Seth Boyden PTA General Meeting Minutes, Nov. 13, 2018

Meeting held in Seth Boyden cafeteria.

1. Presentation from Kelly Heinze, director of the Fifth-Grade Musical

Musical will be Beauty & the Beast with minor modifications to make it appropriate for contemporary audiences and SB’s diverse community. Official interest meeting will be in February. Rehearsals will be Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting in March, 3:30-5:30 pm. For 5th-graders, possibly 4th-graders as well, to prep them for next year, if the turnout from the 5th grade isn’t big enough.

Wants to get a team of volunteers in place now:

– Crew Head: Would like to have 4th-grade parent & theater veteran Holly Raye in this role.

+ Proposes paying Holly $1000 either through fundraising or through additional allocation of PTA funds.

+ Would manage what Kelly hopes will be large, inclusive group of students assisting backstage with sound board, lighting, curtain handling, etc.

– 2 parents to manage kids at each rehearsal

+ Could Columbia High School students be rehearsal managers instead?

– 4 parents to help during Tech Week (the week before the show)

– Costume helpers: 3-4 people to help Costume Head volunteer Susan Holtz

– Set builders: Woodworkers, maybe, who can leave behind a substantial set as a legacy?

– Props head

– Show-day coordinator to manage the volunteers in the rest of the list below

– Program coordinator

– Sponsorship coordinator

– Pre-show montage coordinator

– T-shirt coordinator

– Concessions volunteers

– Ushers

2. Presentation from Juvenile Detective Steve Gyimoty of Maplewood Police Department

Part of new Community Policing Unit created in April 2018. Juvenile Detective. “Anything that involves the schools, I take the call.”

Runs LEAD = Law Enforcement Against Drugs (formerly DARE), which gives presentations about bullying, social media safety, drinking, smoking, drugs, even crosswalk safety to SOMA kids, especially 5th- & 7th-graders & CHS students.

Trained in restorative practices. Trying to keep kids “out of the system.” Can intervene with the local courts on behalf of kids in trouble. Sits down with kids & families.

Encourages families to reach out to him if we need anything.

Q&A: Sally Unsworth: Status of, PD’s involvement in formal district security plan?

Gyimoty: PD not directly involved. SOMSD Director of Safety Tom Shea has the most information.

PD has started training in de-escalation tactics.

Olivia Yearns: Nixle alert emails will now let Nixle subscribers know that a drill or an active shooter situation is happening. Call police department to sign up.

Gyimoty: Alertus also being adopted to deal with crises in real time. Cameras will show different parts of school. Will allow PD to identify, isolate locations of intruders, potentially allowing evacuation of other parts of building. Staff will be trained. SOMSD may be first K-12 district to use it; precedents are on college campuses.

Rebecca Barbacci: How to ensure safety at drop-off & pick-up in SB driveway?

Gyimoty: PD patrols can only be occasional. “We don’t have enough manpower” to enforce the rules every morning. Whenever crossing guards call out sick, police have to cover.

But is working with schools to help figure out long-term solution for safer traffic flow. LEAD program teaches kids to be aware of their surroundings, both for traffic safety and to protect from strangers. Maybe a safety presentation to 3rd- to 5th-graders (the kids who can walk to school) would be a good idea?

Principal Glander: Will follow up to schedule a presentation.

3. Presentation from Principal Glander

School has four required Code Red/Active Shooter/Lockdown drills for the year (all names for the same thing). Following a request from some families, Ms. G will send email blasts after drills to let families know. She has reached out to SOMSD Elementary School Social Worker & Field Supervisor Karen Weiland to work on district-wide talking points for families to address the drills with their kids.

Thanks to the PTA for the PTA Teacher Grants awarded earlier this month!

Title I funding updates:

– Surplus from last year has provided for…

+ 10-week after-school homework club 3 days/wk

+ 2 additional professional development training days for teachers

+ Access to additional online learning resources, e.g. Raz Kids reading site for whole school. If the resources work well with the curriculum, they’ll be added to the Title I budget for next year.

– Upcoming: Title I Night, Wednesday 12/12, 6:30-8:30, community event with Maplewood Middle School. Will start with a dinner.

Grant opportunity from National Council of Jewish Women to create emergency closet of clothing, underwear, cold-weather accessories at school. Council would build it, then stock it. School staff would be trained to identify needs without compromising students’ dignity.

Black History Month programming being discussed with faculty now, may include different cycles/themes. It’s possible that Ms. G may reach out to the PTA for some funding for books or other resources to support.

4. Presentation from PTA President Olivia Yearns

A) October 2018 PTA General Meeting minutes approved.

B) PTA Assemblies Chair Susanna Einstein is looking for SB community members who are engaging speakers and have interesting jobs that they’d like to talk about for a career day assembly sometime later this year.

C) Updates from October 2018 SOMSD PTA Presidents Council meeting:

– Board of Education Chair Elizabeth Baker reported that interviews for the new SOMSD superintendent will begin early next year after the newly elected BoE members are sworn in. An offer will go out in March or April. If the right candidate isn’t found, the BoE will look for another interim candidate.

Baker urges SOMSD families to refrain from posting contentious comments to social media about the district, because it might deter an excellent potential superintendent candidate from accepting the post.

– The BoE will approve the K-5 redistricting option, meaning that the elementary schools will remain K-5 and the middle schools grades 6-8 as space is expanded for the larger district student population and as an equitable socioeconomic distribution is reached across the district. This plan will be brought in December to the Board of School Estimate for Maplewood-South Orange, a six-person committee made up of Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum, and two members each from the Maplewood and South Orange town councils.

– The BoE is seeking public feedback on the extras in the Long-Range Facilities Plan.

– Registration is not going to be online for the next school year. The plan is to create an online system in time for registration for the following year, 2020-21.

– Next year, the directory of school families will be online. It should therefore arrive much earlier in the school year than it did this year.

A revised PTA calendar will go out in December.

D) SOMSD Director of Technology Keith Bonds has let the PTA’s PARCC Score Errors Special Committee know that he 2017-18 PARCC scores of SB opt-in students have now been correctly assigned to SB. SB teachers will now be evaluated on the basis of correct data. Teacher and meeting attendee Shayna Sackett-Gable confirmed that the NJEA Union has been informed.

Unfortunately, the New Jersey Department of Education has told Mr. Bonds that the scores cannot be changed in the state-level system.

In Q&A of current meeting, PTA members suggested that the committee reach out again to Mr. Bonds both now and as this year’s standardized tests approach to remind him to make sure that measures are in place to prevent the errors from happening again.


  • Denise Anderson
  • David Cinotti
  • Nadine Etienne
  • Sally Unsworth
  • Holly Raye
  • Jane Buchanan
  • Shayna Sackett-Gable
  • Molly Goldstein
  • Stacy Merriweather Fontil
  • Alison Poe
  • Rebecca Barbacci