Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Capital forum on Monday night brought out dozens of residents.
The South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education (BOE) discussed options for its long-range capital plan on Monday night, which include the possibility of constructing a new $8-12 million aquatic and fitness center at Columbia High School (CHS) to replace its aging pool. Business adminstrator Cheryl Schneider presented the plan at a public forum that preceded the regular BOE meeting. Representatives from EI Associates, the architectural firm that drafted the district's strategic development plan, gave details of options for the CHS expansion. The plan can be found on the district website. The district has been working to identify critical capital projects throughout the district since early 2011, and renewing CHS buildings and grounds is a …
Teachers express frustration at how union has been portrayed in contract negotiations.
Teachers at Monday's South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education (BOE) expressed anger and frustration at statements a board member made last month regarding the status of teacher contract negotiations. "The BOE spoke about me and my colleagues with disdain and reproach," Tuscan fifth grade teacher Ana Reyes said. "What is behind such anti-union animus?" she asked. The current teachers' contract is set to expire on June 30. At last month's BOE meeting, Sandra Karriem, chairwoman of the BOE negotiating task force, said the South Orange Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) teachers' union was "unwilling" to negotiate further and had filed a declaration of impasse with the state. The two groups are currently in mediation. Referring to …
Sunday, June 16, 2013
A look at what's ahead in Maplewood.
This is the last full week of school for South Orange - Maplewood School District students. Columbia High School (CHS) students have finals this week from Wed.-Fri. See the complete schedule here. The Board of Education is holding a public forum to discuss the district's future capital plans, including the possibility of building an aquatic center at CHS, on Monday at 7 p.m. at 525 Academy Street in Maplewood. Members of the public are encouraged to attend to ask questions and comment; elected officials from both towns will be present. The forum will last just over an hour, and it will be followed by a regular BOE meeting. The agenda for the capital plan forum is here; the agenda for the board meeting is here. The Maplewood Township …
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Anthony Mazzocchi discusses future plans and what he will most miss about the district.
Director of Fine and Performing Arts K-12 Anthony Mazzocchi announced recently he was leaving the South Orange - Maplewood School district to take a faculty position at the music school of Montclair State University. A Maplewood resident and father of two, Mazzocchi was a graduate of Tuscan Elementary School, Maplewood Middle School and Columbia High School. Since joining SOMSD in 2010, he was responsible for all of the music and art instruction in the district. Students and teachers had praised Mazzocchi for bringing new vigor to the district's already strong arts program. At a recent student concert at South Orange Middle School, orchestra teacher William Cook called Mazzocchi a "driving force" who brought a "breath of fresh air" to the…
Monday, June 10, 2013
Statement from candidate.
As a current Board member, I am heartened by the genuine progress the District has made over the last three years, especially given the Board's determination to keep the tax burden at an absolute minimum - but there is still much work to do. I have been persistent in guiding Board efforts to improve outcomes for children with disabilities and to review and improve how we serve the needs of our highest performing students. I would like the opportunity to serve on the Board for another three years to make sure that every single student is provided an excellent education and challenged to do their very best and that we continue to produce improved results while minimizing the tax burden on our communities. Patch will post statements from…
A statement from the candidate.
Over the last 6 years we've made significant progress overhauling the curriculum, creating an environment where our talented and dedicated teachers can collaborate and share best practices, and renovating school facilities, but there is still much work to be done. The tax stress on our community is extreme. I would like to serve for 3 more years to make sure we target our limited financial resources, spending only what's absolutely necessary, on continuous improvement in all of these areas, and hold the administration accountable for what remains to be done. Patch will post statements from all the candidates, and will post full bios closer to election season. Candidates should send statements to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A statement from the candidate.
I'm impressed with what our school district offers my three children (ages 13, 11 and 7): committed teachers and effective leadership in the schools. Unfortunately, some parents I know have had less than positive experiences. I'm running to ensure that our school system more consistently delivers the best that it has to offer. I look forward to a district with limitless expectations for all students, from those who struggle to our high achievers. It has to be about Excellence -- period! I know it's possible. Both my mother and paternal grandfather served as principals. My own volunteer work over several years in Atlanta, Chicago and here in Essex County focused on tutoring and leading enrichment programs. We can make it happen if we …
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Odor led to brief evacuation of Marshall School, says SOMSD Superintendent.
South Orange - Maplewood School District Superintendent Brian Osborne sent the following email Thurday morning: SOMSD Community, As you know, the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. We noticed an odor of gas at some of our schools and contacted PSE&G to ensure that this was not an indication of hazardous conditions. PSE&G informed us that they are engaged in a routine maintenance process in Livingston, which involves releasing small quantities of gas into the air. The related odor is currently detectable in some areas of South Orange and Maplewood. The maintenance is scheduled to finish in approximately one hour, and the odor should dissipate soon thereafter. In the meantime, PSE&G assures us that the odor …
Monday, May 13, 2013
Update at Monday night's BOE meeting reveals that after less than a month of discussions, the Board and teachers' union are at a standstill.
With the current teachers' contract set to expire on June 30, negotiations between the South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education and the South Orange Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) teachers' union -- which only began in April -- appear to be at a stalemate. Sandra Karriem, chairperson of the BOE negotiating task force, said Monday night that SOMEA's representative told the board last month that the union did not agree with any of the board's proposals and therefore saw "no reason to move forward or to continue meeting." Karriem said SOMEA has officially filed a declaration of impasse with the State of New Jersey's Public Employment Relations Committee (PERC), which means "that SOMEA is unwilling to negotiate further without …
Thursday, May 2, 2013
From South Orange to Savannah, Hawaii to the UK, and many places in between, Columbia High School grads are moving on to exciting academic opportunities.
Columbia High School seniors are headed to hundreds of different colleges and universities in the fall. Here is a complete list, courtesy of the Guidance Dept. (Numbers listed after a school indicate how many CHS students have been accepted there; no number means one CHS student has been accepted.)