One of Boston’s Most Influential Women, Rosalin Acosta, Selected To Deliver NECC Address

Labor Secretary Rosalin Acosta, former Northern Essex Community College trustee and named one of Boston’s most influential women, has been selected to deliver commencement address to the graduates of Northern Essex. The 2020 commencement ceremony takes place Saturday, May 16, at 11 a.m., at the Haverhill campus. More than 1,000 graduates are expected to receive certificates of completion. “Secretary Acosta understands our students and has an inspiring story to share,” said President Lane A. Glenn. “She came to this country with her family as a baby, and, through hard work and a focus on education, she has achieved great success.

At Inaugural Consentino Building Meeting, Members Learn of Puzzling Enrollment Stats

At the inaugural meeting of the Dr. Albert B. Consentino Building Committee yesterday, members learned perplexing statistics about student enrollment, while moving ahead with plans to hire a project manager. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta told members the Massachusetts School Building Authority has produced enrollment projections. The figures show Haverhill’s student population has grown to 7,852 in grades kindergarten-12 and will continue growing for six or so years before declining. The superintendent noted, however, that even as Haverhill’s birth rate declines, there is a rising number of children entering kindergarten. Marotta and attributed the growth to the “changing community” where 15% of the school population is “coming and going every year,” parents taking advantage of free kindergarten and students going back to public schools after attending private ones.

Public Meetings This Week: First Consentino Building Meeting, Work-at-Home Policy

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week. They’re not quite ready to stick shovels in the ground, but there’s progress on plans to rehabilitate or replace the Dr. Albert B. Consentino School. The first meeting of the Consentino School Building Committee takes place today at 3 p.m., in the school administration office, room 104, at City Hall, 4 Summer St. Mayor James J. Fiorentini is serving as chairman.

This Week’s Radio Listings: Northern Essex’s Glenn, Haverhill Superintendent Marotta Talk Education

Win Damon turns up the volume on education this week with guests Lane A. Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College, and Margaret Marotta, Haverhill school superintendent, among others, on “Win for Breakfast” this week. Glenn appears Monday morning. He has been president of the college since 2011 and recently served as chairman of the Massachusetts Council of Community College Presidents. Marotta, who appears Tuesday, was appointed superintendent in 2018 and previously served as Salem’s assistant superintendent, pupil personnel services. Other guests this week include Temple Emanu-El Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Tuesday; Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Bevilacqua, Wednesday; Deb Chiaravalloti, Holy Family Hospital, Thursday; and Rep. Andy X. Vargas, Friday.

Haverhill City Council Approves Tilton Boiler, HHS Roof Applications for State Help

The Haverhill City Council last night agreed that at least two city schools are in dire need of repair. To that end, they unanimously approved a request by Mayor James J. Fiorentini for two separate applications for state help from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The first is to replace a failed boiler at the Tilton Elementary School. That school was equipped with two boilers back in 2005 but one of them quit three years ago. The other, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Michael Pfiffering, is now on its last legs.

Group with Haverhill Ties Drops State Education Lawsuit; Will Monitor Student Opportunity Act

The group of parents, students and advocates who sued the state last summer alleging unconstitutional disparities in public school funding said they’re dropping that lawsuit, describing themselves as “pleased” with the legislature’s education finance overhaul and Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to implement the first year of it. Haverhill parent Ted Kempinski, a Haverhill High School history teacher with three children in the city’s public school system, and another Haverhill family were among several plaintiffs in the case that alleged chronic underfunding that unfairly leaves wide swaths of students behind compared to their peers. In June—months before the Senate or the House took up a bill rewriting the funding formula with a focus on costs associated with special education, teaching low-income students and English learners and employee health care—the group from Haverhill, Lowell, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Orange and Springfield filed a Supreme Judicial Court lawsuit against state education officials. Since then, both legislative branches unanimously passed and Baker signed a bill that commits the state to $1.5 billion in new K-12 education funding over seven years. Next year’s budget will be the first to contain the new money, and the $44.6 billion fiscal 2021 spending plan Baker filed last week includes $355 million associated with the law.

Haverhill School Committee to Develop Policy on Work-At-Home Employees

With a background of more than 30 years in teaching in the Haverhill Public School System, School Committee member Toni Sapienza-Donais has heartfelt opinions on what issues are most important to educators and students—some of which she raised at last week’s School Committee meeting. One of those issues is the need for a written policy regarding public school employees working from home. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta says, actually only one school system employee works from home, a systems analyst who has been doing so since 2012. Donais claims that that isn’t the case. “That is not the information that I have been told throughout a number of schools.

Haverhill Schools Put ‘Germ Blasters’ to Use to Help Contain the Flu Virus

Haverhill Public Schools are using portable “germ blasters” to control the flu, which has sidelined students and staff alike. Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling shared with the media information sent to parents about the Evaclean Protexus Electrostatic Sprayer. The School Department is using three of them and is working to obtain one more. The manufacturer describes the cordless, gun-like device as a “touchless electrostatic disinfection and sanitizing system built around one standardized process and a safer chemistry with two advanced products—Protexus sprayers and PurTabs electrostatic disinfection.”

In addition, the district has stocked up on disinfecting wipes, spray and hand sanitizers. School Director of Health and Nursing Services Katie Vozeolas recommends flu shots.