Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

March 11, 2022


SPS community,

It is hard to believe that this week marks the two year anniversary of when Salem Public Schools shifted to remote instruction with the arrival of the pandemic. Our schools, community and families have been through so much during the last two years and I commend SPS for its strength during this time. While the virus still remains, our current context has allowed us to return to in-person performances. It has been an absolute joy and privilege for me to sit in the audience to watch our talented students perform Into the Woods (SHS), You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (Collins) and as part of the SHS music department's spring concert. I was also honored to serve as a judge in Bates' Amazing Shake competition. This week affirms everything I believed to be true about the talent that our students and staff possess.


A few quick updates:


  • Masking: On Monday, masks in school buildings and on school transportation will be optional for students, staff and families in K-12. The mask requirement will remain for our pre-kindergarten students, staff and families at the Early Childhood Center and in the preschool classrooms at Horace Mann and Bates Schools. Additionally, masks will continue to be required in our health offices across the Salem Public Schools. See the FAQ section on our website.
  • Budget Forums: Save The Date! We are hosting two public forums so that the community can learn more about our school year 2022-23 budget. It will offer the opportunity for community members to share their ideas about how to best use our resources for the upcoming school year. The first session will be held on Zoom from 6-7:30 pm on Wednesday, March 30th and in person at Saltonstall on April 5th from 6:30-8 pm. Please join us!
  • Bentley School Schedule/Program Changes: We have proposed adjustments to the Bentley Academy Innovation School model, intended to improve the student experience in the coming years. After surveying staff and families we are proposing to shift the school day from the current 7 hour and 35 minute school day to a 7 hour school day.

    Additionally, as a result of declining enrollment, we are proposing to have three dual language classrooms per grade at Bentley School in coming years, beginning with kindergarten in 2022-23. In ensuing years, the school would shift to being a three strand, dual language school, one year at a time. Current kindergarten students who are in the general education program would have the option of enrolling in the added dual language classroom or if they prefer to not be part of the dual language opportunity, we can transfer their enrollment to another school in the Salem Public Schools. All other students currently enrolled in grades 1-5 will be able to remain in their currently assigned program (general education or dual language) as the shift occurs over the next five years. We believe that this change is responsive to increased demands for our dual language options in the Salem Public Schools. It offers an opportunity to continue strengthening our commitment to bilingualism and bi-literacy, which is a cornerstone of the school’s innovation plan. We have scheduled an in-person meeting at Bentley Academy on Tuesday, March 15th from 6:30-7:30 pm to share more information and to answer additional questions about the shift.


Have a wonderful weekend,


Steve

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 rock star is Nora Davis, New Liberty Innovation School's special education teacher. Ms. Davis goes above and beyond to build relationships with students, persistently tries new strategies in the classroom, and develops her own background knowledge on a wide-array of topics. This year she has truly outdone herself by also acting as New Liberty's math teacher. Ms. Davis has a background in teaching math and has relished the opportunity to learn new and innovative instructional methods this year. Finally, Ms. Davis is enrolled in the Salem State-SPS leadership program and has taken on additional responsibilities this year, such as joining ILT, and helped to lead second-year teacher training for the district. Congratulations Ms. Davis!

Collins' Drama Performance

It’s Collins Middle School’s turn to show off their talented actors. The CMS Drama Club is presenting You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in the CMS auditorium tonight at 7:00pm and tomorrow at 2:00pm. Tickets are $5 and available at the box office the day of the show.

The Amazing Shake

On Tuesday, many of us had the honor of participating in The Amazing Shake at Bates School. What a fun event. These kids brought their A game.


Some of the tasks students had to perform included: give an Oscar speech, be a guest on the Tonight Show, pump up the SHS football team before a game, sell a product, give a presidential speech and decide which employee to fire. The students that survived the gauntlet round moved on to the "work the room" portion of the day.


Students were judged on the following criteria: charisma, confidence, poise under pressure, judgment and eye contact. They all did great. The finalists to move on are: Seamus Coughlin, Elvis Lilly, Henry Mendez, Isabella Garcia, Lucy Gardner, Dior Stavros, Charlie Stensrud, Ashley Menjivar Alvarez, Addisyn Millar, Olivia Reale, Baylee Nelson, Nina Buono, Nelson Nnanna, Teddy Torosian, John Moronta, and Jessica Lobao.


Congrats to everyone for all their hard work! Thank you to all of our special guests from the City Council and the School Committee.

Witchcraft Heights Elementary School - Recipient of Communication Board

The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism has recently informed us that Witchcraft Heights will be the recipient of a communication board, to be installed on the playground. Communication boards are designed to promote inclusion and to allow children who may be non-verbal to communicate with others. The installation will take place later this spring.
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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR TEACHER RECOGNITION AWARD

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.

FAFSA Help is Available!

Is your student in need of FAFSA assistance? During the winter break, students may need to complete their FAFSA. uAspire is here to help! The FAFSA Help Center is open to students during the winter break. If students need support with their FAFSAs, they can text in and even set up a Zoom call with a uAspire FAFSA expert. Students can receive help with their FAFSA by texting: (978) 216-5109.

uAspire will be hosting a virtual FAFSA Walkthrough on Monday, March 14th at 6 pm. Register for the event using the link below. We look forward to seeing you and your students there!

FAFSA Walkthrough
Date: Monday, March 14th, 2022
Time: 6pm -7pm.
Registration: Click Here to Register!


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.

SCHOOL CLOSURES OR DELAYS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

We want to remind staff and families to be sure we have current contact information to reach you in the event that we have a cancellation or delay. Notifications will go out through ParentSquare via automated phone call, text, and email. We do not have the option of remote instruction in the event of a closure.

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.


Salvation Army Summer Camp/Campo de Verano


2022 Salem Little League Registration

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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 www.parentsquare.com for more information.

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