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november calendar



Schools Closed, Election Day


Election Day Bake Sale - Annex


6-7 19

PTA/Parenting Center Event, SM


4 Hour Day


Happy Thanksgiving


gobble, gobble.

Schools Closed, NJEA Convention

Schools Closed, holiday

in this issue:

School hours:

@ Presidents  PAGE

Full Sessions First Bell 8:40am  Column   Library News  AM Kindergarten # Programming 8:40-11:30am 3  Community Coalition   PM Kindergarten $ Administration 12:30-3:15pm 4  Contact Info  4  Help Wanted Grades 1-5 %  SOMEF Benefits 8:40-3:15pm  ^  Fundraising 4  Two Towns Sing-In 4-hour Sessions First Bell 8:40am &  Donate Dollars  * Advertisements AM Kindergarten ( Elementary 8:40-11:30am   Newsletter   PM Kindergarten SAVE our PLANET 10:00-12:45pm   Grades 1-5  8:40-12:45pm      

Please sign up for the PDF version of this newsletter! Reduce your carbon footprint and go green! Contact Sandi Sandoli at  275-3856 or by email:

box tops: Please keep bringing  in those Box Tops!

election day ’08



Yvette Holowczak

Don’t forget to vote  on Tuesday, November 4th. The Election Day Bake Sale will be held at the Annex.







a big thanks!! presidents column Sandi Brand & Sylvia Cutler PTA Co-Presidents

It is really hard to believe we are two months into the school year and our PTA has not slowed up for a minute. We want to thank Kara Erhamza and Letitia Campbell and all of the incredible volunteers who put together a fabulous Fall Festival. We had a gorgeous day and a great time was had by all. School is closed on November 4th, but please be sure to come on over to the Annex and support our PTA Bake Sale. We can promise you there will be lots of delicious goodies and treats. 

library news

During this month of thanks and reflection, we also want to consider those who are less fortunate. We will start our annual coat drive soon. Now is the time to start setting aside gently used coats, hats and gloves. Within the next few weeks, you should see a flyer asking for those items to be dropped off at the school. We want to thank you in advance for supporting this worthy cause.  


Make sure to mark your calendars for November 19th when  our school will host this months Parenting Center event. Superintendent of Schools, Brian Osborne will join us for a  round table discussion. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tv Turnoff 2008-09 Statistics  (as of October 18) 

291 students signed up (out of 583) 

Highest participation percentage  Grade 1 - 63 percent Grades 2 & 3 2nd highest - 56 percent

The past few weeks have been extremely busy for Amy Forman and Sandy Sandoli as they have been working tirelessly since  the start of the school year to create, collect and process the “opening day packets” that you received the first day of school. Class parents have been selected; our emergency phone chain has been established as well as our growing email list. Thank you to Kim Miller for spending so much time creating our distribution list. We have more families this year than ever that have signed up to receive this newsletter and flyers by email. We almost have a few classes that are just about 100% paperless. We also want  to thank Rhonda Johnson who worked so many hours putting together the much anticipated PTA directory.  

Highest participation rates Ms Bott, Mrs Paisner, and Miss Visco's classes ( all between 70-76 percent) 

Gold Level Participants  (i.e. no tv/computer/video games during school week) have increased by 33 percent since 2006-2007. 

november 4th

If you have not yet joined the PTA it is not too late to do so. Thank you for the constant support you show us and we wish  you a very happy Thanksgiving.

d o n’t f o r g e t t o

fall festival 

Sandi and Sylvia

election day bake sale at the annex



programming nov 2008 great times... We'd like to thank all of the teachers, staff and families of South Mountain for making the Fall Festival a great success! Lorry Ripley, Yvette Holowczak, Maria Witt, Rachel Sullivan, Janet Christmann and Celina Herrero worked tirelessly to make  it come together so smoothly! We’re looking forward to doing this again next year! 

The Elementors program is off to a great start. Columbia High School students are currently organizing, teaching and playing Ultimate Frisbee with our 4th graders. The activities and  grades will rotate throughout the year. Big thanks to Lisa Nolet for devoting her time to this wonderful endeavor! 

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 19th. Superintendent Brian Osborne will be holding a roundtable discussion for our monthly PTA meeting. We hope to see everyone there! This is a great opportunity to have your questions answered regarding the district  PROGRAMMING and where it’s headed.

Kara and Letitia coat drive

save the date “An Evening In Paris” 

south mountain coat drive 

Please save all of your gently used coats.  There will be a collection box in each school starting in November.  Check your child’s backpack for information soon. 



