Superintendent’s Letter to Families

June 14, 2020

To our Malden Public School families,

This certainly has been a year like no other in our history. The weather is beautiful and summer is around the corner, but it surely has not been like any other end of the school year. We don’t have the normal year end field days, activities, good byes for our teachers and friends and readying for summer vacation. As a result of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders, we find ourselves in uncharted territory of wrapping up the school year remotely and uncertain as to what school will look like in the August return.

In the absence of our in-person school time, we want to provide you with the latest information on Malden Public Schools for now and the summer. We will continue to update you over the summer, because as we have learned, the current situation is fluid with quick and impactful changes. Below is a listing of many topics that are important for all our students and families.

We wish you a safe and happy summer. We will be in touch with you throughout the summer to ensure you are up to date with the current information.

John Oteri

The last day of Remote Learning: Friday, June 19, is the last day of Remote Learning for the school year. For the week of June 15-19 students will be wrapping up with their teacher and going through the closure of the school year. We want to thank all of you for your patience and support during this Remote Learning Plan. We understand that it is not perfect and will never replace in-person learning; however, we felt we made tremendous progress during this time and had success in connecting with our families.

Summer Food Services
Malden Public Schools will continue to provide FREE breakfast and lunch to ALL Malden school age students through August 31.
We will continue to serve meals from 10-1 at Malden High School and Salemwood School. You can pick up breakfast and lunch at either location throughout the summer, Monday through Friday. No sign up is required.

Access to the school buildings: Your individual principals have already or will be connecting with you to begin to allow students and families into the building to retrieve personal belongings. This will be done according to the direction of the Malden Board of Health and guidelines need to be followed. There is a limit to the number of people allowed into the building at one time and will be closely monitored to ensure that we follow protocols on distancing and interactions. We will have masks and sanitizer available for people coming into the building.

Messaging on Grading:
As a result of the extensive closure, and with varied family circumstances in mind, we have made a thoughtful shift in our thinking about grades. Specific feedback, rather than a number grade, for students’ assignments has become the main focus. Our assessments during this time will be used as indicators of how successfully our students were able to engage in remote learning. Students will not be penalized for an inability to access critical resources or support during this time. When we return to school, the data collected during this period will inform the decision making process as we craft a long-term plan to address the needs of our students. In summary, the goal of the report card will be to identify what supports will be required for the next academic year and provide details around what students were able to during this time of remote learning. This is our first time addressing this challenge, and while it may not be perfect, it is a plan that has resulted from hours of thoughtful conversations about the purpose of grades during this time, the many situations our families are facing that impact the learning experience, and the commitment to doing what is best for our students.

Our ELC and Malden High School operate on their own unique schedules and will communicate to families their procedures for grading and grade reporting for this year. Our K-8 educators are currently working to input grades for the remote learning period. In general, our K-8 educators will be following the guidelines below:

K-2 Grading
End of year grades will be posted in the final column of the report card. You should expect to see a P or PAS in the final column to indicate that your child participated in remote learning.

Grade 3-8 Grading
Grades will be entered into the 4TH QUARTER column and in the FINAL column and use the guidelines below.

Grades for the 4th Quarter Column:
❏ Teachers will enter “P” for meeting expectations/participating in the work, etc. Teachers will enter “I” to indicate that the student did not complete the expected work, or that the quality of the work did not meet the minimum mark.
❏ For elementary grade report cards, teachers will only enter a mark for the larger categories, not the subcategories.

It is generally expected that students will not be retained and will move onto the next grade level unless you have worked with your building team on other arrangements prior to the closure.

Distribution of K-8 Report Cards: K-8 report cards will be printed at the school level. Your school’s principal will be messaging out information on report card distribution that makes sense for the school.

Linden AEAP Programming
At the May and June Malden School Committee meetings, it was decided that due to the COVID-19 crisis, the district would not accept incoming applications for the AEAP programming. This move affects all grades levels of the program, but particularly the first grade as this is the largest entry point for the program. Upper grades generally see a few openings due to natural attrition. Should some of these classes need to be balanced out to ensure equitable numbers across a grade level, the school will redistribute Linden students to balance those affected classes for the 2020-2021 school year only.

