Thank you for a great fall 2014 issue of Drexel Magazine. I really enjoyed reading about how involved Drexel is in the community, in education and behavioral health. As a creative arts therapist I really enjoyed hearing about the expansion on the 11th Street Family Health Services Center. However, I would like to point out that [the center’s Director of Creative Arts Therapies] Lindsay Edwards is a registered dance movement therapist, not a dance and music therapist. I feel it is important to distinguish that music therapy is a different modality, as the Drexel program trains in dance movement, music and art therapies.
MA creative arts and therapy ’09
More ROTC memories
Reading the letters that were published concerning the “Yellow Ribbon Welcome” story in the summer 2014 issue brought back some of my own memories of ROTC at Drexel.
I graduated in 1970 with a BS in commerce and engineering. During my freshman year in 1965, I was an engineering student. Those students who were enrolled in an engineering program were mandated to complete specialized military engineering courses. I have to admit that I enjoyed designing bridges that would carry the weight of heavy tanks, and then calculating the quantity and location of charges needed to blow the bridges up. After I switched my major, I took basic infantry training as did everyone else who was not an engineer.
I decided to remain in the ROTC program and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps. At the time of my commissioning, I never intended to make the Army my career. Now, after having completed 30 years of active duty, I am proud to have been part of Drexel ROTC and to have served.
Martin J. Fisher
BS commerce and engineering ’70
MS environmental science ’72
Colonel, Medical Service Corps
U.S. Army, Retired
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Full Credit at McMichael
Regarding the fall 2014 article, “Extra Credit at McMichael,” while it is clear that Drexel is making a multifaceted effort to improve the K-8 school and its students’ education, Drexel is far from alone in that endeavor. More than a dozen other organizations contributed.
As an example, the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) has operated the McMichael library since its reopening three years ago, in conjunction with Principal Brian Wallace and McMichael’s staff and teachers. WePAC stocks and organizes the bookcases with books purchased and donated through WePAC. WePAC volunteers staff the library and read to students. WePAC volunteers supervise the circulation of books so that students have an opportunity to read them at home.
Unfortunately, Lini Kadaba’s description of the library as the “academic heart of the school” is inaccurate. There is no school librarian. Students in grades 5 through 8 do not regularly access the library or its books. WePAC does not have sufficient staff or volunteers to open the library but for four hours twice weekly. The library is closed most of the school week. For the K-4 grade students whose classes regularly attend the library, the younger students have access for just 20 minutes a week and the older students (up to fourth grade) have access for only 35 minutes a week.
While it would be wonderful for McMichael to have a well-staffed, accessible-to-all library, that is not the case. McMichael’s library is underused and closed much of the time.
While Drexel played an important role in reviving the library in 2012, WePAC, Principal Wallace and McMichael’s teachers and staff are the reasons the library remains open today.
Craig M. Oliner
MD ’80, Medical College of Pennsylvania
Merion Station, Pennsylvania
Editor responds: Our public schools need the attention of the entire community. Fortunately for McMichael, WePAC and many other commendable volunteers have done and continue to do important work there, as you rightly point out. Drexel faculty and students have contributed some pieces to the effort — notably by helping with the school improvement plan that resulted in McMichael staying open, through the involvement of School of Education faculty in obtaining grants to support the school and in providing instructional supports aligned with the principal’s priorities — but McMichael is fortunate to have many other supporters working toward its success.