Salem Public Schools Weekly Update
for School Year 2022-2023
A Note From the Superintendent
February 10, 2023
I had the chance to stop by the 8th grade Collins dance last evening. There was so much positive energy, fun-filled laughter and, of course, some legitimate dance moves. It was great to watch our students enjoying the moment after having missed so much with the pandemic over the last few years. We can no longer take these meaningful opportunities for social connection and interaction for granted! A special thanks to the many Collins staff members who volunteered their time to make the evening so special for our students. It says so much about their commitment to their students beyond classroom academics.
On Wednesday, February 15th from 6:30-8 pm, we are hosting the first of two (there will be a virtual session on Tuesday, February 28th @ 6:30 pm) fiscal year 2024 budget forums, in person in the Salem High School IMC. Please see the flyer below. This will be an interactive session where we will share some context about the budget process but spend a great deal of time hearing from the audience. We believe that a budget is a reflection of our values and that input from families and our community is vital. We look forward to seeing many of you there. To register in advance, please fill out this form- https://forms.gle/wSUVXNs6Ye6xMeHU6. Walk-ins are always welcome.
Have a wonderful weekend,
And the winner is……
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 rock star trophy.
This week's rockstar is Collins paraprofessional, Sue Melin. Ms. Melin has been consistently observed positively guiding and encouraging the students with whom she works. Recently, she welcomed a new student to the school and was incredibly supportive to the child and their family as they transitioned to a new environment. We appreciate Ms. Melin at Collins Middle School!
SPS on TV
Did you see us on TV?
Our own Ellen Wingard and Superintendent Zrike were on the airwaves this week talking about our partnership with Cartwheel Care. We are grateful to be one of only about a dozen districts in Massachusetts offering no cost and rapid access to mental health services for our students. Stay tuned for our upcoming interviews on WBUR.
Company connects mental health services with Massachusetts students
Counselors in Salem Public Schools are seeing a growing need for mental health care."We see it by acting out behavior. We see it by withdrawn behavior, not coming to school, inattentiveness in class," Ellen Wingard, the school's executive director of student services, said.Students are struggling and their families are unable to get their children an appointment with a therapist.
Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Festival
Congratulations to 5 students from Salem High School who were recently accepted to the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Festival, which will take place at Boston's Symphony Hall on March 4th: Max Beauregard (Jazz Band), Emi Whitfield (Concert Band), Alexander MacTaylor (Chorus), Austin Ryan (Chorus), & Anna Sokolow (Chorus).
CMS Student Helps in the Community
This week at the School Committee meeting we had the distinct pleasure to honor a Collins Middle School 8th grader who came across a toddler who was alone and needed assistance during her walk to school. This student acted quickly and brought the toddler to a safe place where the police were called to help reunite this small child with their family. She received recognition from the School Committee, the City of Salem Mayors office and the State House of Representatives. Thank you Gabby for being a compassionate and helpful member of our community.
Massachusetts Music Educators Association Northeast Junior District Festival
Congratulations to 16 Salem Public Schools students from Salem HS, Collins MS, and Saltonstall School who were recently accepted to the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Northeast Junior District Festival! Pictured from back to front/left to right: Em Clark (chorus), Annalise Thornett (chorus), Daniel Alley (jazz band), Rylan Workman (concert band), Wyn Stevick (concert band), Raymond Nguyen (jazz band), James Chesley (concert band), Ethan Roses (concert band), Olivia Baldwin (concert band), Marcella Mukasa (chorus), Frances Jones (chorus), Jocelyn Murphy (chorus), Finn Hanger (jazz band), Jenna Phelps (concert band), and Lucas Fox (jazz band). Their performances will take place at the Galvin Middle School in Wakefield on Saturday, March 18. We are so proud of their accomplishments and recognition!
February Vacation Literacy Camp - Grades 3-5
We just have a few spots open for our February Vacation Literacy Camp serving grades 3rd, 4th & 5th. The February Vacation Literacy Camp is a great opportunity for students to receive small-group literacy instruction while also having fun with peers during our SEL movement blocks. Click on flyers below (English / Portuguese / Spanish) for more details.
Protect against COVID-19 and Get Gift Cards During February Vacation
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering free, family-friendly “Get Boosted” clinics where anyone ages 6 months and up can get a COVID-19 vaccine or updated booster. The clinics offer the updated “bivalent” COVID-19 booster, which is approved for everyone ages 6 months and older.
