Letter - Walla Walla High School science classrooms unacceptable

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Education matters to me.

Before moving to Walla Walla, I made a point to visit three local elementary schools and I was impressed. I said to myself, “Clearly this town values education.”

This impression played a large part in our decision to move here. Living here now for 2½ years, I have visited most of the schools in the district. And I continue to believe this community clearly values education.

And at the same time, as a parent of two children in the public schools and having worked in the field of science and environmental education for over 15 years, I find the state of our science education facilities at Walla Walla High School to be unacceptable.

The classrooms are too small for the number of students per class leaving no room for labs to be prepared or conducted. They do not have access to water, gas or proper ventilation, nor do they have access to proper safety equipment. This keeps our teachers from providing the breadth of lab activities that are so vital to the understanding of science.

This needs to change to accommodate the upcoming changes in science education. The Next Generation Science Standards were released in 2013. These nationwide standards are providing our country with a path for comprehensive K-12 science education while embedding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into every discipline of the sciences.

These standards will be the framework for the coming curriculum, making way for STEM learning to cut across disciplines and inspire our children to pursue higher education.

To meet the needs of our students, we need to pass the upcoming Wa-Hi bond to update our science classrooms, provide tools and resources that will allow our teachers to embrace this curriculum and teach the Next Generation Science Standards.

This bond will allow us to begin the journey of renovating Wa-Hi, preparing our students for their future as citizens. As a community that clearly value education, let’s act on our values and pass this bond.

Heidi Chapin

Walla Walla

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