New science room providing fresh opportunities at Sigourney

Sigourney Jr/Sr High students have access to safe, up-to-date equipment to perform experiments in class with the new lab. Photo submitted.

Sigourney school board members were kept updated on the progress of the science rooms over the summer.

            Students at Sigourney Jr/Sr High School were the first to experience a newly renovated science room and lab this semester, and are benefiting from the new space to learn and grow.

            The need for the current space to be renovated came to the attention of the district’s School Improvement Advisory Committee met during the 2014-2015 school year, where discussion centered around upgrading the original room. The recommendation was the school board and the administration about issues with the lab.

            “We needed to do something to improve our science program and we were lacking  a functional lab,” Superintendent Dave Harper said.  “We did not have an operation fume hood and the existing room was original to the building and had not been updated.”

            After passing a bond issue in 2016, the district prioritized the renovation of a science room and new all-weather track to be completed, with the former to be completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year. During the renovation, asbestos abatement was also undertaken, with hopes of modernizing the room up to standards. The science room, however, lack one important component for its future: a full-time high school teacher.

            When Kalynn Martinez applied for the position, she was unaware of the new plans for the lab. A native of Illinois and William Penn graduate, Martinez had student taught at Oskaloosa Middle School and Pella Christian High School last year. She applied to Sigourney because of the “small-town feel” that reminded her of the rural community she grew up in.

            “When I was told about the science room, I was very impressed, and it aligned with my thoughts of Sigourney being ahead of the curve, and wanting the best for their students,” Martinez said.

            Martinez was given an idea of the outcome, which included two classrooms for the separate junior high and high school courses, with the lab in between. New technology and tools were incorporated into the room, including a new double-side fume hood for demonstrations and new tables to work on.

“One of the best aspects of the lab is having the new lab tables,” Martinez said. “It is very helpful that they all have sinks, electrical outlets, gas hook ups, built in ring stands, and lots of storage. The new fume hood will be helpful once our chemistry class starts our unit on chemical reactions.” 

Please view the November 29 edition of The News-Review for the full story.