Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

April 1, 2022

SPS caregivers,

As we kick off the month of April, we wanted to share information about upcoming religious holidays that may impact members of our community over the coming month. It is important that our community is aware that students observing these holidays may be absent or alter their routines as part of their religious beliefs. Thank you for your respect for the traditions of others during this sacred month for many in the Salem Public Schools family. We wanted to provide some information that we think might be helpful to discuss with your children about the beliefs of some of their classmates and friends.

(in order of occurrence)

Ramadan: Islam April 1-30

Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. During Ramadan, it is customary for Muslims to pray extra nightly prayers and participate in other religious practices throughout the day and night. Some students may be tired, hungry, and dehydrated during school time. Blessed Ramadan would be an appropriate greeting for students and families.

Holy Week: Christianity April 10-16

Holy Week, in the Christian church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter is observed with special solemnity. In the Greek and Roman liturgical books, it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week.

Observant Christians may abstain from eating, taking only water. Students may experience low energy or lethargy. Happy Easter would be an appropriate greeting.

Vaisakhi, Solar New Year: Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhism April 14

Vaisakhi - the Sikh New Year festival - is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. It marks the start of the Punjabi New Year, but it is also a day to celebrate 1699 - the year when Sikhism was born as a collective faith. Happy New Year or Happy Vaisakhi would be an appropriate greeting.

Passover (Pesach): Judaism Sundown April 15 to sundown April 23

Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The central Passover practice is a set of intense dietary changes, mainly the absence of hametz, or foods with leaven. The Passover seder (meal) tells the story of the hardship the Jewish people faced in Egypt. Happy Passover is the appropriate greeting for this holiday.

Ridván: Baha'i' April 21-May 22

The Festival of Ridván commemorates the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder, lived in paradise, which is called Ridván. This is the holiest and most joyous time in the Baha’i tradition. In villages, towns, and cities around the world, Baha'i communities celebrate these special days with gatherings open to all. Happy Ridván (RIZ-wan) is the appropriate greeting for this holiday.

Thank you for helping us to reflect and embrace the greater diversity of our students and families by honoring the deeply held celebrations of our community during the month of April. Have a wonderful weekend,


You're A Rock Star!

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 rock star trophy.

This week's rockstar award goes to SPS bus driver, Ms. Debora Hardiman. This month marked Ms. Hardiman's 30th year with Salem Public Schools! Ms. Hardiman is an exemplary bus driver who is always present, always on time, and always safe. She knows her students by name, greets them with a smile, watches them grow over the years, plays the best holiday jingles, and always goes the extra mile. Besides her AM and PM runs, on a weekly basis Ms. Hardiman buses SHS students to Salem State, NLIS students to SHS for a Culinary Program takes students home from the Witchmix after-school program and Unified Sports; not to mention all the Band and Athletic trips over the weekend. Thanks to Ms. Hardiman, our students can participate in so many of these wonderful opportunities!

Some Art News! "The Art of Science"

Recently, 25 Salem High School scholars participated in a program at Montserrat called "The Art of Science". They had 2 exciting workshops which combined science and art. The program was funded by Cell Signaling and developed by Lynn Sutherland of Life Science Consortium of the North Shore and Jesse Kahn from Montserrat.

As part of the program, scholars were asked to reflect on their experiences in the workshops and were awarded a first ($300) and second ($150) prize for these reflections.

Congratulations to Chloe Magee, first place and Sierra Clawson, second place.

Also, Jessica Valatka won Best of School award at the Sixth District Congressional High School Art Competition and Show for her piece, "Today and Yesterday" (shown here). The winning work and honorable mentions were presented with a citation from Congressman Seth Moulton and awarded a scholarship to Montserrat’s Summer Pre-College Program.

COVID Stop the spread

As a reminder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will close the two “Stop the Spread” PCR COVID-19 testing sites in Salem – at St. Peter’s Church and at Salem High School – on March 31, 2022. March 31st will be the last day of testing at both sites.

The Curative testing site, located in Riley Plaza, will remain through at least June 30, 2022. Free walk-up PCR testing is available to all residents at this location Mondays-Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You must pre-register for an appointment time and may do so at

More information including how you can access rapid tests can be found here.

Salem High School Represented at Northeastern Massachusetts Senior District and All-State Music Performances

Congratulations to the students who were accepted into the Northeastern Massachusetts Senior District music ensembles who performed last weekend. Jazz Band: Em Abboud, Alexander MacTaylor, and William Napierkowski; Chorus: Anna Sokolow.

Community budget Forums

On Wednesday, March 30th, we hosted a virtual budget forum. Thank you to all who participated and gave us your ideas and input.

For those who may have missed it, you can view the recording here.

See below for info about the in-person forum on April 5th in the Saltonstall library.

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SAT for Juniors

SAT - April 26, 2022

SATs for Juniors - Salem High will be administering the In School SAT on Tuesday, April 26th for all juniors. This test is FREE to all SHS scholars! Please arrive at school on time and to prepare for the test by linking your College Board Account to Khan Academy for testing practice. For more information go to or see your counselor in C3 for assistance.

Child Tax Credit

Most people need to file a federal tax return before Monday, April 18 in order to receive their full Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit this year. Free help is available to file tax returns, and families can learn more at


Do you know an exemplary teacher from Salem or Marblehead?

Please nominate that individual for recognition.

What is the purpose of the award? Each year, The Margaret Voss Howard Teacher Recognition Award recognizes one Marblehead teacher and one Salem teacher as representative of all the excellent, dedicated teachers in the community who make a difference to children every day.

Who is eligible? Teachers from the district schools in Marblehead and Salem, Massachusetts, are eligible.

What is the award? Each honoree receives an unrestricted cash award of $500.

Who may nominate? Anyone—educators, parents, students, citizens—may make a nomination..

How do I nominate someone? Send a letter of nomination with your reasons for nominating the teacher. Please be as detailed and specific as possible. Please keep nominations confidential and do not inform individuals that they have been nominated. Nominations must be postmarked by April 30.

Find more information here.

Scholarship Opportunity

Cell Signaling Technology is currently offering eight scholarship opportunities worth $10,000 EACH, with an April 10th deadline. They offer four Local Community Science Scholarships and four Racial Diversity in Science Scholarships. Students can apply for both scholarships and the local community scholarship will be considered first if a student qualifies for both.

Last day of school

With our two snow days and our one wellness day, the last day of school is currently Friday, June 17th (June 15th for our Pre-K and Kindergarten students). For Carlton Innovation School the last day will be June 23rd (June 17th for Kindergarten families) given that June 20th is a holiday for Juneteenth). Please know that this is subject to change depending on the weather over the coming months.

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.

Want to participate in a school supply drive for our schools and save 10% on your purchase at Timeless Life Treasures? See this flyer for more information.

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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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