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september calendar

welcome back!


Ice Cream Social, 5:30 - 7:00pm


New Parent Reception 7:00pm


General PTA Meeting 7:30pm


Back to School Night, K-1 Annex


Book Fair, Annex


Back to School Night, K, 2-5 SM


Fall Festival (Save the Date!)

in this issue:

get those pencils ready!

School hours:

@ Presidents 

Full Sessions K-5 South Mountain:  Column # Principal’s Message First Bell 8:05am 3  New Contact Info 8:10am-2:40pm  $ Programming 4-hr Sessions 4  Teachers’ Lounge 8:10am-12:10pm  % Administration 5 Annex: First Bell 7:55am 5  SMILE 8:00am-2:30pm ^ Communications  6  Cultural Arts Corner 4-hr Sessions & SM Cares  8:00am-12:00noon * Fundraising ice cream social 8  Advertising Info sept 13







book fair sept 29  


Reduce your carbon footprint and go green! Please sign  up for digital version of this Superstar newsletter!  Contact by email at:  southmountainPTA@  



box tops: Please keep bringing in those Box Tops! Yvette Holowczak





appreciation time! presidents column We would like to welcome our returning South Mountain families along with our newest Superstars to the 2010-2011 school year. The PTA Executive Board has been quite busy this summer planning another exciting year, and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events! We also want to thank all those of you who responded to the PTA survey last spring. We very much appreciated your time and help and we have incorporated your feedback into the goals for this year and going forward. 

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 22nd for  our first General PTA meeting. The New Parent Reception begins at 7:00pm, immediately followed by our meeting at 7:30pm. This year we will have a Q&A with Principal Lehn, along with a presentation of technology and the 2010-2011 budget. Your vote counts, so please come out and learn where our PTA funds go! Also please note that this is the best opportunity to ask questions and speak with Principal Lehn, as Back to School Night is dedicated to time with your child’s teacher. 

We are thrilled to announce that our new website is ready, check us out at, for the most up to date information about what is going on at your school. We  are really hoping that this year we can continue our efforts to reduce waste and go green. Please help us by signing up for “digital backpack”, e-communications and staying informed by logging on to our website.  

Back to School Night is scheduled for Wednesday, September 29th at the Annex, and Thursday, September 30th at South Mountain. This is an informative night  for parents to visit your child’s classroom, learn about the weekly schedule, curriculum and homework, and  get to know the teachers. Back to School Night is also a wonderful chance to check out the PTA Scholastic Book Fair. What better way to instill the love of reading in our children, while supporting the school at the same time!

One of our biggest undertakings this summer was the teachers’ lounge renovation. Our very dedicated “South Mountain Design Team” transformed the lounge into a warm, welcoming and organized space. We thank Rachel Sullivan, Amy Campione and Karen Wolf for their tireless efforts. The finished product is beautiful, and a wonderful gift for our well deserving staff. Thank you to everyone  that supported this effort during our “Spring Spruce Up” fundraising effort last school year.  

PTA programs and events can only happen with the support of many, many people and we truly can’t do  it without you! Whether you are able to volunteer your time or donate funds, following is a only a partial  list of what you make possible every year...Assemblies  and Author Visits, Assignment Notebooks (second- fifth grades), Classroom Enhancements & Supplies, Curriculum Support, Ice Cream Social, Family Roller Skating Night, Fifth Grade Moving Up, Kindergarten Orientation, Recess Program, School Fair, School  Spirit Day, Technology including Smart Boards, Smart Tables, the Broadcast Studio and Flip Cameras, South Mountain Minute, Spring Art Show and Concert, Teacher Appreciation Week and Lunch, Welcome Receptions  and so much more!

The other “Spring Spruce Up” project is the new landscaping in the front of the main building. We would like to express gratitude to Jane Alexander who not only executed the planning and installing of all of the new plants, but also spent many hours over the summer watering and caring for them. The garden plans were designed for the maximum long term growth, so remember…like our children plants need time to grow! The graduating class of 2010 also participated in planting annuals in the front of the beds. Check out the stone dedicated to last years 5th graders, as they left their final mark before moving on to middle school.  

