Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

October 1, 2021

SPS families,

As we head into the very busy month of October in Salem, I wanted to share with families that we are tightening up our health expectations across our schools. Above all, we need to improve with our mask compliance (please note that the state of Massachusetts has extended the indoor mask mandate through the month of October). We are noticing some complacency among staff and students, and we need our entire community's help to keep everyone safe. Below are a couple of important reminders and messages that we are asking our staff and families to convey to our children:

  • While children are at a lower risk for COVID, they are not at NO risk
  • We cannot predict who will get severely ill and who will not; risk factors increase the chance that illness will be severe, but perfectly healthy individuals (including children) have gotten severely ill from this virus
  • Breakthrough infections are uncommon but do occur, so just because an individual is vaccinated it doesn’t mean that they cannot transmit this virus to others - especially to unvaccinated students
  • Individuals are most infectious in the 2 days prior to symptom onset and just after symptoms start; just because they feel fine doesn’t mean they are not infected.
  • The aerosols that tend to transmit this virus can escape through the gaps in poorly fitting masks and hang around in the air for long periods of time. Please note:
    • loose-fitting masks might block droplets, but cannot block aerosols
    • aerosols are produced through both the mouth and the nose, so it is critical that both are covered
    • more aerosols are produced when speaking so it is important that masks are not pulled down when speaking.

We are also stressing the importance of keeping windows and door(s) open to enhance ventilation and remove any aerosols that have been introduced to a space. We appreciate your partnership and collaboration as we work hard to maintain in-person learning for all students through the winter months.

Additionally, we are looking for parents and community members to serve on our Master Facilities Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This committee will advise the Salem Public Schools on the conditions and long range use of our facilities. If you know someone who is able and willing to participate in this critical process, please have them RSVP to Mindy Marino at Please note that the first meeting is scheduled for October 12, 2021 and will be conducted virtually. Additional details about the committee can be found below.



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 Bentley/ECC Senior Custodian Carl Messina who does an amazing job of keeping two buildings clean every day.. Last week, Mr. Messina demonstrated tremendous compassion with an individual who was sleeping on the school grounds. Mr. Messina treated the individual with dignity and respect and provided them with breakfast. We thank Mr. Messina for his hard work and modeling kindness for the Salem Public School students.

Tax credits for families

A coalition of non-profit organizations has created to help eligible families get thousands of dollars in federal tax credits (like the Child Tax Credit) and stimulus payments, even if the families do not usually owe or file taxes. Outreach materials are available in 11 languages.
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October Breakfast/Lunch Menus

The October menus are up! You can find them on our website here.

Pre-K to Grade 5 Classroom Library Equity Project

Our PreK-5 classrooms are undergoing equity audits. The "equity area of focus" is to have culturally responsive curriculum resources reflected in classroom libraries. We are doing this to ensure that a high-quality library exists in every PreK-5 classroom with a goal of 50% of the titles written by diverse authors and/or representing diverse characters/topics. This will be accomplished through classroom library audits, purchase of a core set of grade-level texts for each classroom, and additional funding for teachers to select their own titles.

Start Here, Stay Here

Stakeholder Advisory Team Members Wanted!

Are you passionate about the future of Salem Public Schools and how our buildings can best support the needs of our students and our staff?

This fall, Salem Public Schools is launching a process to develop a long-range Educational Facility Master Plan (FMP) in partnership with district, school, and community stakeholders, and seeks interested individuals to join our Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Check out this link for more information.


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Salem Scholarship & Education Committee Now Accepting Applications for Education Fund Grants

The City of Salem’s Scholarship and Education Committee has announced that it is now seeking applications for small grants from its Education Fund.

Education Fund grants are available to provide supplemental education funding for local educational needs and to provide funding for existing adult literacy programs. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2021. Grant funds cannot be used for salaries or stipends.

The application form and additional information can be found at Click the “Education Fund Application” button on the left side of the page. If you have questions about the application or to confirm if your project or program is potentially eligible, please contact the Mayor’s Office at (978) 619-5600.

“The members of the Scholarship and Education Committee are pleased to make this grant funding available to local educators, programs, and organizations,” said Tyler Carlton, chair of the committee. “We hope that all who are interested in supporting the educational needs of our community will apply for consideration to receive a grant from the Education Fund.”

“The success of Salem’s schools and support for our students is a community mission,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, who chairs the Salem School Committee. “By once again offering this grant program, the members of the Scholarship and Education Committee are demonstrating their commitment to that effort and I would like to thank them for it, as well as all the Salem residents whose donations to the Education Fund make these grants possible.”

To donate to the Education Fund, visit and click on the donation button on the left side of the page.

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.

Expanding Horizons - Free Afterschool Program for Middle Schoolers

2021 Salvation Army Holiday Food Assistance

LEAP College Success Program

LEAP Teen Center Flyer

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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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