School Committee Meeting Dec. 3, 2015

On Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, the Malden High School Council addressed issues that affected the future of students at MHS, public middle and elementary schools, faculty,  and parents.

MHS English teacher Abbey Dick, ESL teacher Shereen Escovitz, and concerned parents were in attendance at the meeting.

On Dec. 8, 9,10, 2015, at 6 p.m. Malden High School is hosting a meet and greet interview for the principal candidates, which will be open to the Public. Dick and a few others have noted that having the interview open to the public “allow[s] students to become directly involved in the process of choosing their principal.”

The parents around the table have noted it to be “interesting that only one woman candidate and 3 male candidates” have moved on to the next round. The fact that Carol Keenan, who is the current Salemwood Middle principal, and past assistant principal of Malden high school, did “not get forwarded to the second round interview for principal candidate of Malden High school” was also noted as “interesting” and rather disappointing, making the concerned parents question the qualifications expected of candidates.

Current MHS principal Dana Brown’s absence from the meeting was addressed by the parents around the table, when one concluded that “Mr. Brown is keeping a respectable distance from this topic of the new principal” seeing as he is resigning from his position and does not want to influence any of the decisions and measures being taken with the new principal.

The meeting followed up with concerns about the candidate evaluation process. One parent brought up that MHS is among “7 [of the] most diverse schools in the country” which is “very attractive to candidates and for some- even a dream come true.”  The same parent also expressed that he hoped the “committee makes the future principal understand that this is what they have to deal with” when working at Malden High School. Another parent hoped that “the resume references are being checked over” due to the fact that choosing a new principal is a process that is significant to the future of staff and students alike. The concerns that were raised during the meeting highlight that the community of Malden, beyond Malden High School, is invested in the decision making for the new principal.

The parents proposed that announcements and emails be forwarded and published to the public of the Malden community and Malden High School students so that everyone knows that they have a voice in the process of selecting a principal.

Another issue discussed during the meeting concerned Parent Information Center (PIC). PIC is where parents usually go to enroll their child in a school. The concern centered around the PIC office’s lack of being linguistically diverse. A parent expressed that she went with another parent to the center to try to help because she knew a small portion of Portuguese. However, when they got there, she saw that a man who was not fluent in English was being ignored due to the language barrier.

The council proposed that staff who know other languages be present at the office to aid members of the community who are not fluent in English.

The location of PIC was also discussed and the council proposed that PIC be moved to Malden High School because it is in the middle of the city and would be an advantage when parents come seeing as students in the High School are diverse in many languages. The School to career program that already exists in Malden High School could be adapted by PIC in order to make the process of enrollment easier for parents.

The meeting concluded with future topics to be discuss, including attendance procedures, chromebooks, graduation requirements, course scheduling, SAT’s, athletics procedures, and clubs and opportunities so that parents may be fully informed of their child’s requirements and engagements at MHS.

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