Letter from Superintendent Dated April 16, 2020

Dear Malden Public Schools Community,

Let me start with thanking everyone for your flexibility, patience and your support.  It has meant a great deal over the last five weeks. These past five weeks have been unlike any in the history of Massachusetts education.  We have probably used all the words to describe the pandemic. I know one thing is certain, we surely miss our students and colleagues. The myriad of videos, connecting through online, email, and phone have renewed our hope and, though physically distanced from one another, we are socially connected and supportive.  

The Coronavirus has impacted all of our lives in ways we could not have imagined.  In less than five weeks we have quickly transitioned from traditional day in a brick and mortar school, to now a remote learning model that has had our staff learning a new way of teaching and supporting students, to our families balancing working from home and playing the role of teacher in the home as they assist their children/students. We know that this situation is not perfect, but we improve each day, and work diligently toward the goal of keeping students engaged in learning in these most unusual circumstances.  During this time, we know many in our Malden family have been diagnosed or may be caring for loved ones with COVID-19. Like all good families, we are here for you and will support you in any way we can.

Let me provide some updates for you. Next week begins April Vacation.  I know this is not like any other April Vacation. But, we will be observing the April vacation and there will be no remote learning taking place during this week.  We encourage students and families to continue to read and practice some of the skills on our MPS Engagement Resources page: www.maldenps.org.   However, during April Vacation, there WILL be free breakfast and lunch for any student in Malden all next week, including Monday, April 20, from 10 AM-1 PM at Malden High School and the Salemwood School.  We also want to assist any family who is eligible for the Department of Transitional Assistance services for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).  If you already qualified for a free or reduced lunch, you are automatically eligible for SNAP. If your economic situation has changed, you should contact the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to see if you are eligible for benefits.  Please contact the DTA at: www.mass.gov/vg/selfservice or call 1-877-382-2363.

 If you need further food assistance the following resources are helpful:  

As you may be aware, late last week Education Commissioner Riley cancelled the MCAS testing for 2020.  There is more good news on the MCAS front. Fortunately, our seniors have taken all the retests in Math and ELA and now are just awaiting the results so that they, too, will be eligible for graduation.  Speaking of graduation, we will be looking at ways to hold a graduation for our seniors if May 31 is not an option. Certainly our seniors deserve some form of a graduation. We will be in touch as we receive additional guidance from the state.  

We are also continuing to assess how our Remote Learning Plan is working. To that end, we have attached a survey (https://maldenps.org/familysurveys/).  Supplying answers will give us a better sense of how to serve our families and how to provide technology going forward.  We strive, like the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does, to make our remote learning as accessible and equitable as possible.  Please take a few moments to complete the survey which is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Vietnamese, Arabic and Amharic .

Lastly, we will continue to provide you with updates as they become available.  As of now, we are scheduled to come back to school on Monday, May 4. At this point, that does not seem realistic.  The Governor will be addressing the school closure in the coming days. If the school closure is extended, we surely will let you know.  

We recognize the strain and stress Coronavirus has had on our families and our staff. It has turned our previously stable and predictable world, upside down.  We all have been tested in ways we never could have expected. We will come out of this stronger because we are all in this together. We are Malden and we are Strong!  

On behalf of the Malden Public Schools, please stay safe and healthy,

John Oteri
Superintendent of Schools