Salem Public Schools Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools

A note from Steve Zrike, Superintendent


SPS families,

It is hard to believe that February vacation is upon us! I hope that you enjoy the break in the school schedule and have an opportunity to spend some time as a family. While the COVID transmission and positivity rates have dramatically improved in Salem, the virus is still in our community. We cannot fall into a false sense of security especially with the new variants that have emerged across the country. As a community, we must still adhere to the safety measures that have kept our schools as healthy as possible during the last year. Additionally, it is important that we continue to follow Governor Baker’s guidance regarding travel restrictions. Our nurses will be following up with families if there is a concern that students have not received a required COVID test prior to the return to school.

This week, we did a “soft” launch of our student testing at our two middle schools- Collins and Saltonstall. We will be launching testing for all students beginning the week following the February vacation. Below, you will find information about how to enroll your child in weekly testing. We highly encourage all students to participate as an additional layer of precaution and safety. So that families are aware, we are beginning to plan for more students to return to in-person learning, 5-days a week. In planning, we are carefully weighing- the science around the virus, the implementation timeline for the vaccine rollout, staffing, and access to space to maintain appropriate distancing. We look forward to being in touch with more information in the coming weeks.

Have a great February break


Signing Up and Consent for student testing

Salem Public Schools is launching free student COVID-19 testing for ALL STUDENTS using pooled testing for all students. Our middle students at Collins and Saltonstall helped pilot the program today!. All students who attend school in-person (hybrid or five days) will be eligible for testing after February break. To learn more please see the full parent letter in English and in Spanish on our website.

To register, click the link below 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 birthday, not yours). You must complete the form by clicking “consent” on the last page. A dashboard that says “schedule a test” pops up - please ignore it! That function is not for schools, but rather for the public sites. You need to complete one form per child. If you run into obstacles, we highly recommend the testing organization’s FAQ:

Please note, the links for consent are specific to each school in the district, and you must complete a profile for each student in your family at the correct schools.

Please sign the consent and register your student here:





Early Childhood Center:

Horace Mann:


Witchcraft Heights:

For students at Salem High School, please also choose the link depending on the student's age:

For parents & guardians to register any students under 18:

For students 18 and over to complete for themselves:

For students at New Liberty & Salem Prep (one form for both), please also choose the link depending on the student's age:

For parents & guardians to register any students under 18:

For students 18 and over to complete for themselves:

These tests are another layer of protection to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and are designed for students who DO NOT have symptoms. Please email if you have specific questions.

February Break is next week

As a reminder, we know that February break is this coming week and that everyone needs the chance to recharge in this unprecedented year. However, we have to emphasize that the virus is absolutely still here, and, if anything, it is even better at spreading. I want to remind people that the standard to keep is, “don’t share air” outside of your household. We are asking our community to stay strong during February break and not take unnecessary risks.

If you do travel beyond state lines, we ask that you follow the state travel guidelines.

Food distribution for February break

Next week is February school vacation week.

Because of the February break, meals will only be distributed on Wednesday, 2/17/21, we will serve meals for five days at the regular food distribution sites.

Salem Pantry will shift its school-based distribution from Monday to Wednesday 2/17 to align with the school distribution time for next week.

The regular schedule will resume on Monday, 2/22/21.

Next opportunity for Grades K-12 Student Return to In-person Learning

Salem Public Schools remains committed to providing the highest quality options for students while operating within the health and safety constraints of the global pandemic. Seeing our students in our schools is joyful for everyone involved. We know many of you are considering joining an in-person option and the next window of opportunity is here.

The deadline for students in grades K-12 to request a return to in-person learning under the current instructional models (five days per week in-person for grades K-2 and hybrid for grades 3-12) is Friday, February 26th. The next opportunity to opt into in-person learning for this school year will be in April. To make your request to return to in-person learning, please contact your school front office by February 26th. Requests will be honored by Thursday, March 18th (depending on the grade and which cohort they are placed in). As always, a remote option remains in place for those who want or need to remain in a remote learning environment.

Requests made after the February 26th deadline may not be honored until after April vacation.

If your student needs transportation, new transportation requests should go directly to the Office of Transportation.

We look forward to bringing more students back for in-person learning in March!

Congratulations to our students who have earned the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Award!

