Q&A with the Superintendent Hosted During Flex

All photos taken by Delina Yohannes.

This past Wednesday, May 31st, an optional Q&A with Superintendent Dr. Ligia Noreiga-Murphy was held in the Jenkins Auditorium during Joy Block. Students, along with staff members, were given the opportunity to attend this 40-minute panel to address any questions or concerns that they had. 

With some rules and regulations that have changed within the Malden Public School district, the auditorium was filled with about 60 curious and passionate students who were asking questions and offering bold opinions to the Superintendent. Topics such as directed studies, religious representation, an expansion of restrooms, and school lunches were some of the many intense topics that filled the time in the auditorium. 

The panel was about 40 minutes long with Noreiga-Murphy’s presentation taking up half of the time, and the question portion taking up the other half.

For the presentation, Dr. Noreiga-Murphy made sure to emphasize the importance and the requirement of the attendance policy for everyone. “We have a set time that is required by law for students to attend school,” said Noreiga-Murphy. As this topic was discussed, hands of concern were raised hoping to be given a clear answer. 

(L) Superintendent Noriega-Murphy presented the attendance policy to the audience. (R) The Superintendent answers questions from up on the stage.

What spiked the growing concerns of some of the students was when Noreiga-Murphy stated that being in our homerooms does not count towards the required hours of learning that are set by the state, also known as “time on learning.” Abby Morrison, a junior at Malden High, was the first person to ask a question. She specifically asked why students go to their assigned homerooms during the MCAS state test if they are not taking it, which is a very common frustration that is frequently shared between students. Morrison thought it was a waste of time to be in homeroom without anything to do while other students were taking the MCAS. 

To Morrison’s surprise, Noreiga-Murphy did not seem to fully understand her perspective and question. 

“I do not think she understood the point that I was trying to make, which made it very irritating for me… as a junior, we do not have to take the MCAS so I do not think it’s necessary to be in our homerooms for that long; it’s just a waste of time,” said Morrison. Since Morrison was not satisfied with the answer that she received, she continued to raise her hand and be an active participant in hopes of finding her answer. 

However, Morrison was not the only student who had something to say about the attendance policy. The audience was filled with students who thought that the requirement of having to stay in school while having a directed study or a study due to an absence of a teacher was unnecessary. 

Freshman Claudia Hernandez described the matter, “it is an unfair rule because sitting in a classroom for 85 minutes most likely doing nothing is not benefitting any of us. I just feel like if we were able to leave, lots of us would use the time to do other productive activities.” 

Fresham Nour Howard followed by saying, “If the time does not go into our required learning hours, then there is no reason for us to be here.” 

Superintendent Noriega-Murphy presented the attendance policy to the audience.

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