auction PTA Seth Boyden News

Casino Royale Was Phenomenal!

2019 auction

Our entire Seth Boyden community owes a huge thanks to the Silent Auction committee for a phenomenal night! The Woodland was gorgeous for Casino Royale, the music was fantastic, the poker tables were jam-packed, the food was awesome, and the whole vibe was hugely fun and festive. Thank you to all of the organizers, and thanks to the great crowd who came out and supported Seth Boyden!

Check out the photos on our Facebook page, the Seth Boyden Parents group on Facebook, and Instagram!

casino royale sign at entry







Events PTA Seth Boyden News

Liberty Science Center Assembly

Liberty Science Center assembly experiments
Marisela from the Liberty Science Center made static electricity and used it to attract Rice Krispies to a balloon with the help of two student volunteers. Andrew poured liquid nitrogen into boiling water, resulting in a LOT of condensation!

Cries of “that’s so cool!” were heard in the Seth Boyden auditorium on Friday as students watched the “Science Circus” presentation from Liberty Science Center.

Students watched, and several participated, as Marisela and Andrew, two of LSC’s Traveling Science Program presenters, taught us about various aspects of static electricity, states of matter, air pressure, and temperature.

Everyone got to see Rice Krispies fly in reaction to static electricity, watch air pressure crush a soda can, and learn what happens when a balloon goes into a vat of liquid nitrogen (hint: think pancake).

Assemblies like this are funded by the PTA and are a great compliment to the curriculum.

(Thanks to Susanna Einstein for the write-up and photos!)

PTA PTA Meeting Minutes

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
auction Fundraising PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Get Ready for ‘Casino Royale’

Our auction night is always a blast, and we’re upping the ante with this year’s theme — “Casino Royale.” Please mark Feb. 9 in your calendar and buy your tickets now for our most exciting auction ever!

We are currently looking for donations, sponsors, and volunteers, including bartenders and blackjack dealers. If you are interested in contributing in any way, please fill out the appropriate form or email Rebecca Barbacci and Lauren Byers at [email protected] 


Click the image to download as PDF.
PTA Seth Boyden News

Thank You to the Seth Boyden Family

Dear Seth Boyden Community,

It is so hard to believe that we are already at the end of 2018! (My niece said the same thing to me the other day, so I guess it is not just because I am getting older!)

I would like to thank all of the Seth Boyden family members, friends, and community partners who volunteered their time toward the PTA’s events and activities at the school thus far and all the tremendous efforts that went into putting them together. Some of the highlights were the Ice Cream Social, the Story Pirates assembly, the Harvest Festival, the Turkey Trot 5K & Fun Run, the Book Fair, and Family Fun Night.

I would also like to give a sincere thank you to the teachers, faculty, and school administrators for their commitment and dedication to our children. We are especially thankful that you took care of our children for hours when buses and parents couldn’t get to school during the “November Snowpocalypse.” We hope that the Teacher Grant Program, School Supplies Closet, and the cookie delivery help to show you how much the PTA truly appreciates everything you do for our students!

As we look toward the New Year, honoring the past, I am hoping for peace and solidarity for the future. I wish everyone a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and best wishes for the New Year!

Olivia Yearns
Seth Boyden PTA President

PTA School Volunteer Opportunities

Call for Cookies

cookie donations

In appreciation of the Seth Boyden staff, the PTA will be giving every staff member a beautiful box of delicious cookies for the holidays!

In order to make this event successful, we need as many homemade and store-bought cookies as possible, so please consider contributing treats to make the holidays brighter for all of those who support and nurture our children!

Kindly drop cookies off in the SB auditorium at the start of school this Thursday, Dec. 20, or send them to school with your student. A PTA representative will pick them up from the classroom.

We are also looking for five volunteers to help package and deliver the boxes of cookies from 8:45am-12pm that day. (Hopefully it won’t take that long!) Sign up to volunteer on Sign Up Genius!

Book Fair Fundraising PTA Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Get Ready for the Book Fair!

Our Fall Book Fair is coming up from Dec. 4-7.

