- Download a PDF version of the SOMSD III Update Communication | View the SOMSD III Update via Google Doc
- Visit the SOMSD III Microsite for Updates, FAQs and Resources [URL: https://bit.ly/SOMSDIII ]
April 14, 2021
Dear SOMSD Community,
We are sending this communication to provide updates regarding the District’s Intentional Integration Initiative (III) that will begin in September 2021, with the incoming Kindergarten class.
For background, in the 2018-2019 school year, the Board voted for the design of each elementary school to eventually take on a K-5 grade span. This was very important as it gave direction to our architects as they began the work of bringing our Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) to fruition. While our integration plan is linked to our construction, in our February 2020 Town Hall event, we shared that it is not fully dependent on our construction, therefore, due to the innate spontaneity of construction, a decision was made in April 2020 to untether our Intentional Integration Initiative (III) from our construction efforts. The District’s Intentional Integration plan was Board approved in June 2020 and addressed the usage of an algorithm to be applied to the Kindergarteners who will be joining our District in September of 2021, with a plan to monitor this pilot and adjust if necessary (as future classes enter our District).
An important update that was also previously discussed and recently emphasized was that Marshall and Jefferson cannot become independent K-5 spaces until the construction of those buildings is completed (an update regarding LRFP is shared below). Therefore, the schools will continue to function as a K – 2 and a 3 – 5 school respectively. In addition, the classrooms in our District that currently house our kindergartners will remain the same for next year (unless there is a significant change in the enrollment expected).
As also shared in June, the District will be utilizing a modified Berkeley Approach for our Integration methodology, which includes the development of an algorithm that creates micro-neighborhoods and utilizes key variables:
- Parental education level;
- Parental income;
- Sibling Preference; and,
The District is working with Alves Group to develop the algorithm and an update will be shared during the April 19th Board meeting. Families of incoming Kindergarteners will receive their child(ren)’s school placement letters by the end of June.
We have developed an updated SOMSD III microsite to provide updates, information, and FAQs for parents/guardians. Click here to view the website: http://bit.ly/SOMSDIII
Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) Updates:
We shared an update on the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) with the community in our March 15 District newsletter [story link: http://bit.ly/3c1KwaS]. Six elementary school construction plans were submitted to the state for approval, and we received approvals for four locations; among them were Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, and Tuscan elementary schools.
- March 11, construction bids were advertised for Clinton and Jefferson elementary schools; and March 25 bids were advertised for Seth Boyden and Tuscan elementary schools
- Bid proposals received for Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, and Tuscan are expected to be open in late April to early May.
- Bids will be reviewed with the goal of awarding construction contracts by the end of May
- Construction will begin at Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, and Tuscan during the summer
Construction plans for Marshall, South Mountain Elementary and Annex are still awaiting approval from the state. Awaiting approval for construction plans for the remaining schools does not affect our Intentional Integration Initiative plan. We are still moving forward with the integration of our incoming Kindergarten class for Fall 2021.
We are proud to bring this Integration Initiative which has been years in the making to fruition. We thank the many stakeholders who have been a part of this process and thank our community for their patience and support as the District seeks to create a more equitable, diverse, and balanced educational environment for our students that will impact generations to come.
As shared earlier in this letter, we will address the SOMSD III during the April 19th Board meeting to provide updates regarding the III algorithm and timeline.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHS, Cougars Varsity Girls Basketball Team named Essex County Team of the Year and Coach Keegan named Coach of the Year by Sideline Chatter
March 24, 2021 – The Cougars Varsity Girls Basketball team was named the Essex County Team of the Year and third-year head coach, Chuck Keegan was named Coach of the Year by Sideline Chatter an online sports page covering Essex County high school sports.
While the team played a modified schedule, playing half the number of games they normally do, the 2020-2021 season proved to be one of their best winning seasons since 2013-2014. The team was comprised of four sophomores and two freshmen among the first eight players to usually see the floor, led by seniors Corteney Provilon-Louis and Kaijha Hall.
