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Posted May 2, 2016

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Contacting Space

Supt. Reedy joined APS students for a conversation with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

When I was a little girl growing up in Laredo, Texas, the idea of talking to astronauts in outer space as they flew through the morning sky in a spacecraft was the stuff of sci-fi movies and comic books.

And yet, that’s exactly what our students are doing today!  

A few well-prepared elementary, middle and high school students will get to ask questions of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it flies through the Albuquerque sky about 11:30 this morning.  

This is a collaborative effort of half a dozen of our schools including Valley and West Mesa high schools, Garfield, Taft and John Adams middle schools and Carlos Rey Elementary. They’re working in partnership with amateur radio enthusiasts and representatives from the local science community. The APS Education Foundation also helped out, pitching in tens of thousands of dollars to support this and other projects like it through the North Valley STEM Trajectory Initiative that provides STEM-focused learning opportunities for students at every level.

I love this, not only because it’s such an exciting learning opportunity, but also because it demonstrates how amazing things that can happen when educators and the community work together on behalf of our students.

This event is more than a year in the making. Valley was among a thousand plus schools worldwide that applied for the opportunity to talk to the Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts. Only a dozen schools were selected, and Valley is the only one that will have students from all three levels participate – another example of the terrific teamwork that’s happening in our district.

Valley JROTC instructors Maj. Larry Zentner and Staff Sgt. Chuck Newman worked tirelessly to make this happen along with Carlos Rey Assistant Principal Alma Ripley, Valley Principal Anthony Griego, and many others. Alma’s husband, Bill, even paid for the antenna now sitting atop the Valley PAC that will allow the conversation to take place across hundreds of space miles.

About 200 students and guests, including me, will gather in the Valley performing arts center this morning, where we’ll wait anxiously to hear from the astronauts around 11:30 a.m. We’re live streaming the conversation, so if you have a chance go to APS.edu and join us.

Congratulations to all who had a hand in this project. I am excited to hear from the astronauts and cosmonauts, and even more thrilled to showcase our amazing students and staff – on the international stage!

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