I have been using the phrase “Strong Haverhill Schools” as a tagline for my vision of Haverhill Public Schools. Here’s what that phrase means to me.
Haverhill students will step into a positive learning environment with capable teachers, manageable class-sizes, and well-maintained buildings. With this support, they will become proficient in reading and basic math skills in elementary school. They will broaden their knowledge of the world in middle school with science, history, and civics. In high school they will learn critical thinking skills needed for life, career, and citizenship.
Teachers and staff will experience Haverhill schools as a good place to work. Their pay will be competitive with levels in nearby communities, and they will be confident they can build a good career in Haverhill Public Schools. Teachers will be well-supported in the classroom and have time for professional development.
Our Haverhill community will be strengthened as a good place to live, work, and do business. Haverhill Public Schools will help young people to become productive citizens, providing a good life for their own families and enhancing the life of our wider community.
Haverhill School Committee has a special role in ensuring that we have “Strong Haverhill Schools”—namely, to establish a coherent framework of policies and priorities, well-rooted in evidence of what works best for students, and to articulate the budget implications of those priorities.
Responsibility for school budgets is shared with Mayor and Council. The job of School Committee is to advocate with the Mayor and Council for a budget that can get the job done, then to oversee implementation, monitor progress, and work with the superintendent to make adjustments as needed. The School Committee must also work effectively with the Superintendent, supporting good management and collaborating to solve problems.
Like other Massachusetts Gateway Cities, Haverhill faces many challenges. We need to build on our strengths. We have a capable school administration; we employ many dedicated teachers and staff; and Haverhill receives significant state funding. If we use our resources wisely, we can strengthen our schools and see real improvements. We can realistically aspire to have schools that exceed state benchmarks for student growth in many areas and that are perceived as among the best in the Gateway Cities. However, achieving this goal will require Haverhill voters and City leaders to make “Strong Haverhill Schools” a top priority.