Events PTA School

Seth Boyden Rocks with Los Pleneros de la 21!

by Mary Trinity, PTA Coordinator of Cultural Arts

On Tuesday, January 24th, the PTA hosted an exciting assembly program for the children of Seth Boyden, featuring Los Pleneros de la 21, a community organization devoted to celebrating the African-related music and dance forms of Puerto Rico:  Bomba and Plena.  Students clapped and danced in their seats as the music of the exuberant perfomers filled the auditorium.

“Our music is about sharing and celebrating.” comments Juan Gutiérrez-Rodriguez, musical director and founder of Los Pleneros. “And we continue to play it at an effort to introduce it to new audiences hoping to bolster a tradition.”  In addition to Juan Gutierrez, five other musicians performed for the two Seth Boyden shows on Tuesday: Julia Gutierrez, Nicky Laboy, Alex LaSalle, Jose Rivera and Matthew Gonzalez.

Los Pleneros launched their exhilarating show with an introduction to century-old Plena music.  More than a dozen eager students were invited to try out the drums or sing on stage with the group.

Next, Los Pleneros burst into the four hundred year old Bomba tradition, an exciting music that derives from central Africa. Julia Gutierrez danced, while the other musicians played traditional instruments. At the end of the first song, Ms. Gutierrez asked the students to figure out whether the musicians were responding to her dancing or if she was following their music. An attentive student correctly answered that the musicians were following the cues of the dancers! It was exciting to watch, especially when more than thirty students and teachers were invited to the stage to try it!

According to the organization’s website,, this music has roots hundreds of years old, from the days when Spanish colonists brought West African slaves to cultivate Puerto Rico’s sugarcane. It melds European, African, Native Taino musical traditions.  Los Pleneros De La 21 has a distinctive New York performance style which goes back forty years, to when LP21 ‘s original members learned to play Bomba and Plena in Puerto Rico. Their enthusiasm, showmanship, and command of the genre has won Los Pleneros de la 21 a respected place in folk and world music circles, with their performances being described as “magical melting of the invisible curtain between performers and audience…”, (The Albuquerque Journal) and their drumming “…incendiary, complex and precise, made the room rock.” (The New York Times)

Fundraising PTA

Box Tops Video

From Marlene Chin, our Box Tops Coordinator (with many thanks to Jeff Melman for helping in the first half of the year!):

Watch The Difference We Made

Check out this customized Box Tops video I made for our school.
It’s a fun, inspiring way to celebrate all the good your clipping (and clicking) did last school year – and how we can step out of the box and do even more this school year. 
Please share this video with your friends and family! 
Our goal is almost twice as much. We are two thirds almost there.  Each person who views our school’s video before November 15th can enter for a chance to win 5,000 Bonus Box Tops!  Another simple way to make a big difference.
PTA School

Spotlight on Specials

Reprinted from our Fall Newsletter:

Music Notes By Mrs. Yesowitz

This weird weather has given us a lot to sing about! Students in kindergarten through grade two have listened and danced to Vivaldi’s Autumn from The Four Seasons. We’ve sung songs about the beginning of school, autumn, winter, rain and snow, as well as Halloween, Veteran’s Day, and now, Thanksgiving. The “Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly” has gotten quite a work out!

Kindergarten students are working on keeping the beat through singing, dancing, moving their bodies, and musical games.

1st graders are building on the skills they learned last year, and are learning the real names of rhythms that they’ve seen. They’re reading, writing, playing, and improvising with quarter notes, eighth notes, and quarter note rests.

2nd graders are also learning new rhythms – they’re getting ready to work on notes that are longer than one beat. It’s hard work!

3rd graders are so excited to have finally received their recorders. They are working hard on reading the music (on the staff!) from their books, and learning how to play their new instrument beautifully. They will be thrilled to share their accomplishments in a concert this Spring.

4th and 5th graders are learning advanced rhythm patterns through written music and musical games (reading, writing, playing, improvising), all while singing their hearts out.

