Northern Essex Community College Offers Live and Virtual Info Sessions on Free College for Those Eligible

Northern Essex Community College is having a series of information sessions for those newly eligible to complete their degrees at no cost to them. The new “MassReconnect” allows residents aged 25 or older who have not already obtained a college degree to attend the state’s community colleges for free. This last-dollar support covers tuition and fees, including books and materials stipends. Northern Essex is already offering free tuition under the program to 125 students across 31 degree and certificate programs and number is expected to increase with Fall Session II classes starting Monday, Oct. 30.

Haverhill School Board Votes 6-0 to End Legal Action Against Teachers, Sidesteps Meeting Law Complaint

Accusations, denials and general confusion were in the mix during a discussion by the Haverhill School Committee last Thursday over the legality of an earlier closed-door meeting. As previously reported by WHAV, the School Committee went into executive session late last month where they apparently voted 5-1 to end legal action against the Haverhill teachers’ union over recovery of costs related to last fall’s teachers strike. WHAV challenged the legality of the session, arguing that the Committee failed to state the specific purpose of the closed-door session beforehand, in violation of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, and privately discussed the vote with the Haverhill Education Association. Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti began the discussion by pointing out the requirement for transparency in deliberations regarding public policy decisions. He said there are, however, 10 exceptions where the need discussion out of the public eye are acknowledged by the state.

Name Calling, Cuss Word, Mayor Walking Out Highlight School Committee Meeting Tensions

The mayor walked out and uttered a cuss word as tensions ran high at Thursday’s Haverhill School Committee meeting as the Haverhill Education Association continued its pursuit of what it calls a living wage for the city’s educational support professionals. Prior to last night’s meeting, dozens of teachers and other school personnel stood outside city hall waving banners at passing pedestrians and motorists calling for pay increases. Much of that crowd then entered the City Council chamber to express their views to School Committee members in a one-to-one setting. Among them, Patricia Shaw who had harsh words for city lawyer David M. Connelly. “He’s an anti-union lawyer.

Haverhill School Committee to Answer Open Meeting Law Fail Relating to Last Fall’s Strike

Three items on the Haverhill School Committee’s agenda tonight center on the body’s apparent closed-door vote to end legal action against the Haverhill teachers’ union to recover costs related to last fall’s strike. At least one of the items is required because WHAV challenged the legality of the so-called executive session, arguing the Committee failed to state the specific purpose and union on both its agenda and chair’s statement before the executive session, contrary to law. WHAV asked the School Committee to nullify action taken during the executive session, make all related records public and participate in training. According to a press release from the Haverhill Education Association shortly after the vote took place, School Committee members Scott W. Wood Jr. and Toni Sapienza-Donais lead the effort that resulted in a 5-1 vote to end litigation. The decision came shortly before a state Department of Labor Relations investigator cleared the city of violating labor laws and charged the strike illegally “interfered with, restrained or coerced the School Committee.”

The only active Superior Court case is one brought by the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board and the Haverhill School Committee against the Haverhill Education Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Briggs and Christine Hickey in the union roles.

Exchange Program Acquaints German Students with Pentucket Regional High Counterparts

Pentucket Regional High School students will participate in the German American Partnership Program beginning next month. Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said students will meet their virtual exchange partners in person this year as students from Germany visit Pentucket from Oct. 2-15, where they will live with host families to experience American family life firsthand. “In the past, life-long connections have been made between Pentucket and German students through this program,” said Pentucket Regional Middle High School Foreign Language Department Chair Linda Hackett. “We are excited to be bringing back the GAPP to Pentucket and are confident that our students will benefit from the connections made with the students from Germany.”

Throughout their visit, students will also have the opportunity to get a feel for the Massachusetts educational system through shadowing a Pentucket student who is learning German at the high school, and visiting a district elementary school, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Boston University.

‘A Field of Lost Hair Ties’ Opens First Art Show of Season at Northern Essex Community College

The first art show of the 2023-24 academic year opens on the Haverhill Campus of Northern Essex Community College Tuesday, Sept. 19, with “A Field of Lost Hair Ties.”

Artist Sam Modder, a native of Nigeria who lives and works in Tampa, Fla, created a larger-than-life mural made up of digitally manipulated ballpoint pen drawings that follow a Black woman in her nightdress and striped socks in a world made up of only her and her duplicates. Modder says the work is an allegory for our contemporary condition, confronting questions of power, exploitation and resistance. Modder says the work is a chapter in an ongoing series in which she presents a subjective Black woman’s fairytale to process interlocking structures of oppression. “As my work towers above you, I hope you will step back into a space of childhood, wonder, and possibility.

UMass Lowell Fall Student Welcome Includes Paycheck Guarantee

New students welcomed to UMass Lowell last week were encouraged to “find their community” and explore all the campus and the region have to offer. As they do, they will benefit from a new university program that will provide paid work experiences to help them prepare for life after college. “These aren’t simply internships—they are internships with a paycheck,” said Chancellor Julie Chen, calling the guarantee UMass Lowell’s newest tradition. “Starting with today’s first-year students, UMass Lowell will guarantee every undergraduate the chance for at least one paid career-related opportunity by the time they receive their diploma. No student will be left out because they can’t afford to work for free.”

Convocation—one of the university’s oldest traditions—introduced approximately 2,700 first-year and transfer students to campus and the Mill City.

Haverhill’s Gateway Academy Plans to Open Year-Round Container Farm

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas and Anna Jaques Hospital President Glenn Focht will speak when the ribbon is cut next month at a new container farm on the grounds of Haverhill’s Gateway Academy. The Freight Farm-brand unit is a 40-foot hydroponic growing container that can grow year-round. It is being installed as a collaboration between the YMCA and the Haverhill Public Schools and paid by Beth Israel Lahey Health. It will provide greens year-round to children, adults and families facing food insecurity, as well as provide an innovative hands-on learning experience and STEM curriculum. The ceremony takes place Wednesday, Oct.