Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


SPS parents and caregivers,

We are looking forward to presenting our plans for expanding in-person learning at the School Committee on Monday, March 15th at 7 pm. We plan to adhere to the guidelines established by the State Commissioner and the Department of Education in the last week. In order to meet required student learning time minutes, districts are expected to offer full, 5-day a week, in-person learning or a fully remote model. Therefore, a hybrid learning approach is no longer a viable option. During my presentation to the School Committee, I will explain what this means for the Salem Public Schools and provide logistics about what this will look like for your child as we make this important transition. You can find more information, the agenda, and a link to the meeting on the City of Salem website.

Following the meeting, we will send you an email/letter explaining the details of the plan and asking you to provide a final decision about whether you want your child to learn fully in-person or fully remote for the remainder of the school year. I certainly expect that parents and staff will have many questions about the specifics of our plan. We promise to provide plenty of opportunities to discuss aspects of the plan with SPS administration. We promise to keep you posted as we get closer to our 5-day a week re-opening.

Finally, I want to invite you to participate in our budget discussion on Wednesday evening from 6-7:30 pm. You will have an opportunity to tell us how you want us to spend our resources to best support your child’s education. See details about registering for this virtual meeting later in this newsletter.

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 is awarded to Saltonstall's Family Engagement Facilitator, Susi Hammond. Ms. Hammond has long been a district leader in authentic, two-way, parent engagement. She has worked tirelessly for decades, reaching out to and really listening to parents, ensuring that families are connected to the schools for the academic and social well-being of their children. We have all learned from her what real parent engagement looks like. We wish her well in her upcoming retirement!

Staff Vaccination information

The Baker-Polito Administration announced a new pre-registration signup tool will be available for the state’s 7 mass vaccination sites starting Friday, March 12. The new system will make it easier to request and book an appointment at a mass vaccination site at a nearby location when they are available. More sites will be added to the pre-registration system in the coming weeks. When pre-registration launches, it will replace the current booking platforms for mass vaccination sites for online booking.

The Administration also announced four dedicated educator days at mass vaccination sites. These dates are: Saturday, March 27, Saturday, April 3, Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. Teachers and staff must use the pre-registration system to request an appointment at one of the seven mass vaccination sites and attest they are a K-12 educator, childcare worker or K-12 school staff.

All other vaccine providers (including regional collaboratives) are encouraged, but not required, to restrict their appointments to K-12 educators, child care workers and K-12 school staff on Saturday, March 27 , Saturday, April 3 , Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, for consistency. Providers may designate alternative dates, in lieu of the 4 dates designated by the State, if necessary.

Clinics may not restrict access to individuals who live or work in a particular area.

All vaccine providers (including regional collaboratives) must submit their dates for educator clinics by Tuesday, March 16. The Governor’s office will post the schedule for all clinics next week.

We just received this information today, hot off the presses and if we get more information, we will surely share it. More information can be found in the press release from the Governor’s office. Link to:

To sign up for pre-registration please visit


Parents of incoming Kindergarten students are reminded that in order to enroll their K student in the same school as a sibling, the registration application must be received in the Parent Information Center on or before March 22nd. Since the original date (3/20) falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by end of day on the next business day which is Monday 3/22.

Also, if a student was withdrawn from SPS due to the pandemic and the parent/guardian wants to re-enroll the student at their previous school for the 21-22 school year, the enrollment application is also now due on March 22nd.

Please contact the Parent Information Center (PIC) staff at 978-740-1225 or with any questions.

Community Budget Forum - March 17 - 6:00PM

This week, we had our first community budget forum. While the budget may not sound exciting to people, we aren’t talking about numbers here. We are looking to hear from families about our funding priorities. Are we looking to fund the right things based on our strategic priorities? Is anything missing? Is there anything that particularly resonates with you as a Salem Public Schools family?

We had a thoughtful group this week. If you missed it, we hope you’ll join us for the next meeting on March 17th. Please click here to pre-register for the event:

Join Us For Salem High School Future Student Night!

8th grade families - Are you ready to learn about the exciting world of opportunity that SHS can offer? Join us for Future Student Night with Salem High School on March 25th, 6-7pm

From our top-notch academics, and our expanded career and technical programs such as culinary arts, carpentry, computer programming, medical assisting, and more to our robust arts and music programs, JROTC, sports, and clubs… we have pathways for every type of student to meet their needs and support them throughout their high school years.

There will be ample time to have your questions answered during the Q&A portion of the presentation. This event will be recorded. A link will be posted to our social media channels following the event. However. we hope to “see” you there! Please use the following link to access the webinar:

We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got going on at Salem High School.

MCAS Schedule

On Friday, March 5, the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) announced new, tentative MCAS administration dates for grades 3-8. The updated tentative testing windows for grades 3-5 has been changed to Monday, May 10 through Friday, June 11 for tests in English language arts, mathematics and science and technology/engineering. Testing dates for grades 6-8 haven't yet been released. The current schedule, including high school testing dates, can be found here.

Student COVID Testing

Do you know that your child can have a free and easy COVID-19 test weekly while they are in their classroom? We have made it simple to add this extra layer of protection for all our staff and students. All you need to do is provide consent for your child once and they will be able to participate in this in-school testing weekly.

To register and provide consent, please go to this page on our website and click the link for your child’s school. Please remember, you are completing the form for your child, not for you (a quick check recommended by the organization is to make sure you’re putting in your student’s date of birth, not yours). You must complete the form (one for each child) by clicking “consent” on the last page. That’s it! Help us keep our schools safe and enroll your student today!

Dr. Zrike's Strategic Objectives, Priorities and Goals

As part of Dr. Zrike's entry plan, he has created a document of findings and strategic priorities that he has identified as areas of focus. This document has been shaped by the countless conversations and input sessions that Dr. Zrike has had with stakeholders- staff, students, parents, School Committee members, and community leaders- since he started in July. The invaluable feedback he received informs a series of strategic priorities, initiatives, and goals that build from the existing Salem Public Schools' strategic plan. It is not meant to overhaul the current plan, but rather to prioritize and focus on critical work that still needs to be accomplished. Equity must be at the core of these efforts, the lens through which we examine everything we do and serve as the operating principle through which we ground our improvement.

Dr. Zrike genuinely wants your feedback on these priorities, initiatives, and metrics in advance of his formal presentation to the School Committee on Monday, March 1st.

If you are interested in additional conversations, you can email or complete the aforementioned form and include your name and interest at the bottom.

March ST Math Challenge

Last week, Jiji was here with us, announcing the winners of the February contest and announced the new challenge for March! This time it is teacher’s choice! So check in with your child’s math teacher to find out how your student can participate in this month’s challenge.

A Reminder About ParentSquare

You may have seen a change to ParentSquare yesterday and you were asked to verify information. This helps ensure we have the right contact info for you and reports it to our team. If you are only receiving email, texts and phone calls from us and want the option to participate in one-to-one communication with your teachers and your school in your preferred language, you should download the ParentSquare app to access the full features of this communication platform. Schools and teachers will not be using other platforms such as Remind or ClassDojo. The ParentSquare app is the best way to communicate one-to-one with your teachers AND in the language you prefer. Go to for more information.

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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