In efforts to make the transition from middle school to high school easier, Malden High School got in contact with the five main Malden Public Schools (MPS) to organize an annual field trip for the eighth graders to tour the high school. On different days, eighth grade students from either Beebe School, Ferryway School, Forestdale School, Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy, or Salemwood School visited the high school to get a sense of what they can expect when becoming freshmen.
The tours were being planned since roughly the beginning of October. The planning for the tours were a collaborative effort between Guidance Counselor Alison Fornash, and Director of Guidance of the District of Malden Erin Craven. However, Craven noted that they also had to coordinate with the MPS guidance counselors, the cafeteria staff, the Choral Arts teacher Todd Cole, the band teacher Erin O’Brien-Mazza, and more faculty.
The eighth graders were provided with an overview of high school from the freshman guidance counselors, Taryn Belowsky and Alison White. They gave the students general information about credits, attendance, and more about the Malden High environment.
Craven expressed that “ninth grade is a very important year,” elaborating that it is crucial that incoming freshmen are “ready for their first year,” in high school. The better understanding that they have of “what [their first year] will look like, what the building is like, and what the classes are like,” during their eighth grade year, the easier it will be to transition from middle school to high school, stated Craven.
The tours were about 35 minutes, led by current high school students, who had free periods and volunteered to give tours. Fornash mentioned that the tours probably help “ease the stress that [many eighth graders] may have because of [...] the size of [the] building,” adding that she is aware of the reputation of Malden High “having a confusing building,” and being able to see the building first hand helps for their freshman year.
During the tours, the tour guides were instructed to show the eighth grade students important locations within the school. In the basement being the pool and auto and wood shop. On the first floor being the nurses’ office, athletics office, the student study center, the Finn gym, the main office, and the two cafeterias. On the second floor being the Boyle house office, the library, the music and choral arts classrooms, and the auditorium. On the third floor being the Holland and Jenkins house offices, and the art and business classes. On the fourth floor being the Brunelli house office.
After the tours, the eighth grade students had lunch and proceeded to go to a student panel, where current Malden High students answered any questions the eighth graders had.
Fornash stated that she liked the idea of having the student panel since it is student to student and “it gives them some general information about Malden High without overloading the graduation requirements and that kind of stuff.” She also believes that it allowed the eighth graders to ask more specific questions about student life. She added that for the eighth graders, hearing about the opportunities Malden High offers from a Malden High student is much more impactful especially since many of them have taken advantage of those opportunities.
Fornash and Craven wants the eighth graders to be as familiar as possible with the high school and what is expected before they start their freshman year in the fall of 2020. These tours and information sessions are meant to ease their worries and fears and prepare them for a successful freshman year.