 (continued on next column)  


September is a busy month with many opportunities  to familiarize yourself with the school and community.  We hope you will join us on Tuesday, September 14th  for our Annual Ice Cream Social. Back by popular demand — we will sell pizza and water, and the “make your own sundae” is compliments of the PTA. This is  a great time to catch up with friends, and meet new families as well! 

Laura Reichgut & Amy Forman, PTA Co-Presidents

We are very excited to announce that this fall we will have Smart Boards installed in all of the third grade classrooms! Last year the 4th and 5th graders were exposed to many  new educational opportunities, and we are proud to say that the generous support of our South Mountain families has enabled the PTA to purchase more technology! In addition to the upcoming 3rd grade Smart Boards, we will also receive a Smart Table for the Annex library. The Smart Tables have many of the same touch screen applications as the Smart Board, but it is more user friendly for the younger students. The Smart Table is designed for students to gather around and interact in small group instruction. 


We look forward to another great year filled with memories of fun, friendship and learning. Please feel free to reach out to any members of the PTA Executive Board if you ever have any questions or concerns.  We are here for you and we value your input! 

Laura & Amy 





welcome back! principal’s message


contact info: South Mountain PTA Executive Board Co-Presidents Laura Reichgut  (973) 763-6905 Amy Forman  (973) 763-5669

Tina Lehn, Principal Welcome back to the start of a new school year, one that I believe will be  filled with rich teaching and important learning. I am delighted to return  to South Mountain, refreshed and well traveled, having spent several weeks with my children and my mom in Europe.

Co-Vice Presidents, Administration Marilyn Wright  (973) 761-7404 Julie Saydah  (973) 327-4482

This summer our custodians worked hard to clean every nook and cranny  of our two buildings. Teachers were in and out all summer organizing their classrooms for the start of the new year, and our secretaries worked with  me and Mrs. Samuels to make sure everything was ready for the first day.  You have probably noticed some improvements to our school. We have  new carpet on the main floor and on the second floor in the Big School.  The walkway in front of the main building has been repaired, trees and shrubs have been cared for, and Mrs. Wiggins has a music room again, complete with Smart Board! The Annex will have a Smart Table installed  in the library. Thanks to our amazing PTA, our third grade classrooms will soon have Smart Boards as well. 

Co-Vice Presidents, Communications Thomas Mixon  (973) 313-1511 Priscilla Goldman  (973) 313-2328 

Co-Vice Presidents, Fundraising Shana Teitelbaum  (973) 378-9160 Janet Christmann  (973) 327-4257

If you have not yet labeled your child’s belongings, take a few minutes  to do this. A name and class (for example, 3S for Mrs. Smith, third grade) will make all the difference in keeping clothing and possessions out of  the lost and found. Our lunch monitors will return lost property to the appropriate classroom if they are labeled.

Co-Vice Presidents, Programming Patricia Canning  (973) 327-4515  Wendy Miller  (973) 761-6780

By now you should have received the Parent/Student handbook. If you have not received it, check your child’s backpack and then call the school. There is a wealth of information in this handbook, including the new district Code of Conduct. Please take some time to read it. 

This summer I have been thinking about what we value for our children.  I believe that our children need to feel safe and accepted in order to learn. While it is our responsibility to teach them the district curriculum, it is also our responsibility to teach them to care for each other, to help them learn how to be kind and inclusive. One of my goals for this year is to work on building a kinder, gentler school. We will have an assembly early in the year to address this, but we will also focus on this important life skill during our daily morning meetings. You can help us by talking about this  at home, encouraging your child to think about their peers’ feelings, and by providing strategies to help your child deal with the difficulties of learning how to relate in positive ways. Being a child is challenging and  is often painful. Learning how to relate in a positive way takes a long  time. I read a wonderful children’s book this summer by Byrd Bayler called,  The Other Way to Listen. In this book, a child says to a wise man, “Teach me...Just tell me how…”. The wise man answers, “It takes a lot of practice. You can’t be in a hurry”. The child responds, “I have the time”. 

