SOMSD: As a Matter of Fact!

Social, Emotional & Mental Health Edition | 11.13.20

Superintendent's Message

Our entire community continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has forced us to change our entire way of life including how we work, learn and socialize. As a result, the 2020-2021 school year has been difficult for many students, staff members, and parents/guardians, who may experience anxiety and stress. We recognize some individuals may require additional supports to re-establish a sense of connection and safety with the school environment.

The Special Services department, school counselors, school social workers, caseworkers, the Parenting Center and staff are available to support students, families and staff during this unprecedented time. The District wants to re-share with our community, the social, emotional, and mental health resources that are available to help parents/guardians and students.

Our thoughts are with the entire SOMSD community as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times and we hope that you find these resources helpful. Continue to be safe and well.

Educationally yours,

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor

SOMSD Mental Health & Family Resources and Counseling

The South Orange & Maplewood School District has compiled a list of resources and services available to students, families and staff. Including support groups, counseling services, remote therapy and more.

SOMSD Care Line

As a reminder, if you or someone in your family is experiencing stress/anxiety, please call the SOMSD Care Line and someone will reach out to you within 24 hours on school days to provide a brief consultation and referral services as needed. Call 973-5600, ext. 1855 to leave a message.
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Support for Students

The District provides counseling programs and services for students at both the elementary and secondary (high-school) level. Please see below for information on connecting your child with support services:

  1. Elementary School Social Work Program:
  2. Middle & High School Counseling Support:

  • Guidance Counselors - Your child’s Guidance Counselor can provide counseling for your child, can connect you with resources available in the Secondary Schools such as the Social Work Intern Programs, ISTEP or ESS programs, and can provide referrals to an outside therapist.

  • Case Managers - available to students with IEPs. You can reach out to them to help plan a response which could include working with a Social Worker, a Social Work Intern, referral to an outside therapist.
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CDC: Coping with Stress Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Learn more about resources to help you healthily cope with stress.

Support for Families/Parents/Guardians

Beginning on Thursday, November 19, the Parenting Center will be providing a weekly parent support group to help parents cope with COVID-related difficulties during this school year. Positive Developments licensed therapists will facilitate the group, and parents/guardians can connect with others, gain information, and share ideas on how to address family challenges during COVID-19.

Parenting Center: Crisis Support Series WebEx Video Recordings

As part of the Parenting Center's, Fall 2020, Social, Emotional and Academic, Crisis Support Series several webinars focusing on how families/parents/guardians can help their children manage stress/anxiety while managing their own were presented. Please see below for recordings which were posted on the District's YouTube page:

  1. How Does Stress Affect Young Children and How Can We Help WebEx:
  2. Elementary Students Emotional Supports During COVID Emergency WebEx:
  3. Secondary Students Emotional Supports During COVID Emergency WebEx:

Emotional Support for Parents/Students During COVID WebEx

Parenting Center Support Series: Secondary Students Emotional Supports During COVID Emergency

How Does Stress Affect Young Children and How Can You Help?

"How Does Stress Affect Young Children and How Can We Help" WebEx w/ Dr. Gerry Costa (9/15/20)

Support for Staff

The challenges of COVID may very well be impacting you during this holiday season. Our EAP provider, CONCERN, has provided resources to support our social and emotional health. Atlantic Health Systems is offering two online support groups. These are professionally run and free to anyone in the community.

For more information visit: or call: 1-844-472-8499.

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The School District of South Orange and Maplewood

A district that celebrates diversity!