May 19th, 2020 - Utah State Board of Education
As this year progresses, our APA staff members continue to demonstrate an unwavering dedication to our students and our communities. This year, two of our own APA staff members are finding new ways to serve our communities and fight for local control of Utah schools. K'Leena Furniss, a 5th-grade teacher at West Valley 1, and Matt Hymas, High School Director at West Valley 2, have entered the race for their District seat for the Utah State Board of Education.
This election is very interesting because this is the first year in decades that delegates will choose the nominees for the Utah State School Board. Before 2020, elections were nonpartisan. This change is only possible after the Utah State Legislature passed a bill in 2016 to change this rule.
If elected to the Utah State Board of Education, K'Leena commits to be a voice for the people, NOT the bureaucrats. "I want to represent the teachers, students, and families. I want your voice to be heard," she said.
Matt's primary aim will be to "empower the local professionals who best understand the needs of our students, and avoid unnecessary regulation."
Both K'Leena and Matt bring an extensive educational background and are committed to representing their Districts well.
If you would like to support Matt and K'Leena in their race, please reach out to them or visit their Facebook pages listed below.
May 2nd, 2020 - Unstoppable Innovations
David D'Agostini is finding new ways to connect with his Drama students and instill knowledge even through our dismissal. As the Drama teacher at West Valley 2, David has continued to improve the program over the last three years, creating some very memorable and successful plays. He's not letting our COVID-19 quarantine stall technological improvements or interfere with inspiring his students.
While David would rather be in class teaching theater, he used this time to plan and build a device that can be used for prop making for our school. David produced a vacuforming machine that he promised his Tech Theater class last year. This device can transform sheets of polystyrene into masks, props, or other components that are useful in conveying fantasy and wonder.
To introduce students to what vacuforming is and how to operate the machine, David created an instructional video, linked here. In this video, he explains operation and safety procedures.
The machine consists of a frame and rack used to hold the polystyrene sheet, four heating elements used to soften the sheet, and a perforated base to support the desired mold. Once the polystyrene is soft and pliable, it can be lowered manually over the mold and perforated plate. Once seated, the vacuum is activated to remove air from between the polystyrene sheet and the perforated base. As the air is displaced, the soft plastic sheet forms snugly around the mold, creating the desired component.
Creating great props is an art, and David's vacuforming machine will undoubtedly create new opportunities and innovations in West Valley 2's theater department. Thank you, David, for being unstoppable.