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Posted on: September 15, 2023

Salem Public Schools’ Weekly Update

Salem Public Schools’ Weekly Update ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
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Salem Public Schools' Weekly Update

A Message from the Superintendent

September 15, 2023

SPS families,


Today marks the kickoff for National Hispanic Heritage Month. From September 15th through October 15th, we will highlight the cultures, histories, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx people both locally and globally. We will be celebrating across schools by taking time in morning meetings, advisories, daily announcements, family events and assemblies to recognize and explore the positive impact that Hispanic heritage has had on our city and our country. 


Additionally, I want to share two important academic updates. 

2023 MCAS Results: On Tuesday, our 2023 MCAS and Accountability will be shared publicly. We will send out a letter to the community reviewing the results and at our October 2nd School Committee meeting we will discuss these results more extensively.

Homework: I want to remind families that we adopted a new districtwide homework policy. We believe that at all levels, homework should be used to provide additional practice and extension of content and skills that have already been introduced in class. It is not intended to introduce new or unfamiliar material. Providing students with multiple opportunities to practice what they have learned is a recommended, standards-based practice. The guidance provides recommendations for the amount of time students at different grade levels should spend on homework and examples of the types of tasks students should be assigned.


Have a terrific 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.

The rockstar award this week goes to Collins Middle School ELA teacher, Ms. Karen Tucker. Ms. Tucker is an experienced and beyond dedicated educator who seeks to find the best in every child. She is always positive about her students and the talents that they bring to their learning spaces. She is quick to remind students of their worth and that they consistently belong in her classroom! Thank you to Ms. Tucker for embodying our district’s core values!

Reminder of Fan Expectations

We had a large and spirited crowd supporting the Witches at the opening football game last Friday. There was a great deal of buzz and positive energy as the team had a big win to kickoff the season!
Tonight, the Witches play Danvers at 6:30 pm at Bertram field. A few key reminders to ensure a positive and safe experience for participants and spectators: 

  • Students will not be able to bring backpacks or bags of any kind into the stadium
  • There will be no re-entry for any spectator. If you leave you will not be allowed back in.
  • We strongly encourage students that are younger than high school age to be accompanied by an adult.

The behaviors below are strictly prohibited. Violations will result in permanent removal from the premises and potential permanent removal from Salem High School sporting events.

  • Aggressively confronting any coach or official for any reason before, during, or after an athletic contest;
  • Verbal or physical harassment of players, coaches, fans of either school, officials, or school personnel;
  • Abusive language or obscene gestures;
  • Loitering under bleachers or in bathrooms;
  • Damage to any part of the property at Bertram Field

Please also note that Salem Public Schools’ students violating rules are subject to further disciplinary actions as outlined in the school handbook. Thank you for your support of these expectations and the ongoing interest in our athletic programs. Our athletes, coaches and their families appreciate the commitment and enthusiasm for our teams!

Let’s go Witches! 

Coaches Needed!

We have several coaching positions open for Salem High athletics! Coaches are needed for: girls basketball and tennis, winter indoor track and field, skiing, spring outdoor track and field.

If you or anyone you know is interested, please reach out to our athletic director, Reilly Christie at rchristie@salemk12.org or 978-265-4044.

A Message from Our Nurses

As we settle back into school, it is important to remember that the COVID virus is still circulating in our community. Parents and guardians are reminded to keep their children home from school if they are feeling unwell with respiratory symptoms or have a fever. We continue to recommend COVID testing for people who are not feeling well and ask all members of the community to follow the isolation guidelines explained on our website or contact your child’s school nurse with questions. As the state has eliminated all school-based testing programs, we are no longer able to provide families with COVID test kits to use at home and our nurses are not testing students at school. If you have questions about how to obtain COVID test kits, please see this handy information sheet.

Essex National Heritage Event – Fish Weir Project Volunteers Needed

Fish weirs have been constructed by the Indigenous Massachusett people since time immemorial. Join members of the Massachusett Tribe to learn the history and participate in the renewal of this tradition in Salem Harbor. On September 19th and 20th Salem School students will be building fish weirs in Salem Harbor. Volunteers are needed both evenings to check the weirs for fish, and dismantle them for the following day. There will be an opportunity to learn informally from Massachusett Tribal Member Thomas Green during the volunteer events. Find more information here.

