Science Advisory Committee asks APS to Re-open Planetarium
Artist's conception of the renovated and repurposed APS Education Center, now Washington-Liberty Annex, with David M. Brown Planetarium in foreground.APS
Last month, the Arlington Public Schools (APS) Science Advisory Committee recommended to the Arlington County School Board that the David M. Brown Planetarium be re-opened this fall. Specifically, Chair Melody Starya Mobley wrote: “I am the chair of the APS Science Advisory Committee (SAC). I am writing to you on behalf of the SAC to strongly encourage you to reopen the David M. Brown Planetarium in September 2022 to help our students better understand science and to increase students' interest in STEM/STEAM careers. The educational benefits of a Planetarium are clear and measurable. A Planetarium program increases students' understanding of a related field by about 24%. A planetarium visit results in a 11-20% increase in the students' interest in science as a career. The David M. Brown Planetarium has been temporarily closed while the Education Center building next door is renovated to provide additional classroom space for Arlington Public Schools. The planetarium will be ready to reopen in September 2022 and we ask that you do reopen it then.” The SAC is part of the APS Advisory Council on Teaching and Learning (ACTL), which enables the community to provide advice to the schools. Supported by the APS Science Office, the SAC considers all aspects of the K–12 science curriculum, including what courses are available and their effectiveness. Members are usually Arlington residents, but not necessarily parents. Ms. Mobley is an active volunteer, bringing regular science enrichment to APS elementary school students and sharing her experiences as the first black female forester in the USDA Forest Service. The Friends are grateful that Ms. Mobley and SAC members recognize the value of the planetarium in supporting student learning and encouraging students to explore science careers. The Friends hope the School Board will listen to its chosen advisors and community representatives. #APSbudget