Hours of Operation
Tuesday: 9am-3pm
Wednesday: 9am-3:30pm
Thursday: 9am-3:30pm
6:30-8:30pm (Family Fun Night)
Friday: 9-11am

Please Note: Student shopping days and time slots went home in backpacks last week.

Online Orders
Online ordering is available until Dec. 12th at Follow the shopping instructions so that Seth Boyden gets credit for your purchase. You can also preview the books on your child’s Wish List by looking at them on the website. Thank you for supporting our school!!!

We need your help! If you are able to volunteer during the fair, please let us know. Any amount of time is helpful and appreciated. Email [email protected] with your availability. NOTE: we can REALLY use help during Family Fun Night.

Thank you!
Kristin O’Connor Saslovsky & Susan Holtz
SB Book Fair Co-Chairs

Events Musical PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Help Us Make ‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’ a Hit!

Beauty and the Beast Jr.This year’s 5th Grade Musical will be “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” and we are looking for parent volunteers to help us make the show a success.

The performance will be in late May, but the planning is beginning now. As most of you know, this is one of the biggest events of your student’s years at Seth Boyden, so we need lots of parent involvement. It’s also one of the most fun and rewarding volunteer opportunities you can find; just ask the parents who made “The Lion King” such a smash hit last year.

Kelly Heinze will once again be our director, and we need lots of budding stage moms and dads to help produce the show, manage the cast, design and build the sets, run the lights and technology, document some rehearsals and performances with photos and video, coordinate paperwork and equipment with the district, and more.

If you are interested in signing up to help in any way, please contact [email protected]!

Fundraising PTA School Seth Boyden News

Stop&Shop A+ Rewards

Do you buy groceries? Have you ever been in a Stop & Shop? If so, we have a super-easy way for you to contribute to Seth Boyden’s PTA.

Directions for signing up for the A+ Rewards program are below. If you need assistance, call Stop&Shop Customer Care at 877-366-2668, option 1. You can also email Marianne at [email protected] if you have questions or run into a snag.

Here’s how it works:

Stop & Shot A+ rewards program letter

Community Building Events Fundraising PTA School Seth Boyden News SOMA Two-Towns Turkey Trot Volunteer Opportunities

Sign Up for the Turkey Trot!

2017 Turkey TrotOur annual Two Towns Turkey Trot 5K and Kids’ Fun Run will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

This is a great fundraiser for our school that brings people from all over the area together, so please help us spread the word and register today!


South Mountain Reservation, Crest Drive/Bear Lane/”Loop.” Directions: From South Orange village, take South Orange Ave. West and make a left just past “The Top.” Follow the signs to the dog park. There is limited parking, so we recommend carpooling.


  • 8:00-8:45am: Race Day Registration/Packet Pickup (approx.)
  • 9:00am: 5K Race (approx.)
  • 10:00am: Kids’ Fun Run (approx.)
  • 10:15am: Awards Ceremony

Entry Fees

  • Kids’ Fun Run: $10
  • 5K Race: Pre-registration: $25 (includes T-shirts while supplies last)
  • Race Day: $35
  • Seth Boyden Staff Members: 20% off
  • Register today!

Thanks to All of Our Sponsors!

PTA School School District Seth Boyden News

Updated: PARCC Score Errors Special Committee

Update on 10/26: Dr. Ficarra has asked SOMSD Director of Technology Keith Bonds to address the questions raised by the committee. Bonds said he expects to have more information by the end of this week.

PARCC logo

A group of concerned Seth Boyden PTA members has formed a committee to address issues with the 2018 PARCC results. The scores for Seth Boyden’s opt-in students were assigned to their zoned school, and not to Seth Boyden, which could have implications for our students, teachers, school achievement rates, and more.

The newly formed PARCC Score Errors Special Committee has submitted this letter to Dr. Thomas Ficarra, the interim superintendent of schools.

If you share this committee’s concerns, we encourage you to attend the Board of Education meeting at 7:30pm on Monday night at 525 Academy Street in Maplewood.

Garden Outdoor Learning Center PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Outdoor Clean-Up on Sunday

We are having a short (2-hour) work afternoon in our outdoor space on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 1-3pm. We want as many people as possible to show up and get things done in a short time.

