Haverhill Superintendent Plans Information Center to Help Parents Navigate Schools

Pentucket Music Conservancy leader Anthony Beatrice presents the John Phillip Sousa Band Award to Jessica Kuznicki at last year’s band awards assembly.

Photo: Pentucket Music Conservancy leader Anthony Beatrice presents the John Phillip Sousa Band Award to Jessica Kuznicki at last year’s band awards assembly.

Throughout the month of August, WHAV provides a daily report counting down to the first day of school in Greater Haverhill.

Haverhill education officials are looking into establishing a Parent Information Center to provide one-stop shopping for families to become involved with Haverhill Public Schools.

The center would group services that are now scattered throughout the district,. In addition, support for parents such as English lessons and job-search help would be available, Superintendent James F. Scully said.

Other cities, including Lawrence and Lowell, have already established such centers in what Scully called “beautiful downtown locations.”

“People come in and register their child,  they take the necessary testing, they take their health screening and help assimilate the children into the schools,” he said.

The effort is in the early planning stages, with no proposed location yet, though Scully suggested a downtown setting would probably be best.

Katie Vozeolas, the district’s nurse supervisor, will be in charge of the project, with support from Dr. John Maddox, the district physician, Scully said.

“As our minority population grows, we need to be very mindful of making sure our schools are balanced not only by gender but by so many different issues,” Scully said.

The Methuen School District’s Family Resource Center opened this year in the central administration building at 10 Ditson Place.

“Starting this September, all registrations for students entering pre-K through Grade 12 will take place at the center,” said Methuen Superintendent Judith A. Scannell. “The center will be the hub for parents looking for information on family and community engagement, academic information, student and parent support information, student registration process information and student testing.”

Scannell said the center will have evening hours to accommodate working parents.

A grand opening is planned later this fall, Scannell said.

The Pentucket Regional School District is looking for a new leader for its Music Conservatory Innovation School. Anthony Beatrice of Amesbury, who led the program and served as Pentucket High School’s Band and Percussion Ensemble director, has left the district to become director of the Performing Arts program for the Boston Public Schools. Beatrice will be responsible for supervising and training the more than 200 dance and music teachers who work in 125 Boston schools. Beatrice said he has mixed emotions leaving Pentucket, but feels he is ready for the increased challenge of his new position.

“I will be implementing many of the innovative ideas we have put in place at Pentucket into Boston’s music department,” he said.

The new patio outside the cafeteria at Methuen High School has been completed in time for the start of school. Senior student Ben Walko made the construction part of his Eagle Scout project. During good weather, students will be able to eat outside on the patio during their lunch period.

Bradford Elementary School Principal Louise Perry reminds all Haverhill School District families that applications for reduced-price breakfast and lunch have to be submitted every year. The deadline for Haverhill schools is Oct. 1. Forms will be sent home with students in the first days of school. Applications are also available on the district website.

Parents may pay for school lunches by cash or check, or by logging on to myschoolbucks.com.

Elementary meal prices are $1.50 for breakfast, $3 for lunch and 70 cents for milk and juice.

Perry said Bradford Elementary students whose families’ School Bucks accounts are $9 or more in arrears will be served a cold cheese sandwich rather than hot lunch.

Haverhill Public Schools open their doors to students in grades 1 through 12 on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Kindergarten begins Sept. 5. All Haverhill students will attend for a half-day on Friday, Sept. 1, and enjoy a day off for Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4.

Regional first days are:

Pentucket: Sept. 5

Timberlane: Aug. 31

Methuen: Aug. 29

Whittier: Aug. 29 for freshmen and new students; Aug. 30 for all students

Sacred Hearts, Bradford: Wednesday, Aug. 30

Central Catholic High School: Sept. 7

Georgetown Public Schools: Grades 1-12, Aug. 29; kindergarten, Aug. 30

Bus routes for the Haverhill, Pentucket, Georgetown and Methuen school districts and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill are available on their respective websites. Haverhill bus routes were updated on Friday, Aug. 25.

Do you have a submission for the Back-to-School Countdown? Email information to [email protected]. Tune in tomorrow for more back-to-school information.