Greer Gazette: October 2, 2023

Greer Gazette: October 2, 2023
Posted on 10/02/2023

Greetings CPS Community…

I hope you had a wonderful second weekend of fall.

October is National Principals Month. I want to recognize our wonderful Principals who lead our schools every day with positivity, intent, and compassion. We are so fortunate to have you. Thank you for all you do on behalf of our students.

At tomorrow night’s School Committee meeting, we will share details about our new EXCEL After School Tutoring program and other supports available for students. The Office of Academics & Schools will also present the Annual Achievement Data & Accountability Report. As always, I invite you to attend in-person or watch virtually.

Next week, the city’s Office of Early Childhood will be hosting a virtual information session about the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP) or Universal Preschool. CPP will begin next school year, replacing our 3-year-old lottery, which was held in October, and our Junior Kindergarten lottery, which was held in January. The information session will cover eligibility, program options, and the application and matching processes. We are excited that CPS will continue to offer preschool in our existing programs - Special Start, Scholar College, Children’s House - as well as programs in all of the elementary schools for the four-year-old preschoolers. I invite you to tune in next Thursday, October 12, from 7 to 8PM.

Finally, please note that there is no school next Monday, October 9th due to Indigenous Peoples Day. The next Greer Gazette will be shared on Tuesday, October 10th.

Make it Great!


Dr. Victoria L. Greer

Cambridge Preschool Program Information Session & FAQ


We hope you will attend next week’s virtual information session about the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), also known as Universal Preschool.

  • When? Thursday, October 12 | 7 - 8PM
  • Register here to attend the virtual meeting on Zoom. (A recording will be made available afterward for those who cannot make it.)

Please note that the application process will be open from Friday, December 1, 2023 through Monday, January 15, 2024.

What does CPP mean for CPS?

  • CPP will replace our 3-year-old lottery, which was held in October, and our Junior Kindergarten lottery, which was held in January.
  • CPS will still hold its Kindergarten lottery in January for children turning 5 years old by Aug 31, 2024.
  • Our Frequently Asked Questions (አማርኛ | عربي | বাংলা | Kreyòl ayisyen | Español), aims to answer many of the questions you may have about CPP’s impact on CPS.

First Community Social of the School Year

You are invited to join the Family & Community Engagement Team and our community partners for the first Community Social of the new school year. Come connect with local resources, indulge in delicious food, participate in our raffle, and take home some swag!

  • When? Wednesday, October 11 | 6 - 8PM
  • Where? Fletcher Maynard Academy Gymnasium (225 Windsor Street)
  • Registration is encouraged but not required.
  •  Questions? Contact Mia at [email protected] or 617.349.9786

Apply for an Equity Collaborative Grant

Equity Collaborative

Do you have a great idea for a project or event to make CPS more inclusive this year? Apply to be part of the Equity Collaborative!

Join the CPS Team

Cambridge Public Schools is seeking to hire talented education professionals for positions including Administrators, Teachers, Instructional Aides, and Substitutes for the 2023 - 2024 school year! We look forward to recruiting and hiring excellent educators to join our school communities for the upcoming school year.

Health Updates
Upcoming COVID & Flu Vaccine Clinics

COVID Flu Clinics

During the month of October, the Cambridge Public Health Department is offering COVID-19 and flu vaccines to adults and children who live in Cambridge. Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months and older get flu and COVID-19 vaccines this fall.

  • Wednesday, October 18 | 10AM - 2PM
    Citywide Senior Center (806 Massachusetts Ave.)
  • Saturday, October 21 | 10AM - 4:30PM
    King Open School (850 Cambridge St.)
  • *Wednesday, October 25 | 4 - 7PM
    Reservoir Church (170 Rindge Ave.)
    *Please note that this is a Vaxabilities Clinic for people with special needs.
  • Thursday, October 26 | 4 - 7PM
    Pisani Center (131 Washington St.)
  • Friday, October 27 | 1 - 4PM
    Cambridge Community Center (5 Callender St.)
  • Appointments are encouraged. Bring your insurance card if you have one. (COVID vaccines are covered by most Massachusetts health insurance plans.)

Free COVID Tests Available to All Households

The US government is offering four free at-home COVID tests to all households again. Tests will be mailed to your home by the US Postal Service after you place your order online.

CPS Policies & Procedures

Wash HandsIn addition to our current COVID-19 policies and procedures, which align with the end of the COVID-19 Federal Emergency on May 11, 2023, we ask that all students, families, and staff remain vigilant. Please continue to monitor for symptoms, use COVID tests as necessary, and stay home when you are not feeling well. Masking and hand washing are also great ways to protect yourself and others against illnesses.

  • Isolation Guidance: Students and staff members who test positive must isolate at home for 5 days. They can return on day 6 if asymptomatic and fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications. A mask must be worn on days 6-10.
  • Testing Plan: Our four-part plan focuses on targeted at-home testing after school breaks and includes testing resources.
  • Vaccination: Students are no longer required to be fully vaccinated to participate in school-sponsored before and after school activities.
  • Masking: Masks are available in all of our school buildings. With the exception of the Nurse’s Office, masks continue to be optional.
  • Ventilation: Every school has maximized air circulation through a combination of central systems, HEPA filters, windows, and fans. Regular air quality testing is also conducted and outdoor learning is periodically utilized.
  • Please note that we are poised to again respond quickly if conditions change.

