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j a n /f e b

january february calendar

happy new year!

jan19 20

Family Roller Skating Night

feb 9

Charlotte Blake Alston SM 6:30pm


Morning Roundtable with Ms. Lehn


Evening Student Variety Show


President’s Day


welcome back!

General PTA Meeting: MDS 8:15am

SM Auction Midnight at the Oasis

in this issue:

School hours:

@ Presidents 

Full Sessions K-5 South Mountain:  Column # Principal’s Message First Bell 8:05am 8:10am-2:40pm 3  Contact Info  $ Fundraising 4-hr Sessions 4  Midtown Direct 8:10am-12:10pm  % Administration Annex: 5  SM Cares First Bell 7:55am 5  5th Grade News 8:00am-2:30pm ^ Communications  6  Library News 4-hr Sessions & Advertising  8:00am-12:00noon * Programming family roller 8  Advertising Info skating night 5:30-7:30pm SAVE our PLANET    



20        Reduce your carbon footprint and go green! Please sign  up for digital version of this Superstar newsletter!  Go to the website: newsletter  

Honoring this month: Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Peace Prize 1964 January 15, 1929- April 4, 1968

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





We also have meetings scheduled for parents. As part of the Midtown Direct series, there will be a presentation on Wednesday, January 19th at 8:15am at South Mountain focusing on health and nutrition. And Principal Lehn will be offering another Morning Roundtable  on Friday, February 11th, also at 8:15am at South Mountain. Also please note: although there was originally a General PTA Meeting on the calendar for the night of Wednesday, February 16th this has  been canceled. 

welcome back! presidents column Laura Reichgut & Amy Forman, PTA Co-Presidents Welcome back and happy new year! We hope 2011 brings all you wish for!  

We want to express our deep appreciation and admiration for the kindness and generosity of South Mountain families during the holiday season. The responses to the coat and toy drives were overwhelming, thank you to all who donated and volunteered, and to Kanani Briggs  and Lisa Duggan for organizing.  

We are also so grateful for the support of the families who contributed  to our first No Frills Campaign. Thanks to you we raised over $10,000 and are now able to begin the process of renovating the auditorium sound system!  

And finally, as we begin preparations for the “Midnight at the Oasis,” our memories turn back to the first South Mountain Auction we attended as new parents in  the school. What were we getting ourselves into? The Maplewood Women’s Club was transformed into a festive space filled with raffle prizes ranging from wine collections, spa services, jewelry, theatre tickets, restaurant certificates, sporting events, and so much more. There were chances to win spectacular themed baskets assembled by the classes, and even more exciting the chances to win  an outing for your child with their favorite South Mountain teacher. This was only  the beginning of a memorable evening filled with delicious food, drinks and entertainment. What stood out for us  the most, was a new appreciation for the unique and special community that we were so proud to be a part of. We came  to the auction knowing only a handful  of families, but we left with such a sense of pride knowing that this was where  we belonged and that we were giving  our children the gift of being part of the  South Mountain community. 

And many thanks to our volunteers and coordinators who have planned these activities and events in January and February...  

We hope to see you at the Family Roller Skating Night on Thursday, January 20th at Florham Park Roller Rink from 5:30-7:30pm. Admission will be free and skates available for rental. Please note all children must be accompanied by an adult. Thanks to Laura Griffin and Felicia Hill for organizing!  

We are also looking forward to watching the talented 3rd-5th grade students who will be participating in the South Mountain Student Variety Show on February 17th at South Mountain. Performance details will be sent home soon. Very special thanks to David Crutcher, Jennifer Glass  and Felicia Hill for their many hours of behind the scenes work to make this evening possible!  

