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.

General Outdoor Learning Center PTA School Seth Boyden News

First Day Coffee Meet and Greet!

Seth Boyden OLC

September 13, 2021 8:45AM at Seth Boyden Elementary School

Please join the PTA at the OLC (Outdoor Learning Center) to welcome Seth Boyden parents new and old back to campus!Right after drop off, there will be pastries from The Bread Stand and coffee. Masks are required when not eating. We will welcome new families, review upcoming activities and ways to participate in PTA! 

Garden Outdoor Learning Center

Seth Boyden Weekly Summer Farm Stand

Seth Boyden Shares and the Rent Party Garden invite you to our Free Farm Stand

It’s about sharing food and creating friendships…

Every Saturday over the summer at Seth Boyden School, 10 am

❤ Produce will be placed on tables near the garden entrance in Seth Boyden’s back schoolyard by 10 am and will be there throughout the day until the food is gone

❤ Take something to share with your family, leave some for others, and make new friends around the farm table

For more information, or if you want to help harvest and care for our garden, contact Maggie Tuohy [email protected] or ask to join the Facebook group Seth Boyden Shares, School Garden to Table.

Garden Picture Day PTA School Volunteer Opportunities

School Picture Day June 7 & 8

School Photos are coming June 7 & 8! — REGISTER TODAY

When: June 7 & 8 (your child’s teacher will email you the day closer to picture day)

Where: In the garden at Seth Boyden

Register: Use this link (password Sethboyden21) to register by June 6

IMPORTANT: Remember you need to register for your child(ren) to be photographed even if the photos are being taken during the school day. When registering, please use the full name your child used to register for school (ex: use “James,” not “Jimmie”)

Volunteers needed!

Please sign up if you can help with the school picture days of June 7 & 8

We are so excited to be able to offer individual student portraits this year! … In our gorgeous, blooming Seth Boyden garden!

In-person students will be photographed during school hours.

All families who have remained virtual will be able to come in the afternoon for photos if they wish by signing up for a time slot here:

(Group class photos will not be offered this year.)

All in-person students are photographed. If you do not place an order by June 6 you will receive a proof. You can then place an order using the proof information provided. Please note: there will be a $7 shipping fee for orders placed after picture day.

More information about the photographer Peter Collura is on the attached flier. 

CDC guidelines to ensure a safe picture day include: working outdoors, social distance from students and staff, masks on photographers, and sanitizing picture area as needed. 

Garden Outdoor Learning Center School

Nature Activity: I Spy Nature

From Mrs. Tuohy:

“Dear Families, 

Hooray! We started our seeds for our spring and summer garden this week! I will keep you posted on their progress. 

Ready for a little I Spy Nature game? 

I Spy Nature in the Seth Boyden Garden…

  • things that are decomposing
  • a pollinator
  • seeds with space
  • food for birds
  • a flower head from our 2020 garden
  • something ready to burst color
  • a sign that winter is ending
  • a tool for the soil
  • a seed that flies
  • a natural spiral
  • a seed pod
  • a fruit with vitamin C
  • a root for eating

Play with your children and make up some of your own clues. Create your own I Spy Nature Tray. I wonder what you will find outside your door? 

I am challenging myself to learn a new bird call with students each week this spring. Today we listened to the Northern Cardinal. You can hear it here by clicking here

Fourth-grader Callum Catts suggested we learn the Blue Jay and Mourning Dove next! Make sure you hear his Mourning Dove imitation if you see him around! 

Lots of love and happy snow melting! 

Mrs. Tuohy” 

Garden Holidays Outdoor Learning Center School Seth Boyden News

Celebrate MLK Day with a Nature’s Cake

From Seth Boyden Garden Teacher Mrs. Tuohy:

Make a batch of homemade playdough (recipe below).

Gather beautiful objects from nature. Decorate the play dough with the natural objects while reflecting on and celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Simple homemade play dough recipe:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar (optional)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • food coloring (optional)
  • ziploc bag, plastic wrap, or airtight container to store


  1. Stir together the flour, salt, and cream of tartar (if using it) in a large pot. 
  2. Add the water and oil. If you are adding the optional food coloring, add it now. 
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form a ball. 
  4. Remove from heat and place on another nonstick surface to cool slightly. 
  5. Knead until smooth and roll into balls. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a ziploc bag, or store in an airtight container.
Garden Outdoor Learning Center School Uncategorized

Winter Nature Activities

From Seth Boyden Garden Teacher Ms. Tuohy:

Birdseed Cookies

Yummy treats for our winter bird friends!

  • Mix unflavored gelatin with boiling water.
  • Use 2 or 3 tablespoons of gelatin to a cup of water, stir until dissolved. 
  • Stir in birdseed until the liquid is mixed through and the birdseed is wet but not in a puddle.
  • Place the mixture inside a greased cookie cutter or muffin tin.
  • Place a straw in each seed cookie to create the hole for hanging the seed cookie. 
  • Let chill for a few hours before releasing the cookies from the molds.
  • Hang on trees for feathered friends to enjoy!

Read The Snow Tree by Caroline Repchuk to find how other creatures have brought color and gifts to the winter whiteness.

For more information, visit One Little Project – Bird Seed Ornaments.

Snow Scene/Art

Fill an aluminum pan with snow. Using items from home, build a scene and tell a story. Add paint or food coloring if you wish.