What We Are Celebrating

Custodian DayToday, on School Custodian Appreciation Day, we recognize the people who keep our schools running every day, giving students clean and tidy spaces to learn and grow. Our custodians work hard to make sure our facilities are clean, tidy, and welcoming for all members of our school community. Please join us in thanking them today and every day!

On your mark, get set… On Wednesday, students and staff are encouraged to participate in International Walk, Bike, or Roll to School Day. Since 1997, this celebration has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school.


Every October, National Principals Month shines a spotlight on the transformative power of our school principals. These leaders, with their intentional vision and unwavering dedication to students, are molding futures, shaping communities, and paving pathways to success for every student. Please join us celebrating our principals this month!


Learning Disabilities Awareness Month was designated in the United States in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. Schools and other educational organizations use this month to inform the public about learning disabilities. You can celebrate by recognizing the strengths and successes of someone with a learning disability, reading a book written by or about a person with a learning disability, or learning a strategy to better support a student with a learning disability.

National Hispanic/Latinx/e Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)

Hispanic Heritage Month

Mariangie Mercado grew up in Puerto Rico and came to the United States 13 years ago. She has been living in Cambridge for the last five years with her son, a third grade student at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School. Mariangie shared with us how she exposes him to their culture, what she wants others to know about Puerto Rico, and why she likes living in Cambridge.

Q: What do you wish other people knew about Puerto Rico?
A: Puerto Rico is a tropical island with rivers, beaches, and unique animals, like the Coquí. The Coquí is a species of frog that only lives in Puerto Rico and makes a very unique and memorable sound. I have a bilingual children’s book about it that I read with my son. He looks forward to hearing the Coquí when we visit Puerto Rico. I also want people to know that, in Puerto Rico, the population is very diverse and we have a lot of traditions that are not celebrated here. I hope people will go visit and explore all the country has to offer, because it is not the same as reading about it.

Q: How often do you visit, and what is your favorite thing to do in Puerto Rico?
We visit Puerto Rico 3-4 times per year, and we love to explore nature. My son loves to have the freedom of climbing trees. He is learning to snorkel, so he goes snorkeling in the coral reefs.

Q: How do you celebrate your culture at home with your son?
I love to cook food from Puerto Rico; we eat rice every single day, usually with meat and vegetables. We also celebrate holidays, like Three Kings Day, which is on January 6th. We have a cultural dinner at home, sing Spanish songs, and play instruments. I explain to my son what this holiday means in Puerto Rico. Also, on Christmas, we put a Nativity scene under the tree.

Q: Why is it important to you that your son is bilingual?
I want my son to be connected to his roots in Puerto Rico but also learn English so that he can get a good education in Cambridge.

Q: What do you like most about living in Cambridge?
When we were moving here, I was looking for someplace that could expose my son to different cultures. I like this town because it is multicultural and my son has good opportunities here. The school district is very diverse, and my son enjoys meeting friends with different backgrounds.
Featured Events
Addressing School-Related Anxiety and School Avoidance
CartwheelSchool-related anxiety and school avoidance have both increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mental health partner, Cartwheel, is offering parents, guardians, and caregivers a free live webinar to provide you with practical skills to feel more confident in connecting with your children. Cartwheel’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Juliana Chen and clinical psychologist Dr. Tai Katzenstein will explore signs of school-related anxiety and parenting strategies to support kids and teens with anxiety and decrease conflicts at home. There will also be a Q&A to address your parenting challenges and concerns.

Free Food Markets

Food Markets

All families are welcome to stop by our free, school-based food markets. They offer fresh fruits, vegetables, and pantry items. Please bring your own bags.

Upcoming markets:

  • Tuesday, October 10
    1:30 - 3:30PM (Graham & Parks School)
  • Thursday, October 19
    3:15 - 5:15PM (Peabody School & Rindge Ave Upper School)
  • Tuesday, October 31
    3 - 4:30PM (MLK School & Putnam Ave Upper School)
  • See the full list of free food markets for the 2023-2024 school year.

Historical Suffrage Marker Honoring the Baldwin School’s Namesake


Over the weekend, student singers from the Baldwin School serenaded audiences at the unveiling of a historical suffrage marker honoring Maria Baldwin. Baldwin, a prominent suffragist and abolitionist after whom the school is named, once lived on Prospect Street in Cambridge. The marker will be displayed outside of Baldwin’s former home to recognize her contributions to society. It is one of only five markers installed across Massachusetts as part of the national suffrage marker project.

School Nurse Shoutout

I. Noel

Fletcher Maynard Academy nurse Irmide Noel is being praised by her CPS colleagues for going above and beyond for her students! Interim Assistant Superintendent of Students Services Dr. Karyn Grace said that during her recent visit to FMA, “Irmide Noel went above and beyond to help a student whose health aide was out”.

Principal Bobby Tynes added, “She always goes above and beyond and gives the answer, ‘I'm just doing my job’.”

CPS’s School Health Clinical Manager Mackenzie Henriquez agreed, writing, “FMA certainly hit the jackpot with one of the very best nurses. While I am not the least surprised to hear this feedback, it warms my heart.”

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, October 9 | Indigenous Peoples Day (No School & CPS Offices Closed)
Wednesday, October 25 | Early Release (Grades JK-8)
Tuesday, November 7 | Staff Professional Learning Day (No School)
Friday, November 10 | Veterans Day (observed) (No School & CPS Offices Closed)
Wednesday, November 15 | Early Release (Grades JK-8)
Wednesday, November 22 | Early Release (All Grades)
Thursday, November 23-Friday, November 24 | Thanksgiving Break (No School & CPS Offices Closed)

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