Reinstate the ELC After School Program

Reinstate the ELC After School Program

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Dr. Elizabeth Tonogbanua started this petition to City of Malden Mayor Christenson and Malden School Committee members

Dear Mayor Christenson,

As the Co-Chair of the Early Learning Center School Site Council, the announcement at the recent ELC PTO meeting that the ELC will be denied after school care programming in the fall is distressing to me, and the parents I represent. We would like to know why haven't leaders of the Malden Public Schools included families in the decision making process? Do you know how many families this will impact? This data is crucial for true family engagement. Families count on being able to work a full day, and the arbitrary choice to deny coverage at only one school shows a disturbing bias. Many of our families have benefitted from the after school program in the past, so much so that a waitlist system had to be created. 

When life goes back to “normal” for most families in Malden this fall, the families of pre-K - 6 absolutely count on after school care to allow them to work a full day. Many families are at risk of losing their jobs because their children will have no care after 1:45 p.m. If that isn’t an option at the ELC, the district is knowingly making IEP / ILP services nearly inaccessible to families who cannot pick up their child in the middle of the work day. 

Furthermore, I was in the Salemwood cafeteria in June of 2019 when you and the Superintendent called families together to discuss how changes would happen to the after school programming for the following school year. When the topic of 7th/8th grade programming came up, the idea of a survey was offered as a way to poll parents about their needs and preferences for students in those grades. I would like the same courtesy applied to the parents of the ELC. Since after school programming will be offered in grades K - 6, there is deep inequity regarding denying ELC families the same service. 

Working families in Malden must have high-quality early childhood education for 3 - 5 year olds. Programs that end well before the work day ends for most families severely limit who attends these programs, and the research is clear that these unimaginable constraints that families will grapple with will impact their young children throughout their educational experience.

We look forward to hearing next steps about how families can be engaged and after school programs can be an option in the upcoming school year for all pre-K - grade 6 students. 

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