The team’s recent accolade, being named the Essex County Team of the Year follows the heel of their successful season. As far as teams go, Columbia’s undefeated 13-0 record including a 12-0 mark while going on to win the SEC-Liberty Division title completed their phenomenal season.
“The Columbia High School community couldn’t be prouder of these young women,” shared CHS Principal, Frank Sanchez. Principal Sanchez continued, “Thanks to the District’s streaming service, I was able to catch many of the games, and it was obvious how well-prepared they were by Coach Keegan. We also especially appreciated how close they were with each other, with the players supporting their teammates all season.”
Coach Chuck Keegan, expressed how happy he was just to be out on the court each day with his team throughout the challenging 2021 season. Keegan served as the Cougars team top assistant coach for three years, and took the reins as head coach for the program during the 2018-2019 season. He has played a key role in directing the Cougars team to one of their best seasons in many years. In addition, he has extensive experience in CHS athletics having previously served as the former head football coach and gridiron assistant. Keegan is a1988 Columbia graduate and special education Math teacher at the Maplewood-South Orange high school, he guided the team along with assistant coaches Alana Ferruggiaro and Aaron Brietman.
“We are so proud of this team and Coach Keegan and his staff,” said Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, “in a year where things were untraditional, this team’s resilience and hard work is one that we are so proud of, and we look forward to taking all the way to county and state tournament next year.”
In a year marked by Covid-related challenges, there was no county or state tournament title to shoot for, however, the Girls varsity team 2020-2021 season was one for the books. Members of the 2020-2021 Cougars Girls Varsity team include: 0 Corteney Provilon-Louis (Sr); 1 Talia Baptiste (Fr); 2 Samiya Hill (So); 5 Kaijhe Hall (Sr); 13 Bella Galatt (So); 15 Sophia Rounsavil (Sr); 21 Allie Harris (So); 22 Annabel Callahan (Sr); 24 Reyniyah Rogers-Carter (Sr); 34 Zahra Alexander (Fr) and 35 Shana Desir (So).
About the South Orange & Maplewood School District
The School District of South Orange and Maplewood serves more than 7,200 students in ten schools, including one early-childhood center, 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 mission of the South Orange Maplewood School District is to empower and inspire each student to explore and imagine, to pursue personal passions, and to collectively create a better future by creating a learner-centered environment through multiple pathways; re-imagined structures, systems and supports; innovative teaching; partnering with families; and maximizing community expertise and resources.
Dear Seth Bodyen Parents/Guardians:
The South Orange & Maplewood School District, Curriculum & Instruction and ELA Departments are happy to announce a reading book distribution to support students reading at home. On Saturday, March 13, 9am – 11am book bundles will be available for pick-up for Seth Boyden students at the school entrance. The range of books selected aims to match each reader, and instill the love of reading shared by the student’s teacher. The book bundle supports both fiction and nonfiction reading at the heart of all disciplines across all grade levels. Parents/guardians and Seth Boyden students are invited to come during their school’s allotted time frame to pick-up their curated book selection.
Covid-19 guidelines will be followed. Face masks are required and social distancing will be enforced. Click here to download a PDF event flyer.
South Orange & Maplewood School District
The South Orange & Maplewood School District, ELA Department are happy to announce a reading book distribution to support middle school students reading at home. The books will be available for pick-up from your child’s school on March 6th. The range of books selected aims to match each reader, and it instills the love of reading shared by the student’s teacher. The book bundle supports both fiction and nonfiction reading at the heart of all disciplines across all grade levels. Students and/or parents are invited to come during their school’s allotted timeframe to pick-up their curated book selection. Students/families should attend pick-up locations at their respective schools during the timeframes shared below. Additional grade-levels will be added in the future.
Please see below for revised dates to the instructional request changes for families who wish to change their preference from virtual to hybrid. Parent/guardian request for changes should follow the deadlines and request format below:
- Monday, February 22, 2021: Parent/guardians must submit change requests to their building principals/administrators (you must provide your child’s name, teacher, and ID #). Please note all requests are based on space capacity.
- Starting the week of March 8: Students approved for a change request will begin hybrid instruction