Greer Gazette: August 21, 2023

Greer Gazette: August 21, 2023
Posted on 08/21/2023

Greetings CPS Community…


We are just a couple weeks away from the start of a new school year. I hope you have enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to the return to school...I know we are! Our team has spent the summer preparing to welcome our new and current students back to the classroom. We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition as we all adjust to a new routine.

Tomorrow, I will share my Back-to-School message via ParentSquare with important steps and reminders to help get your child ready for the first day of school. This includes the annual Back-to-School forms, which as a reminder, are due on the first day of school. The forms are now available in the CPS Family Portal. If you need help filling out the forms, you can call your child’s school as staff are now available or you can attend our help event this Wednesday evening. Details on timing and location are below. Please note that an invitation to register for ParentSquare was sent last Thursday afternoon to the email you have on file with the district. 

This Saturday is also our first Community Fair. We, along with Mayor Siddiqui's office, are pleased to invite you to meet community partners, learn about services available to you, and get free supplies and clothing. I am looking forward to meeting many of you at my “Ask Dr. Greer” table. I hope you will stop by and say hello!

Finally, next Tuesday, we will be revealing a new district-wide motto that demonstrates our shared commitment to our scholars. We will share it on our website, social media, and ParentSquare! Have a wonderful rest of your summer…see you next month!

Make it Great!

Dr. Victoria L. Greer


Back-to-School Forms Help & First Community Fair This Week

The Annual Back-to-School forms are now available on the CPS Family Portal. This Wednesday, you can get help with your child’s back-to-school forms from CPS staff, including school nurses. A reminder that students must turn in these forms on their first day of school.

  • This Wednesday, August 23 | 5 - 7PM
    • Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (459 Broadway Court)

This Saturday is our first of two 2023 Community Fairs. The fairs are opportunities for families to meet community partners, learn about community services, and access free supplies, resources, and clothing. Dr. Greer is hosting an “Ask Dr. Greer” table. We hope you will come out and meet her and Mayor Siddiqui. You can also enjoy a complimentary Zinneken's waffle!

  • This Saturday, August 26 | 10AM - 12PM
    • King Open School (850 Cambridge Street)
  • Saturday, September 9 | 10AM - 12PM
    • Peabody School (70 Rindge Avenue)

School Lunch is Permanently Free for All Students in Massachusetts

We are excited that Universal Free School Meals are now permanently free in Massachusetts! This means school breakfast and lunch will be at no cost for all students who select a complete meal through the 2023-2024 school year and beyond. 

  • Although complete meals will be free for all students, it is beneficial for families at schools considered "Free & Reduced Price Meals Application Schools" (see below) to submit a Free and Reduced Price Meals Application for the 2023-2024 school year. Families who think they would qualify based on income can establish eligibility for benefits, like the Affordable Connectivity Program, and discounts to other Cambridge programs. The application will be mailed home soon and made available on the Food and Nutrition Services webpage and in the CPS Family Portal
  • If your child's school is considered a "Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) School" (see below), your family should not submit a Free and Reduced Price Meals Application. 
  • Please note that regardless of eligibility status, every student who selects a complete meal, will receive the meal at no cost. 
  • Questions? Call our Food & Nutrition Services office at 617.349.6858.

Free & Reduced Price Meals Application Schools
Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) Schools
Amigos School Fletcher Maynard Academy
Baldwin School Kennedy-Longfellow School
Cambridgeport School King Open School
Graham & Parks School Cambridge Street Upper School
Haggerty School Rindge Avenue Upper School
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School Putnam Avenue Upper School
Morse School Vassal Lane Upper School
Peabody School Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
Tobin Montessori School

Track Your Child’s School Bus in Real Time

Within the next week, you will receive notification through ParentSquare with your eligibility for a school bus, where your child’s bus stop is located, and the route. 

If your child plans to take the school bus this school year, please download our Bus Tracker App, which allows families to track the location of their child's school bus by GPS. 

To register: 

  • Have your child’s Student ID number. (It is included in your annual forms packet and can be requested from the school.) 
  • Click New Account and follow the instructions. 
  • Locate the bus tracker at or if you are using a mobile device, create a shortcut on your home screen to make logging in easier. 
  • See the User Guide for more instructions and troubleshooting.

COVID-19 Update

Tests in the Mail 

This week, every student and staff member will receive a COVID test in the mail. We encourage every student and staff member to take a rapid test before returning to school. 

  • If negative and do not have symptoms, we will see you at school.
  • If positive or negative but have symptoms, please stay home and notify the school as you would for any other excused absence.

Updated Policies and Procedures

Throughout the pandemic, we prioritized safe, in-person learning and made significant investments in a comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We worked closely with the Cambridge Public Health Department and our school leaders to monitor the public health situation, gather input from scientific, medical, and educator experts (Health, Safety, and Facilities Working Group), and update our policies and procedures as necessary. 

