In Collaboration With Students, New Sign, Updated Field for Whittier Tech

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School has two new construction projects—both planned and executed in collaboration with students. Late last month, work concluded on a new stone and metal sign bearing the school’s logo and name entirely designed and built by students studying in construction trades. Students from masonry, engineering, metal fabrication, and electrical all collaborated on this year-long project. The sign features both a metal logo and a screen for digital projections. Earl Corr, a carpentry instructor, said the project was a great way for Whittier students to collaborate in and out of the classroom.

Three Female Newcomers Pull Papers for Haverhill School Committee

Ahead of November’s municipal election, three female newcomers are hoping to shake up the race for Haverhill’s open School Committee seats. Longtime city educator Toni Donais is the latest hopeful to pull papers in the upcoming race, joining Marlon Street’s Patricia McDonald and attorney Melissa Lewandowski, the daughter of former Haverhill School Committee member Glen Lewandowski. Donais, however, told WHAV Monday she remains undecided as to if she’ll actually pursue a School Committee run, having just been named administrator of Walnut Square School in Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s new “rightsizing” plan for the upcoming year. All candidates who take out papers with the Haverhill City Clerk’s office have until July 23 to return 50 certified signatures in order to appear on the ballot. As of Monday’s news deadline, a preliminary election would take place in September to narrow the field before November’s election.

Whittier Tech Teaming With YMCA to Open Childcare Center This Fall

Next fall, Greater Haverhill students and families will be able to take advantage of a unique resource at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School when the Haverhill YMCA opens an early childcare center, to be constructed and staffed by students pursuing a variety of careers. This week, Whittier and the Haverhill YMCA announced plans for the program—open to infants, toddlers and pre-school students in Amesbury, Merrimac, Haverhill, Byfield, Georgetown, Groveland, Salisbury, West Newbury, Newburyport and Newbury—which will be housed at the Tech in a self-contained wing of the school. Early Education and Care teacher Michelle Ring explains the program will benefit students of all career tracks. “The new center will allow students in every grade, starting with freshman exploratory, to work with children throughout every stage of their studies,” Ring said. “It was also important for us to remain competitive with our surrounding school districts that have child care centers on site.”

YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller is equally as exited about the partnership.

Haverhill’s ‘Rightsizing’ School Plan Shifts Principals, Creates New Central Office Post

Leadership of several schools is shifting as the Haverhill School Department implements its so-called “rightsizing plan.”

Among the biggest changes, Pentucket Lake School Principal Dianne Connolly leaves the school for a new central office job as director of multi-tiered systems of support. Connolly, who has been Pentucket Lake’s principal since 2009, will be succeeded by current Walnut Square School Principal Maureen Gray. Superintendent Margaret Marotta described the movements as “key changes in leadership” at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting. She explained Connolly’s new role. “We try to build interventions and supports across the school district that meet the needs of all kids,” she said.

Governor’s Designation Means Northern Essex Early College Free to Haverhill Students

The Haverhill High School Early College Program at Northern Essex Community College was one 13 high schools and eight public colleges statewide to receive the endorsement of Gov. Charlie Baker Thursday. The designations mean all courses are free to Haverhill High students beginning this fall. Baker, at a ceremony at Bunker Hill Community College, awarded designations to the early college programs. Northern Essex Community College President Lane A. Glenn said he is pleased the governor has made Early College a priority. “These students learn how to be successful in college and they also save a considerable amount on the cost of their college education. Early College programs address student success and college affordability.”

The Haverhill Early College Program began five years ago, and the first graduates—a group of 18— were recognized in January of 2015.

Northern Essex Community College Honors Four Retirees with Emeritus Status

Four recent Northern Essex Community College retirees were elevated to the honor of emeritus status during the institution’s 57th Annual commencement last month. Joseph LeBlanc of Haverhill, Jane Gagliardi of Gloucester, Karen Blanchard Mitchell of Bow, N.H., and Charlene Kennedy of Richmond, N.H., received the rank of emeritus—an honor that recognizes sustained excellence in performance, character and meritorious service to the college. LeBlanc was named Professor Emeritus of English. He joined the college’s English faculty in 1988, and served for more than a decade as advisor to the “Observer,” the award-winning, student newspaper, and coordinator of the college’s Journalism Program. “Joe was demanding but well-loved and greatly respected,” said Glenn.

Parents Argue Haverhill Must Spend More on Schools, Students at Public Hearing

Correction: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect first name for one of the speakers before the School Committee. WHAV regrets the error. No residents opposed the approved $89 million school budget during a public hearing Thursday night, but most appealed for more spending. Haverhill School Committee members heard calls for the city to increase per-pupil spending, better recruit Spanish-speaking teachers and improve building maintenance. Joanna Dix of the Haverhill Education Coalition told members this year’s $4.8 million school budget increase does little more than cover inflation.

Haverhill Education Association Marches to Support Increased Funding Ahead of City Budget Talks

Nearly 100 educators, parents and supporters for increased school funding from across the region converged on Haverhill’s City Hall this week to implore local leaders to act—and fast—amid 2020 budget conversations, Haverhill Education Association leaders tell WHAV. HEA President Ted Kempinski was among those to demand change in the form of equitable student resources and a fair contract for educators. “The funding that the Haverhill city government is providing is not sufficient for a 21st century education. Our students do not have the tools nor the resources they need to be successful,” Kempinski told WHAV. Kempinski’s colleague Anthony Parolisi, HEA’s incoming president, told WHAV the group was supported by educators from Methuen and Andover, along with Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy and Massachusetts Nurses Association present Donna Kelly-Williams.

Haverhill Public Schools let out for the summer on Thursday, with the teachers’ union planning to organize throughout the break on several occasions.