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Mr. Filan, perhaps I can better explain the need for updated science facilities in person. Please stop by the open house this evening. I will be available from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Room S-1.
Please come on down to the open house. I am looking forward to being able to answer any questions you might have about the science facilities at Wa-Hi.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. As a science teacher I also appreciate the incorporation of data in your response. I have been teaching at Wa-Hi for nearly 16 years and I am thankful that I get to work with so many great kids.
It looks like Shorline recently completed construction of two new high schools. The support of the community for education could be a big draw indeed.
A barn. Really. I am truly blessed to be a science teacher at Walla Walla High School. As far as I am concerned we have some of the best students on the planet. So many of our kids are working diligently to improve their circumstances it can be awe inspiring at times. For every student who litters or commits some other uncivil act there countless others who are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. When I see a student drop something I ask them to pick it up and they do. We can do more as a community to support our students and a new science building is a good start.
A quick search of the OSPI website will help clear up any confusion that you might have related to Wa-Hi students passing state mandated science assessments. For the past two years students have taken the Biology End of Course Assessment (Biology EOC,) In 2011-2012, 64.3% of high school sophomores in Washington state passed the biology EOC while 73.3% of Wa-Hi sophomores passed the test. In 2012-2013, 68.6% of high school sophomores passed the biology EOC while 80% of Wa-Hi sophomores passed the test. http://www.k12.wa.us/.
While Wa-HI students have performed admirably on the biology EOC this does not negate the need for updated science facilities. Our students deserve safe classrooms with modern features such as sinks and adequate ventilation. The original 1964 building has been well maintained and served well but it is time for an update. There are not too many folks driving their cars from 1964 or living in a home that has not been updated since that time. Let's restart the process of updating the Wa-Hi campus.
Mr. Knudson, imagine for a moment that as a bus driver you were required to drive students in a bus that had been on the road since 1964. Do you think that would be a safe situation for kids? Teaching students in a non-science classroom is like driving students home in a used moving van with some benches bolted to the floor. It might get the job done but it is neither safe nor effective.
Pleasant, would you mind indicating where and when you went to university?
Mr. Bickle, the sad truth is that many of the items you listed are real needs for Walla Walla High School. Wa Hi needs bigger classrooms, more restrooms, better heating and cooling. Better cooling would mean an actual cooling system for most of the campus. Lincoln High School is a facilities travesty in its own right. Research by the district, WSU and the Union Bulletin has indicated that the public is not in favor of a large bond to tackle all of these issues at once. The school board is simply performing their due diligence as they seek a publicly acceptable way to make the necessary facilities improvements within the system. As a science teacher at Wa-Hi, please accept my assurance that there is no deception intended. The board is seeking workable solution to a complex problem.
You bring up interesting and important points that I have considered on many occasions as a practicing physics teacher at Wa-Hi but I think that it is important to note that replacing worn out and inadequate facilities is a separate issue from per pupil spending. Students should be able to take a science course while in a science classroom. It is very hard to accomplish many investigations without sinks and a gas supply. I believe that kids learn science best by doing science. A non-lab classroom makes what can be a challenging prospect more difficult for all involved.
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