As a Matter of Fact!
SOMSD Newsletter: Vol. 3, Issue 13 | End of Year Edition
Superintendent's End of Year Message
We've wrapped up another school year and first and foremost I want to once again congratulate the CHS Class of 2022. Our graduating CHS Class of 2022 is a very special group of students; they collectively have risen above the challenges presented to them by our current pandemic and exceeded the graduation expectations of the NJDOE and the esteemed Columbia High School. These students are more resilient, flexible, and responsive because of the adversity they experienced. These traits will contribute to their future success well after graduation.
In the same way, while we were finally able to get back to some sense of normalcy during the 2021-22 SY the disruptions of COVID-19 continued to create interruptions to the lives of students, staff and families. I want to commend our entire student body who worked hard this year to overcome Covid related obstacles. I am proud not only of how our teachers and school staff worked together to provide instruction and services both in-person and online, but also how our students responded to the educational change in their lives. It has been a learning curve for all of us. And I know it has greatly impacted our families as many of you were juggling work and general parenting responsibilities while also supporting your student(s)’ education.
I also want to thank our staff for the incredible impact you've had on our students. All of us play a vital role in creating unparalleled learning experiences for our students, and in ensuring they have access to the resources and support to be successful. Our teachers, staff, and administrators have shown tremendous dedication and commitment to supporting the needs of our students. We could not do what we do, without you.
Although schools are closed for the summer, the District and school administrators will be hard at work planning for the year ahead as we strive to reach and exceed the academic goals and expectations of our students and instill a sense of belonging and pride in our schools. Some of you are about to embark on a well-earned break. Others will work through the summer. If you’re like me, you’ll do a little bit of both. Whatever your plans, I hope you find time to care for yourself. Reset, refresh, renew.
Enjoy summer break and we look forward to seeing our students and staff back in fall 2022.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor
2022 SOMSD Summer Reading Lists for K-12 Student 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. Physical copies of these books are available at the public libraries & your local bookstores. eBook and eAudiobook copies can be accessed by clicking on the links below each book with your town’s library card. You can also read many of these books on MackinVIA. Click here to access: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/academics/sarl/
CHS STEM Summer Assignments & Student Preparation for Fall 2022
In our efforts to best position students for success for their fall classes, we’ve created preparatory materials for them to review over the summer. The content is a review of material from their prior courses and/or an introduction to the beginning topics of their new course. Most assignments will not be factored into students fall grades but we have found students who spend time reviewing in the summer perform better during the school year. Please access information and watch a brief video overview here: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/academics/sarl/
District Summer Friday Hours Starting on July 8
Please note during summer break the District's Central Office will operate summer hours from July 8 - August 26:
- Monday - Thursday: 8 am - 4:30pm
- Every Friday: 8:30 am - 1:30 pm
On Friday's if you need assistance after hours please visit our website www.somsd.k12.nj.us to locate the person’s email address. If there is a true emergency please call (973) 762-5600 ext. 1824.
REMINDER: Deadline to Sign Up for CHS Fall Co-Curricular Sports is July 15
Columbia High School Wants You to Become a Cougar
CO-CURRICULAR SPORTS / MARCHING BAND SIGN UP NOTICE FOR 2022-23 SY
For all rising 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders
We want to inform families of incoming CHS students (rising 9th graders) as well as rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students that registration for CHS athletic programs and marching band is now open. Registration information for all fall, winter and spring sports offered at CHS as well as CHS Marching Band for prospective participants is now available.
If your child is interested in participating in a co-curricular activity for the upcoming 2002-23 SY we encourage you and them to review the information shared below and sign up before the July 15 deadline.
Best of luck to everyone as we wrap-up the end of the school year and I hope you have a happy and safe summer!
For full details and sign-up information visit: https://bit.ly/3NiEymo
Rich Porfido, Supervisor of Athletics | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Around the District: End of Year Highlights
Congratulations to Our 2022 SOMSD Retiree's
Each year the School District hosts an annual Retirement Celebration as part of our efforts to honor our Retirees. This year, due to school Covid-related closures, we were unable to honor our retirees in person, but want to honor them via a virtual presentation. Congratulations and many thanks to our retiring staff members! We are so grateful for your dedication and years of service to SOMSD students. You will be missed and we wish you nothing but the best in the next phase of your journey!
Congratulations to the Inaugural " SOMSD Aspiring Administrators Academy" Participants
The District announced the launching of 'The Aspiring Administrator Academy' to certificated SOMSD staff in January 2022. The Aspiring Administrators Academy was designed to not only expose and train teachers/administrators on the skill sets required of school leaders but to also energize our entire organization with the drive and enthusiasm of aspiring leaders. The goal is to create a pathway to leadership.