Below is a summary of our current policies and procedures, which align with the end of the COVID-19 Federal Emergency on May 11, 2023. Please note that we are poised to again respond quickly if conditions change. 

  • Dashboard: The COVID-19 Dashboard is no longer collecting community metrics. 
  • Isolation Guidance: Students and staff members who test positive must isolate at home for 5 days. They can return on day 5 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. 
  • Vaccination: Students are no longer required to be fully vaccinated to participate in school-sponsored before and after school activities. 
  • Masking: With the exception of the Nurse’s Office, masks continue to be optional in all school buildings. 
  • 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.

Register for the New Health Portal Today

The School Health Department invites families to join our district’s electronic medical record system known as the SNAP Health Portal. This web-based system provides an easy, secure, and green way to update and review your child’s health and wellness information and medical documents throughout the year.

  • Submit all health forms electronically 
  • Share immunization records, doctor’s orders, allergies/medical conditions, and other important health information as needed 
  • Receive notification when your child’s medications are in need of a refill

Families will receive an email with an invitation to register soon. Please note that students who are new to CPS this school year will not be able to sign up for the portal until after the first day of school. Questions? Contact Mackenzie at  [email protected].

Changes to Cambridge Public Access TV Channels

Please note that recent changes with Comcast have impacted the channels on Cambridge Educational Access TV (CEATV) where you can watch CPS content. Information regarding CEATV is still available on our website

  • Content previously shown on Channel 98 can now be found on Channel 6This includes original work from students and faculty, professionally produced educational programs, school events, including sports, and programming acquired from other educational access facilities. 
  • Content previously shown on Channel 99 can now be found on Channel 26This includes school news and information including school committee meetings, and programs from other educational, nonprofit, and government sources.

Job and Housing Opportunities for Families

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.

New Income-Restricted Rental Apartments 

Cambridge families can enter a lottery to be selected for new income-restricted rental apartments in Rindge Commons North (432 Rindge Avenue) based on household income. Six one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments are available. Applications are due October 16. The lottery will take place on October 30. 

  • Apply online.
  • Apply in-person at Cambridge City Hall (795 Massachusetts Ave), Cambridge Public Library Main Branch (449 Broadway), Cambridge Housing Authority (multiple locations), management office (402 Rindge Avenue) or the O’Neil Public Library (70 Rindge Avenue)
  • Questions? Call 617.876.5855

Community Cultural Days Hiring Initiative 

The New Art Center in Newton is looking to hire artists, performers, educators, and young people across Greater Boston to help bring cultural programs and celebrations to life. These programs include Indigenous Peoples Day, Dia de Los Muertos, and Veteran’s Day. 

  • Pay varies based on the role. 
  • BIPOC artists and youth are encouraged to apply. 
  • Bilingual in Portuguese or Spanish is a plus, but not required. 
  • Questions? Call 617.964.3424 or email Sarah Moriarty at [email protected]

Cambridge Preschool Program Coming in SY24-25

The Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), also known as Universal Preschool, is a publicly-funded program and a joint partnership between the City of Cambridge, the Department of Human Service Programs, and Cambridge Public Schools.

  • It will provide free preschool to the families of all 4-year-olds and some 3-year-olds.
  • CPP will replace our current Junior Kindergarten-Kindergarten Lottery for the 2024-2025 School Year.
  • A child is eligible if they live in Cambridge and are:
    • 4 years old by August 31, 2024 for 4-year-old programs; or
    • 3 years old by August 31, 2024 for 3-year-old programs (please note there will be limited seats for 3-year-olds and there may be additional eligibility requirements)
  • The single, centralized online application will open in winter 2023/2024.
    • A paper application will be available.
Learn more:

Harvard Partnership Supports CPS Students & Aspiring Teachers 

This summer, graduate school students at Harvard Graduate School of Education took a hands-on approach in preparing for their fall coursework through their time with the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy (CHSA) at CRLS. Under the guidance of mentor teachers from CPS and schools across Greater Boston, Harvard Teacher Candidates gained additional experience in the classroom while supporting about 120 CPS students’ learning and growth. Their engaging lessons are setting our students up for a successful 2023-2024 school year! 

Click on the play button below to hear… 

  • CRLS Math Teacher Nathan Whitfield on the extraordinary benefits of this partnership and his hopes for CHSA moving forward. 
  • Ms. Dwyer, Teacher Candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, on how students are engaged in lessons that build academic skills and social connections.

Key Resources

Mark Your Calendar

Tuesday, September 5 | First Day of School (Grades 1-12) 
Thursday, September 7 | First Day of School (Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten)
Wednesday, September 20 | Early Release (Grades JK-8)
Monday, September 25 | Yom Kippur (No School & CPS Offices Closed)
Monday, October 9 | Indigenous Peoples Day (No School & CPS Offices Closed)

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