Outlines Needed Changes,
By Danny Johnson (
As the new middle school continues to rise from the ground next door to George Mason, the high school continues to study its space needs for next year, including where in the building certain departments will be located, how many temporary trailers will be removed and how many will stay, and how best to utilize the existing space to meet the needs of a continually growing student population.
One of the foremost concerns in these
meeting the educational needs and legal and safety demands of the
Department, which has been making do in less-than-optimal conditions
past few years.
Recently, Science Department chairman Ms. Mary McDowell met with the students in the journalism class to review her department’s needs and proposals.
According to McDowell, the small classroom sizes along with the lack of a sufficient number of classrooms increases the risk of having accidents. “We had a beaker rupture on a hotplate recently and it’s lucky that nobody got burned,” said McDowell, who also contends that when in labs, “students need to be as safe as possible.”
Not only does the lack of adequate space increase the risks of accidents, it also puts a tremendous strain on the teacher’s capabilities. It has become routine in the science wing for the teachers to pack all of their educationalist belongings onto large plastic carts, and shuttle them between classes. Only one teacher, Ms. Goss, has her own classroom, while the remaining seven science teachers alternate classrooms throughout the day. Dr. Mecca, a new biology teacher at George Mason, is never in the same room for consecutive periods.
In turn, all this moving and shaking the teachers must endure decreases classroom capabilities and learning time for students. Teachers are forced to begin cleaning up and packing their carts much earlier than they would if they had their own rooms, shortening teaching time and therefore diminishing the students’ opportunity to learn.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that there was insufficient space and a lessened time to teach and learn, the science department is under equipped. For example, currently, there is only one dishwasher and one refrigerator in the entire science wing. “We have to use the dishwasher after school and baby sit it because it is not built in and so must be unhooked from the water supply before we go home,” said McDowell.
Since McDowell made her report to the journalism class and School Board, two additional exit doors have been added to two science classrooms improving safety, and McDowell reports that she is optimistic that the Board and City Council will approve funds for the continued renovation and expansion of the science classrooms.
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