As a Matter of Fact!
SOMSD Newsletter: Vol. 4, Issue 5 | 1.31.23
Congrats CHS Girls Track Team: 2023 SEC Conf & Essex County Tournament Champions
As we move forward with 2023, I am looking forward to the hopes, challenges and successes of the New Year, knowing that we have a team of outstanding administrators, educators and staff who have one common goal, and that is to see and have our students succeed academically and social-emotionally.
During the month of January, we celebrate and honor many themes. We very much appreciate the many Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations that took place across the District. Students and staff engaged in lessons and activities to honor the rich leadership legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. and his non-violent approach to ensuring the civil rights of all individuals. I was excited to be able to participate with MMS for their 23rd Annual MLK Peace March which took place on Tuesday, January 17. I was so impressed by how seriously the students took this moment of remembrance. Please also allow me to recognize the following groups that contributed to our community's recognition of Dr. King's contributions... the CHS Chorus and Director Nicholas Diaz, Special Dance Company and Director Kandice Point-du-Jour, MAC Scholars participated/performed in the Community Coalition on Race, annual Dr. King Observance & Luminary Lighting, which returned to an in-person gathering at the CHS auditorium on January 16 (thanks to district preschools and Clinton elementary 2nd grade who helped to make kits).
January 27 commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day in memory and honor of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945. It was officially proclaimed, in November 2005, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly. We as a District celebrate our diversity and reaffirm our commitment against all forms of intolerance. We stand against antisemitism, racism and hatred, and commit ourselves to help shape a better world.
January is also School Board recognition month. I am pleased to acknowledge and honor the members of our Board of Education, both present and past for their commitment to the South Orange & Maplewood School District and the extraordinary service they so tirelessly give. I also want to acknowledge the CHS, Cougar Girls Track Team on a phenomenal season, on Sunday, 1/30, the team won the 2023 SEC Conference Champions and Essex County Tournament Champions, go #Cougarnation.
We have many goals to achieve for this school year. I believe that by continuing to work with and strengthening the collaboration among our District’s senior leadership team and our school administrators, BOE, staff, SOMEA, community partners, PTAs and town leaders, we will successfully meet them all. We look forward to sharing more and celebrating Black History Month in February.
I wish our entire SOMSD community a safe, thriving and healthy year.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
2023-2024 SY Kindergarten Registration Open on January 30
New student registration enrollment for the 2023 - 2024 school year (fall, September 2023) begins on January 30 for incoming Kindergarten students. Enrollment deadlines by grade level is outline below. For more information visit: bit.ly/23-24SOMSDRegistration
Kindergarten: January 30 - February 17
Preschool: February 21 - March 10
Columbia High School: March 13 - March 17
Intentional Integration Grades (1st, 2nd, 6th & 7th): March 20 - March 31
General Open Enrollment for ALL grades (K-12): May 15
Please note, students CURRENTLY enrolled in and attending a District school/program (Prek-11) are not required to re-enroll for the 2023- 24 SY.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Wishing a Happy Chinese New Year to those in our community who celebrate. The Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, is based on the lunar calendar which follows the monthly cycles of the moon's phases. This holiday falls between January 21 and February 20. Festivities begin on the evening before the first day of the first lunar month and continue for the next 15 days when the moon is full. The last day of the holiday is celebrated with the Lantern Festival. This year, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. Each new year represents a fresh start and is also associated with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. These include: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Those born in the year of the rabbit are said to be talented at many things. They are affectionate people, often excelling at forming close relationships. However, they also appreciate tranquility and seek out peace.
A Few Fun Facts
January 22, 2023 marks the first day of the year 4721 on the Chinese calendar.
"Guo Nian Hao" (pronounced gor nee-an how) means Happy New Year!
More than 2 billion people worldwide will celebrate the Lunar New Year this year, which is approximately 20% of the world's population.
The Lunar New Year is considered the "largest annual human migration" in the world since millions of people travel home to celebrate with their families.
Each animal in the Chinese zodiac is said to have certain characteristics and personality traits that a person born in that year would also demonstrate.
London, San Francisco, Sydney, New York, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside of Asia.
Foods typically eaten include spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, steamed fish or chicken, and rice cakes. Each dish has a special meaning. For example, long noodles cannot be broken or cut because they are a symbol of long life.
Red envelopes are traditionally given to children by their parents and anyone who is unmarried, even if they are 40 years old!
Around the District!
Three New Board Members Take Oath of Office
CHS Art-Literary Magazine, Guildscript, wins First Place!
