As a Matter of Fact!

SOMSD Newsletter - June 19, 2020 VOL. 1, ISSUE 15

Superintendent's Corner

Hello SOMSD Family

Today, Friday, June 19, 2020, has come to be known as the unofficial holiday, Juneteenth. Wikipedia defines Juneteenth as, ‘…an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming all slaves in Texas were now free.”

Today in June of 2020, 155 years later, Juneteenth feels more relevant and recognized than at any other time in the 46 years that I have spent on this planet. Being a Black Man who attended a Historically Black College & University (HBCU), I of course have been aware of Juneteenth for many years. I have attended events and celebrations that commemorate what many call, ‘the 4th of July for Black Folks’. However this year it feels…different. I have seen Juneteenth discussed on major news networks and in the Wall Street Journal. I have seen countless social media posts and commentary about the historical importance.

The obvious question is why? Why is Juneteenth so prevalent in 2020?

Read more.

Educationally yours,

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools

Let's Celebrate the Class of 2020 as they Move Up and Graduate!

2020 Graduation & Moving Up Ceremony Dates by School

Please join the SOMSD community as we celebrate the upcoming milestones of our students. See below for Moving Up and Graduation Ceremony dates by schools, that will begin on Monday, June 22 through Wed., June 24. Dates can also be viewed on the District website.

All virtual ceremonies will be posted to the South Orange & Maplewood School District YouTube Channel:

2020 SOMSD Summer Reading Lists are now available!

These lists of summer reading suggestions were compiled by your librarians from the South Orange and Maplewood Schools and the public libraries, and are available online through the SOMSD website and the public library sites. Physical copies of these books will be available soon at the public libraries & your local bookstores. Many titles from the lists are available as eBooks and/or eAudiobooks and can be accessed by clicking on the links below each book with your town’s library card. The online collections will continue to expand over the summer, so please check back often.

Click here to access:

SOMSD USDA Summer Food Support Program to Begin on June 29

Summer Food Support Programs & Information

Programa e Información de Apoyo Alimenticio de Verano

Pwogram Sipò ak Enfòmasyon Pou Manje Pandan Ete

South Orange & Maplewood School District in partnership with the Township of Maplewood, the Parenting Center, and its partners are providing various options for food support over the summer months.

The District's summer breakfast and lunch are provided through the USDA Summer Meals Program in coordination between Township of Irvington and Township of Maplewood. We will provide free, breakfast and lunch Grab 'n' Go meals for kids starting on June 29 through August 21, M - F, 9 am - 11 am at Maplecrest Park, between Essex Road and Boyden Parkway.

SOMSD additional pantry and food support information can be found on the district website:

The 18th Annual Virtual CHS Shakespeare Festival to Premiere, Saturday, June 20 @ 7 pm

The 18th Annual CHS Shakespeare Festival will premiere tomorrow Saturday, June 20 at 7 pm on YouTube. Dozens of SOMSD student performers will perform scenes from 18 different plays! Join us for an evening of great theater on the SOMSD YouTube Channel:

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Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) Update

The District’s Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) received preliminary approval from the Board of Education on November 19, 2018. The repairs, renovation, and new construction work of the Long Range Facilities Plan will address the health and safety issues in our facilities and expand our capacity to meet growing enrollment. The first bond sale closed during the summer of 2019; since this time, architects have been working on architectural designs for District facilities. During this time, numerous meetings were held during the school year to finalize designs.

On June 22, 2020, the Board of Education will be asked to authorize the administration to send the elementary school designs for code review. Code review is a process where building code officials examine the designs to ensure they follow all building codes. Once code review is completed the projects will be advertised for bid and contracts awarded. A video for each elementary school is posted on the district's YouTube channel summarizing each building project. The videos provide a brief overview to help inform the SOMSD community about each school project.

View LRFP Elementary School Videos:

Additional Information & Resources for the Community

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