We believe that the work to realize our goals as an anti-racist organization and promote justice in every element of our system must be owned and led by every individual. We are committed to establishing workstreams that ensure equitable access, opportunities, and game changing outcomes for every child who attends the Salem Public Schools. As a result, there is no single priority focused on equity or a single person who is responsible for this work. In collaboration with the SPS School Committee, staff, students and community members, we have established a strong statement that will serve as the lens through which we examine our strategic efforts. It will ground the decisions that we make and the actions that we take over the course of the next two years. We do not believe that we know all the answers of how to achieve this yet, but we must be determined to identify, iterate, and implement actions, policies, and practices that bring this commitment to life.
Equity is a core value within the Salem Public Schools. We support each student’s unique path to achieving high standards, regardless of ethnicity, race, color, economic status, national origin, age, abilities, religion, parental or immigration status, political beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, language, gender identity, or gender expression.
Valuing equity means that we:
- Reflect and embrace the greater diversity of our students and families
- Recognize that systems of oppression marginalize some populations and suppress some voices
- Bear a collective responsibility to recognize, interrupt, and transform educational inequities
- Champion access and inclusion for all students/families/staff
- Allocate resources so that the students/families/staff who need the most get the most
- Work to be an anti-racist and culturally responsive community
- Create a more just and equitable world for all of our students.
The Salem Public School District strives to ensure a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students and staff, including the Lesbian and Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) members of our school community, who deserve welcoming schools free from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
SPS affirms that transgender and gender expansive rights are basic human rights, that gender identity is not determined by sex assigned at birth and that gender expands beyond a binary. Our School Committee, Superintendent, school leaders, teachers, and support personnel are committed to the basic rights of students to self determine their gender identity without fear of reprisal or discrimination.
We believe that to be student-centered is to celebrate the entire student, which includes race, class, culture, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability, all of which adds to the rich diversity of our school communities.
Civility Statement From Dr. Zrike
Nationwide, we are seeing an uptick in anger, conflict, and general negativity that affects all of our Salem community. I am seeking the support of our community to help us to promote civility across our city and schools. Sadly, our society continues to be bombarded by negative messages on social media, on television and in the news that promote exclusivity, hate, discrimination and violence. In some cases, our students have acted on, emulated or video recorded these behaviors, which can be incredibly destructive to the culture of belonging that we are growing in the Salem Public Schools. It is important to note that the vast majority of our community speaks up about creating the community we seek, including our students as they thoughtfully advocate for their future.
We need our entire community’s support to teach our students what respect, kindness, and empathy look and sound like (this includes how we interact with each other as adults). We must model and strictly enforce the principles of inclusivity which should be the hallmark of strong communities.
Please help monitor what your child views and communicates on social media, offer feedback on the language they use when speaking to their friends, siblings, and peers, and guide them through how they navigate conflict. While the pandemic continues to be challenging for so many, it should not be an excuse for any members of our community to act in ways that diminish others.
We appreciate your partnership and collaboration as we prepare our children to be thoughtful and productively engaged citizens who are prepared to lead positive change in our city. One way to start on that journey is to have your family accept the #SPSkindnesschallenge (see below) by sharing videos showing kindness in action across our community. We also wanted to share the following resource with you- www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media- which offers guidance on how to speak with your children about sharing, posting, and responsibility using technology.
As always, we appreciate the opportunity to work closely with our families to provide our students with the educational experience they deserve.
SPS Website Accessibility Statement
Salem Public Schools is committed to providing a website that is accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Salem Public Schools continues to improve the accessibility of this site with the availability of new technology and opportunities. If you experience any difficulty in accessing a Salem Public Schools website or document for any reason, including a disability or accessibility challenge, you may file a complaint. Or provide feedback by emailing via this link or by calling 617-559-6000.