Superintendent James F. Scully during a recent inspection at the new Hunking School building project. (WHAV News photograph.)
Haverhill Public Schools’ principals and assistant principals are defending Superintendent James F. Scully’s leadership and the district’s services from “inaccurate information” regarding English Language Learners (ELL), and calling their dedication to all students “top notch.”
A letter, dated Wednesday, to the Haverhill School Committee and Mayor James J. Fiorentini, chairman, was signed by 25 top school administrators and released by the school department Thursday. It describes, among other things, a “passion for helping all students of all nationalities” which was recognized “long before there ever was an ELL program in Haverhill.”
“This letter is written on behalf of the Haverhill Public Schools principals and assistant principals in response to inaccurate information that unfairly describes the very foundation on which the Haverhill Public School system is grounded,” it reads. “Administrators in Haverhill have embraced the melting pot nature of the Haverhill community and welcome its diversity… As administrators we stand ready, as always, to meet with parents and answer questions and concerns on any and all issues including issues on transportation, special education services, ELL services, access to neighborhood schools, overcrowding and general concerns.”
The letter also backs Scully’s support for “providing a solid education for all students.”
“Superintendent Scully has set the vision of excellence for our school district. He has instilled in our administrative team and educators that every child can learn and has the right to a solid education. He has impressed upon us that every child can learn, regardless of ethnicity, learning disabilities, emotional or behavior problems, or the economic situation of the family,” it added.
“Let it clearly be stated that the Haverhill Public School principals and assistant principals are steadfast in their unwavering support of Superintendent Scully who leads by example and has set this school district on a vision of excellence for all students.”
As WHAV reported, members of Haverhill Hispanic Coalition have called for Scully’s ouster since the July 25 suspension and subsequent firing of English Learner Education Supervisor Dr. Graciella Trilla. Among other things, the coalition alleges various civil rights violations concerning ELL students, such as overcrowding, transporting ELL students away from their neighborhood school, too few Spanish-speaking translators and failure to appoint Trilla to the post of assistant superintendent. Scully declined earlier this week to participate, on advice of counsel, in a scheduled parent conference at Haverhill City Hall, organized by the coalition and Power of Self-Education (POSE). He had learned the discussion would “primarily focus on personnel matters within the school department.”
The letter also comes as Scully recuperates from a breathing problem at Holy Family Hospital, Methuen, where he was admitted Wednesday afternoon.