Letter - Current science building has many challenges


I am a science teacher at Walla Walla High School, and I want to encourage our community to vote “yes” for the bond to fund the construction of a new science building.

I was blessed to grow up in a small Eastern Washington community that believed in the importance of funding public education. My high school was well equipped with large science classrooms and labs, and my love of science grew because we were able to really “do” science rather than just “learn about” science.

I went on to study biology and chemistry and later found my calling as a classroom teacher. Science classes today are no longer just about memorizing vocabulary, but about students learning to be scientists. Our learning spaces need to reflect that change in focus.

Wa-Hi is a beautiful campus when you drive by, but some needs must be addressed if we are going to give our kids the education they deserve. Each time I plan lessons, I make adjustments in our curriculum because I am teaching science in a nonscience classroom.

I do labs as demonstrations because we are not able to use Bunsen burners. Other labs must be adapted because students cycle through stations set up in crowded corners of the classroom, instead of a typical lab with enough work stations for each group of two.

Lab equipment and hands are washed in the nearby bathroom. Temperatures in the classroom can soar into the 90s on days we are using hot plates.

My husband and I love this town, and we know our three children will have an excellent public education here. This draws other young families to this area as well, enriching the economy for all of us.

We know students will continue to “survive” in the current system. But when I compare our science facility to the one I had access to 20 years ago, and to what we see in the surrounding high schools today, I know Walla Walla can do better.

Please find out the facts about the upcoming bond. See the district website or come to one of the open houses the science teachers are holding at Wa-Hi on Thursday and March 31 from 6-8 p.m.

Mary Burt

Walla Walla


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