Animal Tracking

Visit our Seth Boyden Garden to see who has been checking on the garden and missing us!

Garden Outdoor Learning Center School Seth Boyden News

Cooking with Jacob

Jacob Case, a 4th grader at Seth Boyden

We are incredibly proud to share that Jacob Case, a 4th-grader in Mr. Hein’s class, has been featured in Jamie Oliver’s Cooking Buddies Club! Congratulations to Jacob and his family! We’re so happy that Jamie Oliver, one of Britain’s top chefs, recognizes Jacob’s talents! 

Over the summer, Jacob made a video of harvesting nasturtiums and other edible flowers from the Strawberry Fields garden (with Ms. Tuohy’s full support and permission of course!). Jacob turned them into a delicious salad and uploaded the video to his Instagram & Facebook pages. The video was then shared in Jamie Oliver’s private Cooking Buddies Facebook group, where the team saw what a star Jacob is! Jamie Oliver’s team edited the video and shared it on Instagram so that thousands more could enjoy Jacob’s food!

Check out Jacob’s Cooking Buddies video by clicking here.  

To see Jacob cooking, you can check him out on Facebook at Cooking with Jacob or on Instagram @cookingwithjacob9.

Here’s another recipe that Jacob loves that also uses ingredients (the Swiss chard) he harvested from our school garden. 

Sautéed Swiss Chard with Steamed Butter Nut Squash: 

  1. Wash and cut the butternut squash into cubes while removing the seeds (do not peel)
  2. Steam the squash until tender but firm. Do not boil or steam squash in a lot of water to prevent it from becoming soggy
  3. Use an assortment of different colors of Swiss chard for added color
  4. Wash chards and remove the stalks
  5. Dice the chard stalks and keep separate from the leaves
  6. Roughly cut the chard leaves
  7. Add 2-4 cloves of chopped garlic and one small chopped onion to olive oil on medium heat and saute for one minute—make sure garlic doesn’t turn brown. Then add stalks and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until soft. Add chard leaves, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes or until leaves are fully wilted while stirring occasionally.
  8. Add steamed squash and season with salt, pepper, dried herbs, and butter for extra taste. You can also use your favorite seasonings. Mix all ingredients and make sure everything is fully incorporated.
  9. Enjoy with your favorite protein or by itself!
General PTA School SOMA YMCA

YMCA Food Distribution – Oct 23 and Oct 30

In partnership with Seashore Produce, the South Mountain YMCA is distributing free food boxes on Friday, Oct 23, and Friday, Oct 30.  

Limited availability – first come, first served.

Pick up begins at 1 pm at Seth Boyden.

Pick up instructions:

  • Use the school’s circular driveway
  • Pop your trunk open
  • Do not get out of your car
  • Staff will load box
  • Masks required

If you don’t have a vehicle, please email [email protected] and the PTA will connect you with a volunteer driver. 

For information in Spanish – click here

For information in Creole – click here

Achieve Foundation Garden Newsletter School Seth Boyden News

Achieve Foundation Grants

The Achieve Foundation is thrilled to award grants to educators across the district this October for 36 projects totaling $43,623! Winning grants included professional development programs, technology equipment, electronic and physical books, and other educational materials.

Last week, Achieve presented checks to these amazing Seth Boyden teachers:

• Maggie Tuohy for “From Garbage to Garden”
• Shella Mesidor-Villard for “Equity Institute: Advancing Racial Equity in Education Workshop”
• Dianne Canzonieri and Elana Ris for “Magnificent Mathematicians”
• Marissa DeMartino for “Fun with Phonics”
• Sarah Haldeman for “Multicultural Literature for Social Emotional Learning and Anti-Bias Discourse”
• Susan Brody for “Book Clubs Need Better Books”
• Sarah Fakhoury and Jesse Hein for “Let’s Talk About Race”
• Erica Dulny for “High Interest, Low Level Books”
• Erica Dulny for “Serious About Series!”
• Janine Poutre and Catherine Campbell (So. Mountain) for “Audible Battle of the Books”

Congratulations to these educators for receiving over $9,315 in funding for our students this fall!

Achieve board president Christine Houseworth (far left) and grants committee co-chair Hilary Jones-Danziger (far right) presented checks to Seth Boyden educators: Dianne Korte Canzonieri, Shella Mesidor-Villard, Sarah Haldeman, and Janine Guida Poutre.

Susan Brody received over $1,000 from the Achieve Foundation of South Orange and Maplewood for her “Book Clubs Need Better Books” grant.
Achieve board president Christine Houseworth, executive director Eileen Collins Neri and grants co-chair Hilary Jones-Danziger took to Seth Boyden’s gorgeous garden to present Maggie Tuohy with a $2,435 grant for her “Garbage to Garden” program.
Garden Outdoor Learning Center PTA School

Outdoor Learning Center – Fall Clean-Up

Come One, Come All
Seth Boyden Outdoor Learning Center Clean-up!

OLC Clean up kids

Looking for a way to help our school this fall? Bring the family and join the outdoor learning center clean-up!

On October 10th and 11th we’ll be weeding, watering, spreading mulch, moving logs– you get the idea!

Oct 10 – 9 am to 1 pm
Oct 11 – 1 pm to 5 pm 

Please bring your own work gloves and tools if you can (we don’t want folks sharing tools because of covid). Kids welcome! And of course, wear a mask!!

Sign up today to reserve your spot – click here

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.  

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. 

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