The Seth Boyden Chorus is learning new music to wow their loyal fans at upcoming performances (dates to be announced). Stay tuned!

Portable #1 is a very busy, noisy and fun place to be!

Notes on Physical Education from Mrs. Nelson

Through December and into the beginning of January, our 4th and 5th graders will be taking the Fitness Gram Tests. This National exam helps us measure your son or daughter’s flexibility, upper body strength, and physical endurance. We remind the children that these tests are given to measure their strengths & weaknesses in these areas and to gain insight into their own capabilities. They are absolutely not to use the results to compare themselves to others, but rather to challenge themselves and set new fitness goals. As their teachers, we use the results to determine which areas we need to stress in terms of fitness activities. Once these tests are completed we will record the scores and will eventually send home a Fitness Gram Report for families to utilize as they wish. After testing is completed, the 4th and 5th graders will join all grades in the eye/hand coordination unit. Here the children will have many opportunities to learn, practice and develop their skills in this area through age-appropriate games and activities.

On Dec. 19th, during an in school assembly, our 5th graders stunningly performed, with much poise, the many ballroom dances they learned from the NJPAC Dancing Classrooms program. This program ran from 10/7/11 to 12/19/11 where all 5th grade classes met with the dance teachers twice a week. This was a wonderful learning experience for all!

Events Fundraising PTA

Talent Show Lineup

We hope you can join us for the first Seth Boyden Parent, Teacher Talent Show! Friday, January 27, 7pm-8:30pm (doors open at 6:30)

It will be an undoubtedly entertaining and memorable night!!

The lineup (as of now) is as follows:

NJPAC Jazz for Teens band to perform as house opens

  • Mr. Quiles, singing
  • Ray Leone, singing
  • Susan Leone, singing
  • Peri Smilow, singing
  • Budd Mishkin, singing
  • Mr. Carberry, singing w/guitar
  • Tim Welch, singing at piano w/guitarist and drummer
  • Kelly Heinze, singing
  • Kendra Thyne, performing ballet
  • Bruno Lee, playing trumpet
  • John Kaefer, playing piano
  • Marco Ranier, singing
  • Charlie Pollock, singing
These are all accomplished performers and we are so fortunate to have them in our community! Don’t miss this event! Reserve your tickets now!
Community Building Events Fundraising Parenting Center PTA School District

Welcome to 2012!

Happy New Year, Seth Boyden Families!

I hope that all of you enjoyed the long winter break and have re-acclimated to your regularly scheduled lives. I haven’t quite yet, but I’m getting there!

There is so much happening this month, I hope that your calendars are up to date. There are numerous important events taking place around the district. Of particular importance are the meetings scheduled to discuss the Middle School Transformation. Most of our children will be impacted by these proposed changes, so please learn more and make your questions and opinions heard.

Two upcoming events at Seth Boyden are:

1) The American Teacher movie screening on Tuesday, January 17, 7:30 (sponsored by the Parenting Center and the Elementary School PTAs). Please reserve tickets (reservations not required, but strongly recommended; reserved tickets will be given preferred seating) now!! The panel discussion following the movie will include Superintendent Brian Osborne, Board of Ed President Beth Daugherty, Principal Mark Quiles, South Mountain Principal Tina Lehn, 5th Grade Teacher Sheila Murphy, and former SB Teacher Rhena Jasey.

2) Our first Parent, Teacher Talent Show on Friday, January 27, 7-8:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm). Please purchase tickets in advance, if possible. Performances by Principal Mark Quiles, Senor Carberry, and a slew of incredibly talented parents! You won’t want to miss this night!!

Additionally, the charter school debate continues. This issue will continue to affect our District and it’s important that you be informed.

Many of you have New Year’s resolutions — whether you call them that or not. I hope that all of you join me in resolving to continue to make Seth Boyden “1 School, 100%.” 100% participation, 100% achievement … as ONE community. If you aren’t sure of how to get involved, contact me, and we’ll figure out how you can contribute to the success of our school and our kids.


