7 students from Haverhill VIP prepared individual testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature expressing what they need in order to do well in school. They delivered their written statements at a legislative briefing on February 25, 2020.
Haverhill 2022 Student Testimony
Haverhill High School VIP
Listening to students’ voices is more important now than ever, as decision makers at all levels contemplate plans for the rest of the remote learning period and the transition back to campus.
Haverhill VIP Action Timeline
February 25, 2020
Summer & Fall 2020
VIP students continued to reflect on the issues raised in their testimony in a series of Zoom interviews throughout summer and fall 2020. They also considered new issues arising from remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and from the intensifying movement for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
Throughout winter 2021, VIP students engaged in weekly Zoom conversations with each other, working together to identify the common issues students were experiencing in remote and hybrid learning. Their discussions emphasized the growing desperation and disengagement many students were feeling after months spent learning virtually.
VIP students decided to author a report describing the most pressing concerns emerging from their weekly discussions as well as their proposed solutions. Their report – “Students’ Priorities for Recovery and Beyond” – was completed in March 2021.
VIP students shared their written report with their school principal and district superintendent and then met with them on Zoom in April 2021. To address their priorities, students asked their administrators to make two immediate commitments: 1) to partner with them in applying for a Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Grant and 2) to create a central channel for communicating information to students.
After meeting with administrators, VIP students convened a Zoom meeting with their three state representatives. They advocated for their priorities and learned from the legislators about federal funds that would be coming to their district as part of the COVID relief packages. Their representatives encouraged them to raise their voices in discussion about how those funds would be spent.
VIP students requested time on their School Committee’s meeting agenda and were invited to make a public presentation. They submitted their written report to the committee, verbally summarized their priorities and solutions, and requested an opportunity to participate in budget conversations about allocating federal COVID relief funds.
VIP student leaders launched a new coalition in their school – Student Voice Advocates (SVA) – to partner with educators in applying for a Safe and Supportive Schools Grant. A group of 6 student leaders will represent a larger group of 37 students who will deliberate on priorities to bring forth to the administration.
In summer 2021, VIP leaders and students from the newly formed SVA coalition plan to work closely with school and district administrators to apply for an FY22 Safe and Supportive Schools Grant. This planning grant would fund a year-long action planning process focused on strategies for creating a safer and more supportive school for all students. This application will be first ever to propose a student-staff partnership!
Grant awards will be awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) by November 1, 2021. Haverhill students will be anxiously awaiting word on the result of their application and will be looking forward to working with faculty and staff to begin creating a safe and supportive action plan for their school.