Lancaster schools loss is Portlands gain
I wonder if you know how lucky you are to have Vicki Phillips as your new school superintendent (Two schools of thought on Phillips, April 9). She is a firm believer in the principle that every child can achieve, and a visionary leader with the ability to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together to make that happen.
I saw it happen in Lancaster, Pa., when my company filmed public service announcements in the city's public schools. As a citizen concerned about the quality of public education and as a business owner who worked with the school district, I saw remarkable change during Vicki's tenure.
I saw students and teachers alike rising to the challenge of meeting high expectations. I watched kindergarten children reading and writing and developing a real love of learning. I talked with countless teachers and principals who not only had clear objectives, but also, for the first time, had the tools, the support and the training to be successful.
I saw a community working together to ensure a prosperous future for their children. Vicki and her staff reached out and made real connections with parents and the community.
I saw accountability. Vicki and the school district were very honest with the public in terms of where they were, what strengths and what challenges they had, and what needed to be done to increase student learning. And they instituted assessments to be able to tell themselves and the public if they were making progress.
And I saw the results. Full-day kindergarten Ñ one of the first in the state. Rising test scores Ñ the greatest increase in 10 years. And a genuine sense of optimism and achievement among students, teachers and the community.
For all these reasons and more, we're going to miss Vicki Phillips here in Pennsylvania. Portland, our loss is your gain.
The Cubs create
their own curse
With all due respect to Morgan Leek (Cub fan gets a ticket to history, Sports, April 9), the notion that Steve Bartman kept the Cubs from last year's World Series is bunk. I've been a Cub fan for more than three decades. No one would like to see them win the Series more than me.
The Cubs failed to make it to the Series last year for the same reasons they fail to make it every year: The players don't produce when they need to. The starting pitchers lose their best stuff. The bullpen is an eternal disappointment. Their best hitters strike out in key situations. They load the bases and don't score. If there is a Cubs curse, that is it.
Despite my evident cynicism, you may be sure I will be root-root-rooting for those lovable losers again this season!