As A Matter of Fact!

SOMSD Newsletter | Vol 2. Issue 13 | May 7, 2021

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Superintendent's Message

Dear South Orange & Maplewood School District Community,

Please join me in wishing a happy Teacher Appreciation Week, to all our teachers and support staff! As we celebrate this annual acknowledgment of the individuals in our society who give of themselves daily in support of improving the lives of students, I want to take the time to again formally express our thanks, acknowledgment, and appreciation.

In any other year, their daily efforts would deserve recognition, but during this school year we have had to transform our pedagogy and that has been far beyond noteworthy. We have used the word, 'unprecedented' so many times over the last 14 months and that was indeed an understatement. It must be reiterated that this journey has been fraught with challenges and 'new learnings' in almost every facet of what we took for granted as educators. So many things are different now...lesson planning, delivery of instruction, checking for understanding, student engagement, professional evaluations, professional development... even student attendance! We have had to shift and be more nimble than ever. The growth mindset that we often reference was put to the test for or community of adult learners (educators).

In the midst of a pandemic that has changed the way we deliver education, our teachers have managed to teach virtually while balancing their home lives, their own children's virtual learning, their personal mental health, and so many other life experiences. I hope that in the midst of their most challenging moments, that they found a ray of hope through a student who captured a concept, or through a student, who they've seen blossom from a shy kid to an engaged learner or just from a simple thank that was shared by a parent or student.

I know at times their task can feel mundane or overwhelming and as educators, we wonder if we are getting across to our students. However, I want to remind our teachers that all that they do matters and it is making a difference in the lives of each student that they encounter. So I encourage our teachers to keep doing the great work of inspiring, uplifting, teaching, imparting, connecting and building relationships with their students. To our teachers, I say, you matter, your work matters and we are proud to have you as a teaching member of the South Orange & Maplewood School District community.

Educationally yours,

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor

Teacher Appreciation Week 2021

SOMSD Board of Education: Honors & Celebrates Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, a celebration of teachers and support staff in their passion and commitment to education.

In this unprecedented time, teachers have faced and adapted to challenges while remaining unwavering in their tireless passion and commitment to helping families and students navigate virtual and hybrid learning. As steadfast champions of our students, our teachers and support staff have continued to inspire the next generation of leaders putting students first. Teachers have the power to not only change lives but help change the world every day. Thank you to our teachers and our support staff.

The South Orange Maplewood Board of Education honors and celebrates our teachers, support staff, and administrators during Teacher Appreciation Week. #ThankATeacher

The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education

SOMSD Mental Health Resources for Students

Please view a list of mental health resources and support available to District students both internally and via external sources.

May 1st Was National Principal Appreciation Day!

On behalf of the South Orange & Maplewood School District,

We want to wish all of your building principal's a belated Happy National Principal Appreciation Day!

Thank you for your educational leadership of our schools, especially throughout this very challenging school year. Throughout the year, these educators assume the commitment to lead our young people to a prosperous future. They support and guide quality teachers and staff, while providing a safe and nurturing space for students to grow, resulting in productive learning environments for our children. We see you, your daily hard work and late nights have not gone unnoticed. Thank you to all of our school leaders.

  • Principal Frank Sanchez, Columbia High School
  • Principal Dara Gronau, Maplewood Middle School
  • Principal Lynn Irby, South Orange Middle School
  • Principal Jennifer Connors, Clinton Elementary School
  • Principal Kim Hutchinson, Jefferson Elementary School
  • Principal Raquel Horn, Marshall Elementary School
  • Principal Shannon Glander, Seth Boyden Elementary School
  • Principal Kevin Mason, South Mountain Elementary School & Annex
  • Principal Malikah Majeed, Tuscan Elementary School
  • Principal Bonita Samuels, Montrose Early Childhood Center
All Return to School Updates & Resources

All updates and resources regarding the District's January 2021 return to in-person instruction.

Preschool Program 2021- 22 SY Updates

The preschool team is pleased to announce that due to our preschool expansion efforts, all families who enrolled their child with the District to participate in the preschool lottery prior to the February 26th deadline, and completed the enrollment process by meeting all registration requirements for the 2021-2022 school year will receive placement into our program! All families will be notified in the next few weeks of their child’s school placement.

All families who filled out an online pre-registration application after the February 26th deadline will remain on the waitlist. Please be advised that we anticipate additional seats in our preschool program opening up prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. As such, we encourage all preschool-eligible families to pre-register their child by filling out the online pre-registration application so that their child’s name can be added to the waitlist. Please visit the District’s Registration Page for all registration guidance.

Please be advised that adding your child to the waitlist at this time does not guarantee placement. Families on the waitlist will be notified if and when a seat for the 2021-2022 school year becomes available. For more information on our preschool program, please visit us HERE.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at:

Melody Alegria, Ed.D, Asst. Superintendent, Special Services

Leroy Johnson III, Supervisor, Preschool Education Program


The SOMSD Covid-19 Dashboard will be updated weekly and will track and reflect positive cases of both virtual and in-person staff and students

Health Updates: The Importance of Physical Examinations

A Message from the School Nurses

At the beginning of the pandemic, certain health visits, screenings and scheduled procedures were delayed statewide to minimize risk. Now it is time to consider scheduling annual physicals for your children at their medical home.

What are Annual Physicals For?

A lot can change in a child’s or teen’s health within a year’s time. By scheduling an annual physical, you are able to monitor the growth, health and development of your child in addition to safeguarding against potential physical problems that could arise. Optimum health will foster success in the classroom.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your childrens’ yearly exams ensure that they are up-to-date on vaccines to protect against serious diseases. Safeguarding your children's health as well as the health of classmates, friends and others in your community is a top priority for doctors and school administrators. It is also important to determine that the student is fit to participate in any health, safety or physical education course required by law.

Physical Exams for School

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-2.2, each school district shall ensure that students receive medical examinations upon enrollment into school which have been conducted at the student’s medical home. After the initial enrollment physical, it is important to obtain subsequent medical examinations for your child annually, or at least one time during each development stage, at early childhood, pre-adolescence, and adolescence.

To whom should I send the Physical Exam Report?

The school nurse maintains a full report of the examination as part of the student’s confidential health record. When you take your child(ren) for their annual physical, please forward a copy to your school nurse.

Where may we find the Physical Form on the website?

You may find the Physical Exam Form on the district website: =>Forms=>Physical Examination Form

If you do not have a Health Care Provider at this time, you may consider Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which provide a wide range of services

Upcoming District/School Events

May @ The Parenting Center: Parent Support Groups

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Extended Memorial Day Weekend: Schools Closed on Friday, May 28

Each year the District is allotted three inclement weather (or snow days) to be used during the school year. This year, we used two inclement weather days and contractually any unused days must be given back to staff. Therefore, Friday, May 28th will be a give-back day for District staff and all schools will be closed. We will return to school on Tuesday, June 1 after the Memorial Day holiday. In advance, enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend.

SOMSD Calendar of Events