Community Building Fundraising Press PTA Seth Boyden News Uncategorized

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General Press PTA School School District Seth Boyden News

PTA Statement

October 8, 2021


The Seth Boyden Parent Teacher Association believes that our schools should be inclusive spaces for learning and growth. Students should never face discrimination. We stand in solidarity with the student who was allegedly asked to remove her hijab, and support her family.

While this incident is being investigated by the school administration and the school district, we will support and collaborate with staff and administration to ensure that our school community remains a place of acceptance, belonging, and learning for all individuals.

2021-22 PTA Board Members

A Statement from Carey Smith, State of NJPTA, Region V Director

The State of New Jersey PTA, and National PTA stands firmly against racism in all forms and the culture of oppression that permeates the United States.

Continued respect for, and expansion of civil rights requires they be defended whenever threatened and that children and youth be taught the significance of civil rights and responsibilities in American Culture.

We support – Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, age, physical and academic ability, and sexual orientation

While this incident is being investigated by the school administration, school district, and the local authorities, we will support and collaborate with staff and administration to ensure that our school community remains a place of acceptance, belonging, and learning for all individuals.

As an association that represents all children, we must listen, educate and advocate beyond rhetoric and rise to correct all inequities and injustices.

Garden Press School Seth Boyden News

Strawberry Fields Adds an Outdoor Kitchen

It is harvest cooking time at Seth Boyden, thanks to the efforts of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout and the school’s garden teacher.

On Oct. 18, Columbia junior Jack Kelly cut the ribbon on Seth Boyden’s new outdoor kitchen, which he built as his Eagle Scout project. The kitchen, which includes a long stainless steel prep counter with a sink, and a small gathering space complete with white board, was built mostly in Jack’s parents’ garage. (Jack’s mom, Lynn Kelly, is a teacher at Seth Boyden and his Boy Scout Troop, Troop 5, calls Seth Boyden home.) Jack raised all the money for its construction and then, with the help of fellow Troop 5 Scouts and some dedicated dads and friends, lugged it to the garden and installed it. 

Community Building Press PTA School

Dinner & Dancing at Seth Boyden

by Tia Swanson (photos courtesy of Brian Edgerton)

The tables were properly set, the water poured. The waitstaff had its instructions: serve from the right, clear from the left; don’t hover. The diners were expected at any moment. Then suddenly they came, a little shorter than usual, a tad more boisterous. The fancy “restaurant,” after all, was the Seth Boyden stage, the honored guests were fifth graders, and the waitstaff a group of eager but relatively untrained parents. But, over the next hour, none of that mattered, as seated boy-girl-boy-girl, the diners got all the fine points of the etiquette of dining: how to get your napkin to your lap; what to do with it when you get up to go to the bathroom; how to eat your soup — sip, not slurp, and spooned away, not toward. They learned how to hold their fork and knife and cut and eat Continental style, and how to place their silverware when finished. They were given a few tips on conversation and other behavior: Good manners means never telling someone else what to do; lead by example, not lecture. Talk to your nieghbors on both sides. Men, help the ladies pull their chairs out.

The etiquette lunch was conceived as a companion to Dancing Classrooms, NJPAC’s artist-in-residence program that brings professional dance instructors to school for 10 weeks to teach the kids all about the ins and outs of ballrooom dancing. This year, the third year the Seth Boyden has participated in the program, parents decided to give the kids something extra: a formal dinner on the big night they performed the dances they’d learned.

The etiquette lunch in early January was the lead-up to the big dinner and dance a week later. And so, the next week, when the students arrived in their best clothes to a gym outifitted in whtie lights and crepe paper streamers, linen tablecloths and place settings with a small and a big fork, a whole army of parents at the ready, they knew exactly what to do.

This time, Principal Mark Quiles was the host and the dancing instructors the honored guests. But all the kids ate their fruit course with a fork and properly cut the maple-mustard chicken that followed. Then, dessert done, they trooped upstairs with the help of their devoted teachers and lined up, ready to show their parents the way they could waltz, tango polka and swing with just about anybody.

As Mr. Quiles said that evening, it all was a lesson in social equity, a chance for the kids to feel they could be in the same room, and at the same dinner table, with anybody.

As etiquette instructor Maria Joyce, of The Protocol School of New Jersey put it, they had to learn to act like they expected to be invited to the White House one day: because, she said, she fully expected that a few of them would be.

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Events Fundraising Outdoor Learning Center Press PTA School District SOMA

Sold-Out Crowd for Ira Glass Event

Sunday’s event was a hit with the audience, and raised more than $30,000 to expand Seth Boyden’s outdoor learning center.

