Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

October 29, 2021

SPS families,

I hope that you all have a wonderful Halloween weekend (if your family celebrates). Please be safe and take extra precaution if your family plans to trick or treat this Sunday. In last week’s newsletter, I provided information about ways that families can be actively involved in providing input and guidance at their child’s school. At the district level, we also have ample opportunities for you to participate in offering feedback on programming and student experiences across our 11 schools. Please find information on the following committees and task forces that would welcome your voice.

Salem Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)

This Council is open to all parents of students identified as eligible for special education, as well as other interested parties. The parent advisory council duties include, but are not limited to, advising the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities; meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the School Committee's special education programs.

Contact: Linda Farinelli

English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC)

The English Learner Parent Advisory Council (ELPAC) is an organization of parents and families of English Learners in the Salem Public Schools. They meet every other month to discuss issues that affect English Learners, and to advise the school district on policies and programs that impact our children. Contact: Daylin Muñoz or Nancy Meacham

Educational Facility Master Plan (FMP) Stakeholder Advisory Committee

The Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) members represent a cross-section of Salem’s diverse school communities – students, parents, teachers, and community members. In addition to addressing the physical infrastructure of our facilities, the FMP process will consider fundamental operational aspects of the district such as educational programs, grade configurations, school size and location. Contact: Mindy Marino

LGBTQ+ Action Committee

The LGBTQ+ Action Committee is a group of caregivers, teachers, staff, students, and other allies working to promote an inclusive, equitable, and celebratory culture for LGBTQ members of the Salem Public School community. Contact: Liz Polay-Wettengel

District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC)

The purpose of the DPAC is to enable discussion between parents/guardians, schools and the district. In particular, the DPAC provides a forum for parents/guardians to share their feedback, insights and perspective on school process, policies and initiatives to ensure that the needs of families are included as decisions are made in the district. DPAC will serve as an advisory, not a decision-making body, which may make recommendations and provide enhanced opportunities for parental involvement. Contact:

Additionally, at any point, you can reach out to Laura Assade, our Family Engagement Manager, to learn more about these opportunities. She can be reached at (781) 771-8148 or via email at She is also eager to learn about any training sessions that you might want the Salem Public Schools to host to better support our families with raising children and partnering with our schools.

We strongly encourage you to share your valuable voice and perspective with us as we continue to improve our efforts to serve our students and families.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Cone of Excellence

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 Carlton head cook Pam Ryan and the Food Services team at Carlton. They have been very flexible as we continue to move around lunches with the changes of weather and schedule. Carlton's inside cafeteria space is small and they helped come up with solutions that allow students to eat safely. Always with encouragement, the team reminds students of health protocols. Finally, they go to great lengths to ensure that students who are picky eaters or have food allergies have options for their meals at school.

Cone of Excellence for 10/22

Information on the Cone of Excellence was inadvertently omitted from last week's newsletter. See below.

The Cone of Excellence this week (10/22) is presented to WHES nurse, Elaine Bombaci. Nurse Bombaci has worked tirelessly to keep the entire WHES community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her work in monitoring, testing, and communicating with families has been essential to navigating the challenges presented by the virus. Additionally, she graciously gives her time and energy and will stop everything when a child needs a bandage, a new mask, or just a reassurance that all will be well!

Farewell Dr. Carmona

This week we say goodbye to Dr. Ruben Carmona, Principal of the Horace Mann Elementary School. We offer our thanks for his leadership and extend our best wishes in his future endeavors.

On Monday, we will welcome Scarlett Grandt (previously HMLS Asst. Principal) as the interim principal and we look forward to working closely with Ms. Grandt in this new role.

A partnership between SPS and SPD

At the October 25th School Committee meeting, Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller discussed ways that the Salem Public Schools and the SPD will work together to benefit the safety of our students and the community. We seek to increase our bond with this important community partner. SPD utilizes problem-solving strategies that focus on crime prevention, dispute resolution, and foster enhanced communication, cooperation and involvement with the community and we look forward to what a close partnership will look like for not only both administrations, but with our staff and students as well. Here is a copy of the proposed agreement between SPS and SPD. If you'd like, you can submit feedback on the agreement to



Commissioner Riley recently announced an extension of the mask mandate. Consistent with the authority provided by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, the Commissioner is extending the mask requirement through at least January 15, 2022. The Department will continue to work with medical experts and state health officials to evaluate the mask requirement beyond January 15th.


At Monday's meeting we will be discussing our efforts to increase our vaccination rate, the rollout out of the vaccine for ages 5-11 and the potential for a future vaccine mandate for students and staff. Please join us. Information on how to join the meeting can be found here.


Salem SEPAC has created a survey for parents/caretakers of children living in Salem who receive special education services. We are excited to gather input from families on what your experience with special education in Salem has been like and what you would like to see from Salem SEPAC in the coming months.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey linked below, we will leave this open through the end of October and then will be summarizing the data to discuss at our next SEPAC meeting and to share with the SPS administration and School Committee.

If you have more than one child receiving special education, please respond separately for each child as your experiences for each might be different.

SHS Music Department - Mattress Fundraiser

Saturday, November 13th, 10am - 4 pm, SHS Auditorium

Get a better night's sleep AND support the 8th Annual Salem High School Music Dept. mattress fundraiser! We carry BRAND NEW, fully warrantied, quality name brands including Simmons BeautyRest, Therapedic and the popular Number Bed for up to 50% below retail. This is ONE DAY only, so we need your help to SPREAD THE WORD by inviting all of your family and friends! Profits go directly to these talented student musicians!

There will also be weighted blankets, adjustable bases, luxury sheets & pillows, frames, convertible bean bag chairs, mattress protectors, massage chairs & body massagers!

MANY financing options also available including 0% interest and no credit check needed.
Starting Prices: T ($199) F ($289) Q ($299) K ($499)
-- ONE DAY ONLY -- free sheets w/any bed purchase, or $50 OFF any set over $399, just show this post :)

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Schedule a meeting with Superintendent Zrike

Dr. Zrike would love the opportunity to meet with any SPS staff or SPS family who would like to do so. It could be in a park, a coffee shop, your home, or anywhere else.

If you would like to schedule some time with Dr. Zrike, please email Mindy Marino to set up a time and place.

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.
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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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