National Group Calls Haverhill Promise a ‘Bright Spot’ for Innovation During Pandemic

Officials gather to cut the ribbon at the mural, “Reading Takes Us Places.” From left, Haverhill Promise Campaign Director Jenny Arndt, City Councilors Timothy J. Jordan and Joseph J. Bevilacqua, state Rep. Leonard Mirra and City Council President Melinda E. Barrett. (Jarvi Productions photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, was recognized late last week as a national “Bright Spot” for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Washington, D.C.-based national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading said Haverhill is one of only 54 communities that “developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis, including new or adaptive roles, programs, organizational relationships/collaborations, policies and/or resources.”

“We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination allowed them to quickly adapt and meet this moment. They truly are ‘bright spots’ and we congratulate them for the differences they’re making. We look forward to learning from their success as we move onto a post-COVID learning environment,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the national campaign.

In particular, he said, communities were recognizing for “crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.” Some of the initiatives include the use of digital tools, virtual tutoring, summer lunch programs, learning pods, books and learning resources distribution, community-wide COVID relief funds and other programs.

The local effort is managed by Haverhill Promise Campaign Director Jenny Arndt.

During the last year, Haverhill Promise conducted its “School Every Day, No Matter Which Way” attendance awareness poster contest, launched a citywide Reading Challenge for Haverhill Students to help encourage daily reading throughout the COVID-19 learning disruption, dedicated a five-panel mural to encourage daily reading and other efforts.

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