Harvard in Everett
A group of Harvard Kennedy School students spent a semester planning a perfect use for the 95 acre Exxon Mobile site which is presently up for sale…or just about to be sold to an investment group. The object of their semester’s effort was to present a plan with the highest and best use for the sprawling parcel. Right now, that parcel is among the most polluted in the area. But with remediation and many millions of dollars, this parcel might very well lead to the creation of a smaller city the way Assembly Square has become a city within a city in Somerville. The Harvard kids wrote what most of us are aware of – that is – the Silver Line needs to be expanded into Everett.
Haitian Heritage month
Everett has a huge Haitian community. By some estimates, there are believed to be as many as 10,000 Haitians living in Everett. Many Haitians have lived here for two decades. Right now, most Haitians living in America are traumatized by what’s going on in their native Haiti.
Haiti is descending into a deepening crisis – with no let up for its long-suffering people. Senior UN officials say political instability, gang warfare, poverty and the effects of recent natural disasters like earthquakes have left Haiti’s people in dire need of help.
Locally, the Haitian community is a strong, family based, hard working Christian minority group.
Everett is about 70% Black, Brown and Hispanic. Brazilians and Haitians are the city’s two largest minority groups.
Haitian History Month is celebrated around the world to commemorate Haitian history.
Put your cell phones away
May 20 is known as Kids to the Park Day. Everett’s version of this observance will be taking place at Swan Street Park on Saturday, from 11am to 1 pm.
The goal of this “holiday” is to get kids and families outside and to get them off their electronic equipment to better enjoy the outdoors and the day. After all, men, women and children can all survive without their cell phones and electronic devices for longer than three hours if they try. Or can they?
Pope John, again
During the School Committee’s public speak- ing portion Paula Sterite once again raised the question about why the former Pope John School is not being used to mitigate overcrowding.
“Why is $3 million being made available to rent a building for classroom space when Pope John exists. Now $14 million is being appropriated to build modular spaces to mitigate overcrowding.”
She reiterated the belief that Pope John could work wonders for overcrowding and with ease.
“Why is Pope John not being used?”
“Is it about no liking the superintendent?” She also acknowledged School Committeeman Jason Marcus’s apology but said he needed to do more for others than to apologize to her for his open mike gaffe at a recent meeting.
Covid and safety
The Covid experience continues to have its effect on the public schools.
Gender minority and sexual minority students don’t feel as safe in public school as others.
Minorities don’t feel as safe, either.
About 50% of students in public schools across the state say they feel safe in school.
About 50% of students in public schools say they feel safe.
This according to experts who testified at the School Committee meeting Monday night.
Violence effects 9th and 10th graders more than 11th and 12th graders in the public schools.
Bullying is prevalent but ticking downward and is much more likely among females in the middle school.
“It is something you should look at,” the expert told the school committee.
Electronic bullying is also prevalent, more so in the middle school than in the high school. ”Sixth graders in particular are twice as high as 8th graders,” the expert said.
Mental health issues predominate, the expert said.
“Kids are stressed. 60%- 70% of students feeling stressed,” he said.
“Sexual minorities and gender identity students especially stressed.”
Depression, suicidal tendencies and self harm rates are higher than the state averages, according to the expert.
43% of high school students claim to be experiencing depression.
48 water fountains being replaced
A $240,000 project to replaced 48 water fountains and to replace them inside the public schools with water bottle filling stations is now underway.
Water filling stations are already in place in school cafeterias as so many students carry water bottle with them during the school day.
The school committee approved the item by a 9-0 vote.
Pride Flag raising approved
School Committeeman Almeida Barros has called for a Pride Flag Raising at Everett High School as a sign that everyone is welcome inside Everett’s public schools.
The measure was met with a unanimous response by the School Committee.
The event will take place in June.
The second annual flag raising event will take place on June 1.