DiZoglio, Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley Host Awareness Program at State House

From left to right, State Representatives Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence), Paul A. Schmid III (D-Westport), Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen), David Nangle (D-Lowell) and Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley President Larry F. Giordano and State Representatives Paul J. Donato (D-Medford), Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) and David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton).

From left to right, State Representatives Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence), Paul A. Schmid III (D-Westport), Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen), David Nangle (D-Lowell) and Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley President Larry F. Giordano and State Representatives Paul J. Donato (D-Medford), Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) and David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton).

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. and the Foster Kids Legislative Caucus recently hosted a foster kids awareness event at the Massachusetts State House.

The program, which was held at the State House’s Grand Staircase, was held to highlight the nearly 10,000 foster children who currently reside in the Commonwealth.

DiZoglio recently sponsored a resolution, co-sponsored by 25 other legislators from across the Commonwealth, recognizing foster kids in Massachusetts. Among the co-sponsors were State Representatives Marcos A. Devers (D-Lawrence) and Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence). The Representative presented the resolution to Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. during the program.

Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of foster children in the Merrimack Valley, including all of Greater Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Andover and North Andover. Its goal is to bring a positive influence into the lives of these children and support them as they grow.

“All foster kids need is a little help and someone who cares,” said Giordano.

“Children in foster care are kids who, through no fault of their own, have been removed from their parents due to abusive or neglectful circumstances,” said DiZoglio. “It was my honor to host this important event, raising awareness about foster kids in the Commonwealth, alongside Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley Inc. and its wonderful president, Larry F. Giordano. I want to thank Larry for his years of incredible work serving our communities and for helping to organize this program.”

$1 Million Secured Toward Rt. 114 Public Safety Improvements

Included in the recently released FY2016-FY2020 Five-Year Capital Investment Plan for the Commonwealth is $1 million toward public safety improvements along Route 114 in North Andover.

The announcement of these funds, which will be matched up to 50-50 by Merrimack College in a public-private partnership, comes on the heels of years of accidents and injuries along the highway. In spite of the presence of a shuttle bus to drive them to campus, students at Merrimack frequently cross the traffic-packed four-lane road to get to and from the college, their homes and the many businesses along the Route 114.

The partnership between the Commonwealth and Merrimack College comes after more than a year of efforts by the North Andover legislative delegation to address safety concerns along Route 114.

In January 2014, at the request of the delegation, Merrimack College, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) and the Town of North Andover, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) conducted a Road Safety Audit of Route 114 in North Andover. State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted several meetings with representatives from DOT and provided the department a tour of the area.

The safety audit ultimately suggested improvements in sidewalk construction, better traffic signals and more clearly defined zones for pedestrians and cyclists. DOT stated in its audit that Route 114 has among the highest reported incidents of vehicle accidents in the area.

In February 2014, the MVPC commissioned a local engineering firm to draft a Route 114 Conceptual Improvements plan, which illustrated a series of improvements from the intersection of Route 114 and Andover Street to the intersection of Routes 114 and 125. In March 2014, the plan was presented to MassDOT and Merrimack College.

“We in the North Andover legislative delegation strongly advocated for funding toward improvements in pedestrian and bicycle safety and, through a Transportation Bond Bill passed in April 2014, met those concerns with action, securing $1.5 million toward sidewalk construction and better accommodations for both cyclists and pedestrians,” said DiZoglio. “These are improvements that, once completed, will leave safer thousands of local pedestrians and motorists.”

After it was determined that $2.1 million would be needed to fund the project design, DiZoglio met with officials from Merrimack College to discuss the possibility of a public-private partnership in approaching the project funding.

“Following several meetings, I was so pleased to see Merrimack College agree to partner with the Commonwealth for up to 50 percent of the project costs,” said DiZoglio. “I see this as a prime example of how important and successful public-private partnerships can be.”

Greater Lawrence Academic Bowl Visits State House

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the Greater Lawrence Academic Bowl for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the Greater Lawrence Academic Bowl for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the Greater Lawrence Academic Bowl for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

Two hundred and seventy 7th and 8th grade students from Methuen, Lawrence and Andover participated in the visit, as they toured the State House and met with Representative DiZoglio. The visit was organized by Kristen Hollenbeck, Enrichment Partnership director at the Collaborative for Regional Educational Services and Training (CREST), which produces the Academic Bowl.

The Greater Lawrence Academic Bowl is a five-month academic competition that was first started in 1987 as a means of promoting academic excellence and fostering teamwork between neighboring communities. The Academic Bowl strives to increase students’ knowledge, stimulate their imaginations and showcase their talents.

“The Academic Bowl presents an amazing opportunity for students to develop their skills and build new friendships with students from neighboring schools,” said DiZoglio. “They should be so proud of the work they’ve done and I was honored to host them for this visit to the State House.”

“The Academic Bowl is part of the Enrichment Partnership which includes the Apple Magazines, Pen Pal Program and Collaborative Arts Awards,” said Hollenbeck. “Over 10,000 students in the Merrimack Valley are impacted by the programs each year. All of the programs foster appreciation and understanding between the participating communities in the Merrimack Valley. We are very proud of our outstanding Academic Bowl students and invite all middle schools in the area to participate in this exciting educational program.”

“It was such an honor to be in the Academic Bowl,” said Methuen student Abigail Jankowski. “It feels amazing to be chosen to be part of such an important academic competition.”

“My favorite part was positive the environment,” said Lawrence student Adeliza Rosario. “The Academic Bowl motivates me to strive to be the best version of myself and keep up with others at a high academic level.”

