Silver Hill Parents Told All Kids Can Stay Through Fifth Grade

Haverhill school officials will allow all current Silver Hill students to remain there until they finish the school’s fifth and final grade.

Assistant Superintendent Jared Fulgoni said no changes will be made at Silver Hill next year as the administration puts together a transition plan to turn the Horace Mann charter school back into a regular neighborhood school under the district’s control.

But many parents who attended Thursday’s School Committee meeting said the promise is an empty victory because the loss of the school’s charter eliminates the funding and independence that made Silver Hill special and allowed it to adopt an innovative curriculum and expand teacher training.

School Committee President Gail Sullivan agreed with parents who complained that the school district budget commits far too little to teacher training to reach the same results as Silver Hill.

“We have a district that’s been getting by with too little for too long,” Sullivan said. “The saddest thing is that there are some parts of the city that nobody wants to go to school in.”

Silver Hill had begun the process of applying to the state for renewal of its charter, but was stopped in its tracks by a vote by the Haverhill Education Association, which rejected the school’s application by a 2-to-1 margin.

Teachers union president Lisa Begley said the HEA membership was concerned about a lack of diversity at the charter school.

Begley pointed to the Tilton and Consentino schools, which served significantly larger numbers of ethnic minority and economically disadvantaged students than Silver Hill, even though the three schools are in the same section of the city.

In fact, Begley said, Bradford Elementary School’s demographics showed it to be more diverse than Silver Hill.

Unlike Haverhill’s other, public schools, Silver Hill chose its students by lottery from applications submitted by parents from every section of the city. Neighborhood schools are populated by students who live within the quadrants where the schools are located.

School Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti said student achievement, not demographics, should have directed HEA members’ votes.

 “There’s only one question that would have tipped my hand. Did the model improve student achievement and does it maintain a high level of student achievement, and that answer is undeniably yes,” Magliocchetti said. “That being said, I respect the vote of the teachers.”

Committee member Shaun P. Toohey’s criticism of the teachers union vote was more pointed.

“I don’t understand why we are going backwards. In my opinion, the HEA got it wrong.”

Toohey questioned how many of the roughly 360 teachers who voted on the charter renewal live in Haverhill.

No matter their position on the charter renewal, committee members praised the Silver Hill parents for their passion and involvement in their children’s education.

“Don’t ever let anyone silence you when it comes to your children’s education,” Magliocchetti told the group.

Member Scott W. Wood spread the praise in a wider circle.

“I support all parents of all schools who take a passionate interest in their child’s education.”

But Wood was less complimentary when it came to his colleagues’ criticism of members of the teachers union who opposed the charter renewal.

Following the School Committee meeting, he said, “I don’t think that attacking the HEA and the teachers of the city of Haverhill really helps anybody, quite frankly. There certainly was a better way to deal with it … the idea behind the state requiring union approval is to take politics out of it and taking playing to a crowd away. I have to have faith the teachers of the district voted what they felt was in the best educational interest of students in the district. We have to trust that teachers did that.”

Authors

11 Comments

  1. Joe Citizen said:

    The teachers union in Haverhill are a group of self-centered ,sniveling, incompetent brats. They give no shits about the kids or community.

    What have you done for me lately?, seems to be their motto. I, a union guy, lost respect for them a decade ago.

  2. Dex said:

    “There’s only one question that would have tipped my hand. Did the model improve student achievement and does it maintain a high level of student achievement, and that answer is undeniably yes,” Magliocchetti said. “That being said, I respect the vote of the teachers.”

    Well, anyone can log onto the DESE website to see each school’s data. SH did not meet any of its targets for its sub groups. For all students it was 58, for high needs it was 50. The target is 75. Clearly they are not maintaining their high levels of student achievement. Margaret Shepherd stated at an earlier School Committee that they have outperformed the district 2 years running. The data does not show that.

    I feel these recent articles here and in the Eagle Tribune are detracting from the hard work that ALL Haverhill teachers have done. Just because they have voted to not renew the charter, Silver Hill’s OWN teachers voted down another opportunity that would give them the SAME autonomy in terms of curriculum and training, the only difference is they would have more students from the Mount Washington area and be able to accept newly registered students. The staff is remaining the same, the students currently enrolled are staying there. If they cannot make that model work for students who live just outside their doors, then the system there was never working to begin with.

