Haverhill Schools to Use $89K in Early Literacy Grants for Teacher Development

An expert to review district early literacy materials will be hired using grant money, Superintendent Marotta told School Committee members Thursday. (File photograph)

More money is on the way for Haverhill Public Schools to further the district-wide effort to get all students reading at grade level by the conclusion of third grade. At Thursday’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Margaret Marotta said the school system received $89,000 in grant money to support literacy-related professional development at area elementary schools.

Funds courtesy of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be shared between Bartlett, Bradford Elementary, Crowell, Golden Hill, Hunking, Silver Hill, Tilton and Walnut Square, Marotta said.

“That money will include some professional development for teachers, where we’ll have an expert and consultant come in and support us during the school day, and look at the curriculum and curriculum implementation, so that we won’t be pulling teachers out of class,” Marotta said. “We’ll be able to go in and support during the school day.”

An expert consultant to pore over curriculum isn’t the only way Haverhill is promoting early literacy. Several local leaders—including state Rep. Andy Vargas and school pediatrician Dr. John Maddox—have created Haverhill Promise, a cross-sector collaborative that encourages reading proficiency for all students citywide. One early win for the group is the creation of “Little Libraries” at local businesses, including barbershops, that offer free books for children to read while waiting for their parents at those locations.