Salem Public Schools Weekly Email

Posted on: January 20, 2023

Salem Public Schools Weekly Update

Salem Public Schools Weekly Update for School Year 2022-2023 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
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Salem Public Schools Weekly Update
A Note From the Superintendent

January 20, 2023

SPS families,

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending Salem High School’s Twelfth Night production. What an amazing display of theatrical and musical talent! I wanted to be sure to shout out the stage crew and the staff that supported our students. Special thanks to Ms. Leah Hamilton French (director), Mr. Allan MacTaylor (music director) and Mrs. Cyndi Napierkowski (pit band director) for their extraordinary efforts.

At Tuesday night’s School Committee, we shared information about a recently launched partnership with Cartwheel Care and The Brookline Center to provide students and families with rapid access to mental health assessments, evidence-based therapy, and medication evaluation, via tele-health, with licensed clinicians with no waitlists. This partnership allows for approximately 100 students in grades 3-12 this year to access services they wouldn’t otherwise have due to insurance issues, language availability, transportation and other barriers. Cartwheel and The Brookline Center will also be providing district clinical consultation, parent psycho-education on mental health topics such as depression and anxiety, and ongoing case management collaboration with school teams. For more information, caregivers can reach out to Mia Riccio, Director of Multi-tiered Systems of Support at or Ellen Wingard, Executive Director of Student Support Services at Below you will find informational flyers with the most important aspects of these services. 

Please know that establishing this partnership was in direct response to extensive input we received from families throughout the pandemic about challenges faced accessing mental health services for their child. It Is essential for us to expand our counseling bandwidth during a time of acute need for our youth. Given the urgency, we have committed to utilizing our COVID stimulus resources to support what is a significant community demand. After vetting multiple providers, we felt that Cartwheel could best meet the needs of the Salem Public Schools. 

Links to flyers:




Enjoy the 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 Witchcraft Heights multilingual teacher, Ms. Michelle Serio. Ms. Serio’s flexibility and ability to support all students has been extraordinary, consistently adjusting her schedule to best serve students. We are grateful for her student-centered approach and her dedication to do whatever it takes to ensure the success of her students. 


Salem Public Schools will have a scheduled early release on Wednesday, January 25. Find your school’s dismissal time here.

Did you miss the Early Education Expo? Click here for the recording

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.

Early College Segment on WBUR

Today we spent the morning at doing an interview with Tiziana Dearing on Radio Boston for our early college program at Salem High School. Thanks to Amie Capodanno for being a true champion of this program and an advocate for creating accessible pathways to our students who may not have considered college before. Thank you to our partners at Salem State University and to WBUR for having us. The segment can be heard here.


We will host two budget forums – February 15th (in person, SHS IMC) and February 28 (virtual), both from 6:30-8:00 pm for the SPS community to share their input/feedback on the district’s priorities for the 2023-2024 school year. More information about how to participate will be coming soon.

Staffing Updates

Collins Middle School Principal – Mr. Colantuoni has informed us of his decision not to return to CMS for the 23-24 school year as he is eager to return to district-level leadership roles. We wish him the best and are grateful for his time at Collins. In an effort to ensure consistent, long-term leadership for Collins, I have decided to appoint Mr. Gavin Softic, current principal at Bates Elementary, to the role of CMS principal, effective July 1st. Mr. Softic is a visionary leader who is enthusiastic about joining the Collins team and being part of the continued growth of the school. A meeting was recently held with the Bates PTO and a search for a new principal at Bates is underway. By making this appointment now, Mr. Softic and Mr. Colantuoni will have extensive time to overlap and make strategic decisions about budgets, schedules, staffing and programming well in advance of the upcoming school year. Mr. Softic will be available at different times this winter and spring to connect with students, faculty and families as he transitions to Collins. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Softic and welcoming him to the Collins Middle School family!

Director of Nursing and Health Services – Dr. Charlene Moske-Weber recently concluded her role here at Salem Public Schools and we thank her for her service. A search for a new director was conducted this fall in anticipation of Charlene’s departure. As the result of a thorough interview process with highly qualified candidates, the School Committee confirmed the appointment of Jane Morrissey, (CMS nurse) at the January 9th meeting.

Jane comes to this role with a wealth of experience and knowledge, not only in the field of school nursing, but in pediatric emergency nursing, community partnerships, and global health planning. Jane has been with Salem Public Schools since 2014 and we are thrilled to have her on board in a leadership role with us.

Executive Director of Special Education: Linda Farinelli has made the decision to pursue other leadership opportunities for the upcoming school year. We are grateful for her many contributions and the early notification. We posted this position earlier this week and expect to put together a screening team by January 30 and first interviews should begin in mid-February. Our goal is to have a recommendation to the School Committee by March 20th.

Provide Feedback on MCAS

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is inviting students, parents, education professionals, and community members to participate in a survey that will provide feedback on the MCAS program and help inform improvements. The Department is seeking stakeholders’ input in several areas, including communications and support, data and reporting, and release of test questions. The survey will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 27. Please contact with any questions. 


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.

kids with backpacks

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.

Salem Little League Registration

INSCRIPCIONES de Liga Pequeña de Salem

K-Gr. 1 Unicorn Party (Girl Scouts)

Fiesta Mágica de Ponis

QR codes for ParentSquare

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 for more information.

Find tech support for Chromebooks, Aspen, ParentSquare and more

click here

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Salem Public Schools

Where Belonging Leads to Opportunity

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29 Highland Ave.

Salem, MA 01970


[Friday, Jan 20 at 5:57 PM]
As a human who sometimes makes mistakes, I attached the updated link to last week’s newsletter. The Early Expo recording link from this newsletter can be found here: