Salem Returns Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent

10/02/2020


Happy October! As we complete week 3 of school, we appreciate your continued partnership with us as we continue to fine-tune our instructional approach. We are thrilled that Hubs Connects will begin in-person across our schools this week. This will provide our students and staff with the opportunity to engage in a meaningful face-to-face experience with members of their school community who they have only seen on computer screens.


We are now in the midst of planning to bring more students back to school following our upcoming November break. We are receiving input from families, staff, students, and the Salem Board of Health to make a thoughtful decision about returning more students to in-person learning. This week, schools have reached out to our parents to gauge their interest in a more in-person experience. We will certainly be returning to our original plan from August, prioritizing our youngest learners first. Please know that we will still be providing a remote option for families who have concerns about their child returning to in-person schooling.


In collecting and reviewing the information received, we will make a presentation with a recommendation to the School Committee at our Oct. 13th School Committee meeting. We look forward to designing a plan that will uphold health and safety standards while ensuring that more students come back to school for their learning. In the meantime, if you have thoughts or ideas that you would like to share, please do not hesitate to email salemreturns@salemk12.org.


Finally, we are still looking for families to share images along with words describing what Hispanic heritage means to them. Please email your images to publicrelations@salemk12.org so that we can share with the entire SPS community. We appreciate your partnership as we embrace the diversity the makes our city a special place to live and work.

Safer Outside in Salem: Education Reimagined

If you have not heard by now, Salem Public Schools is exploring how we can enhance outdoor learning spaces. This parent-led city-wide collaboration is working to leverage the current pandemic needs to provide safe, beautiful, and functional outdoor learning spaces for

students & staff in the Salem Public School District.


Salem Public Schools has already committed up to $80K in temporary and permanent upgrades to expand access to and safety of outdoor learning spaces. We are also looking to rally community support. The combined efforts of family volunteers, the Department of Public Services, charitable foundations, and local businesses has the potential to create long-lasting positive impacts for students.


Objectives:


  • Ensure Equity: The district and our family volunteers have committed to ensuring all elementary students have access to these upgraded outdoor learning spaces, even as we adapt options to meet individual space needs
  • Long-term Improvements: While this project meets the specific health & safety needs of the moment by increasing use of outdoor spaces, the initiative seeks to build the foundation for long term outdoor learning, achieving the proven benefits of improved classroom engagement, academic outcomes, and social-emotional wellness.
  • Enhance Curriculum: Physical, Life, Earth, and Space Sciences studied hands-on, outdoors, using project-based learning will cultivate future conservationists, preservationists, STEM-focused professionals, and lifelong stewards of the earth.


Want more information? Contact saferoutsideinsalem@gmail.com

Want to support this parent-led effort? Join the Facebook group to learn more.


See below for some examples

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Voting in 2020: A panel discussion

Join Salem Public Schools, the ACLU, and the League of Women Voters of Salem for a panel discussion and Q&A about voting rights and issues today with community leaders:


  • Kim Driscoll, Mayor of Salem
  • Matthew Allen, ACLU
  • Ana Nuncio, Salem League of Women Voters and the School Committee


Register Here


(Open to students & families of Salem High School and our Salem Community)


*Registration is required and a zoom link will be sent via email 24 hours prior to the event.

CVS Flu Clinics at Schools

Good news! Salem Public Schools is partnering with CVS Pharmacy to provide flu clinics at each of our school locations. This service will be provided to students ages 8 and above with parental consent. This year, per Governor Baker, all school-aged children must be vaccinated against influenza by 12/31/20 or they risk being excluded from school, both remote or in-person.


Flu Clinics will be held at school sites the weeks of October 12th and October 18th. Strict health and safety strategies will be employed with masks and physical distancing required. For any questions, please contact Charlene Moske-Weber, Director of Nursing and Health Services at 978-265-4059. More detailed information, including exact clinic times at each school, will be coming soon.

Ventilation System Updates

Extensive repair work has been completed on both the Bentley/ECC and Horace Mann buildings. I am encouraged that the systems will be running as intended at both schools very soon. We expect Horace Mann to move back to their building by Monday, Oct. 5th and we should know more about a timeline for Bentley by the end of this week.

Coming soon: ParentSquare

We are very excited to be adopting a new form of communication at Salem Public Schools. ParentSquare is designed to keep parents informed and facilitate participation at school. It provides a safe way for the school principal, teachers, staff, and parents to communicate in a variety of ways.


Here’s what you can do with ParentSquare:


  • Receive messages from the school via email, text or app notification

  • Choose to receive information as it comes or all at once at 6pm daily

  • Communicate in your preferred language

  • Comment on school postings to engage in your school community

  • Direct message teachers, staff and other parents

  • Participate in group messages

  • Sign up for parent-teacher conferences with smart online technology

  • Send payments, sign forms & permission slips, sign up to volunteer, and more all from your phone or web portal


The anticipated launch of ParentSquare is November 9th (subject to change). Training will be available for staff, teachers, and families and more information will be available as we get closer to the launch date. For a sneak peek, you can view the ParentSquare overview here.

Pandemic EBT Cards (P-EBT)

We know there are questions about the benefit amounts for these cards. We are actively working with our contacts to get some clarity. As soon as we have more information to share, we will let you know.


What we know now is that September benefits will be distributed.

If you already have a card, P-EBT funds will be added to the EBT card you already have starting on September 30, 2020.


You also may request a new card from DTA by visiting DTAConnect.com/pebt.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that families still have many questions about this unique start to the school year. We have created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document that will be continuously updated as we advance through this school year.


Please take a look and if you still have a question that was not addressed, please send it to publicrelations@salemk12.org

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Other important links

Did you miss our High Hopes video? We hope it brings you and your family joy as we get going with the 2020-2021 school year. Watch below.

Salem has High Hopes for the 2020-2021 School year

Welcome Back To School!

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