Key topics to be covered:
- Impact of Technology & Social Media on Children & Teens including:
- The Latest Brain Science & Research Findings
- What’s happening in the brain? Is it really addicting?
- Forward Thinking – How to set kids up for success
- To Monitor or Not to Monitor, That is the Question
- Apps to Keep Your Child Safe
- Your Role as Parent – Like it, Tweet it, Pin it?
- Creating a Healthy Balance for Your Child
The Parenting Center and Curriculum & Instruction department received a grant from the Achieve Foundation to fund a new initiative called, “One Book One Grade.” Since the start of January, 5th graders have been immersed in experiencing the memoir of Linda Blackmon Lowery, author of “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom.” In this journey of “One Book, One Grade,” our students have been exploring the civil rights era through the experience of a 14-year-old who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to change American history.
Elementary-school librarians developed a study guide that pre-teaches the concepts and events of the Selma March. Working with fifth-grade language arts teachers, they have been unpacking the rich language and imagery derived from the book; ideas and thoughts generated from this experience are being explored in classroom discussions throughout January.
As a supplement, parents/guardians have received periodic updates and students were sent home with flyers that provide a summary of topics, discussion questions, and activities that they have been experiencing in their classrooms so they are able to extend the discussion from the school to home.
To culminate the book’s activities, all 5th graders will participate in an assembly featuring Lynda Blackmon Lowery. The event will take place on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at South Orange Middle School. Students will hear her first-hand account of marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to secure the right to vote for African Americans.
Book Synopsis: As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults could be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history. (Penguin Random House)
“Let me say thank you for the gifts, and more thanks because the greatest thing you gave is all the joy you brought my family. Thank you for remembering us.” (From laid-off SOMA parent of four school-aged children, 2018)
We all know how generous the South Orange Maplewood Community is, especially when it comes to making life easier for one of our own neighbors. Never is that spirit more evident than at the holidays when the South Orange Maplewood School District Parenting Center runs its annual Holiday Toy Drive.
Now in its 22nd year, the South Orange Maplewood School District Parenting Center Holiday Toy Drive provides holiday gifts for children of families in need in our school district. Last year our toy drive benefited over 500 children in 150 families in our two communities. This year, we hope to provide the same and more to children in need throughout our SOMSD community.
Please feel to bring new, unwrapped gifts and toys to one of our drop-off boxes located in schools and businesses in our town between December 2 – 13, 2019. Your tax-deductible contributions will be used to purchase books and gifts for children from infancy through age 17; no donations will be used to cover administrative costs. Unwrapped gifts will be provided to parents who, in turn, will wrap the items themselves and give them to their children during the holidays.
If you don’t have time to shop or aren’t sure what to get, then feel free to contribute via one of the additional channels below:
- Buy gifts online: SOMSD Amazon.com gift registry
- Make an online tax-deductible donation: SOMSD Parenting Center Holiday Toy Drive GoFundMe page
- Make a check to payable to SOMSD Parenting Center: Mail to – Parenting Center | 525 Academy Street | Maplewood, NJ, 07040
On behalf of the South Orange Maplewood School District Parenting Center, we offer our heartfelt thanks for your generosity. Your gifts will provide the holiday joy this year that our district’s most vulnerable families might not otherwise have.
SOMSD Utilizes Danielson Framework to Evaluate Teachers
Consistent with New Jersey Department of Education’s requirements for the hiring and employment of staff members, the South Orange & Maplewood Board of Education operates in compliance with the state Department of Education’s New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) by fulfilling the six required indicators:
- Evaluation of staff (includes summative evaluation scores using an approved evaluation instrument);
- Professional learning of staff (includes professional development plan);
- Provisional certification of staff (includes mentoring and standard certification attainment);
- Staffing practices (includes criminal history clearance, physical exams, personnel file maintenance);
- Position control roster (includes base salary, position type, status, stipends, tracking #) and;
- Supervision and feedback (Includes employee evaluation and goal setting).
The South Orange & Maplewood School District (SOMSD) uses the state and SOMSD board-approved Danielson Framework for Teaching in the annual evaluation of staff. The Framework for Teaching is a common language for instructional practice that is grounded in a philosophical approach to and understanding of great teaching and the nature of learning. The Framework was developed not only to define great teaching and elevate the profession but also to outline a comprehensive approach to teacher professional learning across the career continuum – from pre-service teacher preparation through teacher leadership (The Danielson Group).
The framework consists of four Domains that reflect a comprehensive approach to the evaluation process:
- Domain 1: Planning and Preparation
- Domain 2: The Classroom Environment
- Domain 3: Instruction
- Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities
Renowned educator and creator of the Danielson Framework, Charlotte Danielson, shares that these components reflect not only the complexities of teaching but also “those aspects of a teacher’s responsibilities that have been documented through empirical studies and theoretical research to promote improved student learning.”
All staff members are required to have annual training on their evaluation instrument, and all administrators must also take and pass an annual re-certification on the framework prior to conducting staff observations.
Dr. Gayle Carrick, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Administration