Although we were not able to gather together this year for the many spring concerts, exhibitions and shows, the South Orange Maplewood School District's Fine & Performing Arts Department was dedicated to providing an annual venue for the various forms of visual and performing arts programs that exist in our schools.
It was important for us to share uplifting creative works with the wonderful community we serve!
We hope that you enjoy the works provided by some of our young artists under the guidance of our very talented and committed K-12 staff of arts educators.
Please explore the various elementary, middle and high school links below!
James A Manno, Supervisor of the Fine & Performing Arts
SOMSD FINE & PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT
VIRTUAL ARTS FESTIVAL 2020
- View the Festival Links: SOMSD Fine & Performing Virtual Arts Festival
Hello SOMSD Family,
Today, Friday, June 19, 2020, has come to be known as the unofficial holiday, Juneteenth. Wikipedia defines Juneteenth as, ‘…an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming all slaves in Texas were now free.”
Today in June of 2020, 155 years later, Juneteenth feels more relevant and recognized than at any other time in the 46 years that I have spent on this planet. Being a Black Man who attended a Historically Black College & University (HBCU), I of course have been aware of Juneteenth for many years. I have attended events and celebrations that commemorate what many call, ‘the 4th of July for Black Folks’. However this year it feels…different. I have seen Juneteenth discussed on major news networks and in the Wall Street Journal. I have seen countless social media posts and commentary about the historical importance.
The obvious question is why? Why is Juneteenth so prevalent in 2020? Is it because our normal rites of passage (culminating school activities, graduations, and promotional exercises), annual weekend vacation tracks to the shore and general seasonal distractions (the NBA championship and the heart of baseball season) are missing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic? Is it a response to the palpable passion felt from the peaceful protests that are in response to the endless, senseless cycle of what feels like daily viral videos that depict Black People being murdered as victims of racially charged violence or police brutality? Is it simply an election year and Juneteenth is a timely discussion point for politicians to argue? Is it that corporate America has latched on to this opportunity to find an allegiance to what is now (finally) widely viewed as a worthy and sympathetic cause?
Or…are people filled with an indescribable bubbling of energy, emotions and frustration from a combination of all of the aforementioned influences? Regardless, the purpose of this communique regarding the recognition of Juneteenth is to share that ‘this’ is not a distant history as many would have us believe. It is not hyperbolic when I say, though I type this as a Superintendent of Schools with a terminal degree from a well-known top tier institution of higher learning…in the midst of what many would consider a successful career so far, I have been called a nigger in my adult life. My family and I have had our car windows and the windows in our home broken because of the color of our skin. I have been racially profiled more times than I could begin to count. I have been pulled over while driving for very suspicious reasons. And my mom (like her mother, grandmother and siblings) picked cotton during her lifetime in the hot fields of South Georgia during her youth.
In reflecting on the meaning of Juneteenth, through my eyes…what is most important to remember is that this commemoration recognizes the historical fact that it was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation when White People in the state of Texas still ‘owned’ enslaved Africans as a normal part of life. While this event is historical of course, it does not mark the end of the brutalization of Black People in our country.
In fact, in late May/early June of 1921 (56 years later) in Tulsa Oklahoma, what has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history” the Tulsa Race Massacre took place. Reportedly, the wealthiest Black community in the United States, known as “Black Wall Street” was the target. It is estimated that more than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and as many as 6,000 Black residents were interned at large facilities, many for several days.
‘Bloody Sunday’ in Selma, Alabama was 44 years later, here, a peaceful march to advocate for the voting rights for Black Americans reportedly resulted in 17 people being hospitalized and dozens more injured by police. Now, 55 years later, in the year 2020 we have Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and…
As a community, let us agree to not allow Juneteenth to become a fad of the 2020 Pandemic or a tool of the 2020 election. Let’s agree to view it as an intentional conscious moment of reflection. A reflection of atrocities and triumph. A reflection of how love, belief and spirit can successfully combat hate, fear and prejudice. Most importantly, let us agree that together we will build the history that our future will be proud to embrace.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor
Please see below for dates for graduation and moving up ceremonies. All virtual ceremonies will be posted to the South Orange & Maplewood School District YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/SOMSDYouTube
|Preschool Moving Up Ceremony||Pre-K||Friday, June 12, 2020||10:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Marshall Elementary School||2nd||Monday, June 22, 2020||10:00 AM||Grade Clap Out|
|South Mountain Elementary||5th||Monday, June 22, 2020||10:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Clinton Elementary School||5th||Tuesday, June 23, 2020||9:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Jefferson Elementary School||5th||Tuesday, June 23, 2020||9:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Seth Boyden School||5th||Tuesday, June 23, 2020||9:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Tuscan Elementary School||5th||Tuesday, June 23, 2020||10:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Columbia High School||12th||Wednesday, June 24, 2020||6:00 PM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|Maplewood Middle School||8th||Wednesday, June 24, 2020||9:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
|South Orange Middle School||8th||Wednesday, June 24, 2020||9:00 AM||Moving Up Ceremony|
May 20, 2020
I would first like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all of the hard work teachers, therapists, school staff, and especially you as parents have been putting into Distance Learning. It has not gone unnoticed- thank you! On May 18, 2020, the South Orange & Maplewood Board of Education approved the SOMSD School Health Related Closure Plan. Included in this plan, there are some updates to the Special Services Distance Learning Plan that I would like to highlight and make you aware of. The updates in the plan reflect some of the great feedback that we have received from teachers and families. It is our hope that these updates will improve upon the learning experiences for all students with an IEP.
Special Services Updates:
1. Additional opportunities for increased Speech Therapy
2. Weekly personalized virtual interaction
3. Paraprofessional supports for students
Contracted Speech therapists (who already have working relationships with the district) have been contracted to begin providing additional services to families. The contracted speech therapists will provide an extension of services already being provided. These speech therapists will be working directly from students’ IEPs, in order to assist with meeting IEP goals. These additional certified therapists will allow for the extension of therapy hours, while also providing consistency in service delivery. Each therapist has received an introduction from our lead speech therapist and has reviewed each IEP for every student they will be supporting.
Personalized Virtual Interaction:
While various platforms are being utilized across the district, and there is a focus on pre-recorded lessons, special education teachers specifically, will use Google Meet/Hangout to assist their students by using video or audio means to support the accommodations and modifications as set forth in IEPs. Students in grades PreK – 8 with an IEP will be contacted at least once a week for personalized virtual interaction with their special education teacher. The weekly live-interaction will be an opportunity with the teacher to follow-up on a pre-recorded lesson or activity directly with the student/family. This consistent communication will allow the teachers to review with students challenges that they may be having with a particular lesson or activity. This instructional guidance (i.e. personalized virtual interaction) will be accomplished in a variety of ways which may include; Google Meet, ShowMe, phone calls, email, etc. Teachers remain available during their daily “office hours” for questions, so please reach out to them directly with any questions on assignments.
The special education supervisors have worked to develop sample tasks that paraprofessionals will implement in working with students. Paraprofessionals (1:1 aides and shared aides) will begin working to assist students who they supported prior to the closure. Paraprofessionals will engage in a variety of tasks, including but not limited to: daily check-ins with students, oral reading tasks, and assisting students with executive functioning tasks.
Dr. Melody Alegria Assistant Superintendent, Special Services (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr. Laura Morana, Interim Director of Special Services for Transition (email@example.com)
Mr. Leroy Johnson III, Supervisor of Preschool Education Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Karen Thomany, Supervisor of K-8 Program (email@example.com)
Ms. Susan Ellis, Supervisor of K-8 Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Gerri Colon, Supervisor of 9-12 Program (email@example.com)