Join the Band or Orchestra!

Welcoming new students in Grade 4! Classes meet during the school day and there is no cost to join or participate. Click on the fliers below for details.

Mack Park Farm to Host First Harvest Fest Event

Community farm fundraiser will celebrate mission to provide 

healthy and sustainable produce for the residents of Salem

Mayor Dominick Pangallo announced that Mack Park Farm’s first fundraising festival will take place, at the farm, where residents can enjoy the new accessible recreation area. The community farm fundraiser will be held at Mack Park, located at 31 Grove Street, Salem, Massachusetts, on September 23, 2023 from 3:00 to 7:00 PM (with a rain date scheduled for September 30th, if necessary). There will be food, a cash bar, live music, garden tours, and guests can take home free produce while supplies last. All are invited to attend. This is a family-friendly event; tickets can be purchased for $15.00 through Eventbrite at https://MackParkFarmHarvestfest.eventbrite.com or by emailing kmurphy@salem.com to pay by cash or check. All proceeds from the event will go towards maintaining the farm and growing food for Salem residents.

The Mack Park Farm began in 2020 when the City of Salem contracted with two local farmers to transform a neglected ball field at Mack Park into a lush growing space to provide healthy food for the Salem community. The project was inspired by a recommendation in the 2018 Salem Community Food Assessment to use municipal land for agriculture. The farmers oversee a crew of volunteers each week who help with the planting, harvesting and distribution of the food. All the produce is organically grown – no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are used.

The farm is surrounded by multiple permaculture guilds containing edible plants such as fruit trees, berry bushes, perennial herbs and native pollinators. The guilds, or “patches”, are designed after natural systems, like forests, where an array of plants, insects and animals exist together in a productive system that continually strengthens itself.

“The Mack Park Food Farm and Food Forest is a point of pride for Salem,” said Mayor Pangallo, “I am so grateful to all the volunteers and city staff who have come together to rehabilitate an underused and overgrown area of a city park to create a vibrant recreational space where all Salem residents can have the opportunity to enjoy the food forest, farmers’ markets, and to volunteer. This is an outstanding example of our community members working in tandem to support one another, and especially those of us who are most in need. At a time when our world has faced so much challenge – navigating a global health pandemic – Salem joined together to produce and distribute fresh produce, and nourish our neighbors. The Mack Park Food Farm is truly a success story and one more example of how our community has come together to support one another and make sure Salem works for everyone.”

To date, the farm has grown over 20,000 pounds of food that is distributed for free at biweekly farmers’ markets at the farm, and through The Salem Pantry.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Kerry Murphy, RDN, City of Salem, Health and Wellness Coordinator at (978) 619-5654 x42403 or kmurphy@salem.com.

REMINDER 2023-2024 Back-to-School Forms – DUE October 1st!

It is essential for your child’s well-being and education that we have accurate and complete information about them in our schools. We appreciate your time and attention so that we can keep your child safe, healthy, and thriving in school, meet any of their unique needs, ensure timely communication with you at home, and keep you informed and updated about all that is happening in our schools.

Please complete these forms FOR EACH CHILD ENROLLED by OCTOBER 1st


Should you have any questions regarding the content of the forms or need assistance with the forms, please contact your school nurse or school front office. All forms are accessed in the same way you access report cards through Aspen. You can find step-by-step instructions to help you navigate these forms hereThe Aspen Family Portal information guides can be found in Englishin Spanish, and in Portuguese.

For technical assistance, please contact the IT Department by submitting a technical assistance ticket through this link or by calling the Technical Help Desk at: 978-619-1450Please note, the technical Help Desk hours are Monday-Friday between 7a-4p.

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.




Download the ParentSquare app

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 the primary communication platform for all Salem Public Schools. All messages and alerts come through ParentSquare and the app makes 1-to-1 communication with your student’s teachers and signing up for guardian/student conferences a breeze. If you are not receiving messages from ParentSquare or if you are having trouble, contact your school’s front office. You can visit www.parentsquare.com for more information.

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Salem Public Schools

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