SOMSD BOARD OF EDUCATION NEWSLETTER

April 18, 2022 Public Meeting Recap | Vol.1 Issue 12

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Highlights from the April 18, 2022 - Regular Session Board of Education Meeting

The District will share a monthly newsletter with the SOMSD community to keep you informed and to provide a recap of key action items discussed and approved by the Board of Education during their monthly regular Public Session meetings. The BOE meeting recap newsletter will be shared monthly after each regular session public BOE meeting (and will only be provided for regular-session Board meetings).

Board President's Monthly Statement

The school board meeting is a business meeting in public and not a meeting with the public. Oftentimes it may appear to members of our audience that the Board of Education takes action with very little comment and in many cases a unanimous vote. Before a matter is placed on the agenda at a public meeting, the Administration has thoroughly reviewed the matter with the Superintendent of Schools/Chief School Administrator (CSA). If the Superintendent of Schools/Chief School Administrator is satisfied that the matter is ready to be presented to the Board of Education, it is then referred to the appropriate Board Committee. The Members of the Board Committee work with Administration and the Superintendent to assure that the members fully understand the matter. After the committee discusses the matter, it is presented to the full Board for discussion before any action is taken. Only then, is it placed on the agenda for action at a public meeting.

Superintendent's Monthly Report

  • Moment of Silence for CHS Student;
  • Recognized SOMS band who played to open the BOE meeting, the first time since the pandemic that we have been able to have student performers return to District DMR for a Board meeting;
  • Encouraged staff/families/students to remain vigilant, post-Spring Break the county is now at a moderate CALI score;
  • Shared that the Board of Education’s recently approved Intentional Integration Initiative (III) Year 2 Middle School placements have been finalized and distributed to the families of our rising 6th graders (current 5th graders); Kindergarten families will begin to receive their placement letters in the next month or so;
  • Update on school construction and District's LRFP;
  • As part of our ongoing Social and Emotional Learning support plan, I am very happy to announce that our middle schools and Columbia High School will be having their Challenge Day events during the first few weeks of May. Each school will have multiple days of targeted SEL engagement for hundreds of select students.
  • Watch the Superintendent's full statement here (cued to begin at 18:42 min. mark): https://youtu.be/RgBWiAyf1hI?list=PLtHuBTwkzeV0ZQfpxWuBb6RaAKJ6wuhx_&t=1121

Board President Monthly Report/Statement:

  • Negotiations Update: The Board reached an agreement in principle with SOMEA on a new three-year deal which runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. I cannot comment on any other specifics at this time as the contract has yet to be ratified by SOMEA and subsequently approved by the Board. We anticipate ratification and approval sometime next month. I’d like to thank the Board’s Negotiations Committee, the district administration and the leadership of SOMEA for working together in good faith to reach a deal;
  • NJSBA Training: Registration for 2022 Workshop will be in-person in Atlantic City, encouraged Board members to attend it possible. Local board training with NJSBA Field Services Rep will take place at May 16 BOE meeting for CSA evaluation tool;
  • Mask Optional: Post spring break, reminded families of the district’s recent communication specifically considering taking advantage of COVID-19 testing opportunities, including MediMobile;
  • Swim Access: Since our last meeting, Dr. Taylor, Mr. Burnside and the Board’s Municipal Partnerships Committee met with leaders in both towns and discussed ways the district can help support opportunities for swim access for district students. More updates will be provided as those conversations occur.
  • Watch Board President Thair's Monthly report/statement (cued to begin at 24:15 timestamp): https://youtu.be/RgBWiAyf1hI?list=PLtHuBTwkzeV0ZQfpxWuBb6RaAKJ6wuhx_&t=1454
View/Search SOMSD Board of Education Policies

The District has partnered with Strauss Esmay to provide a more user-friendly and easier way for community members to view/search for District-approved BOE policies/regulations. Polices can be found by # or by inputting a search request by subject.

Board of Education Meeting - April 18, 2022

Current BOE Members

Note: to email all board members, please email boemembers@somsd.k12.nj.us.


Thair Joshua
Board President
Term: 2020 - 2022
email: tjoshua@somsd.k12.nj.us


Susan Bergin (1st Vice-President)
Term: 2021 - 2023
email: sbergin@somsd.k12.nj.us


Kaitlin Wittleder (2nd Vice-President)

Term: 2022 - 2024

email: kwittled@somsd.k12.nj.us


Elissa Malespina
Term: 2021 - 2023
email: emalesp1@somsd.k12.nj.us


Erin Siders
Term: 2020 - 2022
email:esiders@somsd.k12.nj.us


Qawi Telesford

Term: 2022 - 2024

email: qtelesfo@somsd.k12.nj.us


Arun Vadlamani

Term: 2022 - 2024

email: avadlama@somsd.k12.nj.us


Courtney Winkfield
Term: 2021 - 2023
email: cwinkfie@somsd.k12.nj.us


Johanna Wright
Term: 2020 - 2022
email: johannawright@somsd.k12.nj.us


Student Representatives to the Board of Education

Noah Morros
Term: 2021 - 2022
email: boestudentrep1@somsd.k12.nj.us


Vanessa Previlon
Term: 2021 - 2022
email: boestudentrep2@somsd.k12.nj.us

South Orange & Maplewood School District

The mission of the South Orange Maplewood School District is to empower and inspire each student to explore and imagine, to pursue personal passions, and to collectively create a better future by creating a learner-centered environment through multiple pathways; reimagined structures, systems and supports; innovative teaching; partnering with families; and maximizing community expertise and resources.