Free Breakfast, Lunch on the Way for All Haverhill Public Schools Students

When Haverhill students head back to class on Tuesday, Aug. 27, breakfast will be waiting for them before the very first bell. As WHAV previously reported over the last several months, the school department has finalized plans to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students at all schools across the city, Superintendent Margaret Marotta said. To encourage participation, food and beverage carts will make the rounds at the city’s elementary and middle schools for children to choose a healthy breakfast of their choice—cereal, fruit, granola bars, muffins and bagels are on the menu—each morning. Kiosks will be stationed at Haverhill High School’s entrance and throughout the building.

Fiorentini Pays Tribute to Late Haverhill Superintendent Buchanan: ‘A Good Man’

Mayor James J. Fiorentini and member of the Haverhill School Committee Thursday paid special tribute to the late Dr. Raleigh Buchanan, honoring his commitment to children days after his death July 26 at age 78. Pausing the meeting for a moment of silence, Fiorentini remembered the longtime North Carolina native as a “take charge” educator who came to Haverhill from Seekonk, Mass. in 2006. “Every day, every time I saw him, he talked about children and how much he loved them,” Fiorentini said. “He was a good teacher, a good superintendent and most importantly, he was a good man.”

Fiorentini said Buchanan—whose tenure as the city’s top education chief ran from 2006-2010—was instrumental in creating the Haverhill High School’s Classical Academy and played a pivotal role in high school repairs shortly after coming to Haverhill.

School Committee Approves Raising Haverhill Schools’ Minimum Wage to $12 Per Hour

Mayor James J. Fiorentini Thursday night implored the Haverhill School Committee to raise the minimum wage for nearly 450 school employees to $12 an hour, giving at least 35 workers a raise of $2.40 per hour. According to Fiorentini, 444 school workers—including bus monitors, cafeteria workers, after-school and summer-school instructors and supervisor, lifeguards, crossing guards, custodians and even some teachers—are impacted by the new pay structure. They had previously made $9.60, $10, $10.50 or $11.50 per hour. “I did this previously for city workers and frankly it’s overdue for school employees. These are exactly the people who need a little boost and I intend to lobby strongly on their behalf,” Fiorentini said.

Haverhill Continues to Cover-Up Timeline of Alleged High School Gun Incident

City officials continue to refuse to release the exact time a 16-year-old summer school student was first spotted with an alleged gun July 29. Information about the time staff observed what was believed to be a gun is a critical piece of determining whether Haverhill Public Schools properly responded to the threat at Haverhill High School. Unconfirmed reports suggest the student was under suspicion for more than an hour before Haverhill Police were notified. The student was arrested almost a mile away, prompting more questions about times. The City of Haverhill yesterday only partially responded to WHAV’s extensive public records requests, but promised to consider providing more information within 25 days.

Haverhill Promise Hosting Early Literacy ‘Huddle’ Aug. 21 at Downtown iHub

Listen to the full interview below. Haverhill Promise is getting ready to huddle up for early literacy—and want the community to join in! Jenny Arndt, the group’s new campaign director, joined WHAV’s last week to share more about the event happening next Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the downtown UMass iHub. At the free event, Arndt and other Haverhill Promise stakeholders—including state Rep. Andy Vargas and Haverhill Public Schools physician Dr. John Maddox—plan to launch a new social media campaign encouraging locals to “make a promise to support grade level reading” in Haverhill.

Former Haverhill Schools’ Superintendent Buchanan Dies at 78

Haverhill’s former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Raleigh Cornelius Buchanan died Friday, July 26, his family confirmed. Born in North Carolina, he was known as “Dr. B” and worked as Haverhill’s education chief from 2006-2010. He also created Haverhill High School’s Classical Academy. Starting his career in education as a sixth grade teacher in Indiana, Buchanan coached basketball and served as the principal of Brown Township Elementary School. Holding a Doctorate of Education from the University of Illinois, Buchanan also taught college-level school psychology.

Haverhill Safety Committee Mandates 911 Calls During Threats, Recommends Security Steps

A school Safety Subcommittee is looking to beef up security at all Haverhill public schools, mandating staff first call 911 during an emergency, police officers stay at work during summer events and a security director be named. These recommendations, among others, came during a public session following a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning of the Haverhill School Committee’s safety group. Members met with Haverhill Police to discuss issues related to last week’s report of a teenager with a gun at Haverhill High School. Subcommittee Chairman Scott W. Wood Jr. said he and School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan agreed staff must be informed or reminded to call 911 before taking any other action during an emergency. Police officers at the schools, known as school resource officers, should work summers when classes are in session.

Councilors Approve J. G. Whittier School Repairs; Ask Legislators to Push State on Waiting Period

Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night unanimously agreed to a pared down set of repairs to the John Greenleaf Whittier School and asked local legislators to help cut the waiting period for state money to build a replacement. Superintendent Margaret Marotta said reducing the project from $3 million to $750,000 aims to serve students for the next five to 10 years, rather than the original plan of 30-50 years. Councilor Colin F. LePage, however, said he worries the scaled back project won’t be enough. “Are we putting enough money in here that is going to take care of things or are we going come back and there’s going to be some more, and is this going to be something that goes?” he asked. Paige Caswell, the parent who emotionally raised awareness of Whittier’s issues back in January, told WHAV she is pleased with the result. “It bothers me to spend $750,000 for a school that will eventually come down, but the fact of the matter is our kids need to be safe and there’s certain things that need to be done in there.