PTA Seth Boyden News SOMA Shares

SOMA Shares Book Giveaway Day

SOMA Shares Book Giveaway Day Flyer

SOMA Shares is thrilled to announce our first book giveaway day! 

All students from pre-K through 12th grade are invited to join us for the best kind of book fair: FREE! 

When: Saturday, Oct 10, 11am-4pm (rain date: Oct 18)

Where: St Joseph’s Church, 767 Prospect Street, Maplewood (parking lot between Franklin & Hilton)

What: Free children’s books for readers of all ages and stages

This event needs volunteers to make it a success! If you can help set up, help out during the giveaway, or clean up, then please sign up by clicking here 

SOMA Shares will also be accepting donations onsite. Please wear your masks and respect social distancing! 

School Seth Boyden News

Seth Boyden PTA “Back to School” Workshop for Parents

Balanced Kids workshop flyer

Feeling stressed out about the fall?

The Seth Boyden PTA is partnering with Balanced Kids to present a free virtual “Back to School” workshop for parents on Monday, August 17, at 8 pm. Register at Zoom details will be shared after registration. 

Whether you have made a decision for your family for the fall or not, this virtual workshop is designed to support you by giving you practical tools: 

  • Strategies for talking about and managing BIG feelings 
  • Tools for talking with your children about the fall 
  • Ideas for creating a family routine that works for you
  • Tips to address problems as they arise 

This workshop is free to attend and is sponsored by the Seth Boyden PTA. 

The South Orange-Maplewood School District reopening plan (including the link to the Parent Preference Survey) can be viewed by clicking here.  

PTA School District Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Food Support Program to Begin June 29 at Maplecrest Park

South Orange & Maplewood School District in partnership with the Township of Maplewood, the Parenting Center, and its partners are providing various options for food support over the summer months.

The District’s summer breakfast and lunch are provided through the USDA Summer Meals Program in coordination between Township of Irvington and Township of Maplewood. Free breakfast and lunch Grab ‘n’ Go meals for kids start tomorrow, June 29, and continue through August 21, Monday to Friday, 9 am – 11 am at Maplecrest Park, between Essex Road and Boyden Parkway. Details are available on this flyer from the district, in English, Spanish and Creole, which summarizes local food support programs and information.

Events School Seth Boyden News

Watch Our Virtual Moving Up Ceremony!

Congratulations to the Seth Boyden Elementary School 5th grade class of 2020. We wish you all the best as you move up to middle school!

School School District Seth Boyden News

Our PTA Believes that Black Lives Matter

black lives matter sign

As a PTA, we need to say that we see and acknowledge the particular pain, anger, and trauma that so many of our Black students and families and community members of color are feeling following the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. We recognize that there are many more victims of systemic racism and police violence. We as a group are deeply committed to equity and social and racial justice. We stand against racism, bias, and prejudice in all forms and believe that all Black Lives Matter today and every day.

We support peaceful protest, free speech, and social activism against racism. Our work as PTA of the only majority Black school in our district has long centered on advocacy and equity for Seth Boyden students. As uprisings against systemic racism and racist policing sweep our nation, addressing the needs of our students and listening to the voices of our Black families will continue to be at the forefront of our work. 

While we are lucky to have two school songs (the Seth Boyden Community Song and the Seth Boyden Cheer), we also have a third song that every student learns and sings together: Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Black national anthem (listen to our students sing the Black national anthem).

Mrs. Glander and Ms. Murphy sent out this message from our school leadership and your child’s individual teacher should have been in touch with tools and resources to support your at-home discussions about the protests, police violence, and the racism and white supremacy in this country.

You can read our district’s response by clicking here

You can read the National PTA’s response by clicking here

See below for information about a district parent workshop about talking to our children. 

As parents, our PTA members have been using books and web resources as tools and catalysts for conversations about race and racism. Learning to talk about race and white privilege and systemic racism is not easy but is an essential step on the journey to being the change we want to see and to raising our children to be committed to equity and justice.

Here are some tools and resources from our parent community: 

Books are a valuable tool and can be revisited multiple times. With libraries closed, it is often possible to access these books for free via YouTube. Simply search “(book name) read aloud” and you will likely find a video of it. With thanks to Ms. Fakhoury, 4th Grade Teacher, for this book list. 

