somsd facts at a glance

District Summary

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood serves more than 6,800 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.


As of October 15, 2014 there were a total of 6,866 students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 as follows: 

Columbia High School – 1916;

Maplewood Middle School – 808;

South Orange Middle School – 789;

Clinton Elementary School – 553;

Jefferson Elementary School - 518;

Marshall Elementary School -525;

Montrose Elementary School*

Seth Boyden Elementary School - 553;

South Mountain Elementary School - 597;

Tuscan Elementary School - 607.

*Opening for the 2015-2016 school year

Average Class Size Elementary Class Size


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.

Kindergarten Entrance Age

Age 5 on or before October 1

Registration Materials Available Online



Faculty and Administrative Credentials

PhD/EdD – 2.09 %

MA/MS – 62.39 %

BA/BS – 35.52 %

15 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.  


Points of Interest 

Columbia High School
Clock Tower
TV Studio
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 
Sculpture (Front Lawn)
4th Grade Murals (Cafeteria)

Jefferson Elementary School
Outdoor Classroom

Marshall Elementary School 
Secret Garden (Media Center)

Seth Boyden Elementary School 
Teaching Garden (Strawberry Fields)

South Mountain Elementary School 
Garden (Kinder-garden)

Tuscan Elementary School 
Dells (Garden)

Underhill Sporting Facility 


Honors and Achievements for the 2015-2016 School Year



Academic Honors and Achievements

Columbia High School was awarded a Silver Medal as one of the Best High Schools in the Country, according to U.S. News and World Reports and ranked 41st in New Jersey, and 1006th nationally.

26 CHS students received a perfect score of 800 on one or more elements of their SATs.

1 CHS student received the Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Award from the National College Board in the category of National AP Scholar.

1 CHS senior received the National Merit Scholarship Award from the National College Board.

1 CHS senior was named as the National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar by the National College Board.

1 CHS senior received the National Achievement Scholarship Award from the National College Board.

5 CHS students received the Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Award from the National College Board in the category of AP Scholar with Distinction.

14 CHS students received the Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Award from the National College Board in the category of AP Scholar with Honor.

29 CHS students received the Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Award from the National College Board in the category of AP Scholar.

6 CHS seniors were named as Outstanding Participants Referred to US Colleges and Universities.

1 CHS student was named as a semifinalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Competition.

1 CHS student was named as a National Hispanic Scholar.

17 CHS students were recognized for exceptional academic promise and the high scores they received on their PSAT.

1 CHS student was named as a National Merit Semifinalist.

A CHS junior and a member of the CHS student council was awarded the Secretary position at State Student Council – an achievement that has not been awarded to a CHS student since the 1950’s.

2 CHS students were the recipients of the South Orange Historical and Preservation Society (COHPS) scholarships.

1 CHS student won first place in the ELL Beginner Category at the William Paterson Poetry Contest and 1 CHS student won second place in the French Native Category.  

A CHS sophomore won the CHS Poetry Out Loud Competition and represented the school in a county-wide competition at SOPAC.

The student Mock Trial Team at CHS finished second in the Essex County Mock Trial Competition.

CHS students received recognition for their scores on the National French Contest/Le Grand Concours Exam including  1 Gold Score, 4 Silver Scores, 4 Bronze Scores and 10 Honorable Mentions.

Students from Columbia High School earned a total of 3 Silver Medals and 2 Bronze Medals along with 4 Honorable Mentions for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examinations.

Students from Maplewood Middle School earned a total of 1 Gold Medal, 2 Silver Medals and 11 Bronze Medals along with 31 Honorable Mentions for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examinations.

Students from South Orange Middle School earned a total of 1 Silver Medals and 3 Bronze Medals along with 11 Honorable Mentions for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examinations.

4 Maplewood Middle School students and members of the MMS Model UN Club won awards for Outstanding Delegations at a 3-day UNA-USA Global Classrooms Model UN Conference. 1 student won an Honorable Mention for his work as a delegate.

14 Maplewood Middle School students and members of the MMS Model UN Club participated in the St. Ann's Crisis Committee Model UN Conference and 4 MMS students were awarded certificates for their exceptional work.

A 7th grader at Maplewood Middle School was invited to address a United Nations Delegate Session at United Nations HQ at the He for She Ambassador for Girls Education before nearly 800 diplomats.

Several Maplewood Middle School students attained recognition for excellent performance on the 2015 National Spanish Examinations:  3 students earned Bronze medals and 7 students received Honorable Mentions:

A 6th grade ELA class at South Orange Middle School won the state wide reading competition, Stick With It.

Jefferson Elementary School 5th graders raised $1,266.83 for St. Jude Hospital, as part of their Annual Living Museum.

A 4th grader at South Mountain Elementary School won the Essex county essay contest.

