Scully ‘Sells’ Local Realtors on Merits of Haverhill Public Schools

Superintendent James F. Scully educated local Realtors on the merits of Haverhill's schools during a focus group this week. (File photograph)

Haverhill Superintendent James F. Scully knows city families have a choice to make when it comes to selecting schools for their children. He wants that choice to be clear: Haverhill Public.

To drive home the merits of the Haverhill Public Schools system, Scully and Assistant Superintendent Jared Fulgoni met local Realtors for a focus group Wednesday at Hunking School. During the meeting, Scully was quick to acknowledge the uphill battle Realtors face when selling the community’s schools to prospective homebuyers.

“Trying to sell a house in Bradford is much easier than trying to sell a house near Consentino,” Scully, a former real estate agent and past principal at Consentino, admitted.

For Scully, one of the city’s selling points is the expansion of Haverhill High School’s athletics program, which welcomed 785 new participants over the last three years. Major draws, according to Scully, have been the crew program, pool and hockey rink.

“We started a crew program three years ago and I get more letters from people from Cambridge asking ‘What prep school is using the River to row on?’ It’s Haverhill High School!” he said.

The school chief also addressed the school system’s dropout rate, which rose following a clerical error, he said. Rather than trying to locate students who moved out of the district or transferred schools, staff simply classified them as dropouts.

Scully said those members of the administration have been let go and the numbers rectified. It caused a “big black mark on the schools,” he said. “The reality is, our drop-out rate is better than many of the ‘Gateway Cities’ you hear about.”

Haverhill’s School Committee held its first meeting of 2018 on Thursday. They are expected to announce finalists to succeed Scully later this month.