Vargas Cites Haverhill’s Experience After House Passes ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed the “Breakfast after the Bell,” co-filed by Haverhill Rep. X Andy Vargas. It aims to have children in the Commonwealth’s highest poverty schools start school days with a healthy breakfast. Also filed by Holyoke Rep. Aaron Vega, Breakfast After the Bell would require approximately 600 Massachusetts schools serving low-income students to offer breakfast after the tardy bell rings. The expanded window for school breakfast is estimated to increase food access and decrease food insecurity for approximately 150,000 children across the Commonwealth. “As Massachusetts works towards closing achievement gaps, student nutrition plays a vital role.

Mass. House and Senate Reach Compromise on Education Reform Bill

House and Senate lawmakers are poised to send Gov. Charlie Baker a sweeping rewrite of the state’s school funding formula that aims to close persistent achievement gaps and commits the state to spending about $1.5 billion more on K-12 education over seven years. The six representatives and senators who had been negotiating the bill filed their compromise legislation yesterday morning, less than three weeks after officially starting their talks. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka said they both expect to bring it up for a vote today. The bill provides new money to school districts to cover expenses associated with employee health care, special education, English language learners and students from low-income families. Those four areas were identified as major cost drivers in a 2015 state report that found the current funding formula’s foundation budget underestimates the cost of education by $1 billion a year.

Vargas Cosponsored ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ Bill Before House Wednesday

A measure co-sponsored by state Rep. Andy X. Vargas, is scheduled to be taken up by the House tomorrow, and if passed, it would require some schools to provide breakfast to all students after the school day has begun. The State House News Service reports the so-called “Breakfast After the Bell” bill was added Monday to the House’s schedule for tomorrow’s formal session, the last of 2019, according to Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office. Under the bill, all public K-12 schools at which at least 60 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals would be required to offer breakfast to all students after the instructional day begins. The Rise and Shine Coalition, led by The Greater Boston Food Bank, said the legislation “would require more than 600 high-poverty public schools to offer breakfast after the start of the school day, reducing hunger during morning classes.”
The group said that “while most students in these schools eat lunch, unfortunately, less than half regularly eat breakfast.”

Providence College Awards Whittier Tech Senior Full Basketball Scholarship

Grace Efosa, a senior at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, yesterday was awarded a full scholarship to attend Providence College next fall. Efosa accepted a four-year basketball scholarship to Providence College, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 school that is awarding only two full scholarships this year. “It’s still unbelievable that I got a scholarship for Division 1, especially since I haven’t played for that long,” Efosa said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Efosa signed her acceptance letter in Whittier Tech’s gymnasium, while sitting at a scoreboard table in front of a crowd of her peers. Sitting beside her was her mom, Esosa Omorodion, brothers Angel, 11, Yuki, 15, Junior, 16, and sister Ebe, 12.

New Northern Essex Culinary Arts Center to Prepare Students for Commercial Kitchen Jobs

Expansive views of the Merrimack River, nine kitchens, six classrooms and much high-tech greeted those getting a first look yesterday at Northern Essex Community College’s new downtown culinary arts center. Led by developer Salvatore N. Lupoli and Northern Essex President Lane Glenn, the media and guests toured “The Heights,” the 10-story mixed-use glass tower now under construction. Besides pointing out physical facilities, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program Manager Denis Boucher discussed the philosophy behind the showcase kitchens. “We’re going to try to use as many local as we can, but we’re going to have to go a little bit further out as we see that we can’t get product from the local farmers,” he said,

Boucher previously taught nine and a half years at New England Culinary Institute, Vermont, founding father of the Vermont Fresh Network which connected farms to restaurateurs and chefs. Northern Essex will occupy two floors of the building with one floor housing classrooms, computer lab, shared conference room and the college’s administration of the MassHire job training and employment office.

Northern Essex Prepares for January Downtown Culinary Arts and Hospitality Move-In

Work is progressing so fast on downtown developer Salvatore N. Lupoli’s 10-story “Heights” mixed-use complex that Northern Essex Community College is planning on moving in during January. Northern Essex President Lane Glenn, Lupoli and the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program Manager Denis Boucher plan a walk-though the Merrimack Street site tomorrow. Two floors are dedicated to Northern Essex’s culinary and hospitality programs.

According to the college, wall studs are in place; plumbing, gas lines and electrical wires are roughed in; and wiring for audiovisual components throughout the space is underway. Next steps include installing the kitchen hood/fire suppression system, drywall and then equipment installation and finishing details. Plans call for classrooms, laboratories and a teaching kitchen.

Haverhill Promise Promotes Early Literacy, Civics With ‘Book Election’

The adult voters of Haverhill have spoken to elect a new Mayor, City Council and School Committee—and as it turns out, the children of Haverhill Public Schools have sounded off, too. As part of Haverhill Promise’s first-ever “book election,” first-, second- and third-graders across the city exercised their civic duty and cast ballots for one of three books chosen by Haverhill Public Library staff to encourage early literacy. Haverhill Promise plans to give each child in grades 1-3 a book to take home at the end of this month, and to coincide with the election, the group decided to let the students vote as a class on which book they’d receive. First graders could choose from books by Mo Willems, Tedd Arnold or Dav Pilkey, while a National Geographic book about cats and dogs was among the picks for second grade students. Third graders had a chance to pit Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s “Rodrick Rules” against “Judy Moody and Stink” and “Geronimo Stilton” stories.

Whittier Tech Model United Nations Team Competes at Boston Statehouse

Model-minded and ready to wave their flags! Students from Haverhill’s Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School headed to the Boston Statehouse Oct. 25 to compete in a Model United Nations competition. Representing Kenya, Whittier Tech students Alanna Stafford and Isabelle Piscitelle were named Best Delegates in Negotiation at the conference after they developed a solution to solve world hunger and malnutrition by creating a food bank. They traveled to Boston with Whittier history teacher Stephanie Hatchell and UN Advisors Jana Brown and Scott Robertson.