SOMSD Facts at a Glance

District Summary
The School District of South Orange and Maplewood serves more than 6,600 students in nine schools, including six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The community and its schools are racially and economically diverse with more than 90 percent of Columbia High School graduates planning to attend college each year.
The district’s vision is to be the top-performing diverse suburban school district in the nation. Its mission is to provide an excellent education for each and every student by providing them with rigorous academic opportunities to reach their personal college and career aspirations, including providing supports for struggling students to succeed. The district will provide an equitable education that breaks the links between demographics and academic achievement. The district will educate its students to be responsible and productive members of society at large: caring, collaborative and ethical people; critical thinkers and problem solvers; effective writers and speakers; and lifelong learners.
Points of Interest
Columbia High School
Graphic Arts Studio
Swimming Pool
Black Box Theatre
Hall of Fame
Maplewood Middle School
Ceramic Mural (Front Building Entrance)
South Orange Middle School
Mosaic Art Project (Cafeteria)
Clinton Elementary School
4th Grade Murals (Cafeteria)
Jefferson Elementary School
Outdoor Classroom
Marshall Elementary School
Seth Boyden Elementary School
Teaching Garden (Strawberry Fields)
South Mountain Elementary School
Garden (Kinder-garden)
Tuscan Elementary School
Dells (Garden)
Underhill Sporting Facility
As of October 15 there are a total of 6,625 students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 as follows:
Columbia High School – 1858;
Maplewood Middle School – 738;
South Orange Middle School – 711;
Jefferson Elementary School - 527;
Marshall Elementary School - 511;
Seth Boyden Elementary School - 537;
South Mountain Elementary School - 619;
Tuscan Elementary School - 618.
Average Class Size
Elementary Class Size Maximum/Minimum:
kindergarten and first grade: 22/15
second grade: 23/16
third grade: 24/17
fourth and fifth grade: 26/19
Secondary Class Size:
The average class size in most classes range from 20-25.

Faculty and Administrative Credentials
PhD/EdD – 4.9 %
MA/MS – 64.14 %
BA/BS – 32.4 %
Nine staff members have received National Board Certification 

Faculty/Student Ratio
There is approximately one faculty member for each 10.6 students. The state average is 1/11.1. This includes faculty specializing in art, music, health, physical education, enrichment, media, reading, guidance, resource room, special education and those making up the child study teams.

Kindergarten Entrance Age

Age 5 on or before October 1
Registration Materials Available Online:

Honors and Achievements for the 2012-2013 School Year

Academic Honors and Achievements

  • CHS was awarded a Silver Medal as one of the Best High Schools in the Country by US News and World Reports in the annual Best High Schools edition.
  • CHS ranked 1286 by Newsweek/The Daily Beast in their annual publication of America’s Best High Schools.
  • CHS ranked 47th in Education 2012: Top New Jersey High Schools listed published by NJ Monthly.
  • CHS Student Council was honored for having a top 10 project for the 7th year in a row by the NJ State Association of State Student Councils.
  • A CHS junior earned the highest possible composite score of 36 on the ACT college admission and placement exam.
  • 7 CHS students received a perfect score of 800 on one or more elements of their SATs.
  • 4 CHS students were selected as Semifinalists in the 58th annual Merit Scholarship competition for 2013 by The National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • 7 CHS seniors named as Outstanding Participants Referred to U.S. Colleges and Universities by the 2013 National Achievement Scholarship Program, part of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
  • A CHS senior was named a semi-finalist in the 2012-13 Siemens Foundation Competition in Math, Science and Technology. 
  • Three CHS juniors were accepted to participate in this summer’s Governor’s School of Sciences.
  • 15 CHS seniors awarded Letters of Commendation in the 2013 Merit Program from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation
  • A CHS junior won an internship at the New York Historical Society for her "Connections Project" in physics class last year.  Her project focused on the history of glassmaking which led to the creation and development of "gorilla glass," the glass found on the Apple iPad and smart phones.
  • Seth Boyden School’s Strawberry Fields Teaching Garden was named a finalist for the 2012 School Garden of the Year Award by the NJ Farm to School Network.


Fine Arts and Media Awards

  • South Orange/Maplewood School District was recognized nationally as “One of the Best Communities for Music Education” by the NAMM Foundation.
  • The Columbian was named Most Outstanding High School Newspaper and received the First Place with Special Merit Award from the American Scholastic Press Association.
  • The Columbian received A Gold Medalist award from Columbia University Press Association.
  • CHS musicians were accepted in the North Jersey School Music Association’s Honors Chorus and another student was also selected as a member of the 2013 National Honor Choirs for the American Choral Directors Association.
  • CHS Student was selected as a member of the 2012-2013 North Jersey Junior Region Band. 
  • CHS students were selected as members of the 2012-2013 North Jersey Area Symphonic Band.
  • The CHS Excelsior Singers won first place and secured a rating of "Superior," at Music in the Parks in Ocean Grove competition.
  • The cast of the CHS musical, Legally Blonde, garnered a Paper Mill nomination for Honorable Mention as Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical in addition to numerous other nominations.
  • A CHS freshman was named a two-time finalist for photos entered in a national photography competition sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Forest Foundation.
  • CHS Teacher of Art and students in his Film Animation Class won the State competition as well as an Honorable mention at the 38th New Jersey Young Film & Videomakers Showcase Film Selections - High School Level - for one of their projects.
  • CHS music students won awards for collaboration on a soundtrack, First Prize for Melting Opera; Honorable Mention for Amateur Night.


