From the Superintendent: February 2020
Published on Feb 14, 2020 14:00

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February 2020

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Message from Dr. Salim 

superintendentIt is hard to believe February vacation is already here, with all that is happening in Cambridge Public Schools.

We are at the mid-point of our district’s most consultative Budget process to date, and are about to launch our next District Planning process. Combined with new and ongoing equity-driven changes, this is a transformative moment for our schools and district.

As we stand at this turning point, I want to share some news from several individuals who have had a remarkable impact on our district:

  • Assistant Superintendent Maryann MacDonald will retire at the end of this school year, having served as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and ultimately District Administrator over the course of her 43 years with CPS. Most recently, she has overseen JK-5 education for all CPS students and strengthened our early childhood programs and curriculum.
  • Executive Director of Human Resources Barbara Allen also announced her retirement, after a total of 25 years of service to CPS. Thousands of employees have benefited from her leadership and oversight of our human resources department, and Barbara has been instrumental in ongoing efforts to strengthen and deepen our commitment to educator diversity.
  • Fletcher Maynard Academy Principal Robin Harris will be leaving her position at the end of the school year to assume a new leadership position, Principal on Assignment for Family Engagement. Among our Principals, Robin has been a leader in our efforts to build culturally responsive and collaborative partnerships between school and families, and we are very excited that she will be bringing her expertise with our district as a whole.
  • I also want to express my congratulations to Early Childhood Director Lei-Anne Ellis, who who will also be retiring at the end of this school year. Lei-Anne has been a driving force behind the Birth to Third Grade Partnership (led by the City's Department of Human Services and CPS) and a national voice in the equity-focused movement to strengthen early childhood systems.

Each of these leaders has dedicated their careers to fostering an environment where rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning can take place. As we enter a new chapter in our district’s history, I hope you will join me in thanking them for the contributions that they have made to our schools and community.

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Your Feedback on the CPS Budget

budget graphicThis year CPS is piloting a more transparent and inclusive process for developing our school district budget. In place of formal hearings held in School Committee chambers, consultation with stakeholders has taken a more collaborative approach.

Facilitated, drop-in community meetings were held in January around the question, In your experience, what will it take for CPS to use its resources to:

  • Improve academic outcomes for all students?
  • Foster positive student-centered school cultures?
  • Ensure all students are experiencing engaging learning?
  • Improve how we partner with families to support student’s success?
So, what have we been learning?

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Cambridge's Plan for Delivering Universal Pre-K to All 4-Year-Olds

girl with paper maskResearch affirms the impact of quality early childhood education on young children’s skills, resulting in stronger social-emotional and academic skills and long-term positive outcomes when children reach high school, college and beyond. At the same time, mediocre or low quality care has been shown to further disadvantage already at risk children.

In December, CPS and the Department of Human Services Programs presented recommendations for providing quality, accessible, universal pre-Kindergarten programs for all 4-Year-Olds in Cambridge. Major investments will be required, but work is already underway to strengthen and universalize early childhood offerings. Read the presentation >>

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Computer Science Playground Featured in National Publication

The banner image of this newsletter captures a moment of rigorous and joyful learning during this year’s new Computer Science Playground program. Explains Instructional Technology Specialist Ingrid Gustafson in a recent online profile of this initiative, “There’s something exciting about programming, and then seeing immediate results that you can touch and feel.” The profile and accompanying slideshow offer a glimpse into this playful and barrier-dismantling learning experience offered to all CPS Upper Schoolers. Read about it in EdTech Magazine >>

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Questions About Disability Services?

oss manualThe Office of Student Services has been quietly and steadily working to improve the information available to families of students with unique abilities. Launched without fanfare at the start of this school year, their new website provides a host of information including disability-specific resources, OSS programs and staffing, policies and procedures, and a parent handbook in English, Haitian Creole and Spanish. Check it out >>

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CPS Announces Halal Options for School Meals

Halal LunchIn keeping with our commitment to equity, access and inclusion, Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) seeks to provide access to a variety of healthy food options that equitably address the needs of all students. This month, CPS launched new menu items that include Halal-certified chicken. Full story >>

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Attention CPS Educators

The Harvard Public-Private Partnerships office has launched a monthly newsletter to connect Cambridge educators with professional development resources across Harvard’s campuses. Many featured events and programs are free and open to the public. Sign up to receive the monthly Cambridge Public School Partnerships Newsletter and get connected with professional development resources for local Cambridge educators.

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Thirty-Four CRLS Students Honored in National Art & Writing Competition

scholastic award“Each year, increasing numbers of teens participate in the program, and become a part of our community—young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers—along with countless educators who support and encourage the creative process,” reads the announcement of this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Award Winners.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School has historically made a strong showing in these awards, and this year is no exception. Fifty-four awards were earned by 34 of our students, selected from over 320,000 original works by students from across the country. View a slideshow and read more >>

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District Events & Reminders

No School: February Vacation
February 17-21

CPS Budget Meetings
Presentation of the 
2021 Proposed Budget:

Thursday, March 12 | 6PM
Public Hearing on the 
2021 Proposed Budget:

Thursday, March 19 | 6PM

CPS District Calendar
View printable calendar >> 
View online calendar >> 
School Climate Surveys!
CPS regularly conducts surveys of students, staff and families, and then uses results from these surveys to improve our schools and programs.
Details >>

In Our Community

find it cambridge logo
Looking for things to do in Cambridge? 
Find It Cambridge >> 

Cambridge Sports Night for Girlx*
Thursday, February 27 | 5:30 - 7PM
War Memorial Field House
1640 Cambridge Street

*Open to all those who identify as girls or with girlhood
A fun, free event for families with girlx in grades K-5. All participating will receive one free swim pass to the War Memorial pool. Explore new sports and learn about existing teams, hands-on demonstrations, games, pizza, prizes and more.

The 2020 US Census is fast approaching and we want to make sure everyone in Cambridge is counted! Learn more about why the 2020 Census is so important, what you need to do, access materials, and more online. Want to help get the word out in Cambridge? Apply to be a part-time Census Outreach Worker to help the City and your community online.

Immigration Legal Clinics (FREE!)
3rd Wednesday each month
90 Third Street, Cambridge
Details >>

Did You Know There Are Free Markets Around the City?
So much fresh produce as well as grocery items are available to you. All you need to do is bring your own bag!
Details >>
Camp Info Night & Resource Fair
March 4 | 6:30-8:30PM
Details >>

The Mind Matters: 
Families Make a Difference

A 10-session workshop for parents with children ages 3–8 providing educational resources & community support. For more info, please contact Debbie Bonilla at 617.349.6492 or email Debbie
Register >>
View the Flyer >>

Affordable Housing 
Open House & Fair

April 25 | 11AM-2PM
Details >>

Invention Convention

April 25 | 3:30-5:30PM
Fletcher Maynard Academy
Details >>

Dig It! 2020 CitySprouts 
Gala/Silent Auction
April 2
Join CitySprouts for a night of food, fun, and fundraising as we celebrate CitySprouts' 19th year.
Details >> 

Affordable Housing
Find out about affordable rental and homeownership in Cambridge.
Details >>
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Cambridge Public Schools
135 Berkshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02141  •  617.349.6400
CPS Mobile App >>
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