Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

November 19, 2021

Salem families,

I want to wish your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Please enjoy the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones and to reflect on the things you are grateful for after almost two years of multiple twists and turns.

For me, it continues to be a privilege to be part of the Salem Public Schools’ family. I am grateful to work in a community that:

  • Invests resources beyond what is statutorily required to fund its public schools;
  • Is committed (not just in word, but in action) to promoting a culture of inclusivity and equity;
  • Possesses so much pride and passion about its history and traditions;
  • Employs countless staff members who are tirelessly and fiercely dedicated to the City of Salem and its children;
  • Believes that families are essential partners if we are to ensure that every student receives what they need to be successful;
  • Above all, boasts the best young people in the Commonwealth!

Enjoy your turkey day!


Thanksgiving Early Release

As a reminder, on Wednesday, November 24th, schools will dismiss early following their regular early release schedule found here. In addition, schools will be closed on Thursday, November 25th and Friday, November 26th.

There will not be a weekly newsletter published next week.

Cone of Excellence

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,” or “Great Job.”

This week's Cone of Excellence is awarded to Ms. Nadia East, a 4th grade teacher at Bentley. Ms. East has persevered this year after the pandemic to full time in-person learning. She has shifted her practice to meet the wide range of academic and social emotional needs of her students. Her calm presence and effective social and emotional strategies have helped her students refocus on their academics. Congratulations Ms. East!

Mask Mandate Still in Effect In Salem Public Schools

We are aware that the City of Salem has lifted their indoor mask mandate. However, Salem Public Schools are under the purview of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

On Tuesday, October 26, DESE announced that after consulting with medical experts and state health officials, their mask requirement in all K-12 public schools throughout Massachusetts has been extended through at least January 15, 2022.

We recognize the desire to "just be done", but we are still in a COVID-19 pandemic and thus, we want to keep all of our staff and students safe. Staff, students, and families are required to wear a mask in our schools. We appreciate your cooperation.

REMINDER - 12/1 Deadline for Required Vaccine for High Respiratory Extracurricular Activities

Salem Public Schools remains committed to a safe and healthy environment for all students, staff, and families in our district. Currently, we are under a vaccine mandate for high respiratory extracurricular activities that was approved by the School Committee in October.

Vaccine eligible students must show proof of vaccination in order to participate in extracurricular activities unless there is a clearly stated medical exemption provided by a doctor or the family attests to a strongly held religious belief that prevents them from getting the vaccine. Students that have received their first dose by December 1st and are scheduled for their second dose will qualify to participate in the extracurricular activities.

Congratulations to our John and Abigail Adams 2021 Scholarship Winners

The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship is a merit-based program that provides a credit toward tuition for up to eight semesters of undergraduate education at a Massachusetts state college or university. For this scholarship, merit is based on student scores on the 10th grade Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test.

Congratulations to the following SHS students:

Genevieve Boudo

Harrison Devoe

Hawa Hamidou Tabayi

Corey Aras Kaulenas

Maher Kokonezis-Hanino

Madison Lane

Liam McKillop

Cassadi O'Leary

Perla Pena

Jimena Pueyo-Garcia

Natalie Wessell

Carla Zoquier-Urbaez

Multilingual Learner Quarter 1 Awards Recognition

On Monday, November 15th, SHS had our Multilingual Learner (ML) Quarter 1 Awards Recognition. We were excited to celebrate our ML students who excelled in three different categories for Q1: 1. Linguistic Risk-Taker - a student who has bravely been pushing themselves to use and grow their English linguistic skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 2. Academic Excellence - a student who has displayed standards competency and proficiency in the ELD classroom. 3. Social Justice (Self-Awareness or Leadership) - a student who is able to take to the Social-Emotional Learning elements embedded in the curriculum and display those characteristics in words and actions in the classroom.

Congratulations to:

Linguistic Risk-Taker (Most Improved)

  • Gerson De Leon Vital
  • Ana Sosa Duarte
  • Angel Galeas Barahona
  • Jeffrey Rubiera Genao

Academic Excellence

  • Justin Ruiz Hernandez
  • Rafael Regis Mercandelli
  • Lavinia Rodrigues
  • Axel Reyes Bisono

Social Justice: Self Awareness

  • Frantz St Eloi

Social Justice: Leadership

  • Deniel Santiago Perez
  • Ashlie Gonzalez Diaz
  • Justin Rubiera Genao

North Shore Community Development Coalition - Recognizes Our Own Laura Assade

Last week, North Shore CDC celebrated outstanding volunteer, Carmen Tejeda, and Change Agent, Laura Assade. Laura is SPS' Family Engagement Manager. The celebration included a discussion of the importance of sharing resources and information equitably in the community. Click this link to catch the conversation if you missed it!

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Resources

Need more information or have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Department of Public Health has the following communication resources available about COVID-19 and flu vaccinations:

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Saturday, Dec. 11th, 10am-3pm

77 Willson Street

Salem, MA

Culinary Arts Job Training - Applications Open Now for January Cohort at Root

Our partners at Root are now accepting applications for the January cohort. Find more information here.

magic at leap

Are you interested in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields? Are you hoping to explore a career field of interest, expand your experience, and engage in a meaningful relationship with a mentor? THEN, look no further!

LEAP has teamed up with MAGIC to offer middle school and high school girls an opportunity to have a 1:1 mentoring relationship with an inspirational and successful career woman in STEM. Starting in the new year, you meet on-line with your mentor who is from the field of your interest to develop a project of your choice. Examples include:

  • Interactive Phone Apps

  • 3D Modeling

  • Creating Programs with Python

  • Using Robots for Website Design

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to build your resume and make a new professional connection that will help with your next steps!

PROGRAM DATES: January 2022 to May 2022 (2-3 hours per week)

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, November 29th

VIDEO, FLYER & PRESENTATION: Click on these materials for more info!

Have questions? Contact LEAP volunteer (Steve Becroft) at

Harborlight Affordable Housing Lotteries

Harborlight is sharing the latest information about two current HCP lotteries. One is in Beverly (Anchor Point 1: 2 and 3-bedroom apartments at 30% and 60% AMI, with set asides for currently homeless families), and another is in Hamilton (Willow Street Flats: 1 and 2-bedroom apartments at 80% AMI).

Here you’ll find formal informational flyers about the lotteries, and applications and other information (in multiple languages) for both properties can now be found on our website at as well as the new Housing Navigator.

Schedule a meeting with Superintendent Zrike

Dr. Zrike would love the opportunity to meet with any SPS staff or SPS family who would like to do so. It could be in a park, a coffee shop, your home, or anywhere else.

If you would like to schedule some time with Dr. Zrike, please email Mindy Marino to set up a time and place.

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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.

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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