6 teams from Tuscan Elementary School went to the Liberty Regional Tournament for Odyssey of the Mind and placed second in their division for "Experiencing Technical Difficulties".  


Fine Arts and Media Awards

SOMSD was named one of the "Best Communities in Music Education" by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).

CHS’s acclaimed Ragtime: School Edition was nominated for 14 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Stars Awards.  The school won in the category of Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director.  One CHS senior, the Assistant Technical Director won the Student Achievement Award.  Another CHS senior won a $1,000 scholarship and the Educational Impact Award

The Columbia High School Step Team, Infinite Ballistics, won Best Team in competition at high school competition.

A CHS junior received recognition for his outstanding photography and has won several awards including, the Run Jersey Photo Contest, the Essex County Nature Photography Contest, the Explore Chatham Photography Contest and the CCM Photo Club Competition.  The student’s photographs have appeared in dozens of magazines and online sites including the Huffington Post.

A CHS senior was awarded a regional award from scholastic art and writing for her short story.

A SOMS Choral Director was nominated for the 2016 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.

1 Jefferson Elementary School 5th grader won 2nd place in the 4th/5th grade category for the 2015 Youth UPstander Essay/Poster/Video PSA AWARD.

SOMSD students and teachers performed with prestigious music ensembles including the 2014 National Association for Music Educators National Honor Choir, the 2014 NJ All-State Chorus, the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, the Latin American National Honor Choir and many others.

SOMSD students and teachers had their artwork shown at various galleries such as The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the 16th Annual Gaelen Juried Art Show and the Pierro Gallery and many others.


Sports, Teams and Club Awards

Columbia High School's Athletic Program received the 2014 NJSIAA ShopRite Cup for Best Athletic Program Award.

The CHS Girls’ Fencing Team won the state championship.

The Columbia High School Track Teams achieved various outstanding accomplishments including:

Girls won 7th consecutive Essex County Relays and the SEC Conference Championship

Boys Track Team finished 2nd

Individual CHS students from the boys and girls Track team earned gold in various categories such as the Sprint Medley, the High Jump, the 4x100 relay, the 4x200 relay, the 4x400 relay, the 4x800 relay, the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash, the 400 meter dash, the 800 meter dash, the Triple Jump, the High Jump, Shot, Discus, and Long Jump.

The CHS Girls Volleyball Team won the Colonial Division of the SEC.

The Varsity Baseball Team won the SEC Liberty Division Title.

The Varsity Boys Tennis Team was undefeated n Division Play, winning the SEC Liberty Division Title.

A CHS junior, a member of the U.S. Fencing Junior team, won a gold medal at the Junior Pan Ams Championships in Toronto.

A 7th grader at MMS won a gold medal in Paris at the biggest foil fencing Championships in the world.  

CHS Track and Field Head Coach was inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame and into the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She is the only coach in Essex County history to garner the Coach of the Year honors for both boys’ and girls’ teams in the same year.

The CHS boys’ fencing coach was named NJ Boys Fencing Coach of the Year for 2014.
CHS Baseball Coach was named Essex County Coach of the Year for 2015.

Staff Achievements and Recognition

A teacher of Language Arts at South Orange Middle School was awarded the 2014 National Bammy Award as The Middle School Teacher of the Year.

A Special Education Teacher at Marshall Elementary won the Teacher of the Year Award from the New Jersey Division for Early Childhood (NJDEC).

A CHS Child Study Team Social Worker and President of the local chapter of The National Association of Black Social Workers received special recognition for her service to the community by the Newark Mayor’s Office of Arts, Cultural Development and Tourism during the 2015 African American Heritage Month.

The Media Specialist at Clinton Elementary School was named Teacher of the Month for June by

The Principal of Marshall School received the “Champion Creatively Alive Children” school grant and a grant from the Foundation for Educational Administration.

The Action Research Team at Marshall School was selected to participate in the MSUNER Action Research Project for 2014-2015.

Teachers from CHS, South Orange Middle School, Jefferson Elementary School and Seth Boyden Elementary School were inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Lambda Honor Society at Montclair State University.

The Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services was elected to the Board of Directors of SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators, the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals.

A Teacher in the English Department at CHS was awarded a British University Summer School (BUSS) Scholarship to study at Shakespeare's Globe in London.    

A teacher of Technology at Maplewood Middle School was named among the Top Ten Livebinder's of the year for 2014, a social bookmarking website used by teachers to create and share content.  

A Maplewood Middle School Language Arts Teacher was honored by the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County for her work with Model UN.

A South Orange-Maplewood Board Member was recognized by the NJ School Board’s Association for achieving the status of Certificated Board Member (CBM).



Last Modified on September 29, 2015
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.