We also want to thank Russell Kaplan for all of his time and efforts on Cultural Arts this year. Recent highlights include the Drum Cafe program in December, which was enjoyed by all of the students, details are available on the school website here:  

On January 3rd, the 5th Grade attended the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed by Julie Taymor, director of Broadway’s Lion King and the new musical, Spider Man: Turn off the Dark. Special thanks to Elise Warner in addition to Russell for arranging this remarkable field trip. On January 25th the Annex will host Billy B., an educator turned performer who uses his original songs and choreography to teach children about science, ecology, and the environment. Billy B. has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center and Smithsonian Institute. And in February we have a special opportunity for families as well as students. On Thursday, February 10th Charlotte Blake Alston, a storyteller, narrator and singer, will visit the children during the school day and the evening before, Wednesday, February 9th she will present  an original program for families. Ms. Alston has appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Kimmel Center and the Carnegie Hall Family Concert Series. We hope you will join us for her performance  at South Mountain on Wednesday, February 9th at 6:30pm!  

We want to acknowledge all of the volunteers who are already working on the upcoming auction this year. We depend  on the proceeds from this event to fund much of our programming for two years  at a time. It is monumental task that benefits the entire school community  and we are most grateful to anyone and everyone who can help in any way.  

Laura & Amy 


(continued on next column) 






happy new year! 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 First of all, I would like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope that it is a good year for all our families. During our last Round Table Meeting,  I talked about what a day in the life of a principal looks like. Many of you came to me afterwards and asked that I share this with our South Mountain families in the January newsletter. It is difficult to tell you about a typical day — each one is unique – but this might give you some idea!

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

  6:00am I start my day at the gym so that when I get to school my head is clear and I am ready for my day!  7:15 I get to the Big School, check my overnight email, meet with teachers about any concerns, and talk to our custodian to be sure everything is Ł OK with our building. Check in with Mrs. Dudley to make sure we have coverage if a teacher is absent, and to see if the wind chill is 20 degrees or below so I can decide if the children should come inside or not.  7:40 A Pre-observation meeting with a teacher to discuss a formal observation lesson later in the week.  8:00 Parent meeting about their child.  8:20 School Walkabout: I try to visit at least one grade each day and spend time with our children. This gives me first hand insight into what Ł children are learning and gives me a chance to get to know the children.   9:00 Go up to the Annex: Conduct a formal one hour teacher observation.  10:00 Walkabout in the Annex: visit classrooms; read a story to the first Ł graders or paint with the kindergarteners! Meet with Mrs. Anello to discuss budget; deal with lunch/recess concerns or altercations; Ł talk to students who may have forgotten how we treat each other.  11:00 Return to Big School: conduct another formal teacher observation.   12:00 Attend a grade level meeting: Agenda topic will focus on guided reading strategies. This is one of the ways in which I provide professional development to the teachers.  12:45 Post observation meeting with a teacher to discuss and provide Ł feedback on a formal observation that took place earlier in the week. Each observation takes about 4 hours from the pre-observation meeting to the formal written document. The teachers provide input into this document. It is a wonderful opportunity for the teacher and me to talk about teaching and learning.   1:30 Observe a demonstration lesson from a candidate for a leave replacement teaching position. One of my most important responsibilities is to hire the best teaching staff that I can. It is worth taking many hours to read resumes, interv iew candidates, and request Ł a demonstration lesson from those whom we consider the best. This is always done in collaboration with Mrs. Samuels and teachers from the grade level that will be affected.  2:15 Meet with children who may have forgotten school rules of safety or respect.  2:30 Parent meeting.  3:00 Meeting with Bonita Samuels: Data analysis of test scores or reading assessments to plan for student needs.  4:00 Meeting at Central Office with Rosetta Wilson to discuss push in Language Arts Enrichment in fourth and fifth grade.   5-7:00 Answer phone calls and emails from parents, South Mountain faculty, district administration.  7-8:30 (or thereabouts!) Write formal teacher observation documents for Ł review with teacher the following day. Sometimes I write these in school where there are less distractions, sometimes at home!   8:30 Time to relax, read, eat…! 



