Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


Salem families,

Some of the earliest data (both our own and across the country) suggest that students are lagging behind in math performance. Math, as a content area, is dictated by a progression of skills and concepts that build on each other. Gaps in this learning can result in students struggling to keep pace with grade-level expectations.

As a District, we are actively planning to provide students with additional intervention and supports for the remainder of this school year, over the summer, and when we return to a more “normalized” schedule during the upcoming 2021-22 school year. ST MATH ( is a terrific resource that all students in grades K-5 can access through their ClassLink page on their Chromebooks). ST Math is a fun, interactive, research-based, and highly-effective tool that supports the development of students’ conceptual understanding.

As you can see later in this newsletter, I was privileged to be joined by the famous ST Math penguin, Jiji, at my Facebook Live on Wednesday (Check out the video on our SPS Facebook page). Jiji announced a districtwide competition for the month of February. The K-5 classroom (at each grade level) that solves the most puzzles during the month, will earn a dance party with Jiji. Please encourage your child to participate! We want all of our students to take full advantage of this impactful resource to hone their mathematics skills.

Have a terrific weekend,


Executive Director for Special Education Search Process

The search process for the position of Executive Director of Special Education in the Salem Public Schools is currently underway. The position was posted on January 20, 2021 with an application deadline of February 12, 2021. The district will offer an opportunity for a small group of parents to participate in a facilitated discussion about the goals for this role and the priority competencies that a successful candidate must possess.

Date: February 8, 2021

Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm

Location: Zoom meeting*

Interested in applying for this position? You can find the job posting here.

*If you are interested in participating in this focus group, please email Jensen Jacobsmeyer at or call her at (978) 740-1214 to reserve a spot and access the Zoom Link. There is a maximum of 30 available slots.

Mental Health Resources

COVID-19 has brought on many stressors for children and families. We understand parents are worried about their child's physical and mental health. is a simple resource family members can use to understand what is typical for children and when to worry about their child's behavior, and what to do next. It also contains tips, tools, and strategies that have worked for other families who are managing the increased stress of COVID 19. Also, please don't hesitate to reach out to your child's school and ask to talk to a counselor if you need more support. We are here to help!

Student COVID testing

We are excited that the state is offering funding to expand testing that would enable Salem to test students in all grades.

Salem Public Schools has signed up for this, and are we are currently working on the details, so stay tuned!

The test will be a nasal swab and not saliva for our students, and we look forward to sharing more details about how it will work in the next 1-2 weeks!

Welcome Back SHS 10th-12th graders! We have COVID testing for those returning

Welcome back next week to those high school students who have opted-in to the hybrid model. We are looking forward to seeing your faces on February 4th, which also marks the beginning of the second semester.

We will be offering COVID-19 testing for our returning students. Here are the details:

  • SHS students returning to hybrid learning for the first time at the start of the new semester (either on 2/4 or 2/8 depending on cohort) have the opportunity to get a free, saliva COVID test through SPS on Monday, 2/1 or Thursday, 2/4.
  • Monday 2/1:
    • Salem High School Lobby from 2:30-4 pm. If there is traffic from Stop the Spread, please say that you are a student going to the lobby of SHS.
    • Saltonstall Auditorium from 4 pm-6 pm
  • Thursday 2/4 (only for students who begin on Monday, 2/8): Saltonstall Auditorium during SHS Community Office Hours, 5-8 pm

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!

Virtual booths are available to meet and greet with principals and hear more about each school. These virtual meetings also allow you to ask questions and hear about the different programs and personalities of our elementary schools.

You can see the full schedule of virtual booths with clickable links here.

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

Access Passcode: qXq3Dx?s

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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Collins Middle School 5th Grade OPEN HOUSE Monthly Family Meetings

Collins Middle School is hosting monthly virtual meetings to inform families about Collins Middle School and help smooth the transition to 6th grade. Save these dates!

February 24th: Meet the 6th-grade teachers

March 31st: Special Education/ELL

April 28th: Band/Music/Theatre

May 26th: STEM/Electives/SEL

June 9th: CMS schedule and events

All meetings are at 6pm

Zoom Meeting

Information for each meeting will be recorded and emailed to 5th-grade families. Any questions please contact Principal Matt Condon at

Race Equity Task Force Survey

As you may know, earlier this year, a Race Equity Task Force (RETF) was convened in Salem to help our community review and discuss the ways in which racial inequities can exist within local systems such as education, economics, culture, public safety, and health care. The group, which includes community members, institutional leaders, City Councillors, and School Committee members, has been meeting for several months putting together a structure of committees, gathering data, and reviewing existing information.

The Task Force is still seeking input from community members on race equity issues. By completing the survey, we hope to gain important input that will be helpful in advancing racial equity goals for our city. I’m hoping you’ll help share your thoughts by completing the survey.

February vacation is coming soon

As a reminder, we know that February break is coming and that everyone needs the chance to recharge in this unprecedented year. However, we have to emphasize that the virus is absolutely still here, and, if anything, it is even better at spreading. I want to remind people that the standard to keep is, “don’t share air” outside of your household. We are asking our community to stay strong during February break and not take unnecessary risks.

If you do travel beyond state lines, we ask that you follow the state travel guidelines.

ST Math February Challenge!

Win a dance party with Jiji the penguin!

Dr. Zrike and Jiji challenge you and your classmates to solve as many ST Math puzzles as you can during the month of February! This is a district-wide challenge! Each grade level will compete for prizes against other similar grade levels. For example, kindergarteners compete against other kindergarten classrooms in the district. The class at every grade level that solves the most puzzles wins! Imagine, Jiji coming to your classroom, dancing with you to your favorite music, and passing out fabulous prizes! All because you did an outstanding job playing ST Math with Jiji! Ready, set, MATH!

ST Math can be found on your student's Classlink dashboard on their Chromebook.

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 Mrs. Beth White, Kindergarten at the ECC. Mrs. White is a Kindergarten teacher at the ECC who builds relationships with her students and their families with her positive spirit and her love of teaching. Mrs. White uses creativity and resourcefulness to provide each student with a unique learning experience that best meets their individual needs. She fosters independence in her students but has also created a community of friendship and trust.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update for Staff

Dr. Zrike, in partnership with the Salem Teachers Union, has been advocating for our staff to be moved up on the vaccine list. We have received quite a bit of press.

Salem News

NBC Boston

CBS Boston

Fox25 News

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.

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.

Weekly Covid-19 Dashboard


*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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