Please ask the Arlington County School Board to restore funding for the planetarium, including hiring a new director. The School Board will finalize its budget for the 2022-2023 school year on Thursday, May 12. If they realize the importance of this facility to our community, they may be able to craft a fiscally responsible solution that addresses the many needs of our students. The Friends are asking the School Board to fund one science teacher to motivate over 25,000 students a year to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Friends have offered to assist with the other operating costs. In addition, the APS Science Advisory Committe has also asked the School Board to re-open the Planetarium because of its clear and measurable benefits to students.
How to Contact the Arlington County School Board
- email the entire board email@example.com, include your full name and e-mail address
- leave voice mail for the entire board: 703-228-6015, include your full name and a call-back number
- contact individual members
- State your relationship to APS and the Planetarium, for example
- "My 5th grade daughter at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School really enjoyed her Planetarium field trips."
- "I enjoy hearing my grandson recount what he learned at the Planetarium."
- Planetarium costs represent less than 0.05% of the proposed budget.
- The Washington-Liberty High School Annex is scheduled to open in Fall 2022; the whole complex should be functional and in-service, including the Planetarium.
- The Planetarium is a visible symbol of our community's commitment to quality science education, a factor that makes Arlington attractive to families and businesses.
- The Planetarium serves about 25,000 students per school year with enriching science experiences that supplement their classroom experiences.
- The Planetarium gets students excited about astronomy and science, generally. Riveting Planetarium experiences have inspired our graduates to choose STEM careers and will inspire a new generation of STEM leaders.
- Our students must develop scientific literacy to join an increasingly technology-drive workforce and to be informed citizens. Planetarium-based lessons strengthen student appreciation of the scientific method and support the development of critical thinking skills.
- Traditional Planetarium programs educate our students about the Earth and its place in the Universe, providing a global perspective.
- The Planetarium is not just for astronomy. APS currently licenses programs in earth science, meteorology, life science, and history. Programs are available across the full curricula.
- The Planetarium provides an immersive science education experience for our students and opportunities for all community members to engage with science.
- The Planetarium is not just for science education. Visual artists have custom-designed animations for projection on the dome and musicians have performed there.
- Tell them how much you are looking forward to the Planetarium re-opening in the fall, for example
- My daughter and I are looking forward excitedly to the Planetarium re-opening in the Fall.
- Because my grandson and I have missed attending the monthly Sky Talks, we cannot wait for the Fall re-opening.
What else can you do?
- Join the Friends of the Planetarium (or renew your membership) to remain informed about developments with the Planetarium and receive notices about upcoming events.
- Make a one-time contribution to the Friends so we can continue to assist APS financially with critical Planetarium infrastructure in preparation for re-opening.
- Provide continuing support to the Friends through the Amazon Smile program if you order from that company. In addition to supporting the facility financially, the Friends also provide professional development for Grants for Teachers, the David M. Brown Memorial Scholarship, and creative community science education programs.