Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


SPS families,

The highlight of this week for me was inauguration day and the beautiful and inspiring words of poet Amanda Gorman as she shared an optimistic look forward for our divided nation. In her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb” she wrote:

  • “A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished”;
  • “We are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man”
  • “We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one”
  • “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it”.

These powerful words set a direction and a path for our efforts as a school system. While there are so many strong and positive aspects to the Salem Public Schools, we also have “unfinished” work to ensure that students of “all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man” excel and thrive in our schools. This is ongoing equity work that has been made even more challenging through the almost year-long pandemic. It has exacerbated societal inequities such that we must strengthen our focus on building an inclusive educational system. I have no doubt that our staff, students, and community have the passion, commitment, and courage to be “the light” in this transformation. We will play our role in healing the world’s “wounds” and creating “wonder” for the next generation.

Have a wonderful weekend,


COVID-19 Webinar

This past Wednesday, Salem Public Schools presented a webinar update on the COVID-19 response in our community. Superintendent Zrike led the program as we provided updates and information to our community.

We'd like to thank Dr. Clovene Campbell, Pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of Greater Salem, Amy Courtney, MPH, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention and Patient Safety at North Shore Medical Center, and Dr. David J. Roberts, President of North Shore Medical Center for joining us and offering their expertise and medical advice to our staff and families. Their partnership has been so valuable to us during this health crisis.

Did you miss the webinar? You can view the recording here.

Kindergarten Expo!

Thank you to those of us who joined us for the Kindergarten Expo! We are excited to bring our youngest learners into our schools!

If you missed the Expo, you can view a recording of it here:

Access Passcode: qXq3Dx?s

Next week: Virtual booths so families can explore each school and ask questions. See event info here.

Kindergarten registration forms are now available and you can find them, along with information about each school and the registration process on the kindergarten one-stop web page.

This site has information about our kindergarten programs, our schools, afterschool partners, and additional resources.

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Student Spotlight: Yoan, 4th grade, Bates Elementary

This week was our first student spotlight at the School Committee meeting. Yoan is a 4th grader at Bates- he came to us in January 2019. Yoan has been learning fully remotely this year, so it has been difficult for him to get the practice he needs with his English skills, particularly speaking. He LOVES to tell stories, especially ones about his home, Honduras, so his teacher, Ms. Anna Hillman, decided to help him focus his energy on writing these stories down. Yoan is literate in Spanish, so he was able to write down his stories in Spanish and Ms. Hillman translated them to English -- they practice reading them together as much as they can. Ms. Hillman's hope is to engage Yoan by allowing him to share his expertise and his stories from home with others while encouraging his literacy in both languages. You can read Yoan's story here.

During the School Committee meeting, Yoan, with support from Ms. Hillman, read his story aloud in English. We are all so proud of Yoan!

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Tentative Spring 2021 MCAS Testing Schedule for Grades 3–8

The tentative spring 2021 testing windows are as follows:

· English Language Arts (ELA): Monday, April 5-Friday, May 7

· Mathematics: Monday, April 26-Friday, May 28

· Science, Technology, Engineering (STE) (grades 5 and 8): Tuesday, April 27-Friday, May 28

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will significantly reduce testing time for students in grades 3-8, through a session sampling approach, in which each student will take only a portion of each MCAS assessment in each subject. Instead of taking two sessions of each subject, students will take only one session of each.

Visit DESE’s Statewide Testing Schedule webpage for more information.

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 Lee Ann O'Neil, Instructional Paraprofessional at Bates Elementary School. Ms. O'Neil has taken on many roles and responsibilities this year to support the in-person and remote learning of all students. Ms. O'Neil consistently builds authentic relationships with students by recognizing their individual strengths. Her students know she cares about them beyond the academic day. This trust has given her students the confidence to be themselves and push them to their full potential.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update for Staff

Currently, in the state of Massachusetts, school personnel are slated for COVID-19 vaccination during Phase 2 (February-April). At this time, vaccinations will not be provided at schools but will be obtained through primary care physicians, at local pharmacy chains, or at regional public clinics that are currently being organized. Once SPS receives details on the confirmed Phase 2 vaccination plans and locations from the local Board of Health, we will inform all staff.

Facebook Live!

Don't forget! Superintendent Zrike is LIVE on Facebook on Wednesday afternoons.

Join us Wednesday at 4:15 in English and 4:45 in Spanish for the most up to date information about our district.

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.

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.


*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 to set up your appointment.

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