School District Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Food Support Programs & Information

Programa e Información de Apoyo Alimenticio de Verano

Pwogram Sipò ak Enfòmasyon Pou Manje Pandan Ete

South Orange & Maplewood School District, in partnership with the Township of Maplewood, South Orange Village, the Parenting Center and its partners, are providing various options for food support over the summer months.

Download these flyers for more information in English, Spanish and Creole.

summer food support flyers
Seth Boyden News

A Message from Seth Boyden Leadership

June 2, 2020 (sent via email)

Good Evening Seth Boyden Families,

We want to share with you our thoughts and plans regarding the protests sweeping our nation, sparked by the killing of George Floyd.  We spent the last two days meeting with staff as grade levels to discuss how to best support our students and would like to share our plans with you. But first, we must echo the feelings of so many during this time. We stand against racism, inequity and bias in all forms and recognize that long-standing systems exist in our country and world that continue to be a barrier to the full realization of the potential of all black and brown people and other marginalized groups.  Our responsibility as educators and human beings is to combat these systems through our most powerful weapon…education.  We recognize that the lens that many of us view this through is that of privilege.  We know fully that the conversations that we hold with our own children about these topics are different than the ones that parents of color are forced to have.  We are committed to our continued growth in identifying and addressing the complex issues that exist around social justice and equity.  We know that we may never truly understand, but we seek understanding, and stand in support of black, brown and marginalized people.

We also understand and honor the agency of parents in deciding what information they want shared with their children, and who they want sharing it with them.  We are forced to recognize that in our current situation, we are not able to address these issues in the way that we most fervently wish we could. Ideally, we would have these discussions together, as a community where students’ feelings, concerns, fears, and emotions would be immediately addressed and supported by teachers, staff and administration. We are not able to do what we long for, and so we have worked on a plan to support students from afar as best we can.  

Our K-2 teachers will utilize resources around culture competency, diversity and social-emotional learning that help build the foundation for the understanding and acceptance of difference as well as a developmentally appropriate understanding of the historical context of inequality that has existed in our country from its inception.  Teachers and staff are available for students to discuss their feelings and provide a safe space.  Staff will not directly share details about the current state of affairs as we realize that our families need to make individual decisions about what information they wish their children to access.

Our 3-5 teachers will be contacting families with resources they want to share, and follow-up activities with staff in which students may participate. Again, the intention is to have parents make the decision on what they want shared with their students. 

Our plans are meant to address the current social unrest and its deep, long-standing roots. In addition, we continue to plan for, discuss and identify additional ways to incorporate equity work into our everyday instruction and interactions.  Most important, we recognize and commit to making certain that these immediate actions will not be seen as a “remedy”. What is happening around us makes clear that we must all do the work necessary to effect change so all people truly have the same rights and protections.  

We want to make available to you any resources that we have, including the need for counseling or support with our District’s social workers.  Also, the district will be having a parent workshop with Dr. Eddie Fergus and child/adolescent psychologist, Dr. Adam Price, on June 16th at 7:30 p.m. titled “Talking to our Kids About Current Events, Racial Injustice and Equity.”  Details to follow soon.

Please know that we are here for you if you need us.  Do not hesitate to reach out and let us know if we can be of any support during this painful and difficult time.


Mrs. Glander and Ms. Murphy

PTA School Seth Boyden News

Alomo Donates Books, Toys and Crafts

Last week, we put out a call for donations of food and books and art/school supplies. We’ve seen a tremendous response but we wanted to give a special shout out to Alomo Books.

Alomo gave our Seth Boyden Book Pantry a huge donation of books, toys, and crafts. Co-founded by Seth Boyden parent Kwaku Essel and South Mountain parent Jessi Gottlieb Empestan, Alomo curated books that centered black characters and highlighted storytellers of color so that black and brown children could see themselves in the books they read.

They also brought the books to life with accompanying crafts and activities. Due to the pandemic, Alomo is wrapping up its operations and generously donated the remaining inventory to our community.

The books, toys, and crafts are a huge hit with our families at lunch pick up. They are truly helping to make these months when we can’t be together brighter and more joyful! Thank you, Jessi and Kwaku, for your vital work to diversify book publishing and for your generosity to Seth Boyden! We’re so grateful to you.

PTA School Seth Boyden News

New Jersey Council on the Arts Grant to Bring Stepping Artist to Seth Boyden

Seth Boyden Elementary Demonstration School has received an Artists in Education grant for $10,000 from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for an artist-in-residence program for the 2020-21 school year. 

