Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families

Superintendent's Message

November 5, 2021

Dear staff and caregivers,

Thank you for responding to our wellness day poll. We had strong participation with over 1100 staff and families (unfortunately, our survey was not able to reach our students) sharing their input with us.

So what is the outcome?
The result of our poll reveals that there is overwhelming support for an SPS wellness day. Next Friday, November 12th, received double the votes of any other choice across our English, Spanish, and Portuguese survey responses.

With this clear outcome, Salem Public Schools will be closed on Friday, November 12th. To meet our 180 school day obligation, we will add a day at the end of the calendar. June 15th will now be the last day of school (June 20th for Carlton).

Why are we doing this?
The current school year has brought with it multiple challenges for students and staff as they have balanced full in-person learning with the continued presence of COVID-19 and a rise in mental health concerns following more than a year of isolation. We are incredibly proud of the resilience and perseverance of our community for continuing to focus on the needs of our youth as we navigate the impact of the virus. As you can imagine, these efforts have proven to be exhausting and it is important for us to carefully monitor the stress and anxiety of an educational community that has a high standard for excellence. Our staff is clearly telling us that they need a “pause” for both themselves and their students so that they can continue to deliver a high-quality experience for our students. It is important that we listen to what our dedicated professionals are telling us and adjust our schedules and approaches accordingly.

Given this reality, we found it necessary to explore options for our community to rest and recharge as we come to the close of the first quarter. In looking at our school calendar, we saw Nov. 12th as an opportunity to introduce a wellness day. It offers a consecutive block of days for students and staff to disconnect. Additionally, we discussed that the existing schedule of no school on Thursday, in school on Friday, and then back out of school over the weekend is disruptive for many of our students.

We understand that this change to the schedule might be difficult for some caregivers. However, we will be providing free childcare (8:30-2:30 pm at Horace Mann) for those families that have no other option for care. Please understand that this opportunity is reserved for those who have a dire need. If your child already participates in after-school care, please check with your provider before signing up for a slot at Horace Mann. Breakfast and lunch will be offered and we ask that you sign up in advance by using this form, no later than Monday at 5 pm. You will receive a confirmation of enrollment no later than Tuesday if we can accommodate your request. We hope to accommodate as many requests as possible. Please note that transportation will not be provided.

Thank you for your ongoing support. We hope that our staff and students will take this time to put down their pens and shut off their devices so that they can spend time with their families and/or do something that brings them great joy and energy.



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.”

The Cone of Excellence is presented this week to Salem Prep Adjustment and Guidance Counselor, Nicole Burnett. Ms. Burnett‘s knowledge of and skills to support mental health, trauma informed care, and social emotional learning has been critically important to the success of the Salem Prep program. Her vision and passionate dedication to their shared mission has led to major improvements including: an improved care team meeting structure and a four year individualized pathway to graduation for each student. She has accomplished all of this while building trusting and respectful relationships with many new students and families on her caseload. Congratulations!

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SPS Website - Maintenance Scheduled

Please be advised that our website provider's network operations center will be performing maintenance across all websites November 9-10, 2021, between the hours of 12:00 AM - 6:00 AM Eastern Time.

While they make every effort to minimize the impact during maintenance, our website will be inaccessible during this time frame.

Food and Nutrition Services

The Salem Public Schools Food and Nutrition Department wants to remind you that nationwide, including here in Salem, we are currently faced with unprecedented shortages of food and packaging materials, extended delays or cancellations of deliveries, and department labor shortages. This has affected the availability of certain food items, leading to substitutions of menu items we’ve been able to offer regularly in the past.

All of this means that we may need to make quick adjustments to our menus, based on what we are able to acquire. At this time, menus will be posted weekly so we can be more confident we have the food to fulfill them.

Please know that our number one priority continues to be providing healthy, nutritious, and appetizing meals for your children. We love seeing them every day and appreciate your support and patience as we continue to have supply chain complications.

Vaccination Rates for Students and Staff

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Final reminder for SEF grant proposals

Salem Education Foundation invites Salem teachers to submit proposals for grants to support creative projects to benefit students in the current school year.

Grant forms and directions are available at Proposals are due by December 1. Successful grants will be announced early in 2022.

SEF funds individual grants up to $1000 and collaborative grants (for two or more schools working together) up to $3000. Since its founding over 25 years ago, SEF has provided over half a million dollars to Salem schools for grants that cover topics in STEM, the arts, literacy, leadership development, health and wellness, and other areas.

Teacher of the Year Celebration

We are happy to share with you the video of the celebration that took place in October, honoring our own Marta García, ESL teacher at the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, as the Massachusetts' Teacher of the Year.

SHS Music Department - Mattress Fundraiser

Saturday, November 13th, 10am - 4 pm, SHS Auditorium

Get a better night's sleep AND support the 8th Annual Salem High School Music Dept. mattress fundraiser! We carry BRAND NEW, fully warrantied, quality name brands including Simmons BeautyRest, Therapedic and the popular Number Bed for up to 50% below retail. This is ONE DAY only, so we need your help to SPREAD THE WORD by inviting all of your family and friends! Profits go directly to these talented student musicians!

There will also be weighted blankets, adjustable bases, luxury sheets & pillows, frames, convertible bean bag chairs, mattress protectors, massage chairs & body massagers!

MANY financing options also available including 0% interest and no credit check needed.
Starting Prices: T ($199) F ($289) Q ($299) K ($499)
-- ONE DAY ONLY -- free sheets w/any bed purchase, or $50 OFF any set over $399, just show this post :)

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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