 An Auction of Goods & Services  South Mountain will hold  an Evening in Paris Auction at the Maplewood Women’s  Club and catered by South Mountain’s own Superstar  mom, Diana Hart Fine Catering!  Saturday, March 28, 2009  Get ready  for a fun  filled  night!  Book your  babysitter  now!



a community coalition event 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Series Share personal perspectives, as we  reflect on selected speeches/writings  of Dr. King, Jr.  Discussion Pieces:  • Pilgrimage to  Nonviolence  • Letter From  Birmingham Jail,  April 1963  • Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break  Silence  Tuesdays: November 11 and 18 or Wednesdays: November 5 and 12 

Time: 7:30pm  Location: Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, 516 Prospect Street, Maplewood  Culminating Community Event:  Wednesday, November 19th, 7:30 PM  Columbia High School Cafeteria  Columbia High School, 17 Parker Avenue, Maplewood  Can’t make the other discussion groups?  Then come out for one final night of reflection and discussion with neighbors, plus a rousing reenactment of a Dr. King speech.  Highlights  • Facilitated Small Groups  • Trained Group Leaders  • Three Consecutive Weeks  • Pre-discussion Coffee Hour  Registration  E-mail the following information to or call (973) 761-6116, X6:  • Name  • Preference: Tuesday or Wednesday  • E-mail address  • Phone Number  • Mailing Address  Please Register by October 17th Sponsored by South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race with support  from the Ethical Culture Society of Essex  County Social Action Committee.  For more information: 973-761-6116, X6





administration the 2008/2009 directory is out!

South Mountain PTA Executive Board Co-Presidents Sandi Brand (973) 762-5333 Sylvia Cutler (973) 378-8286

The directory is out! We would like to thank Rhonda Johnson for all her hard work completing this year’s directory! If you ordered a directory, but did not receive it, please contact Sandy Sandoli, or Amy Forman, The directory listings are as accurate as possible. We apologize for any errors. Corrections will be listed in the newsletter as  we are notified.   The emergency phone chain The emergency phone  was tested on October 16th.   chain is also in place.  If you did not receive a  If you DID NOT receive  call from one of your class a call during our phone  parents, please contact: chain test on October  Sandy Sandoli 16th, please contact  Sandy Sandoli,  973-275-3856  The emergency phone  chain is used in the event of an emergency, or mid-day  school closing. We will not be calling in the early morning  for a snow day or other early morning school cancellations.  The district has a phone blast system for early morning school cancellations. You will receive an automated phone call  from the district. If you have changed your home number since your children were registered in district, please contact Andrea Dudley at South Mountain ( to update your number for the district phone blast.  

Vice Presidents, Administration Sandy Sandoli  (973) 275-3856 Amy Forman  (973) 763-5669 

Vice Presidents, Fundraising Maria Shapiro  (973) 761-4779 Laura Reichgut  (973) 763-6905 

Vice Presidents, Programming Letitia Campbell (973) 763-8014 Kara Erhamza  (973) 313-2296 

Treasurers Louise Finkelman  (973) 378-2313 Debbie Granados  (973) 761-5357 

Corresponding Secretary Leslie Rubenfeld  (973) 313-0523

Recording Secretary Renee Leviton  (973) 378-3810


Sandy and Amy




the directory is out!


 contact info:

Sandy Sandoli & Amy Forman PTA VPs of Administration

We are looking for a parent that has experience with Microsoft Access to help with next year’s directory. If you are interested, please email either: Sandy Sandoli ::  or Amy Cutler :: 


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somef benefits south mountain An interview with SOMEF Grant Recipient, Ellie Esposito The Listening Center equipment takes it a step further. It has been shown in research that audio books enrich children’s reading experiences. Hearing a book on tape helps children see how words on the page can come a live in a fluid, expressive way. It helps them focus on  the sounds of words read without interruption and provides a model for fluent reading. Audio books also improve listening skills and empower children with language learning differences by promoting independent learning and participation. Narrators of these audio books often tend to embellish their storytelling with silly voices and dramatic enhancements. This emphasizes reading as a source of pleasure rather than a skill, and makes children eager to learn how to read. 

You received two SOMEF grants this year, one for  1 the reading mentor electronic system and a second  

one for a CD listening center with audio books.  How did you identify the need for each project? 


The need for the Reading Mentor was identified due to the fact that there were some 2nd grade students who were having extreme difficulty learning how to read and write. The Reading Mentor system would allow these children  to independently practice letter sounds, decode and pronounce words, and master sentence structure. Once purchased with SOMEF grant funds, the Reading Mentor was used to engage the students by incorporating sight, sound, and touch for a highly interactive, multi-sensory learning experience.  

