Letters (Feb. 16, 2011)

Snow-removal effort much appreciated


I would like to publicly acknowledge the help the hospital received from any city and county staff during the snowstorm we saw Feb. 8. I know the assistance they provided may be a part of their job description, but I feel their efforts were above and beyond the call of any duty or obligation to our community.

Individuals that helped get necessary medical providers into the hospital included Sheriff Rob Craft, (Police) Chief Dan Kinning, Brad Richards, Jessey Hiebert, City Admini?strator Larry Paine, city street crew and the county road and bridge crew. I appreciate the high level of support we always get from our city and county employees.

On behalf of those who seek care and those who provide care, I extend my since gratitude for their efforts.

Michael J. Ryan

President and CEO

Hillsboro Community Hospital


? Through the years, Tabor College has been a blessing to the Hillsboro community in various ways. This week the blessing came in the students who shoveled snow for many residents.

Celia Gross



Virtual school a

welcomed arrival


I am so glad virtual school has finally arrived in Hillsboro (Feb. 9 issue). This program is very close to what has been used in some private non-accredited (PNA) school and charter school systems for nearly a decade.

As a PNA parent, I highly recommend this opportunity for public school children and the parents of public school children. (PNA is the official name for home school in Kansas).

I?d like to share a little of our journey from public school to home school. In the Arizona public school, my son was beaten up by other kids three times, once in a classroom with the teacher present.

The solution of the public school was that my son should be put on Ritalin. I guess the logic was that if he was drugged up he would not complain at being assaulted.

I withdrew my son from public school and enrolled him in a charter school. His charter school had a virtual school all-computer program curriculum. The children did their school work at their own pace, with two or three proctors to provide instant answers to questions.

What I found amazing there was the silence. The only sound was 50 students per classroom tapping away at computer keyboards. My son loved it and no longer feared going to school, in fact he was eager to go to school every day.

By age 16 he had completed virtual high school, but wanted to graduate from his old school, so we transferred back there. That year he graduated as valedictorian two weeks before his 17th birthday. He also won the President Bush Award for Excellence and a full scholarship to the University of Arizona.

With our younger daughter, we decided to try the Arizona public schools again, enrolling her in kindergarten. After a year, we were dismayed that she had learned nothing. When we asked why she had not even learned to read or even the alphabet we were told by the teachers that they did not actually expect her to be reading before the third grade.

We decided to switch her to a Christian school for first grade, because Christian schools had a reputation for strong academics. However, we were denied entrance because she could not read. My wife and I taught Olivia to read and write over the summer vacation, and she was accepted.

The Christian school was a good choice, as over the years, the school tested at least two grade levels above the public schools in Arizona.

When we moved to Kansas, we encountered the dilemma of schooling again. Maybe Kansas public schools had better teachers, but did we want to take that chance? The other possibility, a Christian school, was 35 minutes away. This is when we were introduced to the home school PNA option.

We had reservations to say the least at taking that leap. However, our daughter was, after all, two grade levels ahead of public school children, and with help from the PNA community, we managed to pull off our first year of school. It was actually fun and we knew where our daughter was at all times.

After the first year, she took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) testing in Wichita and that was a nail-biting time for Mom and Dad. Had we destroyed our daughter forever in this home school experiment? No! After weeks of waiting for the results, it turned out she scored in the top 20 percent of the nation. We were ecstatic.

We continued to school her and the second test year, she again scored high. We are in our fourth year now and teaching the seventh grade. We no longer fear the tests. We use them as a tool to gauge where we might need improvement in a certain subject.

We also learned that these scores were actually the norm for PNA children. It must be noted that neither our son nor daughter is a genius, just normal kids. My daughter loves home schooling and has adapted to it very well. She has no lack of friends and at this writing, she is off sledding with six of them, supervised by two PNA moms, of course.

There are drawbacks to virtual school, as it is a government curriculum with government control and it can take up to two days to get an answer to a question.

However, what you get from having your children learn at home is peace of mind. You have control over what they are taught and who they are associating with. No worry about your child being introduced to drugs, alcohol or sex, no out-of-control teenagers, no bullies, no school skipping, and no low self-esteem, just well-rounded young adults in the end.

Our 13-year-old daughter, in addition to being strong in her core academic skills, is now a pianist and excellent artist. She can cook a full course meal and budget for it.

This school year our daughter was learning to speak, read, and write Thai from a Tabor College scholar, who also was home schooled ,by the way. She, however, has decided to switch to Japanese as her brother who lives in Japan has learned Japanese. Her brother is now an electronic technician repairing and trouble shooting the most sophisticated electronic hardware in the world.

One of the drawbacks of PNA is its lack of organized sports, although in larger population centers like Wichita they do have it. We had the start of an athletic program in swimming here, but the superintendent of schools banned our kids from the use of the public pool in Marion during school hours. I believe his comment at the time was, ?No sense giving the home schoolers an advantage.?

Under the virtual school, organized sports are still available for all public school child?ren, though.

For these reasons I highly recommend to public school parents, if you have a parent that stays home and can supervise, take this opportunity of the virtual school. The sooner you can get them home with you the better. Be in control of what they learn, and teach your children well. They are your most precious possession.

I am happy to see the public school join the global community and offer the virtual school option.

Stephen Stafford



Impact Grant will aid fans at local games


The Hillsboro Recreation Commission and I would like to thank the Hillsboro Community Foundation for awarding a $1,000 grant to our sound system project.

This project will help us provide a quality sound system for announcing Tabor College softball games, Hillsboro High School softball and baseball games and the tournaments sponsored by the HRC.

The HRC believes this grant will provide a better avenue for our organization to represent the city of Hillsboro and prove to both community members and visitors to our city that Hillsboro is an outstanding place to live as well as visit.

We are pleased that the HCF approved our grant application because we feel this validates our goal, which is to improve the quality of opportunities we offer to our area youth as well as the people that support the youth in their endeavors.

This grant will help us purchase at least two quality sound systems for use during games that showcase the facilities at Memorial Field, Hillsboro Sports Complex and the hospitality of the citizens of Hillsboro.

Douglas E. Sisk

Recreation director

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