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 

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

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

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






welcome back! fundraising Shana Teitelbaum & Janet Christmann, Fundraising VP Co-Chairs Welcome back everyone! We hope you’re all back in the swing of things and are looking forward to another week off from school at the end of February.  Our brand new No Frills Campaign came to a close in December and we’re thrilled to announce that we exceeded our goal of $10,000 – amazing  for a first year campaign! The best news is that your funds have already started to make an impact and we are soon going to be replacing the sound system in the auditorium. Thanks to Linda Thibodeau and Lauren Rutkin for all their hard work on this campaign! And thanks, again, to all of you who contributed. (If you meant to contribute and didn’t get to it in on time, feel free to reach out to either Janet or Shana. Our information  is below).  South Mountain’s biannual Auction, “Midnight at the Oasis”, will take place on the evening of March 26th at the Maplewood Women’s Club so book those babysitters now! The Auction will be a great night filled with delicious food and drinks…and dancing!! There will be raffle prizes and several impressive items to bid on via a silent auction so come prepared to have a blast! In order for this night to be the success we know it can be…We Need Your Stuff! All donations are welcome – tickets to a show, services of any kind, new, unwrapped merchandise, gift certificates, etc. Or if you’d like to join forces with some other South Mountain parents  to hit the streets asking for donations, we need your help!!!  Contact Maria Witt ( or Brenda Berger ( and let them know that you’d like to get involved. Thank all of you, in advance, as well a big shout out to Maria  and Brenda for such a great job with the solicitation process and  Laura Nixon and Niv Miyasato, heads of the Decorations Committee!  Please don’t forget to save those Juice Pouches and Box Tops  and send them in. Thank you to Yvette Holowczak and Julia  Cerny for their efforts on our school’s behalf.  

Shana & Janet no.


Morning Roundtable

Midtown Direct Series

General PTA meeting Midtown Direct Series presents …. Creating a Healthy Eating Environment For Your Family Nutritionist, MS RD, Susan Schachter, will talk about navigating nutrition labels, enlisting your children as nutrition detectives and creating healthy meals for your family.



19 save the


Friday, February 11th, 8:15am South Mountain February

round table

11 March


 Please join us for our third Morning Roundtable with Principal Lehn.  This is a great opportunity to have smaller group discussions  with the Principal, address questions about your child’s school  and learn more about what they are doing in the classroom.  Light refreshments will be served.

March 26th, 2011 Midnight at the Oasis Book those babysitters now for a  fun-filled parents’ night out complete with food, libations and prizes galore! Invitations to follow in early 2011.




welcome back!




5th grade used book sale!

Marilyn Wright & Julie Saydah, Administration VP Co-Chairs Happy New Year and Welcome back! We hope everyone had a great break. Hopefully, you have had a chance to use the PTA school directory. Please let us know if you have any corrections or updates so we may publish  them in our next South Mountain Newsletter. You may also contact us  if you have not received your PTA directory.   If you have any questions regarding the first day packets, forms, school directory or class parents, please contact Julie Saydah or Marilyn Wright. 

Marilyn & Julie happy new year!

south mountain cares Kanani Briggs, South Mountain Cares Committee Chair Happy New Year to all of you!  We had a wonderful coat drive in December and provided over 200 coats to people in need. Thank you to all who donated, came to sort and delivered the coats.   The Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) holiday party in December  ended on a sweet note with the many delicious desserts donated from South Mountain families. Thank you for your generous donations for  a very special celebration.  We will have many opportunities in the first quarter of the New Year to extend help to those in need. Please watch the website and your email  to sign up and for more details:  January 22nd — Cook and share breakfast at The Apostle’s House  women and children’s shelter in Newark. Limited to 4 families. February 6th — 11-12 noon, Senior Appreciation Social/game hour  at Village Apartments in South Orange. Limited to 6 families. Weeks of February 6th and March 6th — Opportunities to provide  dinner and spend time with the IHN families at local churches.  Best wishes for health and happiness this New Year! 


The 5th Grade Used Book Sale will be January 25th-28th. This fantastic annual event is all about 3 R’s: Reading, Recycling, and Raising money for 5th Grade Moving Up activities. 5th graders and their families have donated gently used books, CDs, DVDs and videos for babies through adults, to sell to the South Mountain community at unbelievable bargain prices.  Most items will be $1 or $2, so enrich your  children and support the 5th Grade.   All Classes will have an opportunity to shop the book sale, so please send money in with your children on sale days. There will be many books for parents as well, so come in and shop!  South Mountain Annex  Tuesday, Jan. 25th, 8:00am-2:45pm Wednesday, Jan. 26th, 8:00am-1:00pm  South Mountain School Thursday, Jan. 27th, 8:00am-3:00pm Friday, Jan. 28th, 8:00am-3:00pm & 6:00-8:00 pm  We will also have a selection of books for parents at the PTA meeting on Wednesday, January 19th, from 8am-10am.  Contact Michelle Schwartzbard at: or 973-378-8008 with  any questions.

