Vote YES for Facilities Bond: A Science Teacher’s Perspective


If we want our students to be 21st century learners, we need to provide them with the best possible facilities, especially in the sciences. This will enable them to thrive and compete in the global market, primarily in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), where the United States has significantly fallen behind Europe and Asia. Science is the most rapidly evolving academic discipline; therefore our rooms need to evolve as well. Updating our science facilities will allow our students to hypothesize, inquire and investigate more than they did before. They will begin to acquire, through specific and concrete lab experiences, an affinity to be great scientists. Gone are the days of “chalk and talk” teacher-centered lessons. In science, students learn by partaking in laboratory activities. For example, it is extremely difficult to teach the concept of an acid-base titration on the whiteboard, even if you jazz it up with a Smart Board animation. And if one attempts such a task, they are doing a disservice to our kids. You can only learn by doing! Simply put! Imagine what more the Manhasset science department could accomplish for our kids with enhanced facilities and equipment.
I was fortunate to be a part of the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee because I wanted to represent the Manhasset community in addressing science. Believe me when I tell you that our facilities are obsolete! Currently, I teach honors chemistry and AP Biology in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. When I began my career in science education 11 years ago, I taught in an outdated classroom that did not support scientific inquiry. The desks were cluttered, the lab tables were falling apart, and half the cabinets were broken. Not only was it difficult to conduct a lesson, but even more challenging to execute a lab. Furthermore, student safety was a major obstacle since my lab room was not equipped to handle chemicals safely and drive scientific investigations. Consequently, I felt inhibited by my archaic classroom and couldn’t give my students the proper science skills they deserved.
When my classroom was renovated, it was transformed from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered laboratory. The lab desks were large with sinks and gas jets that worked, each lab station was easily accessible, and students were able to transport themselves at ease. At the beginning of the year, I noticed an immediate change in me and in my students. Instead of me showing a chemistry demonstration in the front of the room, I had the kids do it at their stations. I was no longer afraid of having the students perform staple chemistry experiments. I created new lab activities that were engaging and safe, enabling my students to further “think outside the box.” I witnessed their curiosity grow and their inquisitiveness flourish. And amidst all of this, my Regents and AP results skyrocketed! I asked, “Why were my students demonstrating such scientific aptitude?” While I would love to take the credit, as any teacher would, it was my renovated science lab that allowed me to teach to my fullest potential. Don’t our kids in Manhasset deserve the same opportunities as my students in Bellmore-Merrick? I say YES they do.
So I ask the Manhasset community, “Are we ready, as a community, to invest in our facilities? Are we ready to invest in our kids’ future?”
I know I’m ready to invest in my kids and their future. Are you ready to invest in yours? Join me Manhasset, on December 3rd, and Vote YES.
Nick Pappas

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Manhasset Press welcomes letters from the community. The views expressed in letters to the editor are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.


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