Substance Abuse and the Adolescent Brain: A series of presentations for parents
A message from Superintendent James F. Scully:
Great things are happening in the Haverhill Public School system.
Five of our schools are now at state accountability Level 1, the highest distinction in the commonwealth’s ranking system. There are no schools at Levels 4 and 5, which signify a “failing” school in need of state intervention. Four years ago, we didn’t have any schools at level 1 or 2.
Our sports teams and athletes continue to find great success on the fields.
Our students are being accepted to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country.
While we relish these accomplishments, we also recognize the hard work and difficult challenges that we still face.
One of the most significant of these is the opioid crisis and the challenges associated with it. To help families understand how this crisis sneaks into the very fabric of a family, the Haverhill Public Schools will be offering a series of workshops on “Substance Abuse and the Adolescent Brain.” The first of these presentations will take place on January 27 at 6 p.m. at J.G. Whittier Middle School. A team comprised of educators and healthcare professionals will guide these presentations and discussions.
Some things you may not know:
- Every other year, in cooperation with the Northeast Health Resources, we survey our students anonymously at the high school level on issues related to suicide, illegal drug use and alcohol consumption. The results of this survey were publicly presented at a school committee meeting in October 2015.
- The responses from the students in Haverhill indicate that the number of students who used or experimented with illegal drugs and alcohol exceeds the state average.
- Our numbers have continued to increase significantly over the past two years.
- On a positive note, cigarette usage among our students is down since 2013.
I, like you, when I read these statistics was shocked. This is the reason for my letter and the impetus for these workshops “Substance Use & the Adolescent Brain.”
While we all relish the successes of our students, the challenges that youngsters face today are greater than ever. Peer pressure and the availability of drugs and prescription medications are in my words, out of control. Often we find out about the tragedies way too late. Children in Haverhill and in communities across the Commonwealth are at a crossroad and frequently we are not there to provide the direction needed.
As the Superintendent of Schools I strongly urge you, even though you feel that your child may not be at a crossroad, to become knowledgeable of the challenges that so many face.
On the attached flyer you can see the dates of these events at various schools. We will be sending out reminders, but please take a moment to reflect on the information that I have sent you today.
On behalf of everyone in the Haverhill Public Schools I want to wish you a very Happy New Year.
HHS students see presentation on Armenian Genocide
Former Haverhill newsman Tom Vartabedian and Dr. Ara Ieknavorian spoke to Haverhill High School students on Wednesday to recall the 100th anniversary of the period known as the Armenian Genocide.
Mr. Vartabedian and Dr. Ieknavorian put together information about the events leading up to the period of 1915 to 1917 in which as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the buildup to the First World War.
They speak to students and to members of civic organizations about the Armenian Genocice. The presentation at Haverhill High School coincided with the Armenian Day of Remembrance.
“I salute Tom Vartabedian and Dr. Ara Ieknavorian and those associated with them for keeping the message and lessons of this tragic time in history alive in our minds and hearts,” said Superintendent James F. Scully, who viewed the presentation with the students.
Superintendent Scully commended Tom Jordan and his associates in the History Department at Haverhill High School for bringing these and other informative speakers to the students at Haverhill High School.
HPS, iSchool win national recognition
Haverhill Public Schools has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration magazine. Haverhill is among 62 districts that were honored in the March 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program for K12 school districts.
“We are pleased to honor Haverhill as a District of Distinction,” said JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Haverhill Public Schools serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”
Superintendent James F. Scully is credited with bringing district-wide technology to Haverhill beginning in 2011. The magazine points out that the district’s iSchool, located in Haverhill High School, is the centerpiece of the technological innovations.
To learn more, see District Administration magazine’s statement.
Schools to open 2 hours late on Tuesday, Feb. 10
Superintendent James F. Scully has ordered a two-hour delay for school openings on Tuesday morning, February 10, 2015. There will be no morning kindergarten.
Mr. Scully made the announcement shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Monday. The full text is as follows:
“The adverse weather that we have been facing has caused problems for many, but the decisions that I have been making are for the children of Haverhill – with their safety being my primary consideration.
“I would strongly urge you to discuss with your children the dangers of these huge snowbanks and the fact that automobiles are having trouble negotiating some areas.
“Thank you for your continued cooperation and again there will be a two-hour delay tomorrow and no morning kindergarten – again no morning kindergarten.
“I have received various communications from state officials, and later this week I am hoping to communicate with you the actual impact these storms will have on our schedule.”
Students have been out of school for seven snow days after more than 5 feet of snow has fallen on the area in the past 14 days.