  • By Warren Westura and Mary Mann from Maplewood Patch

Seth Boyden’s “A Conversation with Culture” series got off to a roaring start on Sunday night as Ira Glass and his “This American Life” staff regaled a sold-out audience from the stage of Columbia High School.

“It was not only a sold-out crowd, but it was a sold-out crowd of excited, enthusiastic, energetic ‘This American Life’ groupies,” said Seth Boyden PTA President Susie Adamson.

“It was a terrific program, both insightful and full of the incredible wit and humor Ira Glass brings to This American Life,” said Seth Boyden parent Amie Herman. “A delight to have Ira and his talented team come share with us!!”

The event raised $31,500 for Seth Boyden Demonstration School’s Outdoor Learning Center. “Thanks to last night, we will be installing another piece of playground equipment before the end of this school year!” said Adamson.

Glass and upcoming speaker Tim Gunn were attracted to the event by Seth Boyden parents Peri Smilow, Budd Mishkin and Julie Snyder. Snyder is a senior producer on “This American Life.” Mishkin has interviewed Gunn numerous times. And Smilow is the force behind organizing the entire series.

Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” fame will be coming to CHS on Sunday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 for general seating, $50 for premium seating, and $40 for tickets purchased at the show (general seating). The performance will be sign language interpreted. Tickets can be purchased here:

“This is a pretty exciting time to be a family at Seth Boyden!” said Adamson.

Events Garden Outdoor Learning Center Press PTA School

Strawberry Fields Celebrates ‘Farm to School’ Week

Seth Boyden students enjoyed demonstrations of locally grown foods as well as a lesson in civics on Sept. 25 when Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey came to Strawberry Fields to celebrate “Farm to School Week.”

McKeon is the sponsor of a measure that designated the last week of September as “Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week.” He and Jasey picked Seth Boyden to celebrate the designation because Strawberry Fields, Seth Boyden’s working garden, is among the top 20 finalists of the inaugural ‘School Garden of the Year’ award from the New Jersey Farm to School Network and Edible New Jersey.

McKeon and Jasey were joined at the event by Beth Feehan, director of the New Jersey Farm to School Network; Lorraine Gibbons, one of the founders of Strawberry Fields; and Seth Boyden Principal Mark Quiles.

Before the speech making began, students visited tables staffed by PTA members where they sampled foods which were either donated by “Jersey Fresh” local farmers markets or grown in Strawberry Fields by the students.

Students tasted yellow squash, green cauliflower, yellow and red bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers and more. (Said one 5th grader, “I didn’t know broccoli could taste this good!”) They sniffed and identified herbs. They made rubbings of leaves. Notably, they lined up in droves to taste some swiss chard sauted in a pan with garlic by Virginia Lamb Falconer.

“They were chowing down on it!” said Falconer. “They like food that they grow.”

Moments later, McKeon had a group of 5th grade students cheering for New Jersey as he named the fruits and vegetables for which the Garden State is one of the top producers (agriculture, noted McKeon, is New Jersey’s third largest economic sector after pharma and tourism). After McKeon asked questions such as “Who’s third in blueberry production?,” students shouted, “New Jersey!”

Jasey called it the “best speech” ever given by McKeon.

Afterward, Jasey presented a proclamation from the State Assembly. Jasey wisely chose not to read the proclamation to the well-behaved but fidgety fifth graders. The proclamation read in part that Seth Boyden “stands as a beacon to the heights to which education can aspire” — particularly in reference to the multiple uses of the Strawberry Fields garden in educating students about biology, agriculture, nutrition and other sciences.

McKeon also received a special recognition from the New Jersey Farm to School Network’s Feehan for sponsoring the legislation.

McKeon also invoked the name of Seth Boyden during his comments, noting that the inventor owned the original property on which the school is built and cultivated the modern strawberry. After retirement, Boyden spent his time hybridizing strawberries and, in fact, many strawberries today originate from the seeds of his garden.

Quiles thanked Gibbons and other PTA members for transforming the former “dust bowl” that was the garden area into a rich and vital part of the Seth Boyden educational experience today.

Click here for Patch coverage.

Click here to see photos of the day’s action.

Press Uncategorized

Seth Boyden Summer School Students Make Reading Fun at Maplewood Library

Seth Boyden summer school students are featured on the Maplewood Library website with this photo. Visit the posting here.

Seth Boyden summer school class visits Hilton Summer Reading Club. Photo courtesy of the Maplewood Library.

Events Press School

100th Day of School!

Our kindergarteners celebrated the 100th day of school with their traditional portable festivities:

Press PTA

Ample supply of good press

Helping to launch our new website, the Patch featured our new site in their round-up of PTA websites.