Budget Clarification

May 27, 2020

Dear Malden Public School Community,

I want to take a moment to clarify some information that was presented to the Budget Subcommittee last night.

In anticipation of major cuts at both the state and federal level, we are working on what we believe will be the best-case scenario which is a level-funded budget ($74,200,150) for the upcoming school year. This means we are working with $2,000,000 less than what is needed to
operate. Knowing that, our first and foremost priority has been to preserve the integrity of the classroom which includes funding the Early Learning Center (ELC).

In order to make up the gap we have proposed not filling open positions while also making some cuts to non-direct classroom staff. However, in the event we need to cut 5 or 10 percent beyond the level-funded budget, the closure or modification of services to the ELC as well as all
items in the school budget would need to be looked at by the School Committee.

It should also be noted that the discussion around a one-year hiatus for the ELC was due to the safety of our students and staff. We must be cognizant of the potential re-entry of our most vulnerable students in the age of COVID-19 and Kawasaki Syndrome while also thinking about the CDC guidelines and safety precautions in that building in particular.

This year’s budget is also compounded by the number of unknowns and uncertainties that we are faced with including whether we will return to school in person or remotely or whether our return will be a hybrid of remote and in-person. These questions and their potential answers
further add to the budget complexity.

Regardless of how we end up, please know that we are committed to serving the students and families of Malden to the best of our capabilities with the service and support they deserve. Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Sincerely,
John Oteri
Superintendent

Superintendent’s Newsletter – April 2020

Please note that all the Superintendent’s Newsletters can be found by clicking the following link: https://maldenps.org/administration/superintendent-updates-2/

The April 2020 Superintendent’s Newsletter is attached below:

Download (PDF, 3.3MB)

Letter to Families – April 24, 2020

Dear Malden School Community,

I want to thank you for your continued support during this pandemic. We are all navigating these uncharted waters together. These are extraordinary times and we will pull together as a school community to help make Malden stronger. As we have seen in the past six weeks, this situation is fluid and we are constantly making adjustments to our plans. During this time, two words may help you understand how we are working with our school community: patience and safety. Many of you are trapped at home and looking for answers. It may look like things are not moving quickly on the outside; however, I can assure you that inside our team, we are going very fast. Please be patient and understand that the decisions we make are made with safety as the first priority.

As we heard on Tuesday, April 21, Governor Baker extended the closure of all schools in Massachusetts through the end of the school year. For Malden, our last day of Remote Learning will be Friday, June 19, which was the scheduled 185th day of the school year. Using the suggestion of DESE Commissioner Jeff Riley, School Districts would not be required to go beyond the 185th day of the school year. During the press conference announcing the school closure, Commissioner Riley also noted that the next phase of remote learning will follow. Late Friday evening, DESE released the new guidelines. We expect to receive further communication from DESE early next week. When we receive that guidance and direction of the next phase of remote learning, we will then begin to work on that plan. We will aim to have the plan ready by May 8, but please keep in mind that there are multiple steps involved in the process: writing the actual draft, vetting the proposal with several groups for feedback, scheduling discussions with union representation, and sharing with school committee – all of which must be completed before sharing it with staff and the larger learning community. In the meantime, the current Remote Learning Plan is still in place and resumes on Monday, April 27. Activities for the week of April 27th were developed and shared with teachers before the April break, so we are ready to go on Monday.

We know that access to technology is needed now more than ever. In early April we distributed over 750 Chromebooks to families who lacked a device. This is in addition to the 1800 that are already part of a 1:1 initiative in Malden High School. We surveyed families, created appointments, secured and labeled devices, and had over a dozen administrators don protective gear to distribute these devices over four days. The priority was to families who needed technology at home and did not have it. We are very proud that we have over 2,500 devices out in the hands of our students.

We realize that there are some families who did not sign up at the first round of Chromebook distribution. We are pleased to announce that we will be offering a second and final distribution of Chromebooks. Currently we are surveying and capturing information of families who may still need a device. By the middle of next week we will have a new survey for families who need a Chromebook. We will be delivering these Chromebooks instead of doing a pick-up distribution. The delivery is made possible due to many Malden volunteers of the Malden Neighbors organization and some community partners. Deliveries will take place between May 7 and May 11. We are very thankful for our volunteers to assist in this. This will be the last opportunity to request a Chromebook, so please make sure you fill out the online request form.

We also are aware that some families lack Wifi connectivity. The state is aware of this and is trying to leverage their influence with internet providers to provide free hotspots. There are several free hotspots in Malden. We will be looking to see what we can do to help with this as well.