The Academy involved active engagement and participants took away a wealth of experience as well as high-quality content and practices. The Academies inaugural Cohort I, consisted of 17 staff members and was designed for those individuals contemplating a career as a building or department administrator. The program presented an in-depth look at the operations of school buildings and instructional programming. Speakers include special guests, district staff, and representatives from local universities and other SOMA community stakeholders. Cohort members engaged in monthly professional development sessions from February - May, and received a certificate of completion. On June 22 a small celebratory gathering was held for attendee's to meet one another in person and to celebrate their achievement. Cohort participants who completed the program are listed below. Congratulations to everyone.
- Cadine Alexander-Gray, Kindergarten Teacher, Seth Boyden
- John Ezzo, Music Teacher, SOMS
- Christopher Faley, SPED Resource Teacher,
- Vanessa Franco-LaForest, Inclusion Teacher, Seth Boyden
- Susan Froelich, Teacher, Clinton
- Ceelea Graham, ELA Teacher, MMS
- Karissa Handler, Counselor, CHS
- Elizabeth LiPuma, Math Teacher, SOMS
- Josué Martínez, Teacher, Marshall
- Jennifer McClure, Science Teacher, SOMS
- Philip McCormick, Social Worker-CST, CHS
- Shella Mesidor-Villard, 4th Grade Teacher, Seth Boyden
- Liping Ming, Teacher of Chinese, CHS
- Deborah Robinson, SPED Teacher, SOMS
- Amy Rowe, ELA Teacher, SOMS
- Catherine Sinnicke, Inclusion Teacher-Gr.2, South Mountain
- Ryann Varney, SPED Teacher, MMS
Four SOMSD Teachers Complete Masters Program at Seton Hall University
Congratulations to South Orange & Maplewood School District teachers/staff:
Maureen Davenport: Seth Boyden kindergarten teacher (M.A.)
Susan Froelich: Clinton School 4th grade teacher (Ed.S.)
Phil McCormick: CHS CST Social Worker (Ed.S.)
Liping Meng: CHS Chinese teacher (Ed.S.)
Who all recently completed the M.A./Ed.S. program in Education Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University.
(Photo from L-R: Liping Meng, Susan Froelich, Maureen Davenport and Phil McCormick)
CHS Model UN Joins Forces with MMS & SOMSD Middle School Model UN Students
On Saturday, May 21, the award-winning Columbia High School Model UN club hosted its first ever Maplewood-South Orange Model United Nations Conference (MAPSOMUNC) for students from Maplewood Middle School and South Orange Middle School (SOMS).
The topic of the conference’s committee was the Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis, which attendees debated and discussed from the perspective of various countries.
Maplewood mayor Dean Dafis spoke at the opening ceremonies to the attendees about various topics including the electoral college, the supreme court, and his role as mayor, and SOMS student Blake Gordon won the Best Position Paper award and SOMS student Teagan Fineman won the Best Delegate award.
The Healing: Video on the Impact of COVID on the Arts Program at CHS
Check out this awesome video created by one of our parents, Mr. Marigliano, and some of our film students about the impact of COVID on the arts here at CHS.
Mr. Manno worked with Achieve to get a grant to pay for the filming and this great project! Once we secured the grant, the students filmed, interviewed, performed the music, sang, and edited this final film.
Kudos to CHSMPA parent, Mr. McCloud, who worked with our students leading this process! This is just another great example of how our faculty and supervisors leverage our community connections to give our students an incredible opportunity to work on a project that seems more like something you would do at college than at a high school. I can't wait to see even more "master classes" like this next year when things get even more "normal."
SUMMER PROGRAMS & OFFERINGS FOR STUDENTS
2022 Maplewood Kids Summer Meals Program
The Maplewood Summer Meals Program in conjunction with the Township of Irvington will be starting their annual summer meals program from July 11 - August 19. All children 18 and younger are eligible (adults 19 & over in public/ private nonprofit school program for mentally or physically disabled are also eligible).
Maplecrest Park (next to Inspirational Dance at 1634 Springfield Ave.,)
- Breakfast: 8:30am - 9:30am
- Lunch: 11:30am - 1:30pm
Covid-19 Testing, Reminders & Updates
As a reminder, we encourage our SOMSD community to take advantage of testing opportunities available at local Megasite locations.
- For the District's weekly Covid-19 MediMobile onsite testing clinic visit: https://bit.ly/C19Test_Vaccine
- For more information on Essex County site visit: https://essexcountynj.org/covid-19-vaccine-locations/
DISTRICT REMINDER FOR FAMILIES
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/
- July 18: BOE Public Meeting @ 7:30pm
- September 1: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
- September 2: Holiday Recess—District Closed
- September 5: Labor Day—District Closed
- September 6: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
- September 7: All Teachers Report & Convocation Day
- September 8: First Day of School All Students Report: Grades PreK-12