February 2006

Thank you Ms. Leithold Thank you for the article by Naomi Leithold on parenting with multiple sclerosis (January 2006). As a recently diagnosed mother of three young children, I found comfort, hope and humor in her article.

Thank you for the postive voice and face that you have given me and so many other parents living with a chronic illness. AISHA EL-AMIN Chicago

Therapy dogs help many The story on Debbie Tomasik (January 2006, "Puppy Power") and her special gift with her therapy dog, Mattie, was inspiring and touching.

I applaud Tomasik’s dedication to her profession of teaching and providing this innovative learning approach to her students, local libraries and healthcare institutions—as all those participating in these programs who benefit from Tomasik’s volunteerism spirit.

We have attended many of Mattie’s "Reading Sessions" at our local public libraries in the southwest suburbs with our 5-year-old son. He anxiously awaits these sessions to read and share time with Mattie.

The success of therapy animals has also shown to benefit adults who are dealing with health or personal problems, seniors in retirement facilities and adults and children dealing with emotional turmoil or health issues. All can be helped tremendously by the intervention of animals such as Mattie.

Thanks again for the article and providing a spotlight for a worthwhile cause for both children and adults in the Chicago area. HARRY AND LORA TANNEHILL Alsip

Public school coverage? I have been a loyal Chicago Parent reader for seven years and always enjoy picking up the latest copy. However, I want to express my disappointment in your apparent slant against public schools. Not only one, but two unrelated articles in your December 2005 issue are anti-public schools: "Giving up on public education" and "When public school does not work."

Although some people may choose private schools for their special needs children or due to religious considerations, I believe the majority of your readers enroll their children in public schools, and failing to give public schools equal print space is simply not right.

I have long noticed your lack of reporting on the interesting developments in the Chicago public school system, and wondered why.

Is it because the system is so big and it’s hard to know where to start? Maybe it’s for lack of ideas on what to cover? There are dozens of interesting stories out there: Many schools have partnerships with arts organization that do artist-in-residency programs. Some schools have student exchanges with similar schools in Germany (LaSalle Language Academy) and Morocco (Lincoln Elementary School). One new charter school stresses whole-body health and emphasizes exercise, healthy eating, and respect for the environment (Namaste Charter School). There are new public schools that follow the Montessori system of teaching (Suder Montessori Magnet School and Drummond Elementary School). There are programs for gifted children and programs for those with learning disabilities. How about profiling a Chicago public school that has had a neighborhood group implement improvements to attract middle-class neighbors to enroll their children? (Nettelhorst, Hamilton and South Loop schools come to mind.)

I hope I’ve inspired you to provide more coverage of public schools. I remain a big fan and advocate of Chicago Parent and thank you for putting out a great magazine. MICHELLE KAIRIES STENZEL Chicago

Editor’s note: We agree. We need better coverage of Chicago Public Schools. But we have run a number of stories already, including ones about Nettlehorst, Namaste Charter, Chicago’s testing policies and the pre-kindergarten push.

In the Feedback section of the December, 2005 edition, an edited version of a letter from Julie Rogers of Naperville ("Become a birth advocate") appeared. In her letter, Rogers meant to discuss Illinois’ legal restrictions on certified professional midwives, not certified nurse midwives. Chicago Parent regrets the editing error.


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