The updated booster gives the best protection against the Omicron variant and its subvariants, currently the most prevalent strains of COVID-19 in the United States.
As part of a special promotion, Massachusetts residents who get vaccinated (first dose, second dose, or booster) at participating Get Boosted clinics will receive a $75 gift card, while supplies last.
Staying up to date on vaccines, including boosters, is the most effective way to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. While vaccine protection goes down over time, boosters make the vaccine work better. Boosters help keep you safe from COVID-19, even if you’ve already had it.
To find additional clinics near you that are giving out the $75 gift cards, go to mass.gov/GetBoosted. Only clinics on the Get Boosted webpage are giving out the $75 gift cards, while supplies last. If you have questions or need help finding a clinic, you can call 211 (or 1-877-211-6277) and press 1.
2023-2024 Budget Forums
It's budget season for Salem Public Schools!
Each year, Salem Public Schools submits a budget to the School Committee and the City Council for approval. We believe that a budget is a reflection of our community's values and that it is important that we hear from families and community members about how we should be thinking about and prioritizing funding for the next school year.
Please join Superintendent Stephen Zrike in February for a conversation about what the budget priorities should be. We will be hosting an in-person public budget forum on February 15 from 6:30-8:00 at the Salem High School Library/Integrated Media Center. Or, join us online on February 28th, from 6:30-8:00. Please come with your thoughts about the programs and initiatives that should be prioritized in the year ahead.
To register in advance, please fill out this form. Walk-ins are welcome.
We need YOU! Let's get our students to Carnegie Hall!
Please mark your calendars and join us to support our music students on February 16th at 7 pm in the SHS auditorium. This show, which serves as a fundraiser for their trip to Carnegie Hall (NYC), will feature trumpet virtuoso Jay Daly. Daly’s career spans more than 40 years, taking him around the United States and the globe with top-ranked bands and professional ensembles. As a sought-after Boston musician, Jay has performed with Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Linda Ronstadt, The Who, and many other celebrity artists.
"It will be a thrill to perform my Celebration of the Popular Trumpet show with the Salem High School concert band and especially satisfying to help support its trip to play at Carnegie Hall,” he said. “I think it’s every musician's dream to take the stage at Carnegie, and I hope we’ll have a full house in Salem on February 16 to make that dream a reality for these hard-working students. That will be a life-changing experience for them, I’m sure."
MassHealth Families, it's time to renew!
Families with MassHealth need to renew their coverage this year. Coverage protections put in place during the pandemic will end soon, and MassHealth will return to standard annual eligibility renewal processes. Please take the following steps if your family has MassHealth coverage:
- Update contact information – make sure MassHealth has your most up-to-date address, phone number, and email so that they do not miss important information and notices about what else is needed.
- Report household changes to make sure MassHealth knows about any changes in your household, like a new job, address, changes to income, disability status, or pregnancy.
More information is available on the MassHealth’s Redetermination website
Reminder: Extra COVID Food Funds for Families Ending March 2
Recent action by the federal government will end the extra COVID Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits created during the pandemic to help individuals and families buy food. Massachusetts households will receive their last extra COVID SNAP payment on March 2. The Department of Transitional Assistance has launched a new website, Mass.gov/ExtraCOVIDSNAP, to help residents plan for the end of these temporary federal benefits. Over the next several months, individuals and families should examine any optional expenses that may increase their normal SNAP benefits.
Dr. Zrike on SATV!
Superintendent Zrike will be hosting a monthly show on SATV beginning in February. We want to hear from you! What would like to hear from us? What guest speakers should we bring on? What other types of things should we do on this show? Let us know in this form so we can tailor the show just for you.
SCHOOL CLOSURES OR DELAYS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER
As winter approaches, we want to remind staff and families to be sure we have current contact information to reach you in the event that we have a cancellation or delay. Notifications will go out through ParentSquare via automated phone call, text, and email. It will also be posted on our website as well as social media and local TV channels. We do not have the option of remote instruction in the event of a closure.
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.
Inscripciones de la liga pequeña de Salem
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 our school and teachers communicate with families districtwide. Please be sure you are receiving messages from ParentSquare. If need support downloading the app or receiving messages, please contact your school's front office. You can visit www.parentsquare.com for more information.