End-of-Year Message from Superintendent

End-of-Year Message from Superintendent
Posted on 06/17/2020
Dear CPS Community,

Today was the last day of the 2019-20 school year in the Cambridge Public Schools, and what a year it has been. When schools opened last September, none of us could have imagined the remarkable events that would unfold in our community and around the world. These circumstances have presented tremendous challenges, but the CPS community has risen to the occasion with courage, creativity, and resilience.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings, our students, families, and educators adjusted to the unfamiliar experience of distance learning. We know it has not been easy – and it has not been perfect – but together, we kept students safe, engaged, and learning, even while separated from their teachers and classmates. I am so grateful for our hard-working staff, tireless parents and family members, and steadfast community partners. Above all, I’m incredibly proud of our students – from the youngest preschool children to the graduating seniors – who continued to thrive in the face of adversity.

We also remain deeply committed to the anti-racist work that is making inroads all across the country. CPS stands in solidarity with the Black students, families, and staff and those raising their voice to call for racial justice. We reaffirm our determination as a school district to eradicate racism, bias, and oppression in our schools and community. There is much work ahead that will require CPS to center the voices and experiences of students, families, and staff of color to improve our system. We have made important progress in the last few years to prioritize this work, dive deep to understand the root causes of inequity, and make important commitments to help us become a more anti-racist school district.

Below are additional updates and resources that we want to share with families:

Summer Opportunities & Resources
I hope all of our families and staff find time this summer to relax, reflect, and recharge. As I shared in a previous message, our schools and partners have developed a broad range of activities and programs to keep students active, engaged, and learning during the summer months. I encourage you to visit the Summer Opportunities page of the CPS website to discover resources available to families.

Summer Food Program

The Cambridge Department of Human Services Programs’ Summer Food Program will provide free bagged breakfast and lunch for Cambridge youth ages 18 and younger, Monday, June 22 through Friday, September 4 from 12Noon – 1PM at the following locations: Alewife (35 Cambridge Park Drive), Fletcher Maynard Academy (225 Windsor Street), Haggerty School (110 Cushing St.), King Open School (840 Cambridge St.), Morse School (40 Granite St.), Peabody School (70 Rindge Ave.), Putnam Ave. Upper School (100 Putnam Ave.), and Rindge Towers (362 Rindge Ave).

Preparing for the 2020-21 School Year

I know there are countless questions and a lot of anxiety about what school will look like in September. Our team is exploring a variety of scenarios to ensure that we can resume teaching and learning in ways that are safe and productive for students and adults alike. As I shared at last night’s school committee meeting, we expect state guidance to be released soon. We expect to share an update at the end of the month regarding emerging options for the opening of the school year.

CPS COVID-19 Taskforce & Working Groups

We are fortunate to be guided by the newly launched CPS COVID-19 Taskforce of local thought leaders and community members to provide CPS with feedback and advice on its plan to ensure an academic environment that will minimize and address students’ learning loss, maximize quality engagement, provide educators and staff with necessary professional development, and create a safe learning environment that mitigates the colossal impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Taskforce will review the emerging recommendations and plans generated by multiple working groups, which will be comprised of CPS staff, educators, families/caregivers, community partners, community members, and students, over the course of the summer.

Stay Involved with Our Planning
As plans develop this summer, and additional guidance is provided by federal, state, and local officials, we will keep our community involved and updated. There will be opportunities for the community to provide input and feedback on the emerging plan, including quick surveys to share your thoughts.

Keep Your Contact Information Update
Finally, to ensure that you continue to receive the latest news and updates, please notify us of any changes in your family’s contact information. If there are changes to your home address, phone number, email address, or other details, be sure to contact the clerk at your student’s school to provide the updated information. The contact information for each school can be found on each school’s website, available through the School Listings page.

Thank you again for your extraordinary partnership over the past three months in particular, but also throughout the school year. We will continue to face challenges in the months ahead, but I’m confident that our students, families, and staff will excel, even under the most difficult circumstances.

Best wishes for a wonderful start to the summer.

Sincerely,

Kenneth N. Salim, Ed.D.
Superintendent
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