Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent

May 14, 2021

SPS families,

I want to remind our community about the COVID -19 Pfizer vaccine clinic to be held at Saltonstall tomorrow between 10 am-2 pm. We are hoping that many of our students, who are 12 and older, take advantage of this opportunity to access the vaccine in order to keep them and the city safe. Older family members can also access appointments if they are still in need of securing the vaccine. You can find more information about how to register for the clinic later in this newsletter.

We have received many questions about changes in CDC guidance regarding health and safety protocols. As of this moment, we are not making any adjustments to our protocols as we are awaiting direction from the MA Department of Public Heath, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Salem Board of Health. Schools are unique organizations given the number of people that we serve at one time and the fact that the majority of our students are unvaccinated at this point. We will keep you posted if and when our practices change in the coming days and weeks.

I look forward to seeing many of you this weekend at our vaccine clinic, the SHS music department car wash and at the high school redesign planning update.



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 Saltonstall nurse, Lisa Gray-Duffy. An SPS nurse for more than a decade, Lisa has demonstrated caring, concern, and advocacy for students and families. Championing district initiatives to promote inclusion, Lisa has been a strong ally of LGBTQ students and families, collaborated on development of an inclusive puberty curriculum, and meaningfully contributed to the district’s student COVID-19 testing program to keep our school community as safe as possible. We thank Nurse Gray-Duffy for her commitment to equity, inclusion, health and wellness for all.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic this Saturday for ages 12+

Great news!! The SPS free COVID vaccination clinic this Saturday (5/15) just added 100 more appointments!! Over the last 72 hours, the FDA and CDC have approved the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12 and up! Come join us from 10am to 2pm at the Saltonstall Auditorium (211 Lafayette)!

Ages 12+ - Save your spot to get the shot!

The clinic will be run by Curative, the state partner who runs the Danvers vaccination site, and the clinic will offer only Pfizer vaccines. Those who participate will be signed up to receive the second dose on Saturday, June 5th at Saltonstall. The clinic will be open to the Salem public, including SPS staff and their families, and students who are eligible but do not attend Salem Public Schools. For anyone under age 18, a parent or guardian must be present to sign the consent and register on-site.

For more information, click here:

If this option doesn’t work for you, the North Shore Vaccine Clinic is open on Tuesdays & Thursdays at SSU (which also accepts the paper consent). Click here for more information: or use the state’s website:

Bus Transportation for the 2021-2022 School Year

Applications for bus transportation for the 2021-2022 school year went out on Monday. This application must be completed for all riders. If you have more than one child in the Salem Public Schools, you may receive more than one packet, and a separate application must be submitted for each student. All bus applications must be returned to the Transportation Office by June 1, 2021, with a deposit (If applicable) of $100.00 per rider.

Nutrition Assistance

In addition to school meals and Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance, has helped many households get through this tough year. Here are some important messages to share with families returning to in-person learning who no longer qualify for P-EBT:

  • All students can get free meals at school (P-EBT was created to supplement the availability of school meals during remote learning due to the pandemic).
  • P-EBT will be available this summer, so families who qualified should keep their cards! (The Department of Transitional Assistance will share more information about this in the future.)
  • Families can still use their unspent P-EBT money from previous months.
  • Many families who were eligible for P-EBT are likely eligible for SNAP and are encouraged to apply. SNAP outreach materials are available in 11 languages.
For more information, visit

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. Eligible households can receive:

  • Up to a $50/month discount on their broadband service and associated equipment rentals
  • Up to a $75/month discount if their household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. Households can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on Wednesday, May 12. The program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

Understanding the IEP - A Free Virtual Workshop for Parents/Professionals

Salem Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is a group of parents and guardians of children who receive special education services. SEPAC provides educational workshops and is available for support and to provide resources about special education services in Salem Public Schools.

What: Basic Rights: Understanding the IEP - A Free Virtual Workshop for Parents and Professionals

When: May 20, 2021 – 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Registration link:

Music Department Car wash

Do you have as much pollen on your car as I do? This Saturday, the SHS music department is holding a car wash fundraiser. Come to SHS on Saturday between 9am-1pm. Get your car squeaky clean for a suggested donation of $5.00. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Salem High School Internship Program

Senior Internship Program is an opportunity to apply content proficiency to post-secondary readiness. Students align post-secondary goals with an internship experience that engages them in challenging and work-based-learning opportunities. The internships build student agency, professional networks, and experience with community service.

The first four weeks of the internship prepare students with the basic “soft skills” that they will need in order to successfully establish an internship. They engage in: expectations/policy, career exploration, skill self-assessment, post-high school planning, filling out a job application, resumé building, emailing etiquette, making phone calls, elevator pitches, building a schedule/time-management, and searching for and solidifying an internship.

See what some of our interns have been up to this year.

SHS Student Intern at Salem City Hall

Andre Noonan's internship in the Finance Department at Salem City Hall has given him valuable real-life work experience as he prepares to enter Bentley College's Accounting and Auditing program in the fall. Salem's Director of Finance, Laurie Giardella, had high praise for Andre's contribution to her department. She is also very impressed with the SHS Internship Program and proud to serve as a strong community partner.

SHS Student Intern at Salem Public Library

Brylee Guilmet’s internship at Salem Public Library has given her greater insight into her future career choices. Brylee loves books and her internship has been a perfect match. Brylee spends much of her time in the childrens' books section using her organizational skills categorizing books and creating craft kits for children. We would like to recognize Library Director, Tara Mansfield who has been an outstanding community partner since the start of the SHS internship program three years ago.


This year, our SHS CTE program will offer a FREE summer exploratory program for 7th and 8th graders.

Campers will participate in activities in Auto Technology, Early Education and Care, Building Property and Maintenance, Medical Assisting, Culinary Arts, Electrical, and Internships.

There will be two opportunities: Session 1 is the week of June 21st, and session 2 is the week of June 28th. This FREE program will allow students to explore some of the CTE pathways available at SHS. More details on the program and how to sign up have been sent to families via ParentSquare.

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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.

Garnish for Good!

Camp Fire Summer Camp flier

Information about Summer Camp with the Boys and Girls Club

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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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