Co-Treasurers Page Graves  (973) 763-2590  Barbara Trumpbour  (973) 275-5077


It is my hope that together we will use the time well, supporting them as they learn how to get it right, and teaching them how to cope when their peers stumble. It is important to me that every single one of your children comes to school each day happy to be here, confident that he or she  will be accepted, and ready to contribute to our caring South Mountain community. It is our responsibility to make this a reality.


Corresponding Secretary  Jen Stemmermann  (973) 327-4149 

Recording Secretary Robin Stephan (973) 763-9241   Standing Committee Chairs: Kanani Briggs South Mountain Cares   Marilyn Lehren Special Ed Liason   Russell Kaplan Cultural Arts   Eileen Trinity SMILE Coordinator




hi all! programming


new teachers’ lounge Thanks to your support the teachers’ lounge has a whole new look! We are especially grateful  to the following parents for their countless hours in creating this beautiful new space.

Wendy Miller & Patricia Canning, Programming VP Co-Chairs Welcome! We hope you had a wonderful summer and are as excited as  we are for the start of a new school year. We are Wendy Miller and Patricia Canning, your programming chairs for 2010-2011. 

We are excited about the programming events we have in place for this year. Included are our annual events such as the Ice Cream Social,  New Parents Reception and Family Roller Skating Night. Our yearly survey indicated that our school community valued these events, so we will continue to plan them until you tell us otherwise. 

Thank you South Mountain Design Team...Rachel Sullivan, Amy Campione and Karen Wolf! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Please mark your calendars for the following events: Ice Cream Social  September 14th (starting at 5:30pm) Our Ice Cream Social is one of the first events of the year where the entire South Mountain Community will get an opportunity to informally meet  and greet each other on the blacktop of the Big School. Pizza and water will be for sale, and enjoy a sundae on us! 

New Parent Reception & General PTA Meeting  September 22nd (starting at 7:00pm) First formal meeting that welcomes new parents to the South Mountain Community. This is your opportunity to have a Q&A with Principal Lehn, vote on the PTA budget, and learn more about technology in our school. 

Fall Festival  October 23rd (Saturday) New for this year we will have the Fall Festival, which is currently in development. We are hoping to create a Fall Harvest celebration for  our South Mountain community. There will be something for everyone  to enjoy!

These programming events are for you and your families. We are always looking for ways to enhance and provide enriched experiences for  our school events. If you have any suggestions or ideas for any of the planned events, please feel free to contact us: 

Patricia Canning or  Wendy Miller

Wendy & Patricia


Your enthusiasm, as demonstrated from the survey, for the Midtown Direct Series led us to continue programming in this area. As is the Midtown Direct Series, we promise to provide you with information you can use, in one hour, after morning drop-off. Our theme for this year is health and wellness, and we plan to provide you with information about child hood obesity and other childhood nutrition issues, bully prevention and pro-social behavior, and much more. 










welcome back to school...


Eileen Trinity, Coordinator

Marilyn Wright & Julie Saydah, Administration VP Co-Chairs

The PTA is happy to announce the SMILE program (South Mountain Information Linkup & Exchange). SMILE is an organization of veteran parents who welcome new families to the school. Volunteers are available help answer general questions and if possible attend meetings and events with new parents  in the beginning of the year.

Welcome back to school! We hope everyone had a wonderful summer!  By now, each student should have received a 1st Day Packet full of information from the school and PTA. Included are medical and emergency contact forms, yers announcing upcoming PTA events, as well as information on many opportunities to get involved in our South Mountain School community.  

