Haverhill School’s Diversity Committee Recommends Changes to Bolster Minority Recruiting

Dr. Noemi-Custodia-Lora of Northern Essex Community College. (Courtesy photograph.)

After nearly a year of work, the Haverhill School Department’s Diversity Committee presented four findings to the Haverhill School Committee at Thursday night’s meeting.

Making changes in the four would increase participation by people of color and help them to achieve success in the field of education. Dr. Noemi Custodia-Lora, of Northern Essex Community College, said those areas include professional development, hiring and recruitment, retention and accountability.  She said there have been improvements but there is still work to be done.

“We have made some real gains. Clearly there is much more work that needs to be done. Our children must grow up in a society that says clearly that all of us can be and do great things in life regardless of the color of the skin, our race or ethnicity,” she told the Committee.

Custodia-Lora recalled that it was last August when she and about 70 other residents of color approached the Committee, pointing out that while there were more than 2,700 Latino students in Haverhill’s public schools, there were only five Latino teachers. As a result, the School Committee agreed to form a Diversity Committee to address that imbalance.

The school committee voted unanimously to accept the recommendations and agreed to hear from the Diversity Committee throughout the year to monitor progress towards those goals.

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