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Letters to the Editor

December 13, 2007

School critiques need documentation



To the editor:

On page A4 of the Wednesday, Nov. 7 Herald-Mail, a letter writer states, "Now a number of county residents are using newspaper articles to try to influence the commissioners to use the excise tax as a pipeline to raise more money for a school system that is poorly managed and underachieving."

It would be appropriate for the author of the letter to provide some statistics to back up his statement that the Washington County school system is "poorly managed and underachieving," since in many evaluated areas the Washington County public school system scores at or close to the top in the state.

Another approach is to ask the author of the letter to list those county school systems in Maryland he feels are well-managed and overachieving and why he feels these other county school systems are so much better than Washington County.

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Russell Williams
Hagerstown




School system deserves praise



To the editor:

As the parent of a current high school student and of a recent graduate, I was very pleased to see your excellent coverage of the recognition received by our county's public school system. Tim Rowland's column echoes my own suspicion of all lists and rankings and, as usual, I found his comments to be both perspicacious and funny.

Despite this caveat, kudos appears to be very appropriate and deserved! The U.S. News results are even more astonishing if placed in their proper context (not quite mentioned or highlighted in your coverage): Five of Washington County's six public high schools were listed among the top 505 of 18,790 public high schools in the 40 states examined by U.S. News. And one more (Hancock) was included among the next 1,086.

I fully concur with The Herald-Mail's editorial and join in congratulating Dr. Morgan and the School Board.

Peter J. Kurz
Smithsburg




Health screening was a success



To the editor:

On behalf of the board of directors of Hagerstown's Walnut Street Community Health Center, I would like to thank everyone who participated in our Fourth Annual Community Health Fair, held on Saturday, Aug. 11. This event coincided with National Health Center Week and recognizes nationwide, the contributions of community health centers that offer a community-based model of health care that gives millions of Americas the chance for healthy and productive lives.

We welcomed the opportunity to provide information and screenings to many area residents and would like to especially acknowledge the staff of the Walnut Street Community Health Center for the many hours they volunteered in planning and conducting the health fair.

Our annual health fair continues to grow with more than 450 people in attendance this year. Participants were able to take part in free screenings to include skin damage, osteoporosis, and vascular/stroke in addition to evaluations for cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes.

There were about 500 individual screenings provided at the health fair by the clinical staff of the Walnut Street Community Health Center, Washington County Hospital, Hagerstown Medical Lab and Total Rehab.

The health fair was a great success and we are grateful for the support of our community. We look forward to planning our fifth annual health fair, to be held on August 9, 2008.

Kim Murdaugh
Executive Director
Walnut Street Community Health Center




A right of input



To the editor:

Some may conclude what goes on between the four walls of a school building or on the playing fields is only the business of teachers, students and parents. I feel this is not the whole picture. A large percentage of the population pays county taxes, which funds the school system. Having said this, I believe any citizen who pays county taxes has the right to give input concerning school matters.

Public schools are a developmental institution of child growth. I feel it is a given that mistakes will be made by students. In today's society, many students have problems. Those problems do not cease to exist when the child enters the schoolhouse door in the morning. The students bring along those problems.

I was involved in Washington County schools as a parent for 15 years and as an observer for the last six years. For the most part, I feel teachers and staff are making excellent strides. Students need to be cognizant that their every action, whether in the school building or on the playing fields, has the potential to be examined by the public. Enough said.

Meredith Fouche
Sharpsburg

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