EHPS Women in Power: Marching into Women’s History Month

EHHS celebrates Women’s History Month and honors its women leaders this March. Women’s History Month was originally just “Women’s History Day,” celebrated on February 28th. A task force in California pushed for “Women’s History Week” in 1977 in order to honor the accomplishments of women across the country. When this week became more popular, President Jimmy Carter declared National Women’s History Week on March 8, 1980. In 1987, Congress officially announced March as Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month is celebrated worldwide every March in acknowledgement of the struggles women all over the world have faced, as well as their accomplishments.

EHPS Superintendent, Mrs. Erica Forti is a hardworking woman leader for the district. Mrs. Forti has been the EHPS Superintendent for 5 years, however, it was no easy work getting this position. Her work in education started 25 years ago as an elementary school teacher. Her first 8 years working in education were in New Haven, where she worked as an instructional coach. Mrs. Forti was then hired in East Haven, starting her EHPS journey. Before becoming Superintendent, Mrs. Forti was Assistant Superintendent to Dr. Portia Bonner. She says that a lot of her inspiration came from the amazing people she was surrounded by who cared about kids and imparted their wisdom and knowledge. Mrs. Forti says in education, her focus remains on the kids. She wants to let them know opportunity is always there and give them support, just how she was mentored. Regarding women’s history in the educational system, she states, “It gives great perspective and developments of women.” She also says that it provides inspiration for young women and gives them examples to look back on. In Mrs. Forti’s words, “I hope that future generations can be inspired by ones we know and don't know about. I hope future generations can find drive and passion.” As for her own role as a woman in a position of leadership, Mrs. Forti hopes to continue to model for women of the present and future.

Alongside Mrs. Forti as one of the strong women leaders in EHHS, Assistant Principal, Mrs. Amy Farotti believes women should always be celebrated and support each other along the way. In regards to being a woman in a position of authority, Mrs. Farotti says, “It's exciting. I have never worked for a female before, so I didn’t have a lot of female supervisors. I’m proud of the example I’m setting for my own daughter.” Mrs. Farotti is a mother of two, and uses her children as her driving force. She believes that for women there is always a battle between motherhood and pursuing their dreams, but says, “Motherhood will not stop you, it can motivate you.” Mrs. Farotti feels being a woman in a position of leadership adds to the working environment: “Sometimes I can bring in a different perspective. Females have that nurturing gene and try to look at things differently than males. However, it’s good to have male and females working together for a balance.” She states that East Haven has very strong female leadership and has never made her feel as though she is treated differently. Mrs. Farotti mentions that women were in the shadows for a long time and not given credits they deserved, but hopes that they are now being recognized more and more. She also says that women’s history should not be forgotten, as women have fought hard for their rights, and is excited for the world we are currently living in.

EHHS’ Social Studies Department is also honoring women this month in various ways. In order to incorporate Women’s History Month into the school environment and curriculum, Social Studies teachers have planned various lessons surrounding the accomplishments of women worldwide. Mr. Wilson, an EHHS History teacher says, “I am currently running profiles on Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins [1st female cabinet member!] for my New Deal lessons. The profiles are provided in conjunction with my New Deal summative, wherein I have the students create an ad campaign for a New Deal Program of their choice.” This month during the Modern World History class offered at EHHS, students learn about Edith Wilson's role during WWI. According to Miss King, the Black/Latino Studies / Sociology / Modern World History teacher, “Students are working on an 'Influential Women of the Past and Present' ‘museum’ project, where they chose one African American/Black woman from the 20th Century and one influential African American/Black woman from today to research and create a digital 'exhibit' that highlights their accomplishments and contributions and how they impacted society and the world.” The entire social studies department, along with the other EHHS departments, are working to highlight women and their ability to overcome adversities this month.