Susie Adamson
PTA President

Fundraising PTA

Square One Art

Dear Seth Boyden Families,

Please note that in the next few days you will be receiving a packet in your student’s backpack for


Instructions and blank art-paper will be included.

Please have your student create a SIMPLE, COLORFUL piece of artwork on the attached art paper and return it to your child’s teacher by FRIDAY, JANUARY 20th.

Once all artwork is submitted & processed, an order form will come home to you. Orders can then be placed for products featuring your student’s artwork ranging from mugs, water bottles, tote bags, T-shirts, ornaments, and MUCH MORE.

NOTE: ALL students who submit artwork by the deadline will receive a FREE set of STICKERS featuring their artwork… even if you don’t place an order!  There will also be a reward for the class with the highest participation just for turning in the artwork!

ALSO NOTE: Seth Boyden will receive 33% of all proceeds! This is a great fundraiser for our school and creates wonderful gifts that will arrive in time for MOTHER’S DAY.

Attached is a copy of the letter you will receive that includes ART INSTRUCTIONS (basically: use MARKER OR CRAYON and write name and/or date at least 1″ from all edges).

If you have any questions, please contact:

 Amy Hayes: [email protected]  973-763-2548   or

Caryn Emmons: [email protected] 973-378-5853

Events Parenting Center PTA School District

January Reminders

SUBJ: Presidents’ Council Update on Middle School Transformation Proposal and Charter Schools

Dear Families,

We hope 2012 is off to a great start! Since so many of us have been away during the break, Presidents’ Council offers this update on some district happenings, and some events you may want to take part in during the upcoming weeks.

1. Middle School Transformation Proposal

By now you should have received an email from the Board of Education regarding the Superintendent’s proposal for Middle School Transformation in SOMSD. If not, please visit to view the email, which includes a link to the full proposal. In addition, the Board will hold a public forum on the proposal on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at 8pm in the Columbia High School Auditorium (immediately following the Superintendent’s State of the District address at 7pm). The Board also invites community members to email comments and questions to [email protected] by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, January 9.

2. Charter School Update

Many thanks to everyone who has already sent emails, made calls, and signed petitions urging the State government to provide local communities with more control over whether or not charter schools are approved for their district.

The next 11 days are critical for this round of charter school applications, and for the Hua Mei proposal in particular. Please take a few minutes to do one or more of the following:

· Attend a rally planned by some district parents this Friday, January 6th at 4:30pm in the DeHart Community Center (120 Burnett Ave., Maplewood). Senator Richard Codey and Assembly Members Mila Jasey and John McKeon are scheduled to attend, along with many local families. For more info:

· Sign the online petition urging Commissioner Cerf to listen to the many South Orange and Maplewood residents who do not want our local tax dollars spent on this charter: Signed already? Why not forward it to a few friends and ask them to sign!

· Call or write:

o Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf to urge him to reject the Hua Mei application: [email protected] or 609-292-4450

o Senator Teresa Ruiz to urge her to bring the charter reform bills, especially SB2243 requiring local approval of new charter schools, to a vote: 973-484-1000 or e-mail by clicking on her name via this link:

3. District Meetings and Events in January 2012:

· Jan. 6 @ 4:30pm – Rally to Oppose Hua Mei Charter School and Urge Charter Reform @ DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Ave., Maplewood. Organized by Marian Raab of Maplewood.

