Letters (Nov. 18, 2009)

Much to celebrate about local education


American Education Week is celebrated annually the week prior to Thanksgiving. This year, it occurs Nov. 15-21. Distressed that 25 percent of World War I draftees were illiterate and 9 percent were physically unfit, the National Education Association and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways in which public support for education might increase.

The first resolutions of support for this national effort occurred in 1921 with the NEA and American Legion as the two sponsors. Presently, there are several other co-sponsors of American Education Week, including the U.S. Department of Education, the National PTA and the National Association of School Boards.

American Education Week is a reminder of the commitments our nation has made to public education over the past 100 years.

Locally, we celebrate our communities? commitment to educational excellence. Through our outstanding teachers, support staff, parents, students, facilities and programs, educational excellence shines throughout USD 410.

Academically, all USD 410 schools achieved the building-wide standard of excellence in reading and math for 2009. This is a world-class standard of academic achievement.

Our K-12 curriculum and staff provide tremendous opportunities for learning as evidenced by our 97 percent graduation rate at Hillsboro High School.

The district student attendance rate is 96 percent, which is a good indicator of two things: the level of student engagement in our classrooms, and the commitment of our families to ensure their children are in school.

Further evidence of a strong K-12 academic program is shown in student ACT scores, which are traditionally the best in the area. For 2009, the composite ACT score for HHS students was 24.1 compared to the state?s composite score of 21.9.

Fine arts, clubs, activities and athletics also play a pivotal role in our children?s? education. It is no secret of the excellence these programs exude year in and year out. Research clearly shows the impact these co-curricular offerings have on student achievement and graduation rates. In fact, these types of programs serve as some of our best at-risk interventions for students.

USD 410 has much to celebrate during American Education Week. It is our mission to continue to provide outstanding academic, athletic and fine arts programs and clubs to our students so they can continue to receive a world class educational experience.

Steve Noble, superintendent

Unified School District 410


Best wishes from a Collegiate parent


I am a Collegiate parent of three alums. I just wanted to send a note of gratitude in this final MCAA year to you and really the entire Hillsboro community.

My youngest graduated in 2007, Mitch Gentry. He was a ball boy in his youth and always spoke very highly of the Hillsboro athletes and coaches. In middle and high school he competed against Wade (Weibert) and Lucas (Hamm) and the others from his class and developed genuine friendships with them because, well frankly, they were raised right, competed hard and treated folks with dignity and respect.

The same cannot be said on such a wide level at some of the other schools in the league.

I was the Spartan PA (parent assistant) for football and basketball for 15 years, retiring when Mitch graduated. I too had positive experiences with Darrel (Knoll), Becky (Carlson) and all the coaches and administrators through those years.

I know how folks feel about a private school. I like to think we try to give folks an option for quality education and values in an urban setting. Mike Gehrer used to say we want desperately to be like a small town, like Hillsboro, where kids get an opportunity to compete and members of the community look after one another. We learned a great deal about that from your community during the years.

As we move forward to new leagues next year, please know I thank your community for such a great positive rivalry and best of luck to the Trojans!

Doran Gentry


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