Summer Programming
We know that this summer does not look like it has in previous years, and we recognize the need to provide a balance between taking time to relax after a challenging and unexpected pivot to remote learning and using some time to keep students’ minds actively engaged. In addition to our summer reading, now with books easily accessible online and with work due dates that take school closure into consideration, we are pleased to offer a wide variety of remote learning opportunities during the summer months. These opportunities are free, and range from virtual camps to college exploration. Descriptions and registration links can be found on our website (

Family Survey for past and upcoming school year
We expect guidance from Commissioner Riley late next week on what programming for the 2020-2021 school year might look like. We have begun planning, and will continue to work throughout the summer to prepare for in-person, remote, or hybrid learning; we will refine our plans once we receive guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. By mid-July, families will be invited to participate in a survey to collect feedback in a variety of areas: experiences with remote learning this year, thoughts about returning to school in the 2020-2021 school year, learning preferences, and needs that you may have going forward.

Chromebook Return
In order to support student access during our time of remote learning, MPS deployed over 1,300 chromebooks to the preK-8 students, in addition to the 1600 devices currently in the hands of our students in grades 9-11. To ensure students currently in grades preK-11 have access to online summer enrichment activities, families will keep their chromebook through the month of July. We will follow up with more details about how to return your device soon.

P-EBT Card info
Families who qualify for free and reduced lunch also qualify for a P-EBT card for additional funding. Please visit: or call Project Bread’s food source hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

Next School Year details
All Massachusetts school districts are awaiting direction and guidance from the DESE, which is set to be announced the week of June 15. We are not sure if we’ll be coming back to school fully in-person, a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, or, fully in remote learning. We are not certain as to the guidelines and protocols that we will have to follow as well. We will keep the community updated with the details. We have assembled a Re-Entry Advisory Task force composed of educational leaders, public health and safety experts, parents and some students. This group will be analyzing the guidelines and advising on the re-entry of students and staff into our building. Obviously, we are in unprecedented times and in the absence of a cure to COVID-19, we will have to be in compliance with the various restrictions and protocols around social distancing and the number of people allowed to gather. There are many unique characteristics of school that we may need to adjust as well. We will keep everyone updated over the coming weeks.

Extended Learning Time Grant (ELT)
Due to the state budget crisis, the Malden School Committee voted to not apply for the Extended Learning Time (ELT) Grant due. The Governor’s budget drastically underfunds the ELT program and it is doubtful it will be fully funded when the revised budget comes out in late summer. In order to be fiscally prudent and give ample notice to families to plan, the committee voted unanimously to not participate in the program as it would potentially leave the district to fund the $1.25M it costs to run the ELT Program at the Ferryway.

At the inception of the program in 2006-07, the faculty was compensated at a rate of 18% above their base salary. However, due to level funding of this grant over the years by the State, a deficit was created which the School Department has had to fund. The School Committee has always held the position that the ELT Grant had to be self-sustaining and not come out of the operating budget which would ultimately affect other schools. This year, with the looming state deficit, it is highly likely that there will be little or no funding for the ELT program from the state.

Beginning this August, the Ferryway School will have the same hours as the other four K-8 schools in Malden.

Malden Arts
Announcing Malden Arts Mondays! Curious? Every Monday in July and August, Malden Arts will post a short bio of a Maldonian, a walking tour related to that person’s life, and a choice of family activities. Check the website and Facebook page weekly. All ages can explore our amazing city through the lens of art, literature, music, architecture and history. Malden Arts is excited to present this series, and hopes Malden families will join in and post their activities and share what they learn and enjoy. Every entry on the website places your family in a drawing for a weekly gift certificate to
one of Malden’s wonderful businesses and restaurants.

English Learners:
Our director of English Learner Education, Dr. Yvonne Endara will be presenting a conversation for Families of English Learners. Dr. Endara will be joined by expert Boni-esther Enquist for a live virtual session to discuss the challenges of remote learning, what we have experienced and learned during this period of school closure, and how we can prepare to move forward. Ms. Enquist will offer two sessions for families, one in English and one in Spanish.

Session 1 (English)
Date: Wednesday, June 17th
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
English Registration

Session 2 (Spanish)
Date: Thursday, June 18th
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 pm
Registrarse en español

Unable to attend? Once we run these two sessions and gather feedback, we will look to add more opportunities. If you have questions, please contact the Director of English Language Education, Dr. Yvonne Endara at

For information on summer programming, please go to