If you’ve already returned your completed 1st Day Packet —thanks so much! Otherwise, please take a few minutes to do so, as soon as possible. Your prompt attention to these forms is essential so that you can be contacted in case of emergency, and so that we can publish the PTA Directory in a timely manner. Students who return their 1st Day Packets by Sept 20th are eligible to participate in the PTA’s South Mountain  T-shirt rafe. 

If you are a new parent and have not yet been assigned a SMILE buddy, please let us know and we will make sure someone contacts you! 

If you have any questions about the program or are interested in being a SMILE volunteer, please contact Eileen Trinity at

If you have any questions about the contents of the 1st Day Packet, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks so much for your cooperation. We’re looking forward to another great school year! 


Marilyn & Julie


help Wanted

The New South Mountain School Website is LIVE, check it out! Visit for the most current information about school events, meetings, school calendar, testing dates and everyday goings-on in your childrens grades.


We hope the site will become a resource to all the South Mountain families. Please bookmark the url so you can easily refer to the site.

Special thanks to 4 Elbows, LLC, Priscilla and Jamie Goldman, for all of their hard work creating this website for our Superstars.




And a word from the Corresponding Secretary... Hello and welcome back to South Mountain! My name is Jen Stemmermann and this is my second year as Corresponding Secretary for the PTA. This year, I’ll be updating bulletin boards, welcoming teachers through the Teacher Breakfast, sending thank you notes, sending cards expressing the care and support from the South Mountain community and providing support to the other board members. Do you enjoy taking photographs? I’d love to include your photos from South Mountain events this year on an indoor bulletin board. Contact me at jenstemmermann if you have photos you’d like to share!





did you know... communications



cultural arts corner

Russell Kaplan, Coordinator  As a person who feels blessed to live in a community as diversified as ours, the creation of a multi-disciplinary, year long slate of arts programming is a wonderful opportunity, an enormous challenge and like everything else that occurs within the walls of our schools, an enormous responsibility to our community and our children. The goal of the programming is  to further enrich our children’s educational experience by exposing them to a variety of art forms that are reflective of our community’s many different cultures, but at the same time is able to galvanize our children around ideas and themes that highlight our need to connect with each other, creating a “South Mountain Culture” that we can all be proud to embrace. 

Priscilla Goldman & Thomas Mixon, Communications, VP Co-Chairs Did you know that the South Mountain PTA has added a new position  to its Executive Board? The position of Vice President – Communications. Priscilla Goldman and Thomas Mixon were both elected as co-chairs for this position. Priscilla Goldman has a third grader and a kindergartener  at South Mountain and owns her own creative agency in South Orange,  4 Elbows, LLC. Thomas Mixon has a third grader at South Mountain and works for the United States District Court in Manhattan. 

We both are very excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Executive Board and working with the PTA team during the upcoming school year. Our #1 job is to make sure YOU are aware of all the things  the PTA has in store for this year! We will do that in several ways; keeping the PTA website,, updated regularly with any and all information pertaining to PTA and school events, contact information  and anything else related to South Mountain and the community.  

Art, of course, is subjective and not everyone will be equally moved by the experiences that we provide. Some of us and/or our children might not like something at all, or might even be offended by something that is said. But this is part of the beauty of the arts. They invite  us to think and discuss how we feel—and as a working parent—I am thankful for anything that provides me with an opportunity to talk with my kids about how they feel and what they think about the things they see and hear. 

We will also endeavor to communicate the information that parents need is; emailed, included on flyers provided to the students, posted at school, and any other way we can get the information to you.  

We’ll utilize this column, Did You Know?, to keep you apprised of some  of the things the PTA is doing, why it may not be able to do some things you think we should be doing. We are currently working on several projects that will hopefully streamline how information is provided to you. We’ll  be introducing a “comment envelope” in both schools to solicit ideas and suggestions as to how, together, we can make sure South Mountain and the PTA is doing everything possible to address the needs of our children. Parents, teachers and students are all encouraged to submit thoughts, concerns and opinions. Let us know who you are so we can share your great idea OR submissions can be anonymous too. Check out the website for when these “comment envelopes” will be up and where to find them. 

