Wa-Hi classrooms make it harder to learn

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Please join me in supporting the upcoming school bond to provide necessary updates and improvements at Walla Walla High School. I believe the remodeling will improve student learning for all students and I am extremely supportive of the design plans since it keeps Wa-Hi looking and feeling like the Wa-Hi campus we know and love.

I’ve spent my entire 28-year career working for the school district with the majority of that time as a math teacher at Wa-Hi. While I have always been extremely thankful for and proud of the wonderful students I’ve had the opportunity to teach, I also know firsthand that my teaching and the learning of my students would have been dramatically improved had three things been present in my classroom: (1) appropriate technology; (2) climate control HVAC system; and (3) more space.

My judgments come from having taught in 17 different classrooms at Wa-Hi over the years. Thankfully, all three of the issues I’ve noted are addressed in the upcoming proposed remodel at Wa-Hi.

My students experienced classrooms where temperatures ranged from the low 60s in January during first semester finals to the upper 90s in June during second semester finals. My students were not able to view 3-D mathematical models or graphs nor gain access to interactive software to reinforce foundational math concepts since the classrooms did not have the technology to support these learning opportunities.

Further, many of my classes had 32 or more students packed into a classroom that’s size made it difficult to arrange desks and furniture so I could work individually with a student in class while re-teaching a challenging topic for the student.

While I do not relish the reality of an increase in my tax obligation, I know the needs at Wa-Hi are very real and the “bang-for-our-buck” as a community couldn’t be better in terms of low interest rates and low construction costs combined with a very functional design plan.

The time is right. Now is the time to approve this project. Please join me in voting “Yes for Wa-Hi.”

Ron Higgins

Walla Walla

Comments

fatherof5 1 year, 11 months ago

Well said, Mr. Higgins. After teaching in 17 different classrooms at Wa-Hi over the course of 28 years, you would know a thing or two about the pros and cons of the current infrastructure.

I'm struck by your description of how challenging it is to work with individual students in tight spaces. Fifty years ago classes were taught primarily through lecture. Today, teachers try to individualize their instruction with less "sage on the stage" teaching. Research shows this newer style of teaching can be more effective, but it also requires enough classroom space to work with small groups and individuals. This is one more reason I'm voting "yes!"

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