Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent

June 18, 2021

SPS families,

I hope you all had a chance to read my letter on ParentSquare this morning. It's been a challenging year but, with your support, understanding, and flexibility, we persevered and finished the year strongly.

Over the summer, we promise to keep you informed and we look forward to the start of what we all hope will be a stellar 21-22 school year.

Enjoy the summer!


Cone of Excellence Award

At Salem Public Schools, we are recognizing one staff member a week who exemplifies our core values of celebrating differences, facilitating collaboration, fostering innovation, creating equity and access, growing all students, and upholding high standards for all. We are surprising a deserving SPS team member with a construction cone that displays the words: “Awesome,” “Well Done,” or “Great Job.”

This week's Cone of Excellence goes to Dr. Charlene Moske-Weber. In this year unlike any other, our entire community has come together and adapted to ensure that our primary purpose – to serve our young people – has been possible in the face of a global pandemic. We could not have done this without the unwavering leadership of Dr. Charlene Moske-Weber, our Director of Nursing & Health Services. As the human embodiment of perseverance, Charlene has guided us with grace, strength, wisdom, and balance through the ever-changing context that has been the COVID-19 pandemic. At all hours and always with a smile, Charlene authored and applied our health & safety guidance, interpreted how to best respond in each moment, and led our incredible nursing team to ensure we could meet the needs of our students and staff. As we close the books on the 2020-21 school year, the Cone of Excellence is a perfect way to honor and thank Charlene for everything this year.

21-22 School Year Calendars

We know you are all gearing up for summer, but school calendars for the upcoming school year are on the website. The first day of school is August 31st (PreK+K start on Sept 1) for all schools except for Carlton which starts on September 2nd (K on Sept 7).

Please note: This is a change from previous years because this school start date is BEFORE Labor Day.

Juneteenth Celebration & Remembrance

Juneteenth, now a federal holiday in the United States, celebrates the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved. Originating in Galveston, Texas, in 1866, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States.

Tomorrow there will be a remembrance on the Salem Common, celebrating all of the black and brown lives fallen and those that have been abused and violated in their pursuit of freedom and equality.

This is an open event that begins at 7:30pm and ends at 8:30pm. Towards the end of the event there will be a vigil. Candles will be provided, but you are more than welcome to bring your own. This will be the first time in history that Juneteenth will be celebrated as a national holiday. Come be part of history.

Reading for Change: Antiracist Summer Reading 2021

Salem High is excited to announce Reading for Change: Antiracist Summer Reading 2021.

This summer reading program is a community-wide effort to read one of several common texts. This program is open to the entire community of Salem including our staff, students, elected officials, and more. The books offered through the SHS Library and Salem Public Library for this program are:

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi

Summer 2021 Reading For Change is a movement to unite Salem in a city-wide read of selected antiracist books. We believe that community-wide reads and discussions will help create a more antiracist Salem. Each of the titles will provide student and adult readers alike with the opportunity to learn about, grapple with, and discuss contemporary issues of race and racism in America. Discussion groups about these books will kickstart the 2021-22 School Year.

Our summer reading program is designed to inspire a passion to make Salem a safe, welcoming, and antiracist community.

Stay tuned for summer reading discussions on these books throughout the community.

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Summer Math and Literature for Elementary school students

SPS has created some fun and easy ways to engage with math and reading this summer! Take some time to keep some fun learning activities going throughout the summer .. and don't worry, we give you all the information here.

Looking for summer reading for your elementary-aged kids? We have those for you! Keep reading!

Gr. 1-2 Early Chapter Book Series:

Gr. K-2 American Library Association Booklist:

Gr. 3-5 American Library Association Booklist: ALA List:

Gr. 3-5 Massachusetts Children's Book Award List:

Got math? No? We have it for your elementary kids this summer. Grab some summer math right here:

Summer Math Fun Calendar - Entering Grade K:

Summer Math Fun Calendar - Entering Grades 1-2:

Summer Math Fun Calendar - Entering Grades 3-4:

Summer Math Fun Calendar - Entering Grades 5:

The City of Salem and Liars & Believers present Yellow Bird Theatre Camp!!

The City of Salem’s Arts & Culture Program is pleased to announce a FREE three-day theatre camp for Salem youth (7-17) in Salem’s Old Town Hall & Derby Square in partnership with Cambridge-based experimental theatre ensemble, Liars & Believers. For more information, click here.

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High School Student Paid Internships Available!

We have a couple of paid opportunities for high school students over the summer.

Opportunity #1

Rising seniors have an opportunity to assist in our district summer programs. If you are interested in this position, please contact Karyn King Fargo at

Opportunity #2

Are you a High School student interested in a career teaching? Are you a student that likes math enough to inspire others to enjoy it? Are you interested in working with middle school students as they explore a summer math project? Do you want to work directly with a mentor teacher to learn how to master the classroom? Can you devote 3 days per week this summer to a paid job that may lead to a profession?

Ed Inquiry Teen Leaders will work in virtual online classrooms alongside a Team Leader responsible for leading a class of 10 to 15 middle school students working together on a real world math project like buying a car or getting an apartment . As the Teen Leader, you will be in the classroom, engaging with students and testing your skills for the future.

You will be responsible for assisting in the Ed Inquiry virtual classroom 3 days per week. So it is easy to earn while you learn and have time for summer fun too. We provide training for you.

If you are great at math, if you know how to use and have a good computer and access to a fast internet connection, you can earn while you learn.

You are required to:

  • Commit to attend 12 sessions in July and 12 sessions in August
  • Commit to assist Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday with one Thursday each month.
  • Be present, engaged, responsible and ready to try something new
  • Work with middle school students as they engage with math and their summer projects

This is a seasonal, summer virtual position.

Send an email with your name, your school, your town, your grade and a few paragraphs on why you want to be a teacher to

Summer P-EBT

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced that Massachusetts has received federal approval to continue providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to families through summer 2021. Pandemic-EBT is a federal program, jointly administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and DESE, that promotes increased food security for families whose children receive free or reduced-price school meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program. All students who have received P-EBT will be eligible for summer P-EBT, except for those who graduated in 2020 or moved out of Massachusetts. Eligible students will receive a total of $375 in P-EBT benefits in two equal payments of $187.50 this summer. The first payment will be issued on July 1, and the second payment will be issued on August 1.

Summer P-EBT will supplement the Summer Food Service Program (Summer Eats in Massachusetts), a USDA-funded program that provides nutritious meals to children without charge at more than 1,400 sites statewide. As in past years, meals will be provided, at a first-come, first-served basis at the sites and times as available in the following online resource:

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. Eligible households can receive:

  • Up to a $50/month discount on their broadband service and associated equipment rentals
  • Up to a $75/month discount if their household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. Households can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on Wednesday, May 12. The program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

The virtual Backpack

Welcome to the Virtual Backpack. This is a space where we will place items that in the past may have been a flyer in your student's backpack from friends and partners to SPS.

Camp Fire Summer Camp flier

Information about Summer Camp with the Boys and Girls Club

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Download the ParentSquare app today!

A reminder that ParentSquare is the district platform for communication. You will receive communication from the district, your school, and your student's classroom all in one space. You can communicate 1-to-1 with teachers, sign up for parent-teacher conferences, and more.

This is how the schools will communicate with families districtwide going forward. Please be sure you are receiving messages from ParentSquare. If you are having trouble, contact your school's front office. You can visit for more information.

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