Salem High School is excited to celebrate students who have earned our first Seal of Biliteracy Awards for the year! This award is given by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to students who have attained proficiency in English and at least one additional language. The attainment of this prestigious award serves to certify attainment of biliteracy for students, employers, and universities. This expands opportunities as students leave school and are ready to enter college, the workforce, and contribute to increasingly multicultural and multilingual communities.

Gina Delasnueces - Spanish

Alex Diefenbach - Spanish

Orta Hasani - Italian

Sylvia Marmalejos - Spanish

Marvell Moronta Aracena - Spanish

Jessica Sapozhnik - Russian

Justin Sapozhnik - Russian

Jeison Toribio Martinez - Spanish

Dominican Republic Independence Day

We want to remind the Salem community that Dominican Republic Independence Day is celebrated annually on Feb. 27th. The holiday marks the day that the Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti in 1844. Juan Pablo Duarte, along with leaders from the ‘La Sociedad Trinitaria’, successfully overthrew the Haitian regime. This is a special day of celebration and pride for Dominicans across the world and those who reside in the city of Salem. As a school district with a high percentage of Dominican students, it is important that SPS take the opportunity to recognize and learn about this significant moment in the history of the Caribbean island.

Salem High School Freshman Attendance and Academic Academy

The Salem High School Freshman Attendance and Academic Academy is open for enrollment for any 9th grader looking to receive support for ELA, Math, and Biology, as well as for students looking to improve their attendance by making up missed class days. Special Education and English as a Second Language supports will be provided to students who qualify.

The Freshman Attendance and Academic Academy will be held from Tuesday, February 16th through Friday, February 19 from 9:00-2:30 each day at the Saltonstall School at 211 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA 01970. This time includes a half hour lunch period.

If you wish to enroll your student in the Academy for February vacation, please contact the program facilitator, Mr. Andrew Bub at You may also contact Mr. Shamus Mruk, Assistant Principal for the 9th and 10th Grades and the Newcomer Academy at or 978-888-7634 if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.

LGBTQ+ School Resources

Salem public schools is excited to share their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community and their allies by supporting the student-led GSA's at the middle and high school levels.

GSA (Gender and Sexualities Alliance) is a student club that creates space for support, organizing, and community building so that LGBTQ+ youth have what they need to be able stay in school, become leaders who can advocate for themselves and their needs, and organize in coalition with other youth and community groups to support racial and gender justice. These clubs are currently available at Saltonstall, Collins Middle School, and Salem High School.

We are grateful for our advisors, Lisa Duffy (Saltonstall), Chris Freeze (Collins Middle School), and Zannie Duffy (SHS).

If parents are looking for support, they can reach out to greater Boston PFLAG and find out more info on their website

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No Newsletter next week. Enjoy your break!

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SHS Football Parent & Player Meeting

Join Coach Bouchard to discuss the Fall2 Football season. He will be discussing the Covid-19 guidelines, the program's mission, and player expectations.

February 18 at 6:00pm on Zoom.

Meeting link here.

Meeting ID: 839 4194 6277
Passcode: Football

For more information please contact Coach Bouchard at

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,” and “Great Job.”

The cone of excellence this week is awarded to Witchcraft second-grade teacher, Ms. Maureen Addison. Ms. Addison has been highlighted by multiple families for the quality of the remote and in-person learning experience that she has provided students. Ms. Addison is a learner who has embraced the use of technology to reach each child in her classroom. She makes both in-person and remote students feel like an important part of her classroom community. Despite all the extraordinary challenges that 2020-21 has brought, Ms. Addison is a model for the perseverance that all of our teachers have demonstrated during the current school year!

ST Math February Challenge!

Reminder! You can win a dance party with Jiji the penguin!

Dr. Zrike and Jiji challenge you and your classmates to solve as many ST Math puzzles as you can during the month of February! This is a district-wide challenge! Each grade level will compete for prizes against other similar grade levels. For example, kindergarteners compete against other kindergarten classrooms in the district. The class at every grade level that solves the most puzzles wins! Imagine, Jiji coming to your classroom, dancing with you to your favorite music, and passing out fabulous prizes! All because you did an outstanding job playing ST Math with Jiji! Ready, set, MATH!

ST Math can be found on your student's Classlink dashboard on their Chromebook.

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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