Salem Public Schools Update
News for our families from Salem Public Schools
A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent
On the weekend that we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, I am reminded by his powerful message about violence and peace- “…violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem; it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”
With the events of the last week in Washington and the upcoming inauguration, I am hopeful that Dr. King’s message is heeded so that we have a smooth transition on Wednesday, January 20th. This is always a historic day in our country that speaks to the power of our democracy which allows for a seamless change in our country’s leadership. The ceremony has been a part of our country’s traditions for over 230 years and is always a momentous occasion and learning experience for our youth. Our teachers will lead learning about this historic event in age-appropriate ways throughout our schools this week.
And finally, it brought me great joy to see students in the schools as we brought our 3rd-8th graders back into the schools this week. I was able to stop by Carlton, Horace Mann, and Collins Middle School and I was delighted to see how excited our students were. Be safe, wear your masks, and keep going with the protocols so we can continue to bring more students back to class.
Have a great long weekend,
Update on testing results from last week
We wanted to update you on the results of the testing last week. Thank you to all who participated, we truly believe that is another layer of safety as we bring more students and staff into our buildings and we are grateful to the city of Salem for helping us make this happen.
As a result of our free testing of staff, students, and families:
1850 tests completed
453 staff members – 1 positive
934 students – 19 positive
454 family members – 11 positive
Overall schools: 1850 tests, 31 positive
Thank you all for your participation. It is only with your help that we are able to identify and isolate to keep our schools and community safer.
Update on future testing per Governor’s announcement
On Friday, Governor Baker announced that the state is looking to subsidy weekly pooled surveillance testing for schools for all students and staff- just like we did here last week and continue to offer for our staff and high school students. More information will be forthcoming as we sort out the details of this program and how we will implement it in our schools.
Health and wellness town hall meeting
We will be hosting a health and safety webinar next week for staff and families. This webinar will take place on Wednesday, January 20th from 4:30-5:30pm.
Dr. Clovene Campbell, M.D.: Medical Director, Pediatric Associates of Greater Salem and Beverly will be available to answer questions and give some insight as to where we are with COVID-19 in our community. We also plan to have a representative from Northshore Medical Center as well to discuss the following:
Understanding the current status of the virus in our community- spread and positivity
Getting their perspective on the mitigation strategies that schools are employing and what else we can do to protect the health and wellness of students and staff.
Learning more about the mental health implications of the pandemic on our students
Beginning to understand the vaccine details and rollout
And of course, we will have the bulk of the time for folks to ask questions
We want to remind you that the Kindergarten Expo town hall is Thursday, January 21st at 6:30 pm! You can access the virtual town hall meeting at this link. Have questions you want to be answered during the meeting? You can submit it here ahead of time.
This site has information about our kindergarten programs, our schools, afterschool partners, and additional resources.
Hybrid Learning for many students began this week
It was very exciting to see more of our students in school as we welcomed students in grades 3-8 back in hybrid.
It is hard to give a general answer to what hybrid looks like because our incredible teams of teachers and leaders have truly designed the best plans to meet the needs of students at each school and grade level. The result is that all students will have maximized “live” learning experiences every day, whether they are in-person or remote!
Every school exceeded the expectations of at least half of the day per day of live learning, with many schools making it possible for students to be zooming into class on their remote days, or rotating through their subjects just as they would in the current remote model or in an in-person experience before COVID.
High school students in grades 10-12 will have the option to return to school in a hybrid model on February 4th. More information to come on that transition.
Flu Vaccination Update
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education. Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts.
DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year.
A reminder about Tech Support
Just a reminder that if you need tech support for your school-issued device, please call the tech support team at 978-619-1450 or submit a ticket here. This is the most efficient way to get help with a problem with your student’s device.
If you need more information, please visit the Family Tech Support Landing Pad.
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’s cone of excellence is awarded to Terrell Greene, Recruitment & Intake Specialist, as well as Family Engagement Coordinator at New Liberty Innovation School.
Terrell is the first point of contact new and potential students and families have with the school and he works tirelessly to build and maintain connections with students, particularly males of color and ELs. Mr. Greene is an integral part of the Student Support Team, always reminding the staff to make a regular and positive contact home. Finally, he co-runs the Brothers for Success Program for young men of color in the community and serves on the City of Salem’s Equity Task Force. Congratulations Terrell!
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.
*NOTE: While students returned to in-person learning this week, zero of these cases came to school; this is a combination of reports that are a result of last week’s testing and new cases that have been identified and kept out of school. Thank you for the active work throughout our community!
Connecting with Superintendent Zrike
Are you looking for a one-on-one meeting with Superintendent Zrike?
Dr. Zrike will be holding one-on-one meetings outside, distanced, and with face coverings at Salem Common by appointment on Friday's between 7:30 am-10:00 am.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your appointment.