The entire staff and administration of the Everett Public Schools has received a dynamic, on-site sexual harassment and safe workplace training seminar this week in preparation for the return to school.
Assistant Supt. Kevin Shaw reported to the School Committee on Monday that 100 percent of the teachers, clerical workers and custodians had gone through the training with Jean Haertl – a noted expert on sexual harassment, discrimination, workplace violence, bullying and Title 9 issues. In Everett, she operated a program called ‘A Safe and Respectful Workplace for All,’ and promises to bring “harmony and productivity to the workplace.”
The training took place on Monday, and was done in two groups. It lasted two hours for each group.
Shaw said they are scheduling additional training for administrators, principals and assistant principals in conjunction with Revere and Malden.
It was a substantial program in that it was on site, while many such trainings are done online.
“We had a hard time getting an online program that was up to date,” said Shaw. “We had great response from Ms. Haertl’s presentation. She’s dynamic and int the field and brings real-life experience to the trainings.”
The trainings are more important for Everett than most other places due to the allegations of sexual harassment that came down last year against former Supt. Fred Foresteire. Many in the aftermath had alleged that there was an unsafe working environment in the schools. The trainings were in response to that and appear to have been well-received.
School Committeewoman Millie Cardello said it would be important to have some type of training program for students as well.
“They need to know where to go if this happens and there will be no retaliation,” she said. “This is particularly true for ELL students, who may not understand. We want them to have no fear and know where to report it. I think it is necessary. It’s very important and we need to do this sooner than later.”
It was agreed by all that it was a good suggestion, and one that Shaw said he would follow up on immediately.
•Interim Supt. Janice Gauthier reported that there had been a great deal of maintenance done to many of the school buildings over the summer, including all carpets at all schools being cleaned and shampooed. Other work included:
*Madeline English School – painting of the interior, landscaping, new plantings, sprinklers and refinishing the gym floor.
*EHS has created several new classrooms on the fifth floor for the new Academies programs, a new teacher’s lounge has been put on the second floor, the gym floor was re-finished and there are 33 new hand dryers in the bathrooms.
*The Keverian School has received 137 new student desks.
*Lafayette School – the exterior wall that was damaged has been started, but work on the damage will continue during the school year. The contractor is waiting for supplies that should come in two weeks.
*The Parlin School has had re-paving for the parking lot and the playground. There has also been painting in the interior, and a great deal of work has been done to fix leaks under the floors in the steam pipes. New classroom space has also been created in the interior roof area.
•The clerk for the School Committee on Monday was Lauren Kreamer, who has apparently replaced long-time Clerk Gina Grande. There were few details, but Grande is still an employee of the schools, and Kreamer is Interim Supt. Gauthier’s new administrative assistant.
•The change from Aramark to Whitson’s for the food service provider was a major change for the School Department – after Aramark holding the contract for 26 years. There was some uncertainty amongst employees, who were promised to be retained, but now it appears things are working out.
“They’re part of the EPS family,” said Frank Parker. “Just because the hat now says ‘Whitson’s’, they’re still Everett and still serve our kids. It’s also an added sense of stability for the children. The feedback I’m getting from cafeteria workers is very good.”
Added Chair Abruzzese, “The cafeteria workers seem to be much more at ease and much more comfortable.”