Letter: Science Center committed to working with schools | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Science Center committed to working with schools

Aspen Science Center committed to working with schools

The article in The Aspen Times on March 4 about the Old Power House finalists implied that science centers, including the Aspen Science Center, choose not to collaborate with the local schools. Nothing could be further from the truth, so I write to correct this.

In fact, the Aspen Science Center now works with schools, both public and private, from different districts and communities in the Roaring Fork Valley. Our proposal contains letters specifically endorsing our Old Power House proposal from schools and educational organizations that range from the superintendent and other officials of the Aspen School District to 139 members of the RFV Home School Network. In the Old Power House, collaborations will continue and be greatly expanded.

It is easy to misunderstand the distinction between the formal science instruction that has its proper place in the classroom and the informal, experiential, free-choice learning that takes place in 450 science centers across the U.S.

Science centers provide access to resources, expertise, interactive exhibits, displays and experiences that are not readily available in schools for a variety of reasons. It would be a diversion from the core missions of schools to create, maintain and staff these resources even if adequate finances were available. Making these shared resources available across school systems creates a synergy that is a long-standing win-win in communities that have science centers.

It’s the prospect of access to such unique resources that leads school administrators teachers, and parents in our communities to strongly support our proposal.

Moreover, experiences in the Old Power House Aspen Science Center will be available to children too young for formal instruction, for classroom science field trips to home-schooled youth to adults and visitors. These resources will enable children and adults to dive more deeply into different aspects of science than is possible in a school curriculum, from lecture series to hours spent tinkering on one unique project.

If you believe that children and adults, whether residents of or visitors to the Roaring Fork Valley, deserve access to the unique, innovative, hands-on, fun and engaging science experiences that are available at science centers in Durango, Grand Junction, Denver and across the U.S, please support the Aspen Science Center proposal for the Old Power House. The Aspen Science Center will be a one-of-a-kind experiential learning resource in a one-of-a-kind community that deserves this type of asset.

Mike Simmons

Chairman, Aspen Science Center

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