The AIE grant will bring an expert in African-American step dancing to Seth Boyden.  The artist will work primarily with the school’s four third-grade classes, teaching fundamental step moves as well as the basic historical and cultural background of the art form.  The lessons will dovetail with the geography and civics units of the third-grade curriculum.

The resident artist will also meet with the third-grade faculty and the art, music, and physical education teachers at Seth Boyden to brainstorm about ways to incorporate step and other movement into their pedagogy more broadly.

The Columbia High School Infinite Step Team will play an important role in the program.  In addition to performing a step assembly for all grades at Seth Boyden, members of this squad – some of whom are Seth Boyden alumnae – will provide mentoring to the third-grade students.

As the program’s culminating project, the third-graders and the resident artist will choreograph a step number that will become the Seth Boyden School Spirit Dance, a legacy to be passed down to future classes.

Since stepping has deep roots in African-American and African culture, the art form is part of the cultural heritage of many Seth Boyden students, more than half of whom are African-American, many of them second-generation African or Afro-Caribbean.

Principal Shannon Glander, Assistant Principal Sheila Murphy, and third-grade teacher Rosemary Connell formed part of the Steering Committee for the grant, as did Seth Boyden PTA President Elizabeth Leonard Evangelista and PTA Assemblies Coordinator Susanna Einstein.   Pending funding and any necessary pandemic-related modifications, the Seth Boyden step residency will begin in or shortly after November.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to look forward to,” Principal Glander said.  PTA President Evangelista echoed the sentiment.  “This is an enormous bright spot for all of us: our school, faculty, and students!”

The Artists in Education Residency Grant Program, now in its forty-eighth year, is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Young Audiences Arts for Learning Network of New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, in partnership with regional New Jersey arts organizations, including Appel Farm Arts & Music Campus, Count Basie Center for the Arts, and Morris Arts.

School Seth Boyden News

Video Message From Mrs. Glander

Watch the video for greetings from Mrs. Glander and important messages about the plans for the rest of the school year.

Fundraising School Seth Boyden News

School Supply Kits Are Back!

Seth Boyden’s PTA has partnered with 1st Day School Supplies to offer pre-packaged school supply kits by grade for the 2020-21 school year! This is a great opportunity to support the PTA and save the hassle of shopping. Plus, you won’t need to stuff backpacks on the first day of school because everything will be waiting for your student in the classroom.

If you have questions, please email Marianne Lloyd at [email protected].

Two notes:

  1. Wish lists are separate from main supply requests, but you can order both.
  2. Once you pick a kit, you’ll enter some information more typical to a checkout. Once you confirm, you’ll have the opportunity to go back and purchase additional kits or donate a kit.
School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

PTA Nominations for 2020-21

The PTA Needs YOU to Help Fill Next Year’s Board!

Amidst all the disruptions and current school closure due to  Covid-19, we still need to plan for next year. We’re hopeful that the Seth Boyden community will be together again soon and look forward to having a strong board to begin the new school year. 

These four positions need to be filled by election:

  • PTA President
  • PTA Vice President
  • PTA Secretary
  • PTA Treasurer 

How do I find out more about these jobs?  To learn more about what these positions involve, please reach out to this year’s officers or board members: [email protected], [email protected], or you can find other contacts on

How does the election process work?  A Nominating Committee was elected at the March PTA meeting.  If you’d like to run for President, VP, Secretary, or Treasurer, or if you know someone who you think would be a great candidate, please download the Nominating Form and email it to the Nominating Committee at [email protected].

Read-a-thon School Seth Boyden News

Final Read-a-Thon Results

The fundraising portion of the Seth Boyden 2020 Read-A-Thon is complete! Thanks to all of those who read and raised money, we have raised more than $7,000!  This amazing effort from students, families, and friends will be a huge boon to the PTA as we work to improve “Cafe Seth Boyden.” 