We consult daily with our Public Health Department and with our Emergency Management Team in Malden. They are the experts in this pandemic and safety is the top priority of the Malden Public Schools. We will err on the side of safety. I know many of you are hoping to get into the school buildings (which have been sanitized) and retrieve personal belongings. We will not be able to do that until there is a relaxing of the restrictions in Malden. Hopefully we will be able to have people enter the buildings in June, but it will be a highly coordinated and strictly regulated process with our public health and safety partners. When we reach this point of re-entering the buildings to retrieve belongings we will notify you.

We know that there are many more questions than there are answers. We know that you are now entering your seventh week of being home, in many cases trying to work from home, trying to balance your time and your children’s time on learning. We understand that this is difficult for you. It is difficult for us as well. In a few weeks, we switched hundreds of years of education to a new paradigm. We know it is not perfect. We also know that nothing will replace our traditional school. If there is a positive during this pandemic, it is that our educators entered the field because of a love of students. This unplanned six week absence has only reinforced to our staff that they are truly committed to, and sorely miss our students.

 

Stay safe and healthy,
John Oteri
Superintendent
Malden Public Schools

Family Resource Toolbox for Families with Children with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Education (USED) issued a fact sheet clarifying that schools must continue to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities while protecting the health and safety of students, educators, and service providers. In these extraordinary circumstances, special education services will be provided differently than they are when school buildings are open and fully operational. Remote special education services should start immediately. You do not need to provide consent for remote services to begin. You should receive a plan about how the school will provide remote services.

This document provides you with some resources and tools that you may find helpful and will be updated regularly.

COVID-19 RESOURCES:

Many state agencies and national organizations are providing information and resources to support families and their children during this extended school closure period.

If you have questions, concerns or need additional information, you can contact:

  • Your IEP Team/point of contact (always reach out to your district first)
  • Your local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
  • Information and support lines:
  • Federation for Children with Special Needs (FSCN):
  • Toll free: (800) 331-0688
    • Chinese: (617) 399 8358
    • Haitian Creole: (617) 399 8366
    • Portuguese: (617) 399 8316
    • Spanish: (617) 399 8330
  • Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC):
    • Website: massadvocates.org
    • English: (617) 357-8431, ext. 3224
    • Spanish: (617) 357-8431, ext. 3237
  • Department of Public Health (DPH) Community Support Line for Children with Special Health Needs at (800) 882-1435

Massachusetts State Agencies update information and resources frequently:

 

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES:

This is a stressful time.  It is important to take care of yourself and ask for help when needed.  Many agencies are providing families with resources and supports during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The Parent Support Program offered through the Home for Little Wanderers offers support and group discussion for families who are caring for children with behavioral and mental health needs.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has put out an advisory for parents facing stressors over COVID-19 to practice self-care, to reach out to others for support.
  • Family Aid Boston offers resources for families worried about or experiencing homelessness.
  • The Child Mind Institute offers phone consultations, video chats and other resources for families dealing with the stress related to COVID-19.
  • Parents Helping Parents:  https://www.parentshelpingparents.org/.
  • Parental Stress Line 24/7 (PSL)multi-lingual confidential and anonymous hotline 1-800-632-8188.

Hotlines:

Domestic Violence: If you or someone you know is quarantining in a home where they do not feel safe, help is available.

  • Safe Link is a 24/7 hour multilingual hotline. Advocates can help with safety planning, and finding resources for shelter, domestic violence support groups, and many other needs.
    • Safe Link 24/7 Crisis Hotline: (877) 785-2020; TTY: (877) 521-2601
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is offering assistance and safety planning 24/7. Call 1-800-799-7233for live support. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto org to chat online, or text LOVEIS to 22522

Child Abuse:  Please call immediately if you know of, or suspect, an incident of child abuse or neglect

NO INTERNET AT HOME?

SUPPLEMENTAL LEARNING DURING SCHOOL CLOSURE:

There are many informal ways to keep your child engaged in learning beyond supporting school assignments. When in doubt, read, read, read! Reading is one of the most important activities that supports overall learning. There are also a variety of learning games online. Anything that engages your child, stimulates their curiosity, and exposes them to new things will be valuable.

  • Unite for Literacy provides free digital access to picture books, including a variety of fiction and informational text, for students to read. There is also an option for the text to be narrated.
  • National Center on Improving Literacy’s toolkit helps families understand and practice recommended literacy skills.
  • Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) provides information and activities for families of young children.
  • The Pyramid Model, promoting social emotional skills in infants and young children, has developed a booklist to help children understand and develop social emotional skills.
  • Heggerty: Activities to work on foundational reading skills. These are best for ages 4–6.
  • StoryLine Online and Epic: Hear quality children’s literature read aloud and see illustrations.
  • Early literacy games and activities from the Florida Center for Reading Research: easy to print out and play together.
  • Digital decodable readers: this type of book is recommended for reading practice for children who are still learning to sound out and read simple words.

