Salem Public Schools Weekly Newsletter

Posted on: December 16, 2022

Salem Public Schools Weekly Update

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Salem Public Schools Weekly Update
A Note From the Superintendent

December 16, 2022

Families and caregivers,

As we begin the winter season, we have seen a significant rise in illness across the Salem Public Schools. Many students and staff have been absent from school due to COVID, strong strains of the flu, and/or respiratory illnesses. This has resulted in daily adjustments to staffing and programming to ensure appropriate supervision of our students. We appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we navigate through the winter months. All schools except for Carlton have an extra week of winter vacation, and we hope this will help keep our case numbers down. Information about the flu, COVID-19, and RSV can be found on the district health and wellness page.

It remains important that members of our community stay home when they are not feeling well and of course, follow health protocols provided by the state. We strongly encourage everyone to get their flu shot (see useful resources here) and their most updated COVID shot/booster at their doctor’s office or local pharmacies (see useful resources here).

As a reminder, next week is our last week before the start of the winter break following a full-day dismissal on December 23rd.

Have a great 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 Mr. Ben Hedstrom, paraprofessional at Bates Elementary School. He has a true passion to work with students and support them socially, emotionally and academically. His thoughtful and patient approach in helping students has made a profound impact on all of the Bates community. Bates is lucky to have a true rockstar in Mr. Hedstrom!

 2022 Teacher of the Year, Marta Garcia, visits the White House

It is well known that the White House goes all out to decorate for the holidays. Our very own Marta Garcia was invited to join in on the celebration. First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, decorated the State Dining Room of the White House with self-portrait ornaments made by students from around the country. Ms. García, along with other teachers of the year, visited the White House last weekend to witness the beautiful artwork created by our very own Glaukel, Arianna, Mell, Wenslley, Khadiatou, Julio, Jorgelis, and Victor from Witchcraft Heights Elementary School. They not only represented their school, district, and state with their talent and creativity, but also their countries of origin! Congratulations to all of them!

Salem Police Department Shares Warning for Parents/Caregivers

On Thursday, December 1st, detectives assigned to the SPD Criminal Investigation Division served an arrest and search warrant, resulting in the seizure of significant amounts of marijuana, THC products, psychedelic mushrooms, US currency, and drug paraphernalia. Many edible THC products were contained in packaging resembling candy with bright colors and cartoon-like characters. Some were even labeled as “Skittles” and “Starbuds” and looked almost identical to what would be found in any variety store. Individuals, students, parents, and schools should be aware that products containing marijuana or THC may be packaged in ways that could pass as normal candy or other foods.

Technology Recycling

The School Committee has authorized the SPS IT Department to recycle some outdated and non-working technology. If anyone in the community is interested in the following items in as-is condition, please email Marc LeBlanc ( These items will be recycled after December 29th.

  • iMacs (2012 or earlier)
  • Projectors (non-functional)
  • Smartboards
  • Chromebooks (non-working with parts removed)
  • Laserjet printers (non-working)

A Holiday Recipe

Hanukkah begins this Sunday, December 18th, and is celebrated until December 26th. We hope all members of our community that celebrate have a Happy Hanukkah! In honor of this holiday, we would like to share this recipe for classic potato latkes! Latkes are crisp potato pancakes that are a specialty of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. 

City to Celebrate Hanukkah Celebration

The City of Salem will hold two public celebrations of the Hanukkah season on Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, with the lighting of the menorah as well as traditional holiday latkes and sufganiyot. The entire North Shore community is invited to both events. The first event will be on Dec. 21 at noon at Lappin Park at the intersection of Essex and Washington streets. The second event will take place on Dec. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the same location.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Rabbi Yossi Lipsker of the Chabad of the North Shore will host the 10th annual event. In the event of poor weather, the lighting will be moved inside the City Hall Annex Offices at 98 Washington Street.

A Tasty Success

A taste test was held at Bates on Friday (12/9) with Project Bread to try a potential new lunch menu item, chicken cheese steak! The recipe was developed by our own Salem chef, Margarita. This recipe is an adaptation of a legendary Philly staple. Students voted if they loved it, liked it or tried it. The feedback from students was mainly that they loved it! As a result of such amazing feedback from students It will be featured on our menus soon.

The recipe starts with Margarita’s Sazon de Abuela to season the chicken, peppers, and onions and pair that with melty cheese and a bright cilantro spread to give this All-American classic an international kiss. Margarita also uses this versatile spice blend on everything from stewed beans to roasted veggies.Try the “Sazon de Abuela” marinade recipe at home to make a delicious meal even better!

I Have a Dream Essay Contest

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Salem State University and the Salem Human Rights Coalition are inviting Salem Public School students to participate in an essay writing contest!

Submit your one page essay on Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Monday, December 19! A winner from elementary, middle school, and high school will be notified and invited to the SSU annual MLK convocation and luncheon with the (to be announced) keynote speaker on January 23, 2023.

Interested in visiting our sister city, Ota Japan?

Please see the letter and informational flier here for details on this exciting opportunity.


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.

Salem’s Own Toys for Tots 

The MCJROTC cadets are hosting a Toys 4 Tots drive to provide gifts for Salem families in need this Christmas. There are donation boxes located by the SHS main entrance, as one at the SHS JROTC Command Post, and the main entrances at Collins Middle School and Witchcraft Heights Elementary School. Any new, unwrapped toys (for newborns up to age 12) would be greatly appreciated. Help get these kids in need something to open Christmas morning. Please get the word out so we can make this toy drive a success!

This toy drive will end December 19th. If any family would like this support, please contact your student’s school with a total number of children, ages and gender.

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.

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