The following students, all of whom logged more than 1,500 minutes/25 hours of reading during March, get to be part of a special breakfast hosted by Ms. Murphy when we’re back at school: 


  • Evelyn Wilson-Brown
  • Simone Kirtz
  • Owen Elwood
  • Lillian Johnson
  • Aurelia Bencivenga

First Grade

  • Lily Rothberg
  • Beatrice Evangelista
  • Curtis Diana
  • Joseph Hirsch

Second Grade

  • Jayson Jean
  • Henry Meagher
  • Louisa Zimmerman
  • Thomas Zimmerman
  • Edith Johnson
  • Levi Gehrke
  • Willoughby Goldstein

Third Grade

  • Marc Ulysse
  • Pierce Yearns
  • Jaymarion Marc
  • River Petersen
  • Olivia Movahed
  • Sadie Fontil
  • Zachary Campos
  • Mason Paul
  • Alens Ace
  • Jesus Maldonado
  • Christopher Hush-Emigdio
  • Benjamin Yazdan
  • James Evangelista
  • Minna Guttormsson

Fourth Grade

  • Bryce Hendricks
  • Cayle Prince
  • Divine Okoli
  • Elliot Lara Puglisi
  • Anna Ebinger
  • Nathaniel Goldberg
  • Richard Cope
  • Chrislow Dorielan
  • Marvens Ulysse
  • Natasha Golshani
  • Rubens Pierre
  • Martin Gehrke
  • Sylvia Holtz
  • Athena Hush-Emigdio
  • Adesuwa Joshua
  • Gary Vincent

Fifth Grade

  • Cayden Prince
  • Aliyah Ace
  • Vanessa Lin
  • Sheridan Yearns
  • Atemafeh Nkemaka
  • Matthew Chin
  • Matthew Philip-Wiliams
  • Marcus Heinnickel

And, for logging more than 1,200 minutes/20 hours of reading during March,  all of the above will also be entered into a raffle to win dinner at the Parkwood Diner, along with the following students:

  • Caitlyn Carmeris
  • Maeve Cope
  • Ruby Meagher
  • Victor Lin
  • Monet McCallum
  • Elise Veal
  • Milo Mafla-Mills
  • Otto Guttormsson
  • Joyce Ristuccia
  • Jayden Hunte

And now, drumroll please for the big winners!

With a whopping 35,603 minutes (that’s 593 1/2 hours!), Mr. Hein’s 4th grade class has the highest number of minutes read with the most students participating. Each student in that class will get a gift bag of prizes when we return to school!

For being the student with the most minutes read in during the Read-a-Thon — an impressive 7,800 minutes/130 hours — Bryce Hendricks will win a $50 gift card to WORDS Bookstore in Maplewood, to use once they’ve reopened.  YAY BRYCE! 

And the following students, each of whom had the highest number of minutes of reading logged for their grade, will be their class representative to slime Ms. Glander! Woo-hoo! We can’t wait to be back at school for so many reasons–including this one!

  • K: Evelyn Wilson-Brown
  • First: Curtis Diana
  • Second: Jayson Jean
  • Third: Marc Ulysse
  • Fourth: Bryce Hendricks
  • Fifth: Aliyah Ace 
PTA School School District Seth Boyden News

3/16/20: Letter From Mrs. Glander

Good Afternoon Seth Boyden Families,

If your child was absent from school and did not take home their book baggies and classroom supplies, or if you require hard copies of the remote learning lessons, the district will be delivering these items to Seth Boyden families tomorrow, Tuesday,  March 17, 2020.  

Teachers were asked to identify any students that they were aware of that did not have access to the internet at home. All assignments can be completed on paper, but instructions are online. If you cannot access the online assignments and need a paper copy, please email me at [email protected].  Please do not go to the board office for the materials as the district is trying to limit the amount of people by assigning specific time slots for the other elementary schools, and providing home delivery for all Seth Boyden families.  

Information on logging into Google classroom was mailed home by the District on Friday and if you haven’t gotten it, you should be getting it today or tomorrow. If you need additional support logging into the google classrooms sites for the assignments please visit the Nursing Services/Coronavirus update area under tech info and resources on the district website.

For students with special education services, please see the email sent by Dr. Morana to all families yesterday and follow her instructions.  Please continue to check your email consistently as we continue to provide updates as soon as possible.  

We want to thank the teachers, staff and families for the overwhelming amount of support during this tumultuous time. The health of our staff, students and families is paramount and we hope that all of you are healthy and safe.  Thank you also for your patience and flexibility as we continue to develop plans to address this unthinkable situation.

Please take care and be well and reach out with any questions.  I will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible.

Mrs. Glander

Events School Seth Boyden News

Black History Month Gallery

black history month text with historical figure photos

Please join us this Thursday, Feb. 27, from 6:30-8pm for our annual celebration of Black History Month. The evening will begin in the auditorium with a performance by our fourth and fifth grade chorus. After the performance, families will have a chance to tour our hallways and see all of the great artwork our children have been working on this month.

PTA School Seth Boyden News Yearbook

Fifth Grade Baby Photos and Yearbook Best Wishes!

It’s time for two of our favorite Seth Boyden traditions: Seth Boyden fifth grade baby photos and best wishes for the yearbook!

baby photos

Please submit your fifth grader’s baby picture so it can be included in the school yearbook. It’s so fun to see how the kids have (or haven’t!) changed over the years!

The yearbook will also contain a “best wishes” section where you can send a message to a fifth grader or any student. The wishes are $4 each or 3 for $10. Each wish must be 30 words or fewer and you can send as many wishes as you would like.

Email your best wishes and photos by Friday, March 13, to [email protected]. Any questions? Check out the flyers below or contact Becky Hanger at that email or 347-268-6796.

Best Wishes | Baby Photos

Events Musical PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Musical Will Be Disney’s Aladdin Jr.!

Aladdin Jr. logo horizontal

We are excited to announce that Seth Boyden’s fifth graders will be presenting Disney’s Aladdin Jr. from June 12 to June 14. 

Please join the PTA in welcoming our new director, Vanessa Jones! Ms. Jones’s experience ranges from performing on Broadway to teaching and directing students at NJPAC, and we are thrilled to have her at Seth Boyden! Fifth-grade families can expect to receive information about the show and auditions in the coming weeks. This year’s production will have action, adventure, and maybe even a rapping genie! Please encourage your students to participate.

As always, we need lots of help to make the show a success! We have volunteer opportunities for everyone—whether you have always wanted to know what goes on backstage, or you’re a theater expert hoping to share your knowledge and skills with the next generation. There are jobs big and small, and all are important for this year’s fifth graders to shine!

Please visit this signup genius link or contact Heather Heinnickel at [email protected] to tell us how you can help!

School School District Seth Boyden News

The ABCs of Kindergarten

Follow the links below to learn everything you need to know about registering your child for kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year.

auction PTA School Seth Boyden News

Another Incredible Seth Boyden Auction!

Woodland decorated for 2020 seth boyden auction
Photo by Patricia Sanchez.

The Seth Boyden Beer Garden auction, presented by Adamson Ramsey Homes, was a huge success! This is a massive collaborative effort, and it takes our entire Seth Boyden community to make it happen. 

We owe a special thanks this year to Lauren and John Byers for leading the charge, and to Kelly Sanders, Anna Herbst, Kerstin Diehn and all of the auction committee members who worked so hard for many months to put this event together. 

The food from Bradford’s Barr was delicious; the cheese table from Maplewood Wheelhouse was a huge hit; the craft brews from Four City Brewing and SOMA Brewing were on point; the decor by Patricia Sanchez was perfect; Nate Diana’s craftsmanship was on display with the stunning photo arbor; DJ Jen Jones Grieci did an amazing job as always; our bartenders were slinging drinks all night; and an army of volunteers sold tickets, ran credit cards, set up and took down decorations, and generally pulled together to make it an epic and successful night for our school. 

School Seth Boyden News Spelling Bee

S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g B-e-e Winners! 

students on stage during Seth Boyden spelling bee
Martin Gehrke and Melanie Fisher - spelling bee winners at Seth Boyden
Martin Gehrke and Melanie Fisher, winners of the 2020 Seth Boyden spelling bee.

The Seth Boyden Spelling Bee was a major success! After 14 intense rounds of spelling, Martin Gehrke (LaForest/McCarl) and Melanie Fisher (Pei) emerged as winners! Martin’s final word to seal his victory was sanitized while Melanie’s was campaign. Huge congratulations to Martin, Melanie, and the 22 other class champions that participated!

Be sure to root for our Seth Boyden champions at the Essex County Spelling Bee which will be on March 7 at 11:00 am at Kipp Life Academy in Newark. Our school bee was funded by the PTA and sponsored by Sidelines and Stages Foundation, whose president, Coobee Darcelin, is a Seth Boyden alum. A big thank you to Mr. Hein for coordinating this and getting so many kids excited about spelling!