We will also be cleaning up and making a nicer play space for kindergartners by the sandbox near the school, so we would love to see lots of kindergarten families participate. Sign up on this Sign Up Genius.

Fundraising Harvest Festival Outdoor Learning Center PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Harvest Fest Is Coming Soon, and We Need Volunteers!

Harvest Fest is coming up FAST — Oct. 13 — and there are a million fun and very, very rewarding jobs to volunteer for, so what are you waiting for?

Hit the Sign Up Genius and sign up!

Susan Holtz can’t do it all herself!

PTA School School District Seth Boyden News Special Education

SEPAC Meeting Schedule

Mark Your Calendars!

SEPAC is an advocacy group focused on policies, programs, and practices within the South Orange/Maplewood School District. Families and caregivers of student(s) with learning needs or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan are encouraged to attend SEPAC Meetings. (See the meeting schedule.)

This year, the community has one special education parent group as the Special Education PTO has merged with SEPAC. SEPAC provides parents with tools and information to work collaboratively with the school district and to be more effective advocates for their children with special educational needs. Our meetings consist of featured conversations/ presentations as well as support, resource sharing, and the ability to connect with other members of the special education community. Meetings with featured topics are our attempt to get those with similar concerns in the same room at the same time but all are always welcome!

Questions? Go to or email [email protected]

PTA School School District Seth Boyden News

Beyond the Bell Registration

Beyond the Bell logoBeyond the Bell is an after-school program created by the South Orange Maplewood School District’s Parenting Center. Beyond the Bell is designed to help all students stretch and grow by coordinating, deepening and expanding after-school opportunities at the elementary level.

The fall session will begin the week of October 1st. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of subjects and activities, taught by enthusiastic and experienced instructors in a comfortable and familiar environment. Some of the instructors are SOMSD teachers and parents; others come to us from the wider community.

The registration packets were sent home via backpacks last week. An electronic copy is also available here.

Online registration for Seth Boyden began Friday, September 14.

The online registration process shows class availability and will provide a confirmation of your class registration as soon as credit card payment is finalized. We have a new online registration vendor so you will need to set up a new account/profile. To find your school/classes, after you log in, please click on the locations button on the upper right, then select your school.

You can also send the paper registration form in through your child’s backpack. It is important to indicate your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice options to ensure your child gets a class they will enjoy.

If you are seeking a scholarship (based on free and reduced lunch), you can find paper registration here or in your school’s office. Please make sure to sign the form and return it to the school as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please email Jonelle Delk at [email protected] We look forward to welcoming your children to our after school program in October!

PTA PTA Budget Information School Seth Boyden News

PTA Budget Report – 2018 Financial Year

Update Oct. 7, 2018: This budget was approved at our 10/6/18 PTA meeting.

Our 2018 PTA budget is available for review. The budget will be voted on at the October PTA meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 6 at 10am in the cafeteria.

Events PTA School School District Seth Boyden News

Week of Respect

October 1st-October 5th is the New Jersey State Week of Respect. We will have a series of activities and spirit days to celebrate. Here is what we have planned.

Semèn kap vini an, komanse 1 Oktòt pou rive 5 Oktòb, se semèn respè pou State New Jersey a. Nan okazyon sa a , nou pral gen yon seri aktivite ak jou plezi pou nou selebre. Nan jou sa yo, Nou planifye.

PTA PTA Meeting Minutes Seth Boyden News

Sept. 6, 2018, PTA Meeting Minutes

Read the general meeting minutes from our meeting on Sept. 6, 2018.

Newsletter PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

5th Grade Parents, We Need You!

lion king jrOur 5th Grade Committee is a crucial part of making our oldest students’ final year at Seth Boyden a memorable one. These dedicated parents help organize special events like the etiquette dinner and dancing classrooms performance, the annual pool party, and the 5th grade musical.

If you have a 5th grader this year, please consider signing up to be chairperson or a committee member.

PTA School Seth Boyden News Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer in the Library

book fairDo you have 15 or more minutes available each, or even every other, week (including right after drop off or before pickup) to help ensure the library is ready for our students? If so, please join the library volunteers group.

Fill out some simple information on this form and the coordinator, Marianne Lloyd, will be in touch with more information soon.