ORGANIZATION:

Maintaining a consistent routine is important for helping children feel stable during school closure.

  • Set up a daily routine and schedule. Be sure to include time for breaks. DESE is recommending 3 ½ to 4 hours of learning per weekday, which includes both independent and remote instruction.
  • Use a calendar or day planner to keep track of daily activities. Many children with disabilities, especially younger ones, respond well to a visual schedule that uses pictures to keep track of upcoming activities.
  • For students who need more help staying focused, you can use an online visual countdown timer.
  • Limit distractions and arrange a quiet space for your child to work.
  • Reward your child for time on-task or finishing assignments. Use activities that they enjoy as rewards.

LESSON HELP:

Schools are providing assignments for students to complete from home during school closure.  You can support your child’s learning by guiding them through assignments.

  • Prepare your child for learning by telling them why the work is important, what they will learn and what activities they will complete.
  • Before the lesson, build background and vocabulary. Look for words or topics that you think might be difficult for your child. Use books, drawings, videos, Google, or other resources to help your child build understanding of these words or topics before starting the assignment.
  • Read directions together with your child. Have them repeat back the directions to make sure they understand what to do.
  • Work on the first task or problem together. Then, watch your child do the next task on their own to make sure they understand the directions.
  • Guide your child through the work as needed. Check back occasionally to make sure they are doing the work correctly.
  • If your child needs help, offer ideas that can help them work through the problem. Try not to give the answers or do the work for them.
  • Allow your child to work with a friend over the phone or video call.
  • Help your child stay engaged in learning by varying the time they spend on reading, writing, moving, watching, listening, and speaking.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES:

Resources for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE):

Resources for ECSE through adulthood:

 

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY:

Your child may use assistive technology (AT).  You can check with your child’s teacher and related service provider about what technology will be best to use at home.

 

CareGiver toolS:

Families may be worried about what will happen if they get sick and are unable to care their child with disabilities. Resources are available to explain the way hospitals diagnose and treat patients as well as how families can transfer caregiver responsibilities to a trusted family member or friend.

 

  • Hospitals may have developed processes to work with families to see if they need support and in helping to identify an alternative caregiver when being admitted.
    • You should let your doctor, or the hospital staff know that you are a caregiver of a child with disabilities and that you may need to make a decision about transferring caregiver responsibility.
      • It is important to know that children whose parents are admitted for COVID are suspected to be COVID positive
    • Consider caregivers who are healthy, and do not live with family members who may be at high risk
    • Planning tools for caregivers who might become ill
  • Caregiver Affidavit: a planning tool for parents to transfer caregiver responsibility

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/08/ul/caregiverauthorizationaffidavitform.pdf.

 

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

Superintendent’s Newsletter – March 2020

Please note that all the Superintendent’s Newsletters can be found by clicking the following link:  https://maldenps.org/administration/superintendent-updates-2/

 

The Superintendent’s March Newsletter is attached below:

Download (PDF, 1.86MB)

MPS Remote Learning Plan

Information about the Malden Public Schools Remote Learning Plan is provided below:

Download (PDF, 991KB)

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON MEAL DISTRIBUTION

Starting on Wednesday, March 18th, students and families can pick up students’ free
breakfast and lunch by driving through the Salemwood “loop” or the Malden High School
Prescott Street lot (between CVS and MHS), or by simply walking up to the distribution table
located in these lots.

For those driving to the site, we will bring the packaged meals to the passenger side window. For walkers, we will hand you the meals.

Hours for Pick Up as of March 18th:
10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday)

Other Important Information
➢ Meals are FREE to all Malden students.
➢ Student does not have to be present to receive the meals.
➢ Recipients will receive both breakfast and lunch meals at the same time so that you do not have to make multiple trips.
➢ Meals are available Monday through Friday.

Translations:
Vietnamese
Chinese

Superintendent’s Letter Dated March 16, 2020

Please read the letter below from Superintendent Oteri which provides further updates:

Download (PDF, 156KB)

Eliot Family Resource Center Food Pantry

Please read the following message and the flyer below from the Eliot Family Resource Center in Everett:

In effort to accommodate current health concerns, our Family Resource Center’s new hours are Monday – Friday from 8 am to 2 pm. We are open for families to pick up food from our pantry, with pre-packed bags ready for them at the door. The FRC’s other programs are suspended as of right now. Please contact us if there are any questions or concerns, 781-581-4750.

Thank you,
FRC staff


Eliot Community Human Services
548 Broadway (Entrance on Maple Avenue)
Everett, MA 02149
Phone: 781-581-4750
Fax: 617-203-3115
Facebook @ELIOTCHSFRC
https://www.facebook.com/EliotchsFRC/

 

Download (PDF, 4.04MB)