Education Commissioner Riley Extends School Mask Requirement Through at Least Nov. 1

Masks will remain required in Massachusetts public schools until at least Nov. 1. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley issued the order Monday. Last month, the board authorized him to require masks for students ages 5 and up and school staff through at least Oct. 1.

State Investigates School Sexual Harassment Matter, While Fed Rules Complicate Haverhill Review

A state investigation is underway into a reported incident of sexual harassment of a sixth grader attending at Caleb Dustin Hunking School, but Haverhill school officials say federal rules temporarily have their hands tied. Attorney Amy McDonald Rogers of Lyons & Rogers told the Haverhill School Committee’s Policy Subcommittee Friday morning the city must adopt the federal government’s newly updated procedures for such incidents. Committee Chairman Gail M. Sullivan and member Toni Sapienza-Donais are drawing up the new policy and will present it to the rest of the School Committee for approval. The matter was unexpectedly and graphically detailed by a mother who addressed the School Committee during a meeting broadcast live by WHAV last Thursday night. “I am here because my daughter advocated for herself and her friends regarding sexual harassment that has not been handled correctly.

Haverhill Schools to Receive National Guard Help This Week to Drive Mini Vans and Mini Buses

Haverhill joins Lawrence and other communities across the state in getting help from the National Guard driving school transport vans in light of a national driver shortage. Six National Guard bus drivers are expected this week to drive minivans and minibuses—not full-size buses, but the assistance frees up to two drivers with Commercial Drivers’ Licenses, Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling notified the School Committee Friday. “This is a very short-term solution and we do not foresee any real relief until (school bus contractor) NRT is able to onboard additional CDL drivers,” Pfifferling wrote. A Saturday meeting between Pfifferling and NRT’s John McCarthy tentatively decided to use a combination of NRT’s minibuses and the school department’s vans to fill in as many gaps as possible. Minibuses accommodate up to 20 students, while vans are limited to six students.

Haverhill Schools Undertake Review After Reports of Sexual Harassment, Fights, Vandalism

A review of school policies is underway after School Committee members last night discussed reports of sexual harassment, vandalism and fighting at Haverhill High School since going back into session

One problem is a challenge that has gone viral on the TikTok social app. Known as “Devious Licks” encourages students to record themselves stealing and destroying school property and posting a video of their acts. As bad as that may be, School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. said problems go much further. “There’s the Tik Tok videos, the vandalism, the x-rated videos being shot on school grounds, the violence, the fights. I got more calls from parents and staff members in the last three or four weeks than I’ve got in 18 years sitting here,” he said.

Pandemic Pause Harm Some MCAS Scores; Haverhill High, Whittier Tech Show English Progress

Haverhill and communities across the state are learning the pandemic indeed took its toll on student achievement, as measured by MCAS scores. Despite mirroring declining math trends statewide, however, 10th graders in Haverhill’s and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School actually improved in English language scoring this year. “The MCAS tests administered in the spring provide Massachusetts educators and families with critical insight into where students did not progress academically, and the results clearly illustrate how the disrupted school year of remote and hybrid learning impacted students’ academic achievement,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said results show many more students statewide had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts, compared to students in the same grades before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer students also met or exceeded grade level expectations.

State Awards Grant to Haverhill High School to Help Train Students for In-Demand Jobs

Haverhill High School was formally awarded $26,752 Monday to help students obtain early career experience and expertise. The grant, part of the state’s Innovation Pathway program, will be used to create an environmental and life sciences and manufacturing effort through MassHire Merrimack Valley. The grant, part of $452,000 distributed to 20 school districts by the Baker Administration, is designed to support schools that are committed to seeking official designation for the programs next spring from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “It is encouraging to see the strong continued interest in the Innovation Pathways program, designed explicitly to connect students to career pathways in fields like advanced manufacturing, health care and information technology,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “These programs will provide students with more opportunities for future success in high-demand fields at a time during which it is increasingly important to close workforce gaps throughout the Commonwealth.”

These early career programs provide high school students with a course of study focused on a particular field, while also offering them access to college-level courses and internship opportunities to gain work experience.

Haverhill SEPAC Hosts Webinar on Managing an ABLE Tax-Advantaged Savings Plan

The Haverhill Special Education Parent Advisory Council hosts a webinar on managing a tax-advantaged savings plan at its first meeting of the school year this Wednesday. Mary Rubenis, from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, discusses an Achieving a Better Life Experience account, or “ABLE,” for short. An ABLE account is for someone with a disability to save for qualified expenses. It allows savings while keeping benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid. The free webinar takes place online, Wednesday, Sept.

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.