‘Remote Learning’ Pact Between Haverhill Schools, Staff Comes Apart; Talks Could Resume Today

The Haverhill School Committee last night killed, at least temporarily, a tentative pact between the department and educators to guide the start of “remote learning.”

The sticking point for School Committee members was paying certain activity stipends for the full school year. While members voted 6-0 to send an amendment back to the Haverhill Education Association, the union said it is unable to present it to members. “It is demoralizing and demeaning to have all this work held up over a couple of thousand dollars. For the school district, it’s very little money. For teachers laid off from second and third jobs, the money is vital,” said union President Anthony J. Parolisi.

Northern Essex Community College Creates Emergency Fund for Students Impacted by Pandemic

Northern Essex Community College has created an Emergency Fund to help at-risk students stay in college as incomes may be affected by the current health situation. The College says students are living paycheck to paycheck and money collected will cover laptop and/or internet access for online learning; tuition assistance and stipends, should students now be food insecure because of lost wages; and other needs that are connected with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Allison Dolan-Wilson, the school’s vice president of institutional advancement, more than half of the Northern Essex students are Pell Grant eligible. That means their families already have a total income of $50,000 or less. “Our students need us now more than ever.

Haverhill Teachers, School Department Negotiate ‘Remote Learning,’ Set to Begin Monday

With Haverhill school buildings remaining closed through at least April, Haverhill teachers want assurances their “rights and benefits” are protected and they have a say in the rollout of remote learning. Teachers, represented by Haverhill Education Association, and Haverhill Public Schools traded proposals after a virtual meeting Monday afternoon. Union President Anthony J. Parolisi said issues include how and when teachers will be evaluated and whether teachers and students have “the flexibility to do what they can and when they can.”

“We’re farther apart than some officials may have been led to believe. We are confident that an agreement can be reached and will continue to work toward it. The proposal we received from the School Committee and superintendent did not seem to reflect our interpretation of the DESE guidelines or do as much to provide flexibility that out students, families and educators need during this difficult time,” he said.

The Practice Run is Over; Haverhill Students to be Graded on Remote School Work Going Forward

From here on out, students will be graded on their remote learning as Haverhill and area school districts adopt new state education recommendations. Haverhill school leaders acted favorably Thursday night toward the state guidance on remote learning from home. As WHAV previously reported, Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said last week that schools should not confuse “remote learning” with “online learning.” His recommendations note, as examples, “large-group video or audio conference calls, 1:1 phone or video calls, email, work packets, projects, reading lists, online learning platforms.”

Riley’s recommendations came following Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent announcement that schools will not be reopening before May 4. In a letter to school leaders throughout the state, the DOE noted that since the Covid-19 outbreak forced the closure of schools in the Bay State, school districts have been using a variety of remote teaching methods to continue educating students.  The new guidelines, which they characterize as recommendations, not requirements, are designed to foster educational consistency throughout this crisis.

As COVID-19 Keeps Schools Closed, Haverhill Chromebooks About to go to Students’ Homes

Haverhill students without a Chromebook at home can expect one from Haverhill Public Schools by the end of the week. With a plan to resume some form of formalized education within the next two weeks, the coronavirus is creating a brave new world for teachers and students alike. Chromebook computers and the internet are becoming the new classrooms for Haverhill students. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta explained to School Committee members how it was going to work. “We are going to be going back to school.

Haverhill, Area School Districts Agree to Work Together to Implement Remote Learning Plan

Area school districts have agreed to work together to meet the state’s remote learning requirements. Under the umbrella of the Merrimack Valley Superintendents Association, among those taking part are Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover Public Schools and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. Altogether, 27 schools and districts are involved in the plan released Friday afternoon. “Our districts will collaborate over the next several days to create an educational experience to best meet the needs of all learners,” superintendents said in a joint statement. “Our shared belief is that, in future years when children reflect on this time in their lives, what they will remember most are the positive connections they felt at an uncertain time.”

When Gov. Charlie Baker ordered Wednesday that schools remain closed through at least May 4, he made it clear his administration intended for schools to adopt remote learning techniques.

Haverhill Schools, Facing Bus Driver Layoffs, Agree to Pay Through Next Week; Also Seek Union Talk Delay

Haverhill will continue to pay for school bus service through the end of the month after the outside transportation company said it would otherwise be forced to lay off drivers beginning today. In a close vote, requiring Mayor James J. Fiorentini to cast the tie-breaker, Haverhill School Committee members agreed to pay NRT Bus after learning of the threat. Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti, citing a difficulty in recruiting drivers, suggested the short-term action. He was supported by members Gail M. Sullivan and Richard J. Rosa. Opposing the payment were members Toni Sapienza-Donais, Maura Ryan-Ciardiello and Scott W. Wood Jr. Wood explained his reason.

UMass Lowell’s Haverhill iHub Offers Virtual Events for Entrepreneurs

UMass Lowell’s Haverhill Innovation Hub is having what it calls “a virtual event” next month on the web, entitled “How Analytics & Big Data is Influencing the World Around Us.”

Part of the university’s Emerging Technology Speaker Series, the iHub webcast focuses on how analytics and data is influencing today’s interconnected world that is driven by mobile technologies and the internet. Talking on a variety of applications such as language processing and image recognition, participants learn the capabilities of analytic technologies to become better contributors and users of data. The event is Wednesday, May 20, 6 p.m. For more information and registration click here.