As A Matter of Fact!

SOMSD Newsletter | Volume 3, Issue 1 - July 15, 2021

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SOMSD Welcomes New School Business Administrator & Board Secretary

We welcome Eric Burnside to the SOMSD community. The South Orange-Maplewood School Board approved the appointment of Mr. Burnside as the new school business administrator and board secretary on June 28. Mr. Burnside worked in the private sector for 15-years at Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson, and Novo Nordisk before transitioning to public school district administration work in 2015.

Mr. Burnside comes from the Great Meadows Regional School District, where he was the Business Administrator and previously worked for the Bayonne Board of Education as an accountant and Randolph Township School District as an Assistant School Business Administrator. He received an MBA in Finance from Rider University and a BA in Finance from Clarion University of Pennslyvania. He will begin his role with the District on August 25.

State Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

All schools in New Jersey were required to submit their Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service template to the state by June 24. This the high-level plan submitted by SOMSD.

SOMSD Project Literacy Book Giveaways Resumes During Summer Programming through July 30

The South Orange & Maplewood School District, ELA Department are happy to announce that reading book distribution to support District students reading at home especially during the summer months is continuing. The books support both fiction and nonfiction reading at the heart of all disciplines across all grade levels. Students and/or parents are invited to come to any of the District schools below during the allotted timeframe to pick up book selections (which are free).

Families/students can pick up books from any school district site. Book pick-up is occurring weekdays, M-F through July 30. Please be sure to note the grade levels that each site provides books for. Information can be found on the website:

School Locations / Times:

  • CHS: Room B203 | Time: 8:15-noon | Grades 9-12
  • South Mountain & the Annex: Location: Cafeteria | Time: 8:30-noon | Grades: K-5
  • MMS: Location: Main Door | Time: 8:30-noon | Grades: K-8
  • Marshall: Location: Main door | Time: 8:30-noon | Grades: K-5
  • Montrose: Location: Main door | Time: 8:30-noon | Grades: K-2
  • SOMS: Location: Foyer | Time: 12pm - 6pm) | Grades: K-12

REMINDER: SOMSD 2021-22 SY Transportation Application Due on July 23

The District's Transportation Application for the 2021-22 SY is now available. Click here to access the 2021-22 Transportation Application [].

Families must complete a transportation application each year for each student even if transportation has been provided in the past. Applications must be submitted on or before July 23, 2021. Applications received after July 23rd will be assigned transportation if eligible and if space is available. The district will notify the parent/guardian of eligibility during the summer before school opens. Students eligible for transportation will receive a bus card identifying the assigned stop and estimated pickup and drop-off times.

Special Education: Classified special education students may be eligible for transportation according to their IEP. The Special Education Department makes these arrangements. Contact the Department of Special Services at 973-762-5600 ext. 1840 for more information.

Please note the key dates below:

  • By July 23, 2021: Parent/Guardian submit Application for Public School Transportation
  • August 2021: District mails notification of eligibility to parents/guardians

Submit the completed application to your child's school office or mail it to:
South Orange & Maplewood School District
25 W. Parker Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040

SOMSD Central Office Summer Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8am - 4:30pm

For the summer months, the District's central office will be operating on summer hours. The central office will be open Monday - Thursday, 8 am - 4:30 pm and closed on Fridays. If you need assistance visit our website to locate a staff person's email address. If there is a true emergency please call (973) 762-5600 ext. 1820 or 1821. Normal, five-day-a-week operating hours will resume beginning the week of August 16.

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All Return to School Updates & Resources

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

Thank You to Outgoing BOE Student Representatives

SOMSD BOE wants to thank our outgoing BOE Student Representatives and CHS graduates, Lily Forman and Jakhi McCray for their service to the SOMSD school community. We wish them all the best as they both move forward in their higher education journeys.

Below: From left to right: Superintendent Ronald Taylor, Lily Forman, Jakhi McCray, Board President Thair Joshua, presenting a certificate of appreciation to the former BOE student representatives.

Lily Forman and Jakhi McCray receiving their certificate of appreciation from Superintendent Taylor and Board President, Joshua Thair.

2021 Summer Assignments & Reading List

Compiled by our school librarians and SOMA public libraries, the District's annual suggested summer assignments and reading lists are available online through the District's website and the public library sites. Learn more here:
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Local COVID Vaccination & Testing, Rental Assistance Information & Resources

NJ vaccinations are now open to youth 12 years and up. Everyone 12 or older who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Essex County is expected to provide the Pfizer vaccine for 12 and up at two locations:

  • Vaccination appointments are available at Essex County College and the Kmart West Orange location. Hours will be 3:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m., which is subject to change. You will be able to schedule an appt on or and see vaccine availability; walk-ups will also be accepted.

View previously shared information regarding local COVID testing and vaccination and other important Covid-related resources and assistance. Please visit the District website for information:

SOMSD 2021-2022 Calendar of Events

  • Mon., July 19: BOE Meeting, Public Session @ 7:30 pm
  • Tues., August 31: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
  • Wed., September 1: All Teachers Report & Staff Development
  • Thurs., September 2: All Teachers Report & Convocation Day
  • Fri - Mon., September 3 - 6: Holiday Recess/Labor Day—District Closed
  • Tues - Wed., September 7& 8: Rosh Hashanah—District Closed
  • Thurs., September 9: First Day of School: Grades PreK-7/9
  • Fri., September 10: First Day of School: Grades 8/10-12
  • Mon., September 20: BOE Meeting, Public Session @ 7:30 pm