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Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 12:15 am

Letters to the Editor 02/07/19



Regarding the recent IT article (“Inside a struggling school,” Jan. 10), at Compass for Kids, we know firsthand that Harvard Park Elementary has a great principal and dedicated teachers and staff. We cannot blame the kids for growing up in poverty. Research tells us what works – support parents and their children from birth through age three, high-quality pre-K for disadvantaged 3 to 5-year-olds, schools that are trauma-informed (and understand that poverty is trauma), social-emotional support, summer learning and giving students a sense of belonging, including positive relationships with caring adults.

If you are frustrated or inspired by the article, there are numerous opportunities at programs within and outside of Harvard Park Elementary where you can invest your time and/or money. Compass for Kids is one such opportunity. We support some of the most vulnerable students at Harvard Park and are in need of volunteers on Thursdays after school for our weekly Club Compass program. Schools cannot do this alone; the community needs to step up and support schools in meeting kids’ needs. Our entire community will be better off when our students learn, achieve at grade level and are given the opportunity to be successful. To get involved, call 217-691-8103 or visit www.compass4kids.org

Molly Berendt


I enjoyed reading “Inside a struggling school,” an article written and photographed by David Blanchette. Quoting from the first sentence, “If you spend any time with these Harvard Park kids, your heart will melt.” Well, after reading the article, my heart did!

The article went into detail about Harvard Park’s needs and difficulties and what specific school improvement processes have been put in place. Photographs showed students working together with dedicated teachers, volunteers and special program instructors.  This allowed the reader to understand how a “common core” of caring, determination and dedication has created a village at Harvard Park. Principal James Hays leads district-determined standards while working diligently with dedicated staff to achieve the goal of educating and preparing 500 students for a life of successful living and learning.

I urge all readers to reach out and help your own village.

Julie Dirksen


As a follow up to last week’s IT article (“WQNA off the air), WQNA is back on the air as an online station from our webpage at WQNA.net and also through the TuneInRadio app. We had a volunteer meeting on Monday night where 25 to 30 volunteers showed up to express strong interest in getting WQNA back up and running. We are waiting for the station engineer to inspect our main FM transmitter to see what’s wrong on that end, but for now we are streaming online.

Eric and Leann Pullon


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