Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


Salem families,

As part of our budget planning this year, we want your input! We hosted multiple community and staff forums to hear what families, educators and students want us to prioritize in our budget proposal for the upcoming school year. We are appreciative of those who were able to join us and share their perspective about how we should utilize our precious resources.

On Wednesday evening, March 31st from 6-7 pm, we are hosting a forum for our Spanish and Portuguese speaking families. You can join by using this link.

In this edition of the newsletter, you will find a copy of the budget forum presentation that includes information about our strategic priorities, the budget planning process and a series of potential priorities that are aligned to our strategic direction. We have also included a survey that allows you to communicate your preferences among the 21 priorities that have emerged through the budget process. While incredibly difficult, we are asking you to select only 3 of these areas to target our resources in the efforts to move our school system forward. This will help us craft a financial plan that is responsive to the interests of the community that we serve. Thank you in advance for your time.

Finally, we cannot wait to welcome more students to five days of in-person learning on April 5th in grades K-8! Our staff has been working on overdrive to prepare- moving furniture, shifting lesson plans and establishing new safety returns. To afford staff the necessary preparation time, Wednesday, March 31st will serve as an early release in K-8. We appreciate your flexibility as we eagerly anticipate many students’ return to full, in-person learning.

Have a terrific weekend,


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,” or “Great Job.”

This week's Cone of Excellence goes to the Bentley Academy Innovation School Student Support Team! The BAIS Student Support Team has gone above and beyond in their unwavering dedication this year. Vanessa Fagundes (Family Engagement Facilitator), Maria Sena Rosales (Office Manager), Brittani Andler, Sarah Biltcliffe (School Adjustment Counselors), and Heather Perry (City Connects Coordinator) have been ahead of each change to our learning models this year and have engaged families in meaningful conversations about what is best for their children's learning & social emotional health needs during this yearlong pandemic. They've made sure that remote students have the materials they need and that students who arrive at school after many months of being away feel supported and connected. This team has truly made a difference in students' lives this year!

3/31 Early Release for K-8

A reminder that Wednesday is an early release day for grades K-8 as our teachers prepare to bring students back to the classroom. We appreciate your flexibility to allow our staff to prepare for what is essentially the 4th or 5th "first day of school". We have also created the graphic below to help you plan ahead for important dates through the end of the school year.
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New Start/End Times

As discussed, start and end times for some schools will be shifting to accommodate the school day schedules. Some school start times shifted 5-10 minutes to ensure our transportation schedule can accommodate the increased number of daily riders. Many school end times were extended to the six-hour, five-minute day. Remote schedules will follow the same schedule as the in-person schedule unless specified for our extended day schools. The new start and end times can be found on our website.

As far as specific school schedules, you can expect to hear directly from your schools as they reach out with updates. Transportation will send out new information about bus stops / schedules during the week of 3/28

All the info for rising 9th graders about SHS

Are you ready to learn about the exciting world of opportunity that Salem High School can offer? From arts and music to JROTC, sports and clubs to top-notch academics and amazing career technical programs such as culinary arts, carpentry, computer programming, medical assisting, and more! We have pathways for every type of student to meet their needs and support them throughout their high school years. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got going on at Salem High School.

Want to learn more? Head on over to our website to see all the great things we are doing at Salem High School.

Adhering to Choice of Instruction Delivery Model

We want to remind families that both now, and when we bring students back to school in April, that what you decided on for your model (remote or in person) is what we expect for your student. If they miss the bus, or oversleep, they cannot simply decide to remote in for the day. Teachers are making specific plans for children to attend in-person or remote, and it is very disruptive to have students randomly switch on a given day. We will not be permitting this moving forward, so please be sure to adhere to your chosen model. If you have questions, please contact your building principal.

Budget Priorities for the 21-22 School Year

Dr. Zrike recently held forums for our staff and community to hear about our strategic priorities, learn about the budget process and offer input on budget priorities for the 21-22 school year. You can view a copy of the PowerPoint presentation here.

If you were unable to participate in one of the forums but would like the chance to offer your input on budget priorities for the 21-22 school year, please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The survey will close at 5 p.m. on April 2nd. Your input is appreciated.

Giving a hand to our teachers

We know that teachers are going through a large amount of supplies since we have returned to school because we are no longer sharing supplies between students. We recognize this and are providing funding for supplies for each of our K-8 classrooms to help with getting the supplies teachers need for their students. Teachers can speak to their building principals for more information.

Keeping our community safe in a few simple steps!

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe! There are additional layers of mitigation that can help, too.

  • Sign your students up for Salem’s FREE, simple, and safe COVID-19 testing in schools. This program is for students who DO NOT have symptoms, and involves a very simple lower nasal swab test once per week. You only need to sign up once to participate for the rest of the year! Go to to sign up by clicking the link for your school.
  • Any one in your family can get a free individual diagnostic test through the end of the school year through the city’s Stop the Spread testing:
  • If you travel, please help us protect our community by following the Massachusetts Travel Advisory:

Transgender Day of Visibility

Wednesday, March 31st is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This is an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender and non-binary people, acknowledging their courage to live openly and authentically, celebrating their contributions to society, and raising awareness of the discrimination and violence faced by the transgender community worldwide.

Please join PFLAG on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 7:00—8:30 PM

This event will feature a presentation on why trans visibility matters. Then, transgender and non-binary community members and their allies will share stories, poems, and prose to make their voices heard. There will also be time for community discussion and Q&A. Register and find out more here:

As trans and non-binary parents and allies, the Transgender Day of Visibility gives us an opportunity to spread the word that trans lives matter. As allies, we need to always look for opportunities to hold space for our trans and non-binary loved ones and celebrate and recognize their many accomplishments.

Vaccines for Salem Public Schools' Staff

Need a vaccine appointment? Have time to help a Salem Public Schools' staff member get one? The City of Salem, Salem Public Schools and the Salem Teachers Union 1258 are working together on a volunteer effort to help with booking appointments for Salem educators and school staff who are currently eligible for a COVID vaccine appointment, but are having trouble booking an appointment on-line. The initial goal of this effort is to help get teachers and school staff vaccinated ahead of more of our students returning to school on April 5th.

It can be difficult for school staff to book an appointment during the day, while school is in session. So we’re looking for volunteers to help crowdsource booking appointments for Salem educators and school staff and for those staff members who are having trouble to sign up to be partnered with someone to help.

Volunteering is simple. If you can help from home by volunteering to find appointments for these essential workers, please fill out the form at

If you a Salem Public Schools' staff member (or other education staff in the City of Salem), you can fill out the form at if you would like to be added to the list of “adoptable” education workers for volunteers to help.

Staff should also be sure they are pre-registered for the state’s mass vax sites, by visiting For more information on this program, please visit the Salem Together for our Education Workforce website

Call for Nominations - Teacher Recognition Award

Do you know an exemplary teacher from Salem or Marblehead?

Please nominate that individual for recognition.

What is the purpose of the award? Each year, The Margaret Voss Howard Teacher Recognition Award recognizes one Marblehead teacher and one Salem teacher as representative of all the excellent, dedicated teachers in the community who make a difference to children every day.

Teachers from the district schools in Marblehead and Salem, Massachusetts, are eligible. Each honoree receives an unrestricted cash award of $500. Anyone—educators, parents, students, citizens—may make a nomination.

Send a letter of nomination with your reasons for nominating the teacher. Please be as detailed and specific as possible. Please keep nominations confidential and do not inform individuals that they have been nominated. Nominations must be postmarked by April 30.

More information and the nomination form can be found here for download.

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.

North Shore IDB Club

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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