While this year’s programming is still taking shape the presentations we are considering include one on mythology which will tie directly into the curriculum based enrichment program; another is an ecological themed program, perhaps surrounding the importance of bees  to our environment. There will, of course, be musical performances and most likely a dramatic one as well, tied to the curricular teachings of Women’s History or Black History Month. We would like to host an author’s  visit and, after a year of discussion, plan on creating an artist in residency program. 

We have been investigating different avenues to raise money for the South Mountain schools. The Land’s End “Every Tee Tells a Story”  Contest <> raises money for funding  art programs in public schools and get a chance to win prizes and have their T-shirt design featured on a future Land’s End Graphic Tee.  The contest invites kids to create T-shirt designs inspired by the theme “Arctic Exploration.” Land’s End will donate $1 per entry to pay for art programs in public schools, up to a total of $10,000. (Throughout all  of 2010, Land’s End has pledged to donate $1 million to help schools.) 

We have many exciting options and I am grateful to the parents and teachers who have sent ideas along. Please continue to share  with me anything that you hear about that  you think would be of interest to our kids. 


Finally, as all of you who have ever been solicited by a dance troupe, theatre company, museum, etc known, art is not free. It relies on patronage by those who believe in its value as a rewarding part of human growth. Your financial support of the PTA has a direct impact on our ability to bring these programs to our kids. We would have no Cultural Arts programs without your help and therefore, know, that each  time our auditorium is filled with enthusiastic applause, our kids are ultimately applauding you and your belief in the value of the arts as education and the celebration of the cultural stew that makes South Orange/Maplewood such a remarkable place to live. 

Priscilla & Thomas


The Pepsi Refresh Project is looking for people, businesses, and nonprofits with ideas that will have a positive impact. Look around your community and think about how you want to change it. <> We’re asking our South Mountain community to brainstorm fresh ideas  for our education program and the PTA will submit the application for  a potential grant! 

We are open and grateful to any ideas or suggestions. Please feel free  to let us know what you think, our emails are below. We’re looking forward to working together and with all of you!  





south mountain cares 

welcome! Kanani Briggs, Standing Committee Chair Welcome new and returning families! 


PIANO for YOU  762-6601

Rewarding and fun.  Ages five and up.  Classical and popular music. All levels, first lesson free. 

I would like to introduce you to South Mountain Cares (SMC). SMC’s mission is to promote caring for others, a sense of community and the spirit of volunteerism within our South Mountain Elementary community by providing meaningful service opportunities for families. Throughout the school year, SMC will invite you to join in various activities that focus on senior citizen appreciation, homeless families in our community and other ways to strengthen our school community. Please bring your family and join us at one of our upcoming events. Also, check the website for updates and new activities that are added. 

October 3rd - Senior Citizen Appreciation - social/game hour at Village Apartments in South Orange. Spend an hour playing games and sharing  in conversation with some of our local seniors. (Limit of 6 families) 

October 12th and 14th - families are needed to provide meals for the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) for the Homeless of Essex County families who will be staying at Our Lady of Sorrows church in South Orange. Meals are for about 15 people and families are encouraged to  eat and spend time with the families. Homework help or games or other activities are welcome. (Limit of 2 families per day) Overnight hosts  at Our Lady of Sorrows are also needed. 

Call Wendy Goldstein. 973-762-6601  Manhattan School of Music Alumni

October 23rd - Food Drive at the Fall Festival to benefit local food pantries. More details to follow. 

November 15th-December 3rd - PTA Annual Winter Wear Drive. Stay  tuned for more details. 

Please contact Kanani Briggs, (973) 327-4710 or, with any questions or to reserve a spot for your family at one of the activities. 



