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Aldama Science Room Gets Organized with Help of Local Volunteers

Aldama Elementary School had a treasure trove of unused science equipment that wasn't being put to use, until they called on local clutter destroyer Nonnahs Driskill.

Boxes of microscopes.

Stacks of beakers and measuring cups. 

A veritable cornucopia of plastics and glasses and Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits. 

Stacks on stacks on stacks of them sat unused in a storage room at Aldama Elementary School, waiting to be discovered by Principal Paula Cordoba. 

"There were piles and piles of things not being used, and that drove me insane," Cordoba said. 

Across Aldama's campus, in a classroom that was being used for storage, Cordoba envisioned a science center, where teachers would conduct experiments with the long neglected equipment sitting in storage. 

But the school needed someone to organize it all. 

Aldama teacher Marlene Olivarez said that, at first, the burden for the time-consuming task of organizing all the materials had fallen mostly on teachers and parents.

Aldama PTA co-Vice President Ceci Pascuzzo and parent Angelina Badillo took the lead on the project by forming the Science and Math Committe. Together, they called on volunteers and putt in hours of work transferring materials and organizing them.

As the arduous project lagged on, a local volunteer and organizational expert, Nonnahs Driskill, was called in to help complete the job.

Driskill, who owns Get Organized Already, a Northeast Los Angeles business that helps people reclaim their homes and offices from the grips of clutter, has been organizing a small but dedicated group of parent volunteers who are putting the science equipment in its place. 

She's doing the work pro-bono partly because it's what she loves to do and partly becuase there's no way she could have walked away from the mess that had accumulated in Aldama's would be science room. 

"I couldn't just leave them with this mess," she said. 

There's still quite a bit of organizing left to be done, Driskill said, evidenced by the many boxes of scientific detridous that were stacked atop tables in the science room. However, it's also clear that Driskill's organizing efforts were coming to together. 

The cubby-hole closets that line the room had been neatly rearranged and labeled, with the most important items being placed at the average fourth-graders' eye level. Complete FOSS kits had been stored in the closets, while the incomplete ones had been salvaged for parts, which were in turn stored and labled.

As the science room comes together, Cordoba foresees a not-to-distant future where teachers will have easy access to the school's scientific supplies and a place to make use of them.

"What we would love is for parents and volunteers who have a specific expertise to come in and use this room for demonstrations that teachers can then take back to the classroom and use to build lessons," Cordoba said. "The sky is the limit." 

This article was updated on Wednesday morning to reflect the contributions made by Aldama PTA members Ceci Pascuzzo and Angelina Badilla.

Rebecca February 20, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Let's not forget the Science and Math Committee Chairs who organized the effort of parent volunteers and spent hours of their own time organizing. Thank you Ceci and Lina!
El Cid February 20, 2013 at 12:43 AM
I'm not surprised many of the Foss Kits and supplies were unused. Children leave elementary with very little science preparation for middle and high school science.
Janelle McGlothlin February 20, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Thanks for updating this article and giving the appropriate people credit. As one of the parent volunteers, I was shocked to see a local business that was only limitedly involved taking credit for the work. Perhaps Nonnahs is coordinating the next stage? I haven't seen her doing any of the outreach to get parents involved, but I'm happy to help when she does.
Get Organized Already February 20, 2013 at 07:13 PM
The real visionaries of the Science Center are numerous and Aldama is lucky to have Klinman, Jung, Spillman, and Cybulski who are going above and beyond their teaching responsibilities to offer their support as well. Get Organized Already is only involved in the clutter-removal phase--our specialty! I can't wait to see the progress of the room as it grows beyond a pile of discarded FOSS kits.

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