Lincoln's new science lab helps drive student success

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Lincoln High School is a 1926 building that shows every year of its age — from its hallways to its classrooms.

Lincoln, with 175 students, is an alternative to the 1,849-student Walla Walla High School. Lincoln students are often behind in their school credits and face personal challenges, from traumatic situations to poverty.

But the school’s science lab is now the envy of teachers and students at Wa-Hi (and beyond). The Lincoln lab was cited as an example by some for the type of lab planned for Wa-Hi if the bond to rebuild Wa-Hi passed.

A former computer lab at Lincoln has been transformed into a modern laboratory for classes such as biomedical engineering, where students learn about crime scene investigations and medical ailments.

“This class is more hands-on and career orientated,” Lincoln science teacher Erik Gordon said. “Students interested in working in the health sciences fields such as emergency medical technician, nursing or physician’s assistant will get a lot out of this course.”

The $95,000 lab fits with a new curriculum provided by Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization established to address a shortage of students studying engineering and science.

Lincoln was able to take advantage of Project Lead the Way curriculum with its top-notch lab because of two grants from outside Walla Walla totaling $35,000 and $60,000 from the School District.

Having this great new facility in an 87-year-old building shows what vision and determination can accomplish.

Lincoln Principal Jim Sporleder and his staff don’t focus on barriers to success, they look beyond them to find ways to help their students graduate. The growing success of Lincoln is impressive.

The graduation rate at Lincoln has taken off faster than a dragster at the dragstrip off Middle Waitsburg Road. The graduation rate for the class of 2010 was 69.7 percent compared to 13.4 percent for the class of 2008.

Wow.

Sporleder and teachers such as Gordon aim to build confidence of students as they work to reach their potential. A curriculum like the one now being used at Lincoln is challenging, but students have been up to the challenge.

“When they’re in a very professional, high-level ... lab they step up,” Gordon said.

Sporleder said Lincoln takes pride in their lab.

And the community should take pride in what’s going on at Lincoln.

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