As a Matter of Fact!

Back to School Special Edition - Vol 2. Issue 1 | 9.7.20

Welcome Back!

Hello SOMSD Community,

We hope that everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!

Welcome back to school. We wish all of our students, staff, and families a great first day of school. Please see the resources listed below in our Back to School newsletter to assist you in a smooth transition during this first week.

Educationally Yours,

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor

First Day of School: How to Sign Your Child Into Canvas (K - 12)

Canvas - How Students Log In On Their First Day
SOMSD Student Day 1 Guide - Accessing Canvas

The South Orange Maplewood School District has taken advantage of single sign-on technology, allowing students to use their district Google accounts to log into Canvas. If you do not know yur students google account, please contact their teacher.

Canvas Webpage

Access the Canvas web page for all information regarding using Canvas, including: tutorials, how-to-guides, videos, accessing your child's google account, and more. Canvas is the learning management system/platform that all students in K - 12 will be using (PreK students will be using the Tools of the Mind portal).

Link to Canvas webpage:

How Do I Access My Child's Google Account/Email?

Students are to use their district Google accounts to access Canvas. These are the same login credentials that were used to log into Google Classroom & Google Drive. For more information visit:

New to the district and don't have your Google Apps account information? Ask your parents to check the eDocuments section of the PowerSchool Parent Portal.

If you forget your login credentials, please reach out to your school librarian/media specialist or the info help desk. School contacts are below:

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

Columbia High School

In addition to the contacts above, you can email to have your district Google account reset.

2020 - 21 Technology Distribution for Virtual Learning

The District sent a “Return to School Preference” form to all families on August 10, 2020. Families who requested a District-issued hotspot or District-issued Chromebook for use will be contacted and given a specific date and time for pickup.

2020 – 2021 Visual & Performing Arts Supply List by Grade (PreK – 12)

Dear Parents and Guardians:

View: 2020 – 2021 Visual & Performing Art Supplies List by Grade Level

I hope this finds you and your families well and excited about a new year of learning! The SOMSD Visual and Performing Arts Staff is looking forward to welcoming your children to their virtual classrooms and guiding them through the curriculum which has been updated to
reflect the new 2020 NJSLS Arts Standards. (STANDARDS LINK:

In order to have a more robust artistic experience in this virtual learning setting, the department staff has put together a list of items we ask that you acquire to support instruction in each arts discipline; levels PreK-12. Please see the list in the attachment below and if you need assistance with any items please reach out to your teacher.

The first week of class will be centered around assimilation and acculturation to the online learning platform CANVAS, as well as community-building activities. Therefore, we ask that you gather the requested materials by September 14th, 2020.


James A Manno

K-12 Supervisor, Visual & Performing Arts Department

2020 - 2021 Google School Year Calendar

As the District works on finalizing the 2020 - 2021 School Year Handbook, SOMSD Families can access our virtual google calendar for District and school-level events from September - December.

Preschool Virtual Learning: Tools of the Mind Portal - School to Home Connection

As a reminder, the Preschool curriculum (Tools of the Mind) has created a web-based portal that enables children in Tools programs to engage virtually in core Tools daily activities aligned with in-school curriculum rollout, so they maintain the learning in the classroom when at home. PreK families will not be using Canvas as a learning management system platform.

The Tools of the Mind portals includes options for a teacher/family messaging system, familiar PreK learning activities, Parent Center with offline learning activities & guidance for supporting children’s learning at home to improve child outcomes. Early literacy apps have been redesigned to integrate home data into the teacher's analytics dashboard so teachers can track, see and hear at home learning, & provide individualized scaffolding to children at home via messages on the apps. Teachers will post the focus for instruction for the upcoming week by Friday at 4:00. This will allow families to plan their week accordingly.

Big picture

How Does Stress Affect Young Children and How can we Help – w/Dr. Gerry Costa (for PreK & Kindergarten Families)

Tuesday, Sep. 15th, 7:30-9pm

This is an online event.

The Parenting Center and the Department of Special Services:

PreK and Kindergarten Families are Invited to Join us for a presentation and Q&A on:

  • The ways in which stress affects all of us- especially children
  • How adults can provide support and model behavior to help children understand and express their thoughts and feelings
  • What happens in the mind when stress occurs
  • Strategies to help adults AND children
  • Learn more:


Meeting ID: 173 797 4452

Meeting PW: NypfcKaS544


Call-In #: 408-418-9388

Meeting ID: 173 797 4452

Meeting PW: NypfcKaS544

2020 - 2021 Instructional Guidebook for Families

The 2020 - 2021 Virtual Instructional Guidebook for families is a working document and will be updated as needed.

South Mountain YMCA 2020 - 2021 School-Age Childcare

Our programs will aid in supervised school work while having meaningful social interactions. We will provide a safe, active, structured, learning environment that will set them up for success both in and out of the classroom.

2020 - 2021 SOMSD Student Virtual Code of Conduct

The SOMSD Virtual Code of Conduct is intended to give our students, families and staff members clear guidelines for what is expected of our students in a virtual setting. Families and students are encouraged to read this document.

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