Merrimack College Study Says Most Teachers Don’t Recommend Job; Mental Health Support Would Help

A newly released study by Merrimack College shows only 46% of current public educators would be “fairly” or “very likely” to advise their younger selves to choose teaching again and more than a 35% are considering leaving the profession altogether. Authors say the 2023 Merrimack College Teacher Survey, which was conducted by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College, shines a spotlight on a pressing crisis facing American education. “While this should serve as a flashing red light to educational policymakers, the survey also provides insights into strategies that educational administrators and policymakers can employ to address this,” said Dean Deborah Margolis. “By prioritizing teacher mental health and wellbeing, and taking steps to build teacher morale, academic leaders can help create a healthier and happier school environment and retain more of their teachers.”

While the survey, conducted in partnership with the nonprofit, nonpartisan EdWeek Research Center, paints a dark picture overall for American public K-12 education, it reports there are areas that have seen notable improvements since last year. The percentage of teachers who are very satisfied with their jobs has nearly doubled to 20%, and the percentage of teachers considering leaving the profession within the next two years has dropped from 44% to 35%.

Greater Lawrence Tech To Grow School Library with Grant From the Laura Bush Foundation

Greater Lawrence Technical School is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Superintendent John Lavoie said Greater Lawrence Tech was one of 300 schools across 36 states that was awarded funding. The grant will be used to pay for a new collection of books and library materials for the school’s library department. “I would like to thank Laura Bush and the Foundation for awarding us with this funding,” said Lavoie. “This funding will help us to add and improve our current collection of library books.

Rep. Vargas Serves as Panelist Discussing Parents’ Views on State of Education

Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas is among those participating in a panel Wednesday on “The State of Education in the Commonwealth: A Community Perspective.”

The event, taking place in-person at Suffolk University or online, reviews the findings of a poll of parents of Massachusetts students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade. MassINC Polling Group’s President, Steve Koczela highlights the perspectives of more than 1,500 parents on their children’s educational experiences this school year, including how they think students are doing academically, their satisfaction with available resources and supports, school safety and security concerns and more. “The eighth in its series, this statewide poll sponsored by The Barr Foundation comes at a pivotal time as state and local leaders across the state continue to discuss the necessary support and resources to help students recover academically and emotionally from the COVID-19 pandemic,” organizers said. Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll is also expected to offer her reactions to poll results presented by MassINC Polling Group, The Education Trust and the Barr Foundation. Besides Vargas, the panel led by Chanthy Lopes, assistant director for engagement & communication of the Education Trust, includes Leon Smith, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice; Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and president of the National Parents Union; and Richard Carter, father of a Taunton Public Schools’ child.

Administration Places Haverhill High Latin Instructor on Paid Leave to Check Undisclosed Allegation

The Haverhill school department Thursday confirmed James “Jay” Fiorentini, a Latin teacher in Haverhill High School’s Classical Academy, was placed on paid administrative leave for an undisclosed reason. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta, responding to WHAV’s public records request, suggested the department is investigating an undisclosed allegation against Fiorentini, son of Mayor James J. Fiorentini. “Administrative leave is not a disciplinary action and does not in and of itself indicate that a conclusion has been reached regarding the allegations,” Marotta wrote, adding, “The safety and well-being of our school community are our top priority; we take allegations of wrongdoing very seriously and investigate them thoroughly.”

Officials at Newburyport District Court would neither confirm nor deny reports the teacher made a recent appearance there. “It is not public knowledge,” a person in the clerk magistrate’s office told WHAV. In a statement, Mayor Fiorentini told WHAV, “Martha and I love our son and stand behind him 100%.

NEW: Voters in Haverhill’s Ward 1, Precinct 1, Will Cast Ballots at Consentino School June 6

Haverhill city councilors met in an emergency session Wednesday afternoon to move a Ward 1 polling location. Residents of Ward 1, Precinct 1 will now vote during the Tuesday, June 6, special election, at the Dr. Albert B. Consentino School, 685 Washington St. Councilors approved the change away from the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center where ongoing construction is not expected to be completed before the special election. The emergency meeting was called to comply with state law that requires a 20-day notice prior to the election when a polling location changes. Wednesday was the 20th day before the election, according to Haverhill City Clerk Kaitlin M. Wright.

Haverhill Whittier Tech Senior McColley Earns Associate’s Before High School Graduation

Gianna McColley has her associate degree even though she won’t have her high school diploma until the start of next month. McColley, a senior Design and Visual Communications student from Haverhill, earned her associate degree in psychology and was recognized at the Northern Essex’s Early College Recognition Ceremony last Thursday at the college’s Haverhill campus. She graduates from Whittier Tech Thursday, June 1. “I started taking classes through NECC because I wanted to challenge myself and I knew that it would be an amazing opportunity. The NECC professors were very accommodating knowing I was a high school student and the other students at NECC were always very nice and supportive of me in the classes,” said McColley.

Tickets Available for the June 17 Haverhill High School Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Tickets are now available for the 2023 Haverhill High School Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, planned for next month. Inductees are Rick Brown,’75, football and track; Samantha Good, ’96, volleyball, basketball and softball; Sara Jewett Hopkins, ’96, basketball and softball; Marc Spencer, ’91, golf; Paul St. Onge, ’70, football, wrestling and track; Amy Veilleux Simmons, ’94, volleyball and basketball; and Steve Wholley, ’74, football, indoor track and baseball. In addition, a Brown & Gold Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Mary and Ted Murphy for their longtime support of Haverhill athletics. Ceremonies take place Saturday, June 17, beginning at 4 p.m., at Bradford Country Club, 201 Chadwick Road, Haverhill.

Haverhill School Committee, Mayor Spar Over Teachers’ Strike Pact Impact on Budget Shortfall

A shortfall in Haverhill’s school budget for next year resulted in finger pointing and claims of disingenuousness at last week’s School Committee meeting. Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling began by explaining how the budget for the current school year was determined. He explained money came of three sources, state Chapter 70 education; Esser III, derived from the American Rescue Plan Act; and a contribution from the city. “All in, $115.4 million with those resources. There was an increase, given to the school department of $1.82 million to settle the strike.