  3. Jack Haverhill said:

    “School Committee President Gail Sullivan agreed with parents who complained that the school district budget commits far too little to teacher training to reach the same results as Silver Hill.”

    Gail Sullivan…you’re a moron. 7 out of 10 teachers in Haverhill just voted that they don’t want the responsibility of having to do take training. What did you think this issue is was all about? The HEA is all about promoting mediocrity, not excellence, and their majority vote just proved it. Let me guess Gail, you thought the issue was about skin color too, is that it?

    Scott Wood…you’re absolutely clueless. Of course, you’ve always been a big supporter of unions, so that’s to be expected.

    • Gary said:

      Actually, I think Wood has the strongest record when it comes to contracts for taxpayers and negotiations. But hes fair as well. Which facts do you have that back up your claim of union support except from saying it didn’t help to attack teachers?

      • Jack Haverhill said:

        Hi Gary, I think Wood is totally disingenuous with his description of believing that teachers and the HEA would vote for what was in the best interest of students/parents, and not what was most advantageous for their own self-interest.

        Just look at his statement….”I have to have faith the teachers of the district voted what they felt was in the best educational interest of students in the district. We have to trust that teachers did that.” ….
        Someone who would make such a statement is either lying or extremely naive on how public employee union operate. Scott knows how unions work, so I’ll leave it to you to decide which it was. If he wants us to believe he has faith that teachers voted to dismantle the most successful school in the city, there’s little question that he himself is making this a political issue.

        When you throw in that racist HEA President Lisa Begley had to default to making the HEAs problem with SH about “skin color” and not measurable performance metrics, then Wood is really being dishonest in his evaluation of the issue.

        • Gary said:

          Jack, where you are wrong is look at dese’s numbers. It’s not the most successful school in Haverhill, in fact the scores have gone down st silver hill and it is actually a level 2 school but was held harmless. To mex having faith in the teachers is something we all shold have. Not every teacher follows the union line. Faith doesn’t mean you believe it’s you hope they did.

          • Jack Haverhill said:

            Sorry Gary….based on specific, factual events there isn’t a public employee union member in Haverhill I would trust with anything. The list of lies, corruption, and outright theft by Haverhill union members is a LONG one. I know your response is going to be…”There are always some bad apples in a bunch”. Which is true. But when the rest of union brothers stand on the sidelines and do nothing when 30 fire fighters are committing felony theft, or they do nothing when a night police office is sleeping at his girlfriends house while on duty, or when tenured teachers refuse to take a ‘no pay’ day to help with the budget because they know young teachers will take the hit by getting laid off instead, they lose ALL credibility in terms of doing what is right for the people that fund their paychecks.

            “Hope” that the teachers’ union would have done the right thing is kind of like playing Powerball. We all hope we win the lottery but the odds of it actually happening make it an impossible dream. I’d rather stick with reality, which is teachers ALWAYS vote for their own self interest.

      • Jack Haverhill said:

        Sorry….I didn’t finish this sentence correctly….

        If he wants us to believe he has faith that teachers and the HEA voted to dismantle the most successful and best performing school in the city for the best interest of the students and not themselves, there’s little question that he himself is making this a political issue.

        • Jack said:

          The point you are missing is Silver Hill is not the best performing school in the district. That is a myth. Silver Hills scores this year dropped it to a LEVEL 2

    • Joe Citizen said:

      Jack, You and I have again found common ground.

      Although I’m not taking the bait to insult Ms Sullivan or the unions in general, they, in my opinion, don’t deserve it.

      However , the HEA as a group is a discredited.

      HEA, is that Latin for horray for me, F### you?

  4. Dannyboy said:

    Sullivan is correct, there are schools in this city that residents diner want to send their children. How sad it is that she realizes this and yet hasn’t done anything about it. Better neither has her puppeteer Magliochetti.
    The infighting on that committee is absurd and yet they get up every other Thursday and tell us what’s best for the children.
    Get off your pedestals and start working for the betterment of the children.

Top
s2Member®
%d bloggers like this: