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SPS Reopening Draft Plan
08/07/2020
I am pleased to share our reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year. This plan represents our recommendation for returning Salem Public School children to school this fall. Over the last two months, the Salem Returns Reopening Task Force has engaged teachers, support staff, health professionals, building leaders and district administrators in ongoing discussions about a safe and educationally sound approach to welcoming our students and staff back to school after the life altering COVID-19 pandemic. As a group, we have weighed the academic, social and emotional needs of students with important health and wellness considerations for staff and children. In doing so, we examined scientific/medical research, analyzed parent and staff survey results, reviewed Department of Education (DESE) guidance, conducted assessments of our facilities (capacity, HVAC and outdoor spaces), explored learning managements systems and carefully studied our school-based routines and operations. The efforts of the task force were supplemented by information received from family, teacher and student town halls, staff focus groups, weekly Facebook Live sessions, meet and greets with parents and regular meetings with school leaders. Read more...
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Announcement Regarding the Release of the Draft Plan
08/01/2020
n response to the feedback and ideas that we have received on our reopening option plan since our school committee meeting on Wednesday we realized that we needed additional time to incorporate this input as part of our final recommendation for our return to school. For this reason, we now plan to release our recommendation at the school committee on Thursday evening rather than Tuesday. In doing so, we will delay the school committee vote from Thursday, August 6th until Monday, August 10th, the day that our plan is due to the Department of Education. This will afford the Salem community two opportunities to offer public comment on the recommendation (School Committee meetings on August 6th and August 10th) and provide the school committee additional time to consider the interests of the Salem community. Thank you for your continued support and engagement as we prepare to welcome our students and staff back to school this fall.
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Salem Public Schools Reopening Models
07/31/2020
A Note from Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Zrike We are pleased to share Salem’s reopening plan that offers three distinct options for students to return to school this fall. Our plan has been informed by a task force of parents, school committee members, educators, district administrators and city officials. In an effort to engage our stakeholders we have surveyed families and staff in addition to hosting town halls, focus groups, meet and greets and Facebook live sessions. These discussions have been invaluable in shaping the proposed models for in-person, hybrid and remote learning. Our collective efforts are guided by our four critical values of wellness, equity, community and flexibility. We are committed to keeping our students and staff healthy, prioritizing learning experiences for our most vulnerable students, designing a plan that matches the needs of our community and remaining flexible and nimble as we prepare to welcome students back to school. We appreciate the collaboration, input and advocacy of so many constituents who are invested in providing Salem’s children with a first-rate educational experience. This plan is the DESE required plan outlining all three options and how we are thinking about them. The full plan for the reopening of schools will be released to the public next week and public feedback opportunities will be made available before submission to DESE. Respectfully, Dr. Stephen Zrike
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Timeline and information about reopening schools
07/29/2020
We want to give you an update as it pertains to timelines and deliverables. Tonight at 5:30pm there will be a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of the School Committee. At this meeting tonight we will be presenting the initial school reopening plan that we will be submitting to DESE this Friday outlining the three options for reopening schools this fall: in-person, hybrid (some in-person, some remote), or fully remote. Here is link to the agenda and zoom link for tonight: https://www.salem.com/school-committee/agenda/committee-whole-salem-school-committee-meeting-july-29-2020-530-pm-revised
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Health announcement regarding summer programs
07/27/2020
Today we learned that a bus monitor for the summer program hosted at the Horace Mann Laboratory School tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, we have called the families of all who may have had contact with the bus monitor and have provided information about next steps based on guidance provided to us by the Salem Board of Health.
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Family Advisory Subgroup participants
07/16/2020
The reopening taskforce has engaged families in our work, we could not do the heavy lifting of this work without including family voices as diverse as our community.
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Updates to Food Distribution for Summer
06/19/2020
Updates on Food Distribution Sites and Times Starting 7/01/2020 there is a slight change of time to one site as well as a couple of site closures.
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Pride Month and LGBTQ+ Resources
06/12/2020
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Pride. Usually, this means events are held worldwide to celebrate the progress within the LGBTQ community, but the COVID-19 pandemic means a change of plans. The virus forced the cancellation of hundreds of events around the world, including the North Shore Pride Parade in which our district participates. In-person celebrations are simply too risky at this time, but this is an important anniversary that must still be celebrated.
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Updates to the last day of school
06/11/2020
In April, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that schools may file an appeal of the 185th day school end date to the Commissioner if they can demonstrate that their remote learning model was fully functional during the week of March 16 or can present other exceptional circumstances. Salem Public Schools was able to provide remote learning opportunities, as well as launched the SalemLearns website during this first week. For these reasons, Salem Public Schools has applied for and was granted this appeal. What this means is that we gain back days lost this year from snow days and school closures from power outages. See the information below to determine what your student’s last day of school will be for the 2019/2020 school year.
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Parent Survey on Remote Learning
06/08/2020
We are seeking feedback about the district’s remote learning plan. (Remote learning includes any instruction taking place outside of the classroom, such as lessons assigned through online platforms, instructional videos, packets posted on salemlearns.org, printed packets, and virtual meetings with teachers and classmates). This survey is designed for parents and guardians of Salem Public Schools students. Students and teachers will receive a different survey so we can evaluate each group’s feedback.
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Resources to support talking about racial inequity
06/04/2020
As we wrote on Monday in our statement on racism, Salem Public Schools commits to building upon the equity framework already established within SPS and will pull together disparate, anti-racist efforts, programs and agendas to create a cohesive district approach to tackle racism head-on. Assistant Superintendent, Kate Carbone wrote a letter to staff on Wednesday, June 3rd to provide educators with resources to support talking about George Floyd and racial inequity. We are sharing the letter with you in full not only to create transparency, but to offer families the same resources we are providing to staff.
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A Statement on Racism from Superintendent Kathleen Smith
06/01/2020
The tensions and circumstances that continue to unfold in Minneapolis and across the United States this week are painful and difficult to watch. The death of George Floyd is a travesty and reveals that the pain and suffering created by racism is still so present within our country. These acts of violence continue to create a massive divide in our society and these injustices caused by fear, unchecked racism and deeply rooted biases will continue until we take a stand. We have heard this a lot this week -- when we look the other way or remain silent, we are perpetuating the status quo. We cannot remain silent.
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Additional Information about P-EBT Cards
06/01/2020
Families have recently begun receiving P-EBT cards in the mail. However, we have heard that there has been some confusion around activating the card. Please see the below information to help correctly set up your P-EBT cards.
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Dr. Zrike
Introducing Dr. Zrike
05/20/2020
Introducing Dr. Zrike! Dr. Zrike will be transitioning in as our new Superintendent as of July 1st and he is excited to meet all of you. Take a look at this video he made and if you would like to meet Dr. Zrike at a new online weekly meet and greet on Wednesday evenings at 6pm, please fill out this form and we will reply with information about how to attend.
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Food and Nutrition Resources
05/19/2020
Everyone in Salem qualifies for food assistance. Whether you were already receiving it, or it is new to you, we have many options to help. If you have questions or new needs for food support, you can call 781-771-0724 and a Salem Public Schools staff member will assist you.
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Free Internet for Families without WiFi
04/27/2020
Internet for Families—The City of Salem through Mayor Driscoll's office has signed an agreement with Comcast to offer six free months of internet for families who currently do not have access to wifi in their homes. Two of the six months will be free as part of Comcast's Internet Essentials program and the other four months are being paid for by the city of Salem Relief Fund through a donation by the Salem Children's Charity.
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A Letter to PreK-5 Families from Kate Carbone
04/24/2020
As I write to you, we are in our fifth week of the school closure that was prompted by the coronavirus crisis—it is hard to believe that this much time has passed already. I know that these past few weeks have been enormously challenging for you and your family as you have the weight and concern of keeping yourself and children safe and healthy while simultaneously having to play a significant role in supporting your child’s/children’s learning at home. Our thoughts are with you, and we are trying to do everything we can to facilitate quality student learning and engagement remotely. As you know, we started with an early version of our remote learning plan on March 15th soon after the school closure began. Our immediate concern and goal, at that time, was to connect with every student and family to ensure they were safe and to also set up access to remote learning opportunities that were made available on www.salemlearns.org. These opportunities included activities across content areas and a supporting printable packet. We are now taking steps to implement enhancements to our remote learning plan that will include the components listed below. The goal of this plan is to provide a consistent structure where students are able to interact more often with their teachers and classmates. Teachers are already implementing many of these components and will do so with increasing consistency over the next couple of weeks and now that the school closure extends beyond May 4th.
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Schools Closed Through End of School Year
04/21/2020
This afternoon, Governor Baker has made the decision that all Massachusetts schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. This decision includes the Salem Public Schools and we will now plan for reopening the schools in the Fall. Other decisions about end of school such as locker belongings and milestone events will be forthcoming after the April break.
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Visit SalemLearns.org
New Remote Learning Plans Are Available
04/16/2020
AN UPDATE ON REMOTE LEARNING PLANS As you know, we started with an early version of our remote learning plan on March 15th soon after the school closure began. Our immediate concern and goal, at that time, was to connect with every student and family to ensure they were safe and to also set up access to remote learning opportunities that were made available on www.salemlearns.org. These opportunities included activities across content areas and a supporting printable packet for grades PreK-5. We are now taking steps to implement enhancements to our remote learning plan that will include new components. NEW LEARNING PLANS FOR ALL GRADES CAN NOW BE VIEWED AT www.SalemLearns.org.
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Principal Announcements for SHS and Bates
04/14/2020
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Samantha Meier as principal of Salem High School. Dr. Meier has been serving as the school’s interim principal since last July and has the necessary skills to lead Salem High School going forward. She is committed to leading the high school into a new era of teacher leadership, student voice and a positive learning environment for all who enter our Salem High School community. In addition, we are also pleased to announce the promotion of Gavin Softic to principal of Bates Elementary School. Gavin has earned the respect and support of the students, teachers and families of the Bates School community to lead the school as the new principal beginning on July 1st. We know Gavin will continue the mission and vision of academic excellence and support for the social and emotional learning for all students.
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An Update About the Principal Search for SHS
04/06/2020
I am pleased to announce we are entering the final phase in the process of selecting a long-term leader for Salem High School. Unfortunately, with the current Massachusetts state of emergency and current global pandemic guidelines, our revised timeline will not include on-site visits to Salem High School to meet with staff, students, and parent focus groups. However, I am confident that Dr. Stephen Zrike (incoming Superintendent) and I will be able to complete the final interviews remotely during the week of April 6-10. Once these interviews are completed, we will select a principal for Salem High School with a start date of July 1, 2020 as planned.
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Student Instrument Pick-up
04/03/2020
As part of our efforts to support our students away from school, our Instrumental Music teachers will be providing enrichment opportunities for all of our band and string students. Depending on the student's grade, much of this information can be found in Schoology or on the Salem Music Dept website
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Letter to Families from the Commissioner of DESE
03/30/2020
Commissioner Riley from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has sent a letter addressing families.
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