EHS science teachers support bond measure | Letters to the Editor

The Enumclaw High School Science Department is excited to be a big part of the upcoming school bond. Our facilities are to be redesigned so that we can do things that were just not possible 47 years ago when our current building was constructed. One feature of the planned design is the addition of shared spaces for dedicated chemistry labs and for more hands-on engineering activities. Other features address data and electrical needs of today’s technology and the organization of specialized equipment and shared supplies. These redesigned facilities will create more efficient ways to teach and to enhance student learning.

Some might wonder if redesigned facilities are needed. Certainly we are managing to teach science classes right now – the 85 percent of EHS students that passed the state science test last year are well ahead of the state average of 70 percent. We make things work with the current facility but it is far from optimum. The big picture for science is not so much about what we do have as about what we could have and do.

All seven of us come to school each morning and prepare to do the best job we can for Enumclaw’s teenagers. Invariably, certain frustrations arise because of the building and facilities. Maybe it’s a chemistry lab that lacks adequate fume hoods or the size and arrangement of a biology classroom where everyone is bumping into each other. It could be extension cords winding around the room to a solitary electrical outlet or the rusty tap water and sewer gas in the sinks. One of our biggest frustrations is the use of natural gas or other smelly materials in rooms with less than adequate exhaust fans.

In each of these cases we will either modify the activity or not do it at all because of safety concerns for the students. The modified or missing activities are the elements of science at EHS we are excited to do something about.

Student success relies on the ability of the teacher to teach their discipline in a way that engages and enhances student learning. Teachers rely on their facility to enhance their lessons. Our school has done that for many years, but now our needs have gone beyond the building’s ability to fully support our students. Moreover, well-designed and updated science facilities will also help us attract and retain high-caliber science teachers. To best prepare our students for their future, we need redesigned science facilities.

But we need your help. You voting for the upcoming school bond is a vote for so many positive things: it would be a vote for our kids, it would be a vote for our community, it would be a vote for the future of Enumclaw and it would also be a vote for science!

The big picture is our children’s future. The timing is right. The time is now. Please help us help EHS kids. Vote “yes” for the school bond!

Kent Basting, Curtis Cheney, Rob Lightbody, Jodi Maras, Susan Sandfer, Megan Steinman-Neal, Cora Valentine

EHS science teachers