Sports, Teams and Club Awards

  • CHS Robotics Team competed against 128 teams from around the globe in the World Championship, winning the quarterfinals and moved to the top 12 teams in the world.
  • CHS Robotics Team won the NJ State Championship at NJIT for the 2nd time in 3 years.
  • CHS Junior Varsity Robotics Team won 3rd place in the Inspire Award category. 
  • The Robotics Teams were also named South Orange’s Villager of the month for January 2013.
  • CHS Girls Track Team won the Group 4 State Championship and the national championship in the 4x4 relay at the Winter Track Nationals and are the NJ State record holders.
  • CHS Boys’ Fencing Team took the gold medal by winning the state championship of the NJSIAA team tournament.
  • CHS Girls’ Fencing Team won the bronze medal in the state championship.
  • CHS Athlete named The Star-Ledger’s Essex County Boys’ Indoor Track Athlete of the Year for 2012-13.
  • CHS female athlete won Gatorade’s NJ Athlete of the Year Award for outstanding athletic excellence as well academic achievement and exemplary character.
  • CHS junior athlete was named The Star-Ledger's girls state indoor track Athlete of the Year.
  • CHS girls’ athlete made state history by winning 4 gold medals at the state’s Meet of Champions (MOC) – the first student to do so in the 40-year history of the meet.
  • Several CHS athletes earned all-conference honors - 1st Team All SEC-Conference for boys’ soccer and 2nd Team All SEC boys’ soccer.
  • CHS Athlete won the county championship in wrestling in the 285lbs weight class.
  • CHS Boys Track Team won the Group 4 North 2 Sectional Championship. Another athlete won the 55 meter hurdles; another student was shot put champion.  Another won the 400 meter race. 
  • CHS Junior represented the Junior Team USA in synchronized skating in Sweden. 
  • Several CHS fall athletes earned all-conference honors including 1st Team All SEC-Conference for boys’ soccer, 2nd Team All SEC boys’ soccer.  Other students received honorable mention for boys’ soccer and honorable mention for girls’ soccer. 
  • CHS Girls’ Soccer Team was named the team with the best sportsmanship in the SEC Conference for the fall. 


Staff Achievements and Recognition 

  • The Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services was honored with the Channing Mann Physical Education Administrator of the Year Award by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) during the 128th Annual National Convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).
  • The Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services was honored by the state alliance of the YMCAs with the Healthy Youth Award. She was also a featured panelist on MSNBC’s Education Nation Teacher Town Hall, moderated by Brian Williams.
  • CHS dance teacher was named the K-12 Dance Educator of the Year by the New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD). 
  • CHS Fencing Coach was named the 2012-2013 Coach of the Year by The Star Ledger. 
  • A CHS former athletic director, science teacher, and lacrosse coach was inducted into the Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey (DAANJ) Hall of Fame which recognizes athletic administrators who have attained excellence and contributed a positive and dynamic impact upon student-athletes, high school communities, coaches and colleagues.
  • The Supervisor of Fine Arts, K-12 was honored by HK Project (HKP) for his outstanding work in our local school system and his commitment to arts education at the first annual Fall Celebration which engages community through public service, charity, education and cultural enrichment. 
  • Tuscan Elementary School Assistant Principal was featured in the documentary, From Fatherless to Fatherhood, a film and initiative that explore the causes, effects and possible solutions to father absence in African-American communities. 
  • SOMS Librarian was published in the February/March 2013 of the School Librarian’s Workshop.  An article entitled “Getting Pinned,” appeared in the “Tech Talk” section of the newsletter. 
  • CHS special education math teacher was awarded her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University.
  • Maplewood Middle School special education teacher and CHS special education teacher earned National Board Certification.
  • Three teachers from Marshall Elementary School were awarded a Dodge grant to support their initiative to turn Marshall into a mathematical laboratory. 
  • A third grade teacher at Tuscan Elementary School was chosen by Tuscan parents and selected to attend the 2012 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy.
  • 44 grants were awarded to district teachers for projects of their own design, carried out in the 2012-13 school year by the Achieve Foundation.


Columbia High School Hall of Fame – 2013 Inductees 

  • Carla Peterman, Class of 1995 – Rhodes Scholar and a commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission.
  • Stephanie Sharo Chiesi, Class of 1995, Space systems engineer and program manager of a project that will send a manned flight to Mars.
  • Jordan Levy, Class of 1995, Managing director of a non-governmental organization in South Africa that provides the most vulnerable children with everything they need for success from cradle to career.







Last Modified on October 8, 2013
NOTICE: The School District of South Orange and Maplewood does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, affectual or sexual orientation or sex, gender identity and expression, socio or economic status, or disability in its programs and activities. For further information, call the Office of Civil Rights at (800) 421-3481.