Lt. Gov. Polito, Rep. DiZoglio Host Lawrence Girls at State House for Women in Government Day

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted more than 40 girls from Lawrence’s Arlington Middle School for Women in Government Day at the Massachusetts State House.

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted more than 40 girls from Lawrence’s Arlington Middle School for Women in Government Day at the Massachusetts State House.

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted more than 40 girls from Lawrence’s Arlington Middle School for Women in Government Day at the Massachusetts State House.

The students, joined by Lawrence School Committee member Myra Ortiz, had the opportunity to tour the building and then join the Lieutenant Governor and Representative for a photo and meet-and-greet at the State House Grand Staircase. State Representative Frank Moran (D-Lawrence) and his staff helped to coordinate the tour.

“I enjoyed welcoming our next generation of women leaders to the State House with Representative DiZoglio,” said Polito. “It is clear that our next generation is eager to learn and motivated to achieve success and it is wonderful to see them civically involved.”

“It was great to connect with these intelligent and strong young ladies,” said DiZoglio. “Less than 25 percent of the Massachusetts House of Representatives is made up of women and I would like to see that percentage increase significantly in the years to come. In order for that to happen, we must start empowering our young women at an early age and tell them, ‘Yes, you can do this!’ The Lieutenant Governor and I discussed the roles we play in state government and stressed the importance having more young women actively participate in the process.”

“It’s not only important we tell our girls they should be leaders, it is important we show them what leadership looks like,” said Ortiz. “They need to know at a young age that there are women working for them and creating a pipeline for more women in politics. That reality may be a little far off, but it is a goal that has now been placed in their sight.”

Civic Education Day at North Andover Middle School

Lawrence District Court Judge Mark A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Cerda of the Administrative Office of the District Court, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), North Andover Middle School educator Patrick McGravey and Lawrence First Justice Lynn C. Rooney

Lawrence District Court Judge Mark A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Cerda of the Administrative Office of the District Court, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), North Andover Middle School educator Patrick McGravey and Lawrence First Justice Lynn C. Rooney

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) presents North Andover Middle School educator Patrick McGravey with a congratulatory citation in honor of his being awarded the 2015 C-SPAN Teaching Fellowship.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) presents North Andover Middle School educator Patrick McGravey with a congratulatory citation in honor of his being awarded the 2015 C-SPAN Teaching Fellowship.

Patrick McGravey, head of the social studies department at North Andover Middle School, was recently awarded the 2015 C-SPAN Teaching Fellowship, an honor presented to just three educators across the nation.

C-SPAN’s Fellowship program recognizes educators who demonstrate successful methods of integrating C-SPAN’s civics programs into their classrooms. For four weeks during the summer, McGravey will collaborate with C-SPAN’s education department in Washington D.C. to develop new teaching materials with the network.

McGravey was recognized on May 29 for his achievement by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), who presented him with a congratulatory citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. McGravey and student Kaitlyn Parks invited DiZoglio to North Andover Middle School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.

The civic education program, which the Representative has brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill, covered the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process.

During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter featuring Lawrence District Court Judges Lynn C. Rooney and Mark A. Sullivan and Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.

“This was an amazing opportunity for the students to apply what they’re learning to real life situations,” said McGravey. “Social studies can sometimes be a boring subject, but Diana and the team really brought it alive to the kids and made them realize they need to know civics and how to apply them in real life. I would love to do this program again and recommend it to any educator in the Commonwealth.”

“We thought it would be more interesting and relevant to use a real-world example to illustrate the work judges do, and how the rule of law works in a democracy,” said Judge Rooney, who had the students divide into juries, deliberate on a case, and render verdicts to illustrate the workings of a criminal jury trial and the importance of the presumption of innocence.

“The kids seemed genuinely enthused and engaged to be involved in the process,” said Judge Sullivan. “It’s our hope that these students will appreciate how important civic duty is and how each member of the community can contribute to ensure the fairness and equality of our criminal justice system. If what we did today helped spark that interest and commitment, it would be great.”

“I was honored to join Mr. McGravey, Judges Rooney and Sullivan and so many talented students from North Andover Middle School as I spoke about how ideas become laws and engaged the students in an interactive mock committee hearing,” said DiZoglio. “All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic learning program that educates students about what state government does in our daily lives. Mr. McGravey should be commended for his focus on civics at North Andover Middle School and I wish him all the best with his fellowship in D.C. this summer.”

“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.

“It was an amazing day and such a great opportunity to have Representative DiZoglio come and speak to us,” said student Kaitlyn Parks. “She was so friendly and personable and the students really enjoyed it.”

“It was a fun day and I liked to see that the speakers were doing things that we learned in class,” said student Alexa Pascucci. “I liked the jury duty speaker, Michael J. Ryan, who played a game with us with prizes and had some funny jokes.”

“Although not all of the kids on our team could attend because of a band field trip, I think that the kids who did thoroughly enjoyed it including myself,” said student Madelyn Reveal. “All of the speakers were both entertaining and educational to us.”

In today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than one quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to do so.

In the current legislative session, DiZoglio has filed several bills pertaining to civic education: one requires the department of elementary and secondary education to develop a model civic education curriculum to be included within history curriculum; another requires registrars to inform high school students about their right to vote, how the registration process works and also provide them access to registration forms; and a third bill would require public schools to better-publicize where students may pick up voter registration forms.

In addition to the North Andover Middle School, DiZoglio has thus far visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School, Lawrence High School, Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School and Lawrence’s South East Middle School and Wetherbee School on her Civic Education Tour.