Haverhill Promise Presents Free Literacy Events Fridays at Summer Meal Sites

Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, is partnering with Haverhill Public Schools and a number of community organizations to present a 10-week series of free family literacy events at summer meal sites. “Literacy Lunches” take place every Friday at noon, from June 25 through Aug. 27. Three Literacy Lunches will run simultaneously at the summer meal sites Albert B. Consentino School, 685 Washington St.; Caleb Dustin Hunking School, 480 S. Main St.; and Haverhill YMCA, 81 Winter St. Families may choose to drop in to any of the three sites, which will each have their own unique program.

National Group Calls Haverhill Promise a ‘Bright Spot’ for Innovation During Pandemic

Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, was recognized late last week as a national “Bright Spot” for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Washington, D.C.-based national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading said Haverhill is one of only 54 communities that “developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis, including new or adaptive roles, programs, organizational relationships/collaborations, policies and/or resources.”

“We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination allowed them to quickly adapt and meet this moment. They truly are ‘bright spots’ and we congratulate them for the differences they’re making. We look forward to learning from their success as we move onto a post-COVID learning environment,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the national campaign. In particular, he said, communities were recognizing for “crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.” Some of the initiatives include the use of digital tools, virtual tutoring, summer lunch programs, learning pods, books and learning resources distribution, community-wide COVID relief funds and other programs.

The local effort is managed by Haverhill Promise Campaign Director Jenny Arndt.

Haverhill Promise Student Poster Contest Emphasizes Attendance, Runs Until Jan. 14

Haverhill students in grades from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade are eligible to win a $100 gift card by creating a poster over winter recess. Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, is offering the contest to highlight the importance of daily attendance. Posters should be no larger than 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall, and must include the phrase “School every day, no matter which way.”

The contest run until Jan. 14. Prizes, including a certificate and gift basket, will be awarded at each school and certificates and $100 gift cards will be given to four citywide winners.

YMCA’s Summer Reading Program Delivers Big Results Despite Current Pandemic

Despite the health pandemic, Haverhill School Committee members learned last week, the YMCA’s summer reading program scored some of the best results in its history. Tracy Fuller, regional executive director of the Haverhill and Plaistow YMCAs talked about the challenges of putting on the program in the era of COVID-19. “Through many conversations of how can we do this safely, how can we launch this program. So, we offered the program this year at Haverhill High School and then we hired four additional teachers to go to our summer camps because, this year more than ever, kids needed summer camp this summer. So, we had a group of eight teachers total that helped support our students this summer,” she said.

Haverhill Promise Launches Citywide Reading Challenge; Prizes to be Awarded

Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, has launched a citywide Reading Challenge for Haverhill Students to help encourage daily reading throughout the COVID-19 learning disruption. Starting this week, students in pre-K-12 who attend any school or preschool program in Haverhill are asked to begin tracking their daily reading time and posting about their reading on social media. Since students of all ages are invited to participate, and interests may vary, the focus is less about the quantity of books being read, and more about the amount of time spent reading, according to a statement from Jenny Arndt, campaign director. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that students read aloud for at least 20 minutes each day during long breaks from school to keep learning and sharpening their reading skills. Economically disadvantaged students are especially at risk for losing valuable progress in their reading achievement when school is not in session.

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.

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.