Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

September 17, 2021

SPS families,

Students have returned to in-person learning with lots of positive energy and readiness to learn, and teachers are purposefully coaching students on classroom routines and launching the year's first units of study. As your child returns to school, you may find that they have gaps in learning. Rest assured that our teachers and school and district leaders have been planning since the spring and throughout the summer to be ready to address learning gaps caused or exacerbated by the interrupted learning caused by the pandemic. Current student performance is to be expected, given the interrupted and truncated learning that students have experienced over the last 18 months. We know that it has been challenging for students to learn complex concepts and material virtually during the last two abbreviated school years. Now that all our students are back full-time for daily in-person learning, we are prepared to respond in a systematic and thoughtful way to address identified gaps, while at the same time taking great care not to overwhelm them. Specifically, we are taking the following steps:

  • We are beginning the school year with a strong understanding of where each student is through baseline assessments that pinpoint where learning gaps might exist. This information will help us establish an individualized instructional roadmap for each child.
  • A critical aspect of our recovery plan is to effectively use the high-quality, researched-based curriculum that we have in place across all grade levels. We are committed to teaching grade-appropriate standards, while at the same time strengthening foundational concepts and skills that are necessary to access the current content. Our instructional coaches, school leaders and instructional leadership teams are supporting our educators in accelerating learning in the present while simultaneously addressing pre-existing gaps.
  • In an effort to assist with mastery of unfinished learning, we maintained small class sizes while hiring additional staff to personalize learning for as many students as possible. Each school has been assigned additional staff including tutors and university fellows who will collaborate with classroom teachers to provide coordinated and timely small group instruction that is designed to meet students’ individual needs.
  • Finally, we will monitor individual student growth throughout the year to regularly adjust our plans for each student depending on their progress. It is now more essential than ever to provide targeted and nuanced support to all students throughout the year.

We are confident that with this intentionality and strategic use of additional resources, our students will grow and thrive academically this year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school or our Department of Teaching and Learning at (978) 740-1214.



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 Nichole Hagstrom, the SPS grants manager for her diligent and extraordinary work in managing all of Salem's grant funding. The task has been monumental in the last year with so many new dollars and requirements. Nichole always approaches her work with a tireless ethic and positive mindset to ensure that students and staff have the resources they need to succeed.

Have a concern about the location of your child's bus stop?

We have received some feedback on bus stops. In an effort to be sure the locations are as safe as possible, please take a moment to complete this brief survey if you have a concern about the location of your child's bus stop. We appreciate your partnership in ensuring our students' safety!

Preschool Seats Still Available

Salem Public Schools has 4 seats left for our newly opened preschool classrooms!

If you live in Salem and your child turned 4 on or before 8/31/21 then we would love to welcome you into one of our free preschool classrooms. To enroll please call the Parent Information Center at (978) 740-1225 or fill out an enrollment form.

We hope to see you in preschool!

Have you heard about HPREP?

The Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure Program (HPREP) is an outreach program hosted by Harvard Medical School that aims to recruit high school students (Grades 9-12)
from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds into science, medicine, and public health.

It gives students exposure to the Harvard community and allows them to:
  • Participate in interactive lessons across topics in science, medicine, and public health
  • Receive one-on-one mentoring and career/academic guidance from mentors from Harvard graduate schools
  • Engage with a community of passionate Boston-area high school students
  • Cultivate the skills you need to transform your passion into a career in science, medicine, or public health

Six Salem High School students, with interests in the medical science field, participated in the HPREP Summer MEDscience camp program. They were introduced to real medical scenarios where they worked in groups to reflect multiple portrayals of doctor, nurse, and technician to learn how these different roles interact with patient care.

Congratulations to Jessica Sapozhnik, Isabella Cunha, Marisabel Pimentel, Norelys Mendez Rivas, Jasmine Sanchez, and Leena Sarhan for stretching your wings to explore different career paths in science and medicine.

Interested in applying for the next cohort of students? The next session program dates are:
Saturdays 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM; November 6, 2021 – January 29, 2022

APPLY ONLINE FOR THE 2021-2022 PROGRAM - Deadline: Tuesday September 28, 2021

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.

DESE Back to School Info:

The Department has a new, family-friendly back-to-school page that answers basic questions about the 2021-2022 school year. Other back-to-school resources from DESE include a letter from Commissioner Riley and a back-to-school public service announcement (in English and Spanish) that can be shared with all of our communities.

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade

24th Annual Salem Chamber of Commerce

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade

October 7, 2021

THEME: “Upside Down and Inside Out”

(Event is Rain or Shine)

Reflecting the COVID pandemic, this year’s event has been reimagined and will be a reverse parade featuring the theme “Upside Down and Inside Out”. The performances, floats, vehicles and displays will be stationary, with attendees parading the route to view them all!

The evening is the kickoff of the Halloween season and should be a night full of color, pageantry, music and the enthusiasm of thousands of Salem’s students from kindergarten to college and our local business owners. Their participation is what makes this a phenomenally successful, cherished event for our community. To help ensure the success of this event, we are asking for businesses financial support to defray the expenses.

Click here for the Parade Participation and Sponsorship Application.

Salem’s schools and non-profits will design their own float or display, which will get a set spot along the route (with or without the school band) and suggest to parents and kids to walk the route in smaller groups the night of the Parade. Of course, costumes are highly encouraged, both for parents and kids.

Back to School Forms

Back to school forms must be submitted by October 1st. These include contact information and permission to treat forms. The forms were emailed to all families. Printed forms will also be made available in each school for those who may need them.

These forms are REQUIRED for each student. Please fill them out as completely as possible. If you have any questions, please contact the front office of your school.

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.

Kickball / Flag Football Leagues

Family Scout Pack 83 Sign Ups

Cub Scouts Pack 24 Family Hike

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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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