The Columbia High School art and literary magazine, Guildscript, received a First Place award from the American Scholastic Press Association for its 2022 edition! The annual magazine received high marks in design, organization, and presentation. The Association stated that the Guildscript exhibited "superior efforts of talented and creative editors, writers, artists, photographers, layout/graphic designers, staff members and advisors!" It also commented that the "ability to keep your publication alive and printing during a pandemic is a testament to your dedication and devotion to your publication, school, [and] community..."
The 2022 Guildscript Advisors, Ms. Lubrano and Ms. Malhotra, are delighted that the magazine was so well received and attribute the magazine's success to the dedication and hard work of all the editors, writers and artists involved.
Writers Group Leader:
Writers Group Leader:
LauraLee Lubrano (Literary)
Cindy Malhotra (Art/Design)
Guildscript Editorial Board
Izzy Morgan, Kate Kampner, Natalie Urusov, Benjamin Gevirtz, Emmi Beemer, Ryan Gaykowski, Ajuni Zubieta, Okherra Prosper, Kamaria Graham, Daphne Robbins,Nina Krauss (Not Pictured: Sara Spangler and Anna Roth)
Guildscript Writers Club
Pictured: Kate Kampner, Nina Krauss, Daphne Robbins, Izzy Morgan, Sophie Kessler, Kamaria Graham, Sara Spangler, Noa Gida, Lulu Manchester, Ryan Gaykowski, Ciara Navan, Natalie Urusov (Not Pictured: Ajuni Zubieta, Ben Gevirtz, Jarrett Jackson)
MMS 23rd Annual MLK Peace March
Maplewood Middle School (MMS) held its 23rd Annual MLK Peace March on Tuesday, January 17. Each year MMS administration, staff, students and invited community members affirm their commitment to honoring Dr. King's legacy and to being a school community that disrupts and changes systems of injustice. Carrying hand-crafted messages of peace, the students quietly marched throughout Maplewood Village ending their march back at MMS.
Columbia High School students Win at the Ramapo College High School Film Festival
The 6th Annual RCNJ High School Film Festival was held on Saturday, January 28 at the Berrie Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey. This year close to 150 films were submitted by high school students across the state of New Jersey for consideration in the RCNJ High School Film Festival.
Columbia High School students, Jarrett Jackson (junior) and Joshua Apostolico (senior) won "The Best Screenplay" Award for their film "Tardy!" This is the first time Columbia High School has won this award at Ramapo! Jarrett Jackson & Josh Apostolico also starred in the film with guest appearances from Frank Sanchez (CHS Principal), Adam Hanselman (senior), and Paul Marigliano (Film & Animation Teacher). Ross Perlman (senior) won "Best Fiction Film" for his film "Obligatory Parasite."
This is the third year in a row that Columbia High School has won this award at Ramapo and Ross' second win in two years. Congratulations to our new winners!
Essex County Executive Announces New Schedule for Essex County Covid-19 Vaccination Mobile Clinic
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the Essex County Division of Health is transitioning the COVID-19 Vaccination Mobile Clinic schedule for the winter. The new schedule is below:
- Mondays from 2 to 6 pm at the Hall of Records Parking Garage Conference Room, 84 West Market Street in Newark
- Tuesdays from 2 to 6 pm at the Essex County Watsessing Park Community Center at 38 Conger Street in Bloomfield
- Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Chris Gatling Community Center at 291 Union Avenue in Irvington
- Thursdays from 2 to 6 pm at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo in the Berson Education Building at 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange.
- Only the Moderna vaccine will be offered at the mobile locations for people ages 6 years and older. COVID-19 testing is not being offered.
- Appointments are recommended and can be made at EssexCOVID.org or 973-877-8456.
REMINDER: Sign-Up to Receive Text Message Updates & Reminder to Update Contact Information in School Messenger
Opt-In For Text Messages
In order to participate in the text messaging service, you must indicate your willingness to receive text messages to your phone, even if you received text messages this year. You must do this whether you have a child in the school system or belong to a community organization that wants to keep up-to-date with our alerts. To learn more about signing up for SMS text messaging visit: website: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/headlines/district-news/2019/12/16/sms-text-message-communications-from-the-district/
Additional Information & Resources for the Community
- 2022-23 SY Return to School Guidelines, News, Resources & Updates
- District SMS/Text Messages
- Chromebook 1:1 District Initiative
- SOMSD Mental Health & Counseling Resources
- Student Discipline & Code of Conduct Policy
- SOMSD Intentional Integration Initiative (III) Microsite
- District Withdrawals/OOD Transfers
The School District of South Orange & Maplewood
Location: 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, NJ, USA