As a Matter of Fact!
SOMSD Newsletter: Vol. 4, Issue 2 | 10.31.22
Hello SOMSD Community,
We recently lost an important member of the SOMSD community, Maplewood Chief of Police, Jimmy DeVaul. Chief was a valued member of our School District Family and a proud alum of Columbia High School. Please know that we acknowledge and posthumously thank Chief DeVaul for his many years of service to our students, families, schools and town.
Jimmy and I spoke and met on many occasions. To say he was supportive would be an understatement. He would take my call at any time day, night or weekends. He served as a supportive and honest thought partner and gave his unfiltered guidance and opinions, even in the most tragic of circumstances. In one of our last chances to work together, he exclaimed that the partnership between the schools and the police department(s) was stronger than he had ever seen and that we had a shared view of keeping everyone safe while also approaching our young people who had challenges with a restorative lens. We as a Leadership Team will miss working with the Chief. Not only his expertise and partnership but his commitment, laughter and candor. With that in mind, we celebrate Chief DeVaul for his legacy and devotion towards our shared mission.
This month among other celebrations, it is also Principal Appreciation Month. Each October, National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great. Principals are among the hardest working, yet often least recognized individuals in education. I want to take the time to acknowledge our awesome school administrators for the fantastic work perform daily. Thank you to:
- 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 Kimberly Hutchinson, Delia Bolden Elementary School
- Principal Raquel Horn, Marshall Elementary School
- Principal Bonita Samuels, Montrose Early Childhood Center
- Principal Shannon Glander, Seth Boyden Elementary School
- Principal Kevin Mason, South Mountain Elementary School/Annex
- Principal Malikah Majeed, Tuscan Elementary School
To end, for those who may not be aware of the genesis of Fall Break. Tuesday during the first week of November is traditionally election day for our local and state public office races. During this same week, Thursday and Friday coincide with the New Jersey Education Association's (NJEA) annual convention. These three days are customarily days of school closure. To that end, we believe it is best to utilize this natural break as a time for pause, reflection and rejuvenation for all who are a part of the school community.
I wish our staff, students and District families a safe and happy fall break.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
Chief Jimmy DeVaul: Memorial & Celebration of Life
To Our SOMSD School Leaders - Thank You for All that You Do!
October is Filipino American History Month
During the month of Oct. we want to recognize and celebrate Filipino American History Month. Filipino Americans contributions to our communities are exemplary and we acknowledge the staff, students, families of Filipino descent in our District for their impact.
Around the District!
Congratulations to South Orange MIddle School for Being the First School in Essex County to Attain River-Friendly Certification
The South Orange and Maplewood School District is pleased to announce that South Orange Middle School (SOMS) received River-Friendly Certification through a partnership with Rahway River Watershed Association (RRWA).
The River-Friendly School Program helps teachers, students, and school leaders reduce water pollution while creating new teaching opportunities, enhancing wildlife habitats, and establishing a healthier environment for our children. Certification is offered at several different levels based on points achieved through lessons and hands-on projects in any of the four River-Friendly categories: water quality, water conservation, wildlife habitat, and education & outreach. In partnership with the RRWA, our students worked diligently to promote the reduction of pollution, conservation of water, maintaining the local habitat for wildlife, and educating the public about becoming better environmental stewards.
Lynn Irby, SOMS Principal shared, “We are proud to be the first school in Essex County to attain River-Friendly Certification. I am so incredibly proud of my 7th grade Science teachers; Mr. Anthony Cicenia, Mrs. Nicole Chirlo & Mr. Frank Guastella for their commitment to our students and this project. We truly are #SOMS STRONG.”
SOMS 7th grade Science teachers and SOMS administrators will host a a certification ceremony on Thursday, November 3rd at 1:30 pm at South Orange Middle School (front entrance) in celebration of attaining "River Friendly" certification through their partnership with the RRWA. The brief ceremony will include the unveiling of a sign placed in front of South Orange Middle School displaying recognition of this truly outstanding accomplishment.
Columbia High School (CHS) Students Awarded with Academic Honors from College Board National Recognition Programs
Fifteen Columbia High School students have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process. Colleges and scholarship programs identify students awarded National African American, Hispanic, Indigenous and/or Rural/Small Town Recognition through College Board’s Student Search Service. Congratulations to the fifteen CHS seniors who received this special recognition, among them:
National African American Recognition Award:
- Alexis Halm-Owoo, National African American Recognition Award
- Connor McBride, National African American Recognition Award
- Cyrus Merriweather, National African American Recognition Award
- Hudson Tyler, National African American Recognition Award
- Jeslyn Ero, National African American Recognition Award
- Makayla Ojentis, National African American Recognition Award
- Nicholas Franklin, National African American Recognition Award
- Okherra Prosper, National African American Recognition Award
- Sophia Franklin, National African American Recognition Award
- Tristan Bernard, National African American Recognition Award
- Valentina Ravix, National African American Recognition Award
- Zachary Taylor, National African American Recognition Award
National Hispanic Recognition Award:
- Arturo Gigante, National Hispanic Recognition Award
- Sadie Munoz, National Hispanic Recognition Award
- Zoila Mills, National Hispanic Recognition Award
DISTRICT REMINDER FOR FAMILIES
2022-23 SY Elementary School Social Work Program Offers Counseling Services for Students in Grades K-5
The Elementary School Social Work Program offers counseling services for students at each of South Orange and Maplewood School District's elementary schools from grades K - 5. The program offers individual and small group counseling with a social work intern. Its aim is to remove barriers to success and to provide students with the social/ emotional support necessary for them to get the most out of their school experience. For more information visit: https://bit.ly/3S4KEsQ
2022-23 SY Testing Assessment, Report Card, Progress Reports and Elementary Conference Dates
- SOMSD Community CLICK HERE to view/download the 2022-23 SY Testing, Progress Reports, Report Cards and Elementary Conference Dates.
Get Out to Vote: General Election is Tuesday, November 8
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/
Additional Information & Resources for the Community
- 2022-23 SY Return to School Guidelines, News, Resources & Updates
- District SMS/Text Messages
- Chromebook 1:1 District Initiative
- SOMSD Mental Health & Counseling Resources
- Student Discipline & Code of Conduct Policy
- SOMSD Intentional Integration Initiative (III) Microsite
- District Withdrawals/OOD Transfers