Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

March 25, 2022

Salem Caregivers,

We have entered MCAS testing season across our schools. Schools will be sharing their individualized schedules with you, if they have not done so already. As you are aware, the MCAS is only one of many data points that tells us how your child is progressing. It is a snapshot in time and should be used as such when assessing how your child is performing. This is particularly true during a moment in time when we need to examine success through the lens of how our students are emerging (academically, socially and emotionally) from a most challenging 2-year pandemic. We appreciate your partnership as we stress to students that the assessment is an opportunity to show off their talents and everything they have learned thus far this year. Please help us ensure that our students are in school, arrive on time and are well rested to demonstrate what they know. If there is information that is unfamiliar or difficult, we need to minimize their anxiety by applauding our students for putting forth their best effort. Thank you in advance for your support to ensure that our students approach the MCAS assessment with the right mindset.

Finally, I wanted to remind our community about our upcoming budget forums. We are hosting 2 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 public session will be held on Zoom from 6-7:30 pm on Wednesday, March 30th and in person in the Saltonstall library on April 5th from 6:30-8 pm.

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 Allison Benoit, 4th grade teacher of Humanities at Saltonstall School. Ms. Benoit models excellent instructional practices, from her early adoption of flexible seating to her positive classroom culture where she actively promotes inclusion for all students. When it comes to helping students succeed academically, she is constantly looking for new ways to increase accessibility so that all students thrive. We applaud Ms. Benoit for her efforts on behalf of our students!

Congratulations, Coach Oquendo!

We are pleased to share that Coach Evie Oquendo was recently honored with the 2022 John Squires Memorial Woman's Sportsmanship Coaching Award from the Northeastern MA District Board 130 Basketball Officials. Coach Oquendo is a physical education teacher at Collins Middle School as well as the SHS girls' basketball coach.

K-8 Report Cards

Hey K-8 families! Report cards have been posted and you may have had your guardian-teacher conferences. Here is a helpful guide to understanding the report card. If you still have questions, please contact your student's teacher.

Updated Health & Safety Protocols

We appreciate everyone's effort in making the transition to a mask-optional district a smooth one. We'd like to remind you that information about updated health and safety protocols, frequently asked questions about COVID-19 measures and how to sign up for weekly COVID-19 testing in our schools can be found in the COVID-19 section of our website. Some health and safety guidelines have been updated this week. Take a look!

Grade 8 CMS Students Meet with Geneticist

CMS 8th graders attended a talk with guest speaker Brendan Blumenstiel, from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The general topic was the human genome. This comes at the end of the genetics unit so students had plenty of background info to help them understand the content. Students asked a lot of good questions!

Students created resumés at the start of the unit, imagining themselves as geneticists. Their choices ranged from medical illustrators, genetic counselors, biostatisticians, and pediatric geneticists. They also have a final project coming up to present a disorder to an adult in the building (other than their teacher!) while pretending to be a genetic counselor. They’re excited because they get to wear a lab coat! Teacher Allison Ward notes that this will help students to develop SEL skills (imagine telling someone they are a carrier for a life altering disease) and give them a chance to imagine being in a scientific career.

Ms. Ward also arranged a small group pizza lunch with a dozen students who are interested specifically in careers in science. They met for an hour and had a chance to have more 1:1 conversations, ask advice, and share their interests with the visiting scientist.

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.

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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.

X Kickball League

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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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