November 2020 Redesign Update

We Are Salem

SHS Core Values

  • Celebration of Difference
  • Collaboration
  • Culture of Learning and Innovation
  • Equity and Access
  • Growth for All
  • High Standards of Excellence for All

SHS Vision

All students will be locally engaged, globally connected, and fully prepared to thrive in a diverse and changing world.

SHS Mission Statement

We are a diverse and welcoming community that promotes the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of each student through the equitable delivery of challenging, relevant, and joyful learning experiences.

We empower all students to chart a personalized path to success that includes a commitment to the common good.

Salem High School Redesign Pillars and Mental Model

Big picture

Leadership, Shared Responsibility, and Professional Collaboration (Leadership Development)

The school has established a community of practice through leadership, shared responsibility for all students, and professional collaboration.

I'm thrilled to be working with a strong Instructional Leadership Team. This team is building leaders, teachers and administrators, from across content areas and is committed to ensuring that we are holding true to our stated areas of focus.

Intentional Practices for Improving Instruction

The school employs intentional practices for improving teacher-specific and student-responsive instruction.

We continue to examine our course offerings for alignment with our redesign goals. Part of this alignment involves developing a "Vision of the Graduate" to serve as a filter through which we make curricular decisions. The Vision of the Graduate statement will include our core value(s), beliefs about learning, and the knowledge and skills we expect them to have upon graduation.

Student-Specific Supports and Instruction to All Students

The school is able to provide student-specific supports and interventions informed by data and the identification of student-specific needs.

As we mentioned last month, one of the primary levers we’re using in our efforts to re-imagine how we do Student Supports in Salem High School is the implementation of the BARR Model. We are well into the implementation process, and we feel strongly that the structures and processes inherent in the model have helped us to better meet the needs of our students in these difficult times. This work looks different in different grades, but in all grades it means that teachers are focusing on getting to know students better as a way to make sure they are getting what they need. In the 9th and 10th grades, groups of teachers meet weekly in what are called Block meetings. The goal of these meetings is for teachers to proactively identify and address student needs well before the students' needs get to the point that they feel insurmountable. We’ve already seen a number of cases where these conversations have facilitated a team approach to make sure that no students fall through the cracks. We anticipate that these positive outcomes will continue and we’re proud to be on our way to becoming a BARR school.

School Culture and Climate

The school is able to provide student-specific supports and interventions informed by data and the identification of student-specific needs.

Family Engagement

The Salem High School Community Office is now open for business in our two locations. Our daytime location at 135 Lafayette Street is open from 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thank you to Family Engagement Facilitator Juan Encarnacion, College and Career Counselor Alice Ryan and Student Adjustment Counselor Meredith Flanagan for staffing this space in the community and connecting with families.

The Salem High School Community Office now offers student academic support hours from 5 to 8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at our new location, in the auditorium of the Saltonstall School on Lafayette Street. This location, with a larger space and the ability to store devices, has allowed us to serve more students by supporting academic progress and re-engaging previously disconnected students.

Families who need to conference with SHS staff, or who wish to sign their student up to access academic support, please contact Shamus Mruk (978-888-7634) or if you communicate in Spanish please contact Juan Encarnacion (781-771-6660).

We look forward to seeing you at our Community Office!


This group is led by Salem High School juniors and seniors and is focused on making Salem High School a safe and equitable space for all students. Our next meeting will be held on December 2, with key points of discussion being the recent election, access to advanced courses, athletics, and activities, transportation, and free speech from teachers. We are looking forward to moving to our next phase of work, identifying specific leverage points that will move Salem High toward our goal of being an anti-racist organization.

Trauma-Informed Practices

Since September the School Adjustment Counselors and supporting staff took the lead to present two professional development series on Trauma Informed Practices in the classroom. The teachers met in small groups and reviewed best practices for creating a culture of sensitivity and support. In November the staff completed a survey to help guide the next series of workshops.

Salem High School and the SPS Strategic Plan: Pillar 2 ("Reimagine the High School Experience")

Goal 1: Redesign programming and the instructional core around student-centered learning principles to better prepare students for college and career in the 21st century

Strategy 1

Support all students in the acquisition of rigorous core knowledge, skills, habits, and attitudes needed for success in post-secondary education and the workplace.

Strategy 2

Connect learning to the community and real-world experiences through internships and community service projects.

Strategy 3

Strengthen personalized learning approaches that will accelerate and deepen student learning by tailoring instruction/supports to each student's individual needs, skills, and interests.

Strategy 4

Prepare students who may choose to enter the workforce directly after high school with levels of skill and knowledge in a particular career area that will be valued in the marketplace.

Strategy 5

Enhance students' capacities to apply knowledge and solve complex problems using technology.