Salem Public Schools Update
News for our families from Salem Public Schools
A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent
This week we were thrilled to welcome back interested grade 10-12 Salem High School students to in-person learning as part of a hybrid model. Many of these students have not been in school since the start of the school year and were enthusiastic about returning to SHS.
Additionally, Bentley Academy Innovation School welcomed Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Commissioner Riley and Secretary of Education Peyser to visit their classrooms. Bentley students and staff showcased their many talents and the incredible work they are doing despite the challenges. Our visitors observed a dynamic STEM lesson in Ms. Otteson’s 1st grade classroom, a 3rd grade mathematics lesson about the use of variables in Ms. Newark’s classroom and Ms. Llorca’s Kindergarten dual language classroom where students were discussing a campaign to protect the Earth.
Finally, this week we kickoff Black History Month in the Salem Public Schools. We have provided our educators with resources and guidance to utilize as part of their instruction. Also, in this newsletter, and through social media, we are sharing materials that families can use at home with their children. The celebration of Black history must extend beyond this month and must be deeper than merely celebrating the achievements of famous African Americans. It is critical that we examine what we teach in history classes and how we teach history so that it is more inclusive of multiple stories and voices of those not traditionally represented in our curriculum. This is work that will continue well beyond February as we ensure that our students are presented with a wide range of perspectives as they understand how the past shapes their experiences today.
Please don’t forget that February vacation is scheduled for the week of February 15th. School will resume on Monday, February 22nd.
Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday weekend,
Student COVID testing
We are excited to be moving into planning to launch weekly student COVID-19 surveillance testing. We do not yet have all the details, but here is the most important information for you to know:
Testing will be once per week for any student in grades preK-12. We are working to finalize the schedules and will share them as soon as we have them.
The tests are a lower nostril test which is the least invasive option available for our families. It is also a PCR test, which is the gold standard. Five to ten students will be tested at once in a “pool.” Which is essentially a group of tests tested at the same time. It also means that, if your student is part of a “positive pool” where someone in the group of five tests is positive, you will need to get a SECOND test (available for free throughout the city) to get an individual result of positive or negative.
To participate, families will need to fill out a consent form for each student for our testing vendor, Project Beacon, even if your family has been tested by Project Beacon before.
The consent forms are specific to the individual schools, If you have children at different schools, you will need to click on each child’s school and register them individually, if you have multiple children at the same school, you will still need to register them separately, but at the same school link. There will also be a list of unique school codes that you can enter if that is easier.
Families will only receive notification if a student is part of a positive pool, there are no individual results obtained from this type of testing. If the student is part of a positive pool, our plan is to use Parent Square to notify families with the information of how to get the second test, along with a google form to share with us how you plan to follow-up. If we do not hear from you, you will receive a phone call.
We look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming weeks and are proud to be able to offer testing in our schools to keep our students and our staff as safe as possible.
Part time jobs available
To do the testing – we need help! Please share these opportunities with your networks.
Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito Come to visit!
Black History Month
Click the image below from the Anti-racist Art Teachers website and explore resources for your family.
Salem High School Family Night for 8th Grade families
Salem High School is making waves, innovating, and reaching goals. We are expanding and growing our content pathways to connect students to their futures. Come learn about all these possibilities during our webinar and meet our amazing educators!
Tuesday, February 9th from 6 to 7:00 pm
A video presentation will review what we offer at the High School.
Then meet our talented staff panelists:
Shamus Mruk- 9th Grade Assistant Principal
Jamie Navins- 9th Grade Math Teacher
Mary Celli-9th Grade English Teacher
Scott Connelly- Athletic Director
Kim McFarlane- Career Technical Education Director
Ellen Johnson- Special Education Team Chair
Amie Capodanno- College and Career Center Director
Rachael Kozlowski- SY21/22- 9th Grade School Counselor
Alice Ryan- SY20/21- 9th Grade School Counselor
Junemarie Kershaw- SY21/22- 9th Grade School Adjustment Counselor
Vicki Tzortis - LEAP for Education
SgtMj Sumner- JROTC
National School Counseling Week
National School Counseling Week is Feb. 1-5, 2021, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors to our school systems.
This week and this shout out highlights the tremendous impact our school counselors have in helping students with their social-emotional needs, achieve school success, and plan for a career.
We have an incredible team of school counselors right here in Salem Public Schools, and now more than ever, we are grateful for them.
Common Family P-EBT Questions Answered
P-EBT benefits are paid out on the 25th of each month. On that day, benefits will be loaded to the account of families who have an existing card. Families new to P-EBT who do not yet have a card will receive one in the mail sometime after the 25th (allow for up to two weeks for mailing) unless they receive DTA benefits (SNAP, TAFDC). Those newly eligible households will receive P-EBT on their DTA EBT card.
Executive Director for Special Education Search Process
Date: February 8, 2021
Location: Zoom meeting*
Interested in applying for this position? You can find the job posting here.
*If you are interested in participating in this focus group, please email Jensen Jacobsmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (978) 740-1214 to reserve a spot and access the Zoom Link. There is a maximum of 30 available slots.
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,” and “Great Job.”
This week, National School Counseling week, we celebrate Mia Riccio, City Connects Coordinator, Collins Middle School. If you asked Mia Riccio's colleagues at Collins Middle School to describe Mia in one word, you would hear things like: passionate, dedicated, reliable, systems-builder, compassionate, and anchor. Mia embodies all the qualities of an impactful school counselor who is focused on ensuring every student gets what they need to thrive. She has quietly, yet tenaciously, led her team in strengthening student support systems within Collins Middle School. Mia's daily work is grounded in ethical and evidenced based school counseling practices. What stands out the most about Mia is how she relentlessly shares her kindness with students, families, and colleagues
ST Math February Challenge!
Dr. Zrike and Jiji challenge you and your classmates to solve as many ST Math puzzles as you can during the month of February! This is a district-wide challenge! Each grade level will compete for prizes against other similar grade levels. For example, kindergarteners compete against other kindergarten classrooms in the district. The class at every grade level that solves the most puzzles wins! Imagine, Jiji coming to your classroom, dancing with you to your favorite music, and passing out fabulous prizes! All because you did an outstanding job playing ST Math with Jiji! Ready, set, MATH!
ST Math can be found on your student's Classlink dashboard on their Chromebook.
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 www.parentsquare.com for more information.