Podcast: Haverhill Promise to Offer Free Books Through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Haverhill children, from infants through age five, could soon be recipients of free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program will be conducted through Haverhill Promise, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Director Jenny Arndt was a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program and said the Haverhill Education Foundation has agreed to underwrite the program the first year. Arndt said the country singer and songwriter has been a champion for reading for many years and established an international program to encourage young readers. “So, Dolly knows, the same that we know at Haverhill Promise, that just simply having more books in the home has been proven to improve reading outcomes for kids because they’re excited about books.

Edwards Vacuum Breaks Ground on New Broadway Park Building, Awards $20K to Haverhill Promise

Haverhill Promise, the city’s, Campaign for Grade Level Reading, received a $20,000 grant as part of a celebration related to Wednesday’s groundbreaking of Edwards Vacuum’s new manufacturing center. Edwards Vacuum, in collaboration with Marwick Associates, Equity Industrial Partners and Dacon, ceremoniously broke ground on the new 135,000 square-foot innovation center within Broadway Industrial Park. To mark the event, the development group partnered with Haverhill Promise to help pay for the city’s first STEM literacy program. Beginning next summer, children ages 5-10 will experience 30 events in which they are fed lunch, conduct a science experiment and are given a relevant book to take home. “Research shows us that if children are not proficient readers by grade three, it can have devastating effects not only in their ability to succeed in school, but also life-long earning potential and overall health and well-being.

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.