Prior to the CD Listening Center grant being funded, the 2nd grade classrooms at South Mountain Elementary  were equipped with outdated tape audio players and  a very limited number of books on tape to share between classrooms. The second grade teachers were interested  in obtaining dual CD/tape players to make use of the tapes that they currently had, as well as purchase  and use more updated and durable CDs. Over a two year period, SOMEF funded the CD/tape Listening Center equipment, as well as books on CD, for all five 2nd  grade classrooms at South Mountain . 

By providing the Reading Mentor and the Listening  Center equipment to the children, we are giving them  the tools they need to enjoy, and ultimately understand, text more deeply.  

Will future second graders benefit from the  4  grants you received?  

The Listening Center equipment that has been purchased by the SOMEF grants is still in the 2nd grade classrooms and is still being utilized by all the 2nd grade teachers.  I anticipate that this equipment will be used by the  2nd grade teachers for many years to come. The Reading Mentor system is currently being used by the Special Education department at South Mountain for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who are experiencing reading difficulties. 

Can you describe how the equipment is used  2  on a daily basis?   The Reading Mentor was used in the 2nd grade inclusion classroom last year on a daily basis by those students who were having difficulty catching on to the concepts that make reading and writing possible. They spent  about 20 minutes each day with the system. The Reading Mentor was also used last year for the on-grade level readers while they were in Literacy Centers. While in the Centers, small groups of students practiced decoding, pronunciation, and mastery of sentence structure with the system.  

Do you believe you could have obtained the same  results without the SOMEF grant? 

I know I would not have been able to obtain the  same results without SOMEF funding.  

I would like to personally thank SOMEF for its tireless efforts in helping teachers obtain the funds necessary  to try new ideas and provide their students with educational experiences and materials that require additional funds that our district can’t afford. 

Additionally, the Listening Center equipment and books were used on a daily basis in classroom Literacy Centers to help build children’s reading skills.  

How does the new equipment affect the children’s  3  reading comprehension on a long term basis?   The Reading Mentor and Listening Center equipment really work hand-in-hand to help the complex task of reading come together for students. The Reading Mentor focuses on the basics of reading – on teaching the skills necessary to become a proficient reader.








nov 2008

Fall is fully upon us and the holidays are quickly approaching. With the current state of the economy we know how tough it is for you  to support our fundraising efforts. We appreciate your continued participation. We would like to thank our chairs for the Gift & Wrap, Kim Miller, Julie Saydah and Susan Benslimane. If you placed an order, it will arrive before Thanksgiving.  fundraising event

Don’t forget about the Election Day Bake Sale at the Annex! Election Day Bake Sale November 4 

This year we used a new photographer, Lifetouch. We hope that you enjoy the new features that were added. The kids put on their best smiles that day. If you missed it, retakes will be December 3rd.  Thank you to our chairs Jen Ratner and Kathi Hirsch and our other parent volunteers.

008 2 n I ing- rs! S s Town ll Singe 0pm  o w T * 9:3 ng A & 19 :30Calli hearsals:s:7Nov. 5, 1t2er, SO 

Election Day is here. Please come out and support us at the Annex  for our Election Day Bake Sale. Get breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks while you wait. If the Annex is not your voting post, please make it a point to stop by and check out the homemade goods.

Re esday Cen ly)  n n nity Wed Commu ne night o o d r m i u i a r o B udit



As always, if you have any questions or concerns,  please feel free to contact us at any time.

Rehearsals: 7:30-9:30pm   Nov. 5, 12 & 19*  Wednesdays:  Baird Community Center, SO   one night only)  (*CHS Auditorium    4-5:30pm  Performance:  Sunday: November 23    0pm  -5:3  4 : e 3 c  ber 2 rman

Maria and Laura save your caps! Girl Scout Troop 1126 Goes Green!  

Girl Scout troop 1126 has started a plastic cap recycling program at South Mountain. Plastic caps cannot be recycled with regular plastic recycling. The caps usually are discarded into the garbage. The caps end up in land fills and in the ocean, harming the environment and wildlife. The fifth grade troop is collecting plastic caps and sending them to Aveda (Aveda produces hair care products). Aveda recycles plastic caps into new containers and caps for their products. The troop is running a class competition! Look for a cap recycling bag  in your classroom! Bring in plastic caps from water bottles, juice bottles, milk containers, shampoo containers, detergent, etc. The class with the most caps wins a prize! 

m o Perf y: Nove a d n Su 

 Highlights   • No previous musical experience necessary   • Professional guest artists/conductors   • Multi-cultural music, including 

A Cappella Chants, Jewish Folk,  Spirituals & contemporary   • Music & accompanists provided   • Light refreshments!

 Send name, phone number   and voice part to:   or call 973-761-6116, X6 This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs and by grants from Puffin Foundation and Fraentzel Foundation.





donate your dollars!

