This year, Malden High School welcomes a lot of new teachers to the school, one of which is Paula Valente. She came back after a few years to co-teach Special Education math classes.
When Valente was first hired in 2009, she was a tutor for the PASS program, which stands for Providing Academic Student Support. She tutored mostly athletes to help them keep their grades up to stay in sports. She did this for three years but it was eventually taken out of the budget. From there she became a class advisor for the Class of 2015, where she organized events such as car washes, fundraisers and football games. She also worked in the Student Study Center. In the study center, Valente helped kids with their homework but she wasn’t teaching. She worked there for seven and a half years before the pandemic hit.
After leaving Malden High, she went to Cristo Rey High School in Dorchester where she taught remotely. This past spring, she came back to Malden to teach math remotely at Beebe for the fourth and fifth grade before finally coming back to Malden High to teach math. Valente never thought that she would be teaching math. She said that she was not good at math in the past and when her kids would come to her for help, she would not be able to, but now “[she] can do it [without a] problem.”
Christopher Mastrangelo, the principal of Malden High School, is happy to welcome Valente back since “she really was invested in our school and our students.” Valente’s name came up during the hiring process and she was hired late in the summer. What set her apart from the others applying was that “she knows the school, she knows [the staff], she knows the kids” and she already knows how things run.
Elizabeth Smith is the program manager for Special Education. She said that when she first met Valente she thought she was “outgoing and passionate” and she thought that “she [was] able to take directions and feedback really well.”
Smith said that it is difficult to find someone for a one-year position, so when they thought of Valente, they thought she would be a great fit since she knows Malden so well. She was also driven and really wanted to come back to Malden High.
Valente has always had a great relationship with her students. A few years ago she was voted “most likely to be called mom.” She says this is because she would hang out with them and they would talk. She also said that it was “because [she is] nurturing,” and “[she] gives the students some food every once in a while.” Even now, she maintains a good relationship with her math students.
For Valente, coming back to Malden High feels like “coming back home” because she knows “the majority of the people here.” She said that “it [is] cool” seeing the kids she knew when they were freshmen and sophomores recognize her now when they are juniors and seniors.