· Jan. 11 @ 7:00pm– State of the District Address followed by Public Meeting about Middle School Restructuring @ Columbia High School, 17 Parker Ave., Maplewood


· Jan. 16 @ 10:30am – “My Friend Martin” @ SOPAC, One SOPAC Way, South Orange. Presented by Marshall School PTA

· Jan. 17 @ 7:30pm – Screening of “American Teacher” @ Seth Boyden, 274 Boyden Ave., Maplewood. Presented by the Elementary School PTAs and The Parenting Center

· Jan. 18 @ 7:30pm – Board of Education Meeting, including proposal for changes to Columbia High School @ Board Office, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood

· Jan. 26 @ 7:30pm – Helping Your Child Succeed in Math in Grades 3-5 @ Seth Boyden, 274 Boyden Ave., Maplewood. Presented by the Math Department and the LEAP to Success Committee of The Parenting Center

· Jan. 31 @ 7:30pm – Helping Your Child Succeed in Math in Grades K-2 @ Clinton, 27 Berkshire Road, Maplewood. Presented by the Math Department and the LEAP to Success Committee of The Parenting Center


What is Presidents’ Council?

Presidents’ Council is an organization consisting of all PTA, PTO and HSA Presidents in the South Orange Maplewood School District, whose purpose is:

To discuss matters of interest to members including topics affecting the district as a whole, as well as individual schools;
To provide an interchange of ideas and concerns among the presidents of various schools;
To promote communication and a sense of unity among the schools

Events Parenting Center PTA

Reserve Tickets for American Teacher Movie Screening

JANUARY 17, 2012, 7:30pm
Seth Boyden Demonstration School



** Panel discussion to follow screening ** (including Rhena Jasey)


AMERICAN TEACHER is the feature-length documentary produced and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth; produced
by Ninive Calegari, co-founder of the literacy nonprofit 826 National, and bestselling author Dave Eggers; and narrated by Academy Award-winner
Matt Damon. AMERICAN TEACHER chronicles the stories of four teachers — Erik Benner, Jonathan Dearman, Jamie Fidler, and Rhena Jasey — who live
and work in disparate urban and rural areas of the country. By following these teachers as they reach different milestones in their careers, the film tells the deeper story of the teaching profession in America today. The film shows us the experience of these four young teachers as they recognize the importance of what they do, and how much they love what they do, but have to ask themselves: Can I afford to continue to teach?

In the next ten years, more than half of this country’s current 3.2 million teachers will be eligible to retire. We will then have a choice: continue with the current broken system of trying to attract talented college graduates to the teaching profession by offering long hours, little support, no prestige, low pay system that results in high turnover and low morale and translates into 85 percent of graduates refusing to even consider the profession. Or we change: increase compensation and improve conditions to attract the best college graduates who might otherwise go into law, finance, or other lucrative fields. With the best and the brightest in the profession, our schools will get better.

Based on the New York Times bestselling book, Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers (The New Press,
2005), AMERICAN TEACHER is an endeavor of the Teacher Salary Project, a nonprofit organization offering an interactive online resource and a national outreach campaign to change how teachers are valued in our society.

“Essential“ New York Daily News

Produced and Directed by Oscar Winner Vanessa Roth

Produced by Ni­nive Calegari and Dave Eggers

Edited and co-directed by Brian McGinn

Music by Thao Nguyen

Narrated by Matt Damon

Reserve your tickets today!! (Recommended but not required for admission)

Community Building Events Holidays PTA School School District SOMA

January Events

SUBJ:  January Events in SOMSD

Dear Families,

January will be a busy month, so these are some dates you may wish to keep in mind.  More information about the events will be available after the break.

  • Jan. 6 @ 4:30pm – Rally to Oppose Hua Mei Charter School and Urge Charter Reform @ DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Ave., Maplewood.
  • Jan. 11 @ 7:00pm– State of the District followed by Public Meeting about Middle School [email protected] CHS, 17 Parker Ave., Maplewood
  • Jan. 16 @ 10:30am – My Friend Martin @ SOPAC, One SOPAC Way, South Orange.  Presented by Marshall School PTA
  • Jan. 17 @ 7:30pm – Screening of “American Teacher” @ Seth Boyden, 274 Boyden Ave., Maplewood.  Presented by the Elementary School PTAs and The Parenting Center
  • Jan. 18 @ 7:30pm – BOE Meeting, including proposal for changes to Columbia High School @ Board Office, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood
  • Jan. 26 @ 7:30pm – Helping Your Child Succeed in Math in Grades 3-5 @ Seth Boyden, 274 Boyden Ave., Maplewood.  Presented by the Math Department and the LEAP to Success Committee of The Parenting Center
  • Jan. 31 @ 7:30pm – Helping Your Child Succeed in Math in Grades K-2 @ Clinton, 27 Berkshire Road, Maplewood.  Presented by the Math Department and the LEAP to Success Committee of The Parenting Center

We hope each of you has a wonderful break and a very joyous holiday season.

