Greer Gazette: October 10, 2023

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

Greetings CPS Community…

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend with your family.

NicheI am incredibly proud to share that we have once again been recognized among the best school districts in Massachusetts by Niche, a leader in K-12 school rankings.

  • CPS earned an overall grade of A+
  • #4 for Most Diverse School Districts in Massachusetts
  • #14 for Best Places to Teach in Massachusetts
  • #19 for Best School Districts in Massachusetts.
  • CPS scored well in categories including Academic Achievement, Clubs & Activities, College Preparation, and Resources & Facilities.

Thank you to our talented and committed educators who, guided by our District Plan, work hard every day to prepare our students for a bright future in and beyond the classroom. This distinction would not be possible without your continued commitment to Empowering Student Excellence. Read more and see CPS’s Niche profile.

This Thursday, October 12, the Office of Early Childhood will host a virtual information session on the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), or Universal Preschool. As we have shared, beginning next school year, CPP will replace our 3-year-old lottery, which was held in October, and our Junior Kindergarten lottery, which was held in January. We are excited that we will continue to offer preschool in our existing programs: Special Start, Scholar College, Children’s House, and programs in all of the elementary schools for 4-year-old preschoolers. Below you will find details on registering for the information session, the application window, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions addressing how CPP will impact CPS. Thank you for your continued support as we move forward with this historic investment in our children.

Make it Great!


Dr. Victoria L. Greer


Cambridge Preschool Program Information Session This Week


This Thursday, the Office of Early Childhood is holding a virtual information session about the Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), also known as Universal Preschool.

  • When: This 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.)

The CPP 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

Planning for Lockdown Drills

Our Safety & Security team is currently planning for the first lockdown drills of the school year. These lockdown drills will take place from mid-October to mid-November.

As a reminder, you can find more details about school procedures like this one, in our Information for Families in the Event of a School Emergency. (አማርኛ | عربي | বাংলা | Kreyòl ayisyen | Español)

After School Opportunities for Your Child

The After School and Out-of-School Time (OST) Opportunities for JK-8th Graders Guide outlines all of the after school programs and opportunities available to your child across Cambridge. It includes an overview of each program, timing, location, ages served, and cost. Please review the following slides for more details on specific programs and opportunities:

Speakfully Incident Reporting System
We are continuing to use Speakfully as our incident reporting system. Speakfully serves as an additional avenue for families, students, and staff to submit an incident report.
The CPS Speakfully website has links to valuable resources, including:

Featured Events

First Community Social of the School Year

Community Social

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: Tomorrow, 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

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:

  • 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.

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.

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.

What We Are Celebrating

Indigenous People's Day
Indigenous People’s Day is an opportunity to honor the contributions that Indigenous peoples have made throughout history. In addition, it is an opportunity to acknowledge the violence, displacement, assimilation, and discrimination that Indigenous communities have faced and continue to face today. People have been advocating for celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day for decades (e.g. it was first introduced during a United Nations conference in 1977), to replace Columbus Day. Last year, President Joe Biden became the first president to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day by issuing a proclamation.

Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated the second Monday of October. However, it is important to clarify that it is not a federal holiday yet and, therefore, in some cities or states, it is not celebrated nor has it replaced Columbus Day. You can learn more about Indigenous People’s Day by visiting the National Museum of the American Indian.


National School Lunch Week (October 9-13) was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child's life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. We are proud that Universal Free School Meals are now permanent in Massachusetts, and that students can enjoy free breakfast and lunch at school everyday!

To celebrate, our lunch menu highlights some fan favorite lunches and a recipe sourced from Cambridge families! Feeding close to 5,000 students a day is no easy feat. Our Food & Nutrition Services Department does a phenomenal job of providing our students with high quality, scratch-cooked meals using local and fresh ingredients to ensure students are well nourished and ready to learn and grow.

Heritage Month

National Hispanic/Latinx/e Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)
Nathalie Tejada is both a CPS parent and staff member. Her son Oscar attends the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, where she works in the cafeteria. Nathalie, who is from the Dominican Republic, has been living in the United States since 2009. She gave us a taste of what it is like to grow up in her hometown and why she feels it’s important to continue speaking Spanish in the US.

What is your favorite part of the Dominican Republic?
My favorite thing is the beautiful beaches with crystal water and the warm weather. You can enjoy the beach all year round and also a delicious meal with a good friend and family.

What do you want people to know about the culture of the Dominican Republic?
We are very happy and friendly and always ready for a lively conversation or a good party. We like to talk a lot, and we enjoy listening and dancing to music. We mostly listen to Merengue and Bachata. The traditional meal in the Dominican Republic is a dish called La Bandera (the flag), which is rice, beans, and any kind of meat. People eat that almost every day for lunch. My son’s favorite breakfast is Mangú Tres Golpes, the traditional breakfast of the Dominican Republic. It consists of mangú, or mashed plantains, with Queso frito (fried cheese), fried salami and eggs, finally topped off with tangy pickled red onions. And we can't forget the delicious chicharrón (fried pork) with yuca (cassava). Since it takes some time to prepare, now that we are here in the US, my family mostly eats it on weekends.

What is your hometown like?
I am from a small town called Las Matas de Farfán, which is about a 4 hour drive south of Santo Domingo. It's a small town where everyone knows each other. Most people work in agriculture and raising and selling animals. My hometown will always be my home, because it is the place I grew up, went to school, and made all my friends and memories. It made me the person who I am today. I can’t erase from my mind the friendly people who manage to lead a fairly simple life and the genuine smiles they would offer you every time you talk to them.

Why is your heritage so important to you?
Our heritage is something that Hispanic people should be very proud of, not ashamed. Even if we have been in the US a long time and know English, it is still important to learn, teach, and speak Spanish. It is very useful. I notice a lot of my American friends are interested in learning it, and I am happy to teach them. I am also teaching my son Spanish at home. In the Dominican Republic, the dialect is a little bit unique because we speak quickly and leave out some sounds, so sometimes communicating with other Spanish speakers can be difficult, but it is still important to embrace the language. We learn the values of love, respect, cultures, and traditions through our heritage.

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!

RSTA’s Rib Fest Recognition!
RSTA Trophy

Congratulations to our RSTA Culinary Arts Department for bringing home the First Place People's Choice Award at the East Cambridge Business Association's 'Smoke This Rib Fest' on October 1st. The annual contest is a culinary showdown for the title of best ribs in town. Our students earned the most votes out of any restaurant in the competition.

Mark Your Calendar

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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