An estimated one in five Essex County residents lacks access to internet service and computers, along with an understanding of how to use digital devices. Aiming to solve this disparity, the third annual Digital Equity Challenge invites individuals with ideas that address these issues to enter the annual pitch contest, which will award $10,000 in cash prizes to the most promising solutions. Essex County Community Foundation Director of Strategic Initiatives Kate Machet says there is more work to do. “We look forward to hearing from this year’s contestants about their visions for increasing access to the digital resources needed to navigate life today.”
Individuals of all ages, including college and high school students, along with business and nonprofit professionals, may apply online by Friday, March 29 to participate. Six finalists, to be announced in April, will be invited to pitch their ideas May 2 at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in Haverhill.
Haverhill students plan to take a half-time pledge tonight against gender-based violence. The White Ribbon Kick Off Night is sponsored by the YWCA and Haverhill Public Schools Wellness Department, and takes place tonight, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., during the Boys’ Varsity Basketball game vs. Beverly, at Haverhill High School gymnasium, 137 Monument St. White Ribbon Day started in 1991 when a handful of men decided to take action on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal.
Graduating high school seniors who plan to continue their education in the arts may be eligible to receive the $1,000 Robert Gablosky Memorial Art Scholarship. It is open to public, private and home-schooled seniors from within the districts of Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover, Masconomet, Pentucket and Timberlane. The scholarship is named for late Haverhill Gazette staff writer Robert J. Gablosky, who also founded the Greater Haverhill Arts Association in 1971. Gablosky died in 2017 at age 88. The Greater Haverhill Arts Association administers the scholarship on behalf of the Gablosky family.
Greater Lawrence Technical School and the Green Jobs Academy are sharing $1.25 million in grants from the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund to help develop clean energy workforce development programs.
Money for the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund comes from a settlement agreement with Columbia Gas for its role in the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. Grants are jointly administered currently by state Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony for a variety of clean energy and energy efficiency programs.
Greater Lawrence Technical School’s Clean Energy Education Program Workshop Program will be incorporated into existing technical study programs and focus on clean energy careers in the technical area being studied, as well as additional clean energy topics such as greenhouse gas emissions impacts; programs to lower emissions; barriers to electrification and energy efficiency and methods to remove such barriers. It will enroll up to approximately 250 students annually, including adult learners and seniors enrolled in the school’s “After Dark” Program, which enrolls students who attend district schools during the regular school day and technical programs later in the day. A separate in-depth semester program will prepare students for entry-level clean energy jobs, enrolling up to 100 students annually. Superintendent John Lavoie said he is grateful for the award which opens career opportunities for diverse students—both high schoolers and adults—in the clean energy industry.
Correction: A quotation attributed to School Committee member Mikaela D. Lalumiere is now properly attributed to member Jill Story. Haverhill School Committee members asked Haverhill High School administrators last Thursday how they ensure all classes will have an adult present when the usual teacher is absent. Member Richard J. Rosa brought up the issue after he said he received emails from concerned parents. “I am hearing that there are classrooms where a teacher may be absent, we can’t get a sub, and there’s no coverage. And so, an entire class has no adult in the classroom.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Language Acquisition plans a routine a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Hill View Montessori Charter Public School during the week of March 6. Language Acquisition reviews each district’s and charter school’s English Learner Education program every six years to monitor compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. Areas of review will include English learners’ student assessments, identification of English learners, what programs English learners are placed in, parent and community involvement, curriculum and instruction, student support services, licensure requirements for faculty, staff and administration, program plans, and evaluation and recordkeeping. The district will send a survey to the parents of students whose records the review team examines. The survey focuses on key areas of their child’s English Learner Education program.
Gov. Maura Healey, a bank president, a distinguished alumna, a volunteer and philanthropist and a state representative are set to be honored in May when Northern Essex Community College plans its second annual Impact Awards breakfast. Healey is set to receive the Equity and Social Justice Award, recognizing individuals, organizations or initiatives that have impacted the college community through values such as a commitment to equity, diversity and the advancement of human rights and social justice. The governor was named for her administration’s historic investment in higher education. College officials cite MassReconnect, Community College Nursing Scholarships and an increase in programs Supporting Urgent Community College Equity through Student Services—SUCCESS for short, all included in Healey’s first budget. She also created the new Tuition Equity Law, which provides access to in-state financial aid and tuition to many undocumented students in the Commonwealth.
It is unlikely another election will take place anytime soon on the future of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, but leaders agree there will be better communication. The Haverhill, Newburyport and Amesbury mayors, most area town managers or administrators and school officials met Tuesday afternoon to reflect on the recent ballot box defeat of a $445 million replacement school. Superintendent Maureen Lynch said the school will do a better job of keeping in the loop the 11 communities that send students. “We’ll find a path forward. I’m optimistic.