, I urge your support of the school bond in April to build a new science building. This is a significant educational opportunity for our students.
This project also offers a chance to build consensus within the community. Surveys show solid public support for fixing Wa-Hi in stages, and a reluctance to paying for multiple bonds. Fortunately, one bond was recently retired, which can be replaced by this new science building bond. The Edison bond will be retired in a few years, which can open the door for further projects.
It is true that Wa-Hi has many needs that are not addressed by this bond. In my own classroom in the Academic Building, I would love more computer access, newer desks, and more room to roam among 32 students. I would also love to teach students in May, June and September who are not aggressively fanning themselves to cope with soaring classroom temperatures. Wa-Hi also has significant needs for upgrades in its drama, music and fitness facilities.
None of these deficiencies, though, matches the urgency of our science classrooms.
Those rooms may have been fine 50 years ago, but much has changed in science since 1963. We are now graduating students, who, despite the best efforts of a terrific science staff, are unprepared to compete with students who come from 21st century science programs.
Some lab experiences for AP science courses are simply not doable without proper ventilation. Lab equipment is sometimes cleaned in the lavatories for lack of classroom sinks. And there is almost no storage. I have spoken with science professors at Whitman College who are stunned when they see our limitations.
The strength of Wa-Hi lies in its tremendous programs, supportive families, dedicated staff, and strong traditions. What it lacks are the facilities to make further growth possible.
Across the campus, the structural limitations create a steady headwind against progress. For those who wish we could do more now, I don’t disagree. But the reality is we tried that in 2013 and failed to reach 60 percent support.
This will be a great step in the right direction and one which everyone should be able to support.
As a fellow community member and a teacher of your children, I urge you to vote “yes” for this bond in April.