Mark your calendars! Fall Festival







many thanks! fundraising

Advertising Info 

We have made changes to the advertising section of the Superstar newsletter. The  PTA welcomes your personal or business ADs, which are still subject to South Mountain families only.  The new advertising rate card will be sent upon request. For more information, please contact Priscilla Goldman by email at:  We are now offering a 10% discount for AD placement in three or more issues, a 15% discount for placement in six or more and a 20% discount for all issues of the newsletter.  For advertising information please contact: Priscilla Goldman email: phone: (973) 313-2328  All checks should be made payable to: SOUTH MOUNTAIN PTA and drop off at the assistant Principal’s office at the South Mountain School, South Orange, NJ 07079 

Welcome back to school! We hope it’s been an easy transition for you  and your children. It’s a new school year and with that brings a new Fundraising Co-Chair, Janet Christmann. Janet’s son, Ben, is in 2nd grade and Sam is in 1st grade. They moved from Park Slope to South Orange five years ago and love it here! In addition to serving on the PTA Exec Board, Janet attends Rutgers part time and is working towards a Masters in Social Work. Shana Teitelbaum is continuing on her second year as Fundraising Co-Chair. She has two sons; Daniel is starting3rd grade and Andrew is entering Kindergarten. Prior to her involvement with Fundraising at South Mountain, she was President of the Parent Action Committee  at her kids’ preschool and in a complete past life, was a practicing CPA. 

It’s a new school year and with that brings change. Please know that  WE LISTENED TO WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY! As such, we have decided to discontinue the Gift Wrap program this year as well as the Walk-A-Thon. However, that leaves a big chunk of change to replace from our budget – roughly $15,000. We will be launching a “No Frills” Fundraising campaign shortly so please look for the official kickoff in your child’s backpack within the next couple of weeks. There will be nothing to buy, nothing to pressure your friends, family and neighbors into purchasing. Simply donate what you can and know that 100% of the proceeds raised will go directly towards improving the schools and your child’s elementary experience. 

We’d also like to thank Maria Witt, Joanne Goldberg and Amy Campione  for Co-Chairing the School Supplies Fundraiser and to all the volunteers (and their children!) who assisted us with distribution before school  even began. This program would not have been as successful without you! 

Upcoming events: Picture Day, October 20th; Vendor Sale at the Fall Festival, October 23rd (raindate Oct 30th). 

Finally, where does this money that we raise actually go to, you ask?  We have been able to purchase Smart Boards for the entire 4th grade  and are currently funding this interactive technology for the 3rd grade. We are funding Artists-in-Residence programs, Author Visits, Schoolwide Assemblies and would love to concentrate on much needed Auditorium Improvements. This money will help to purchase 2nd-5th grade assignment planners, classroom supplies and support our new Broadcast Studio. We also try to fill in any gaps for items no  longer supplied from the district, which is especially important  this year after the drastic budget cuts from the state. 

We thank you in advance for your support!! 

Patricia & Marietta


ad notes:

Shana Teitelbaum & Janet Christmann, Fundraising VP Co-Chairs

The Book Fair is almost upon us! This program will run from Tuesday, September 28th through Thursday, September 30th (and will be open during the Back to School Nights at each school). We’d like to thank Anne Quinn, Joanne Fisher, Tracy Spangler and Jennie Tinkelman in advance for chairing the Book Fair. Please remember that the teachers will be putting together Book Wish Lists for their classrooms so we kindly ask you to consider donating books back to the classrooms.



For as low as $2.00 you can place an AD. (business card, birthday wishes, etc.) 30 words or less. For larger sizes and display ADs, please  inquire. Submissions by email only. Digital PDF version will be in color. Printed version will be in color for special issues. Subject to change.  2010/2011 Rate Card is now available.  Email request to:

classifieds: Advertising Policy  Deadline: the 18th of the prior month when you wish  your AD to appear. Contact Priscilla Goldman at:  (973) 313-2328 or South Mountain  Families ONLY!

credits: Design, Production, Paper donated by William Kochi KODE Associates, Inc.  Printing by KODE Press

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