School Re-opening Update

News for our families from Salem Public Schools


Dear Salem Public Schools community,

We have a jam-packed newsletter for you this week. Many have been asking about remote learning in the Fall. Yesterday on Facebook Live, Dr. Zrike had special guests Assistant Superintendent, Kate Carbone and HMLS Principal Ruben Carmona to talk about this very subject. Did you miss it? You can view it here.

Next week there will not be a Facebook Live. Instead, please join us for a Town Hall Q&A meeting with Superintendent Zrike and Mayor Driscoll. This town hall will be on Wednesday, September 2nd at 6:30 pm and can be accessed at this Zoom link. Want to ask a question in advance of the town hall to be answered there? Please fill out this form.

Remote Learning Questions

Questions and Answers from the Facebook Live Session

with Kate Carbone and Ruben Carmona

What will the elementary, middle, and high school remote learning day look like for a student? Will a child be on the computer all day long?

Remote learning schedules across all three levels will be comprised of a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded or anytime) learning experiences.

We are striving to ensure that students’ schedules have a balance between the live and recorded parts—at about a 50:50 split.
  • Giving lots of thought to what kinds of things are best suited for recording and what we want to make sure happens when students are together in live situations with their teachers
  • In an elementary ELA class, record modeling how to write a good opening to a story, then spend live class time practicing and sharing their attempts.
  • In a middle school social studies class, teach students the Bill of Rights through videos, then spend live class time debating free speech on social media.
  • In a high school English class, teach students the elements of poetry through videos, then spend live class time discussing the meaning of a particular poem.

Breaks are built into the day
  • Allowing students to step away from their computer—get a drink, walk outside, lay down, get a snack, etc.
  • In addition to the scheduled breaks, when there are asynchronous pre-recorded components scheduled that students can decide if they want to do them then or later— this can create more break time for the student

Every student will receive a schedule with predictable parts to their day
  • Start the day together
  • Work together as a whole group
  • Small group instruction
  • Work independently

School Times

Salem Public Schools will be providing a “full day” of instruction for all students. This is at least five hours of instruction per day for elementary students, and at least 5.5 hours of instruction for secondary students. The schedule will have breaks and lunch built into the day.

For students in remote learning:

  • The “school day” will run according to the schedule. During that time, there will be “live” lessons that are scheduled at specific times, and “anytime/recorded” lessons that are part of the schedule but can be completed at any time.
  • Each school will reach out with each students’ schedule, indicating which times are “live” and which are “anytime.”
  • All students will have a single sign-on platform from which they can access all of their remote learning and their daily schedule.

While schools have been working with planning teams all summer, we are excited to

welcome back all of our teachers this week! They are busy planning and will be in touch as

soon as possible with expectations for live (synchronous) and anytime (asynchronous)


School start and end times can be found here.

Family Technical Training Opportunities

Salem Public Schools will be offering training opportunities for the platforms and tools we will be using for remote learning. We will be offering these trainings in a few ways.

  • Guided videos for parent support will be available at the end of next week. These videos will help guide you through the platform that will be used for grade levels.
  • Training over Zoom. Each school will have family training sessions with digital learning coaches to give a short training on the platforms. Watch for communication from your specific schools for dates and times.
  • If those training modules still have you scratching your head, there will be individual or small group training available.

Stay tuned for more information or contact your school.

Technical Help and Chromebooks

Since the announcement of full remote learning, many families have been reaching out regarding how they can obtain a Chromebook for their student or how to get a broken Chromebook repaired..

This week, some families received a communication from their school and some posts with a link were distributed on Facebook regarding signing up for Chromebook pick up times. These first-wave spots available in the signup link are intended for those families who have a critical need and do not have any device at home or do not have access to one at all for their student.

If you are a family with a critical need, please fill out this form to let us know that you need a Chromebook.

If you have a Chromebook from the school from last school year that either doesn't work or needs some repair, please fill out this form so we can assign a technician to help you.

If you have further questions, please contact Marc Leblanc

School Supplies

This year, most students will be learning at home instead of at school. We want to ensure that students have what they need to be successful. Families may choose to purchase their own supplies from the list below or they can receive a supply kit from their child’s school by request. School supply lists can be found here.

*information to come regarding getting supplies from your individual school

Partner Supports for Childcare

Salem Public Schools is working closely with our community partners to meet existing and emerging needs for wrap-around programming and childcare. Starting on the first day of school, community partners will run Learning Hubs for 13 students at each of our elementary schools. Enrollment may expand as demand increases at both elementary and middle schools. The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem will run the Hub at Saltonstall and the Salem YMCA will run the Hubs at Bates, Bentley, Horace Mann, Carlton, and Witchcraft.

These Hubs will support virtual learning during school day hours and provide after school enrichment activities during after school time. All SPS cleaning and safety protocols will be followed. Programming will be offered on a sliding scale fee subsidized by the state, community organization scholarships and the Salem Public Schools.

For more information, please reach out to the organization individually.

Thank you to all of our families who have always been critical partners to ensure student success, and are being called upon now more than ever. We appreciate you and are here to support you.

Have a safe and happy weekend