Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent

June 4, 2021

SPS families and caregivers,

'Tis the season of graduations and moving on and up ceremonies across the Salem Public Schools. Last evening, I had the privilege of attending the Salem Prep graduation. Tonight, we honor our Salem High grads and on June 16th, New Liberty seniors will cross the stage.

Please join me in congratulating the Class of 2021, after a year like no other! They are most deserving of an epic celebration for their strength, resilience and positive mindset during their final two high school years. They have endured so much with the twists and turns of the COVID-19 virus - anxiety about their (and their families') health and wellness, adjusting to remote learning, their inability to interact with friends and educators with whom they are so connected and the cancellation of so many important events and activities.

In the face of these obstacles our Salem students have made us all proud and have positioned themselves to excel as they move forward in their professional and personal lives. They have left an enduring legacy, one that will be hard to match by future classes and generations. Take a bow, Class of 2021!



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 Holly O'Leary from New Liberty Innovation School. Ms. O’Leary is a tireless advocate for doing things differently, thinking outside of the box, keeping abreast of the newest trends in education and always promoting innovation. Her passion for improvement is grounded in disrupting racism. She helped bring the Modern Classroom Project to New Liberty this year, amplifying their ability to personalize learning and meet each student’s needs. Ms. O’Leary is also the in-house tech person and supports teachers in integrating blended learning into their classes. Ms. O’Leary is a tremendous asset to New Liberty who builds positive relationships with all students and is a reflective and highly adaptable educator.

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

Art CAN Make a Difference Exhibit

The annual Art CAN Make a Difference exhibit is currently installed in a bank of 15 front windows of the PEM, visible from the walking mall in downtown Salem. Elementary students at our schools created over 1000 three inch squares which were put together to create a giant mural. Students were asked to donate their art and a can of food as part of our Art CAN Make a Difference event. Please enjoy the work as you walk by in Salem. It is really beautiful and drives home the idea that small contributions together CAN create something big!

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:

SPS Summer Eats Program

Summer Eats will provide meals to families free of charge this summer. Distribution will begin on June 28th and will be available from 9am-noon, Monday-Friday at each SPS school EXCEPT for Bentley and WHES.

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.

Garnish for Good!

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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