As a Matter of Fact!

SOMSD Updates - May 1, 2020, VOL. 1, ISSUE 8

Superintendent's Corner

Hello SOMSD Family,

I hope this correspondence finds you and your families well. As we continue to navigate our unprecedented circumstances, we would like to take a moment to highlight the dozens of students and adult sponsors who prepared for weeks on end to continue the Columbia High School tradition of fantastic theatre performances. I had the opportunity to visit the cast and crew of Matilda during one of their many practices in February. I was beyond impressed with not only their obvious talent but the grit and tenacity exhibited by each member. From the costume preparation to the woodwork and light coordination, Matilda was destined to be an extraordinary spectacle that would not be soon forgotten by those who were lucky enough to get tickets for the sold-out performances. As fate would have it, we were all cheated from this experience.....until now! It is my pleasure to share with you the amazing Columbia High School thespians in 'Matilda'!

Educationally yours,

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor

CHS Musicals on Facebook Watch
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Facilities Update

All district students are now able to receive free meals!!!

SOMSD Food Service will now provide meals to any district students and siblings under the age of 18, including the District’s out of district placements, and those attending charter schools regardless of eligibility status.

Packed lunches are being distributed at ….

  • Seth Boyden School
  • Columbia High School
  • Every School Day from 11 AM – 1 PM

Thank You to SOMA Sewing Volunteers for their Donation of 200 Masks

We would like to send our sincerest thanks to the SOMA Sewing Volunteers, who provided 200 masks to our District. We have been able to provide these masks to our facilities staff who are still serving our facilities and community.

The group which was started via Facebook on March 21, has grown to over 500 members and has donated over 10,000 masks. They have a sewing team of 155 volunteers and dozens of supporting volunteers gathering and cutting materials. Members are from SOMA and other nearby towns. Their mission is to provide as many masks as possible for NJ hospitals fighting Covid-19.

Special Services Update

Dr. Melody Alegria, Assistant Superintendent, Special Services Joins SOMSD

Hello SOMSD Family,

It is my pleasure and honor to introduce myself to you as the new Assistant Superintendent of Special Services for the South Orange & Maplewood School District.

First and foremost, I want to recognize all of the great work that Dr. Morana and the Special Services team have put into the department since her arrival. I look forward to working closely with her and the team during this time of transition to better understand how the department has been functioning and to determine next steps. As I acclimate myself to the District, I also look forward to meeting with staff, families, students and other groups to better understand your concerns.

I come to the District with experience as a Special Education Teacher, an LDT-C, and as a Director of Special Services. I am committed and very passionate about my work with children and families. I am a firm believer in the home/school connection and it is my hope that we will work together in a collaborative effort to provide the highest level of academic, social, and emotional growth for your children.

I welcome your partnership as we continue to implement and improve our services to the students and families of the South Orange-Maplewood School District.

Thank you,

Dr. Melody Alegria

Assistant Superintendent, Special Services

SOMSD Intentional Integration Initiative Presentation

View the PPT presentation, from Superintendent Ronald G. Taylor, regarding updates and next steps for the South Orange & Maplewood School District’s, Intentional Integration Initiative (SOMSD III).

In Memoriam

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an unprecedented impact on all of our lives. Tragically, it has also affected our ability to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed due to the growing number of confirmed cases, deaths, and privacy. Our hearts are heavy for our SOMSD community who have lost loved ones due to the virus. Among them, several of our district students have lost parents and a few members of our District staff have also passed. On behalf of the SOMSD BOE and Administration, our thoughts and prayers are with you all. #SOMSDFamily #Weareinthistogether

Technology Update

Report Cards & Progress Reports Only Available Through PowerSchool for Families

In an effort to allow easier access to student grade information for families and to continue practicing safe social distancing, report cards and progress reports will primarily be provided through the PowerSchool parent portal. Paper copies of progress reports and report cards will no longer be mailed to all families. Families can view and print the reports through the parent portal using the instructions attached to this email. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at:

We encourage families who do not have access to a computer in their homes to contact their individual school administrative offices by phone for alternative accommodations. Please leave a message with your name, child's name, and phone # for a return call.

District Schools' Administrative Office #s:

  • Clinton Elementary School: (973) 378-7686
  • Jefferson Elementary School: (973) 378-7696
  • Marshall Elementary School: (973) 378-7698
  • Seth Boyden Elementary School: (973) 378-5209
  • South Mountain Elementary School: (973) 378-5216
  • South Mountain Elementary School - Annex: (973) 378-2801
  • Tuscan Elementary School: (973) 378-5221
  • Maplewood Middle School: (973) 378-7660
  • South Orange Middle School: (973) 378-2772
  • Columbia High School: (973) 762-5600

To access online report card and progress reports please visit:

Parenting Center News

Parenting Center’s COVID-19 Family Food Support Initiative Secures New Partners and Raises more than $30K to Support SOMA Families

The South Orange & Maplewood School District (SOMSD), Parenting Center, Family Food Support Initiative which began on March 18, has served more than 500 families, raised $33,664 and has received overwhelming community engagement to support families during the SOMSD school closure and Covid-19 pandemic.

Since its inception, the Center has received an overwhelming response from the community. Karen Weiland, Director, Parenting Center, shared, “It’s really amazing since we began this initiative, we have had close to 1,000 community members donate food or funds to our family support food program.”

The Center initially partnered with Morrow Memorial Church and Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry to lead a food collection drive. Since then, the drive has expanded and is now collecting grocery donations two days every two weeks at the OLS Food Pantry. In addition, they have also partnered with Rent Party and South Orange & Maplewood elected officials to raise money for gift cards to provide to families. Donna Coallier’s COVID-19: SOMA Family Support Fund GoFundme campaign was instrumental in beginning the fundraising process.

Read more.

Dr. Taylor's #SmartandStrong Dance & Song Challenge

Dr. Taylor's #SmartandStrong Dance & Song Challenge. View Dr. Taylor's video from April 24 to review the #SmartandStrong, song, lyrics, and dance. We invite our students, staff, and families to join us in the #smartandstrong challenge. Remember to either post your videos to our Facebook or Twitter pages; or email your video to

View the video below.

#smartandstrong #SOMSDFamily #weareinthistogether

Superintendent Taylor's #SmartandStrong Dance & Song Challenge

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood

A district that celebrates diversity!