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Tour of Malden’s Forestdale school

Highschool Musical-2
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  The May 19, 2023 school tour of Malden’s Forestdale school was hectic and fun. As I continue these public school tours, it has been getting easier and more comfortable, as I gain experience in what to look for and expect in these bustling classrooms across the city. Principal Don Concannon, along with Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy, escorted and briefed me on the amazing work the K-8 staff performed on a daily basis. Principal Concannon personally greeted every student by name, who walked in the front door in the morning. An air of inclusion with a personal touch was evident in everything he does. The recently formed Drama club surprised me, since I hadn’t been aware that there was one now functioning at the Forestdale school. The room dedicated to donations of clothing and other daily supplies, such as toiletries, notebooks, etc was set aside for students, who needed assistance. An anachronistic non-working pay phone was stuck on the wall outside the school gym. I couldn’t walk by without touching it. Walking into multiple classrooms and getting real-time feedback from the talented teachers and hardworking students showed me the dedication and hard work, that goes into these schools every single day.

  As part of the days’ tour, I somehow infiltrated the music class, when the line to enter the classroom formed up next to me along the wall. The students joined in on sneaking me in as an 8 year old, as long as I scrunched down and acted the same height as them. Unlike in Welcome Back Kotter, I temporarily joined the class as a student, instead of an instructor, and joined in some musical mayhem with the teacher directing me how to play the class’s musical game. The game was a variation of hide-and-seek, where I had to find a hidden paper musical note somewhere in the classroom, after another student hid it. They made me stand in a corner facing the wall, till the note was hidden. The squeals of laughter and excitement as the students cheered me on and one darling lad, who secretly sent me hand signals to find the hidden note, was all worth it. I hopefully brought some renewed interest and amusement to some of the Forestdale classrooms.

  The Forestdale building seems sound. The teachers are dedicated and hardworking. The process of finding a new principal is starting to ramp up. I know a talented successor will come out of the process to fill Don Concannon’s amazing shoes.


Joseph Gray

Ward 6 School Committee Member

Forestdale Principal Don Concannon looks on as School Committee Member Gray tests out a pay phone that still adorns the halls. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Gray)
Supt Noriega-Murphy-2
Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy, Ward 6 School Committee Member Joseph Gray and Forestdale School Principal Don Concannon (Photo courtesy of Joseph Gray)

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