Fundraising PTA

Winter Enrichment Registration Now Open!

Hi Everybody!

Winter Enrichment registration is open! Download the flyer here.
There are several additional classes that were not listed on the flyer that went home in your child’s backpack so please either look at the latest flyer or review the full class list with descriptions online.
Sign up NOW before the classes fill up!
Events PTA School

Acrobatic Assembly

by Mary Trinity

Seth Boyden Elementary School students were dazzled and amazed today by the performance of the Fabulous Chinese Acrobats from Beijing. Three young women and one young man, ages 16 through 21,  juggled balls, balanced plates, and  performed incredible acrobatic stunts before a rapt audience.  The young performers feats of balance, flexibility, coordination and strength were thrilling to the children. The troupe’s leader offered history and cultural context  to help explain this Chinese art form.

This assembly was brought to your children by the Seth Boyden PTA!

Events Fundraising SOMA

Words Support Your School Week

From November 14-20, Words Bookstore in downtown Maplewood will donate 20% of your in-store book purchases to the local school of your choice (Seth Boyden, of course!). Have fun shopping!


School District

Suzuki Violin Program Deadline Extended

Here’s your chance to introduce your child (or continue their exposure) to the violin. Download the flyer for more info.

PTA School

CATCH the Fever!

Our first CATCH tasting of the year was on Thursday, November 2, and it was as popular as ever! The kids tasted several varieties of apples and couldn’t get enough.


Photos by Mary Mann

School School District

Code of Conduct

The District Code of Conduct is now available on our files page. Please take a look!

Community Building Events Files School District SOMA

November Digital Backpack is Here

The Community Digital Backpack is a handy electronic compilation of flyers for various events and activities in our community. Take a look at what’s going on this month!

General School School District

School Back in Session Tomorrow (11/2/11)

Seth Boyden, along with most of the District schools, will be open tomorrow, 11/2/11. For more details, see the letter from Superintendent Brian Osborne.

Events Fundraising PTA

The Book Fair is Coming!!


The Seth Boyden 2011 Fall Book Fair is November 15th – 18th. We will be in the Upper Gym and will be open during school hours throughout the week and also
on Thursday night, November 17th from 6:30-8:30 for Family Fun Night. You don’t want to miss the Live Music, Storytelling, and Food Court.

So, come check out the wonderful selection of children and adult books and stock up for great reading fun!! Be watching for more details coming home in the
backpacks and on Strawberry Fields and be sure to mark your calendars!

We will need many volunteers to help out that week, so if you can spare a few hours, please contact either of our Bookfair Co-Chairs:
* Inken Finnamore at 973-275-1745 or [email protected]
* Amelia Riekenberg at 973-762-4770 or [email protected]

Holidays Parenting Center School School District SOMA


South Orange-Maplewood Schools will be closed again tomorrow due to the aftermath of Saturday’s storm.

Additionally, the Parenting Center’s presentation “Lingo Bingo” will not take place as scheduled on Tuesday November 1st. The Parenting Center will try to reschedule Lingo Bingo for March, to help parents prepare for the new March round of parent/teacher conferences.

Halloween activities planned for today will not be rescheduled.

School School District SOMA


From the South Orange-Maplewood School District: Due to down power lines throughout South Orange and Maplewood, and hazardous conditions persisting from yesterday’s storm, all South Orange-Maplewood schools are closed tomorrow, October 31, 2011. Offices will remain open and twelve month employees will have a regular working day.