No need for gift wrap?  Too busy to bake?  Can’t attend all the events?  

Rather just write a check???  Well here’s your chance!  The South Mountain PTA will gladly accept a monetary  donation to help fund the following goals and improvements planned for our school: • Technology enhancements such as laptop computers and wireless teaching/learning equipment in every classroom • Updated sound, lighting and stage equipment in the  auditorium, as well as new curtains • Additional after school enrichment classes in art, science  and physical education • Leveled playing and athletic fields at both schools


PIANO for YOU Rewarding and fun for children  and adults interested in  classical and  popular music. 


Please fill out the form below, include your donation, payable  to The South Mountain School PTA and forward it to the PTA mailbox located in the offices at both schools. 

Please note that The South Mountain School PTA is a 501 c (3) organization and any donation is tax deductible to the amount the law allows. 

Beginning, intermediate and advanced.  25 years experience. Complimentary trial lesson. Call Wendy Goldstein. 973-762-6601

✄  Name  Address 


Amount of donation   Please make check payable to: The South Mountain School PTA Then forward it to the PTA mailbox located in the offices  at both schools.  We thank you for your generosity and commitment to our children.  Please call Sylvia Cutler at (973) 378-8286 or Sandi Brand  at (973) 762-5333 for additional information.  The South Mountain School PTA  


Join us…

South Mountain Day at

Sparkhouse Kids 15 Scotland Road, South Orange

973 821-5227

 a percentage of all sales will go to South Mountain Elementary School  Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 Store hours: 10 am – 8 pm








Zina’s  Handmade  Treasures   

          Great gifts, or treat yourself!                     Baby blankets,   baby sweaters Children’s sweaters and ponchos           Adult ponchos,   scarves, and shawls         

      17 UNION PLACE SUMMIT, NJ 07901 ( 908 ) 273 . ZOKU ( 9658 )

see what you’re missing.


remember the days when you could buy a new TV, plug it into the wall, and...

        If interested in purchasing a treasure   or two,         please contact Mrs. Schaefer-Gelo    (Second Grade Teacher)        or email her at:

Miriam Belov, mat, rmt 973.762.6962

chatham brick asbury park ...immediately start watching? Those days are long gone. Introducing pure AVS intelligence for universal remotes, audio/video system upgrades & iPod integration.

iIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiI IiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIi iIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiI IiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIi iIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiI IiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIi iIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiI IiIiIiIiIiIiIiIiIi pa i n t i n g s prints posters l i t h o g ra ph s collage antique prints p h oto g ra ph y s c u lt u r e m i r ro r s c u sto m f ra m i n g c o r p o rat e residential c o n s u lt i n g a rt p lac e m e n t i n s t a l l at i o n s m u ra l s a rt a c c e s s o r i e s ap p ra i s a l s

Everything is handmade by  Mrs. Schaefer-Gelo’s mother.

The Wellness Agenda

201.486.5899 c a ry n @ c s m - a r t. c o m

endless possibilities with art

mind – body – health – fitness

Reiki Master/Healing Stress Relaxation

art & frame 25b commerce street c h at h a m , n j 0 7 9 2 8 by appointment

Consultant Lecturer Author Media Work







elementary school newsletter 

Programs for November 2008 Books For Kids Books for Kids is a statewide program sponsored by the NJ Library Association. Last year, with the help of over 200 libraries, more than 13,000 books were distributed to children across the state.  

Maplewood Library is collecting NEW unwrapped books for children and young adults during the fall through early December. Books will be distributed by Irvington Public Library to less fortunate children who live locally. Look for a collection box at the Main Library. 

Family Literacy Backpacks Hilton Branch Library has been awarded  a grant from the NJ State Parent Information and Resource Center at Prevent Child Aubse-NJ. The grant money was used to purchase Family Literacy Backpacks. These backpacks, full of books, projects, games and other fun ways to share time with your child, are available to check out from Hilton Library. The whole backpack will go home and be returned as a unit, and will help parents share the joy of reading and language  with their kids. 

Read Around Stories  For grades K and up (parents are welcome!) Main Library: Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7pm  Hear and share some great stories for school-age kids.


 for $2.00 you can place an AD. (business card, birthday wishes, etc.) Size: 2.75" x 1.75" For larger sizes and display ADs, please  inquire. Submissions by email only. Electronic PDF version will be in color. Printed version will be B&W.

classifieds: Advertising Policy  Deadline: the 15th of the prior month when you wish  your AD to appear. South Mountain  Families ONLY!

credits: Design + Production William Kochi KODE Associates, Inc.  Printing Mary Jo DeFranco Signal Graphics

South Mountain Superstar November 2008  

Newsletter for South Mountain

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