Haverhill Schools Hope to Catch Up on Reading Loss Through Summer Programs

Haverhill Public School Superintendent Margaret Marotta reads to city children during "Read Across America Day" on March 1, 2019. (Courtesy photograph.)

Summer is usually when children take time to relax following a school year, but things are a bit different in this somewhat post-pandemic world.

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said public schools accepted more children into summer programs this year to help reduce learning loss caused by isolation.

“We have 1,700 kids in summer programs this year. So, we’re pretty busy. In the past we’ve been running around 900 to 1,000 students. This year we really wanted to up it because of the learning loss that occurred this year, so we expanded all our programs and we have a lot more kids,” she said.

Marotta said the District uses the I-Ready system to measure reading skills, and first, second and third graders trailed the scores they would normally achieve and have the most learning loss.

“It’s pretty tough to teach yourself how to read from home. The older kids fared a little better, and actually across the board there was more learning loss, and this is playing itself out across the country, in math than in reading. For the most part, once the kids were able to read, they were able to stay pretty close to grade level expectations in their reading, but remote math did not work, so there’s a lot of work to be done around math,” she explained.

The superintendent also noted air conditioning projects are moving along with units being purchased and preparations for installation.

“So there’s some work involved with electrical and plumbing, but that’s all progressing and there’ll be air conditioning put in the classrooms on the third floor of all the schools that don’t have them. That’s Golden Hill, Bradford, Pentucket Lake and Tilton. It’s really hot on a hot day up there on the third floor in those schools. It’ll provide some relief to the lower floors too, they say, because heat rises, but cool falls,” she said.

Marotta says the high school roof project is ready for the next phase. Officials hope to get that started in either August or September.

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