% news

Hey 5th Graders! February is almost here and we have two major fundraisers for you to participate in. Our Teacher Valentine Card fundraiser will have you drawing your best hearts and cupids. Help decorate Valentine wishes from all students to the teachers and staff during recess from February 7-11. Also, the annual 5th Grade Dance-A-Thon will be held February 14th. Collect pledges and get ready to groove. Proceeds from the above events will go towards 5th Grade Moving up activities.






did you know? communications Priscilla Goldman & Thomas Mixon, Communications VP Co-Chairs The South Mountain PTA hosts a Goods & Services Auction every other school year. This event is an enormous endeavor and would not be possible without the many volunteers and donations of goods and services from the South Mountain and other local communities.

library news

This year, the South Mountain Auction, “Midnight at the Oasis”, will be on Saturday, March 26th from 7pm-midnight at the Maplewood Women’s Club.  

The Maplewood Women’s Club will be completely transformed into a Moroccan oasis and the South Mountain community will come together for a fun night  of food, music and of course the auction. There will be an abundance of  raffle prizes to win as well as a Silent Auction with wonderful prizes to bid on (tickets to see Regis and Kelly, jewelry, tennis lessons, trips and more!). There will also be special raffle prizes donated by teachers and staff including fun outings with teachers both in and out of school. Even if you can’t join us on the 26th, there will still be an opportunity to purchase tickets for these special raffles. All the money raised will benefit our schools. Our last Auction raised $29,000! Let’s try to top that!

grade 5 battle of the books

The Grade 5 Battle of the Books started just before winter recess. Letters explaining the program were sent  home with 5th graders (after a class discussion), along with the reading list for this year’s Battle. More information as well as the book list, can be found  on the School Library website: and click on Library Programs.

The Auction relies on the South Mountain community to ensure its success  so WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are still looking for solicitations committee members as well as prize donations. Are you a business owner who’d be willing to donate goods or services? Do you have a special connection to a local business or retailer and wouldn’t mind asking for a donation? Do you have  a timeshare or second home you’d be willing to donate a trip to? Do you have any new, unused toys, clothing, housewares, etc., that you think someone else might be interested in winning? If so, please contact Maria Witt at or Brenda Berger at

Six Flags Read to Succeed is back. This voluntary program asks that students complete 6 hours of recreational  reading over a 6 week period and log their hours. The reading logs are submitted to Six Flags and then in May, the Six Flags Corporation sends the school a free child’s ticket to Six Flags for each student who completed the reading. The program was explained during your child’s library period, and reading logs distributed. Any student who is participating MUST return their reading log no later than February 11, 2011. Please return your signed forms  as soon as the six hours have been reached. Contact Mrs. Ng if you have questions. 

Invitations will be sent out via your child’s backpack at the beginning of February. Book those babysitters now for a fun-filled parents night out complete with food, libations and prizes galore!  

Questions? Please contact: Shana at or Janet  at 


Priscilla & Tom







PIANO for YOU  762-6601

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

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

Meeting the Needs of all Students with iPad (Maureen Magnani & Maureen Reilly) Grant money will be used to remove obstacles  to learning in the 1st grade inclusion classroom. iPad will make the curriculum accessible to all learners and will provide struggling students the opportunities to show what they know.


On December 6, 2010, The Achieve Foundation (formerly known  as SOMEF) awarded 50 grants totaling $43,029 to 60 educators  in all nine South Orange & Maplewood schools for special projects to be carried out in their classrooms during 2011.  

Parents as Partners Home Reading Project (Michelle Ducharme,  Sara Juhlin, Gayle Schaefer-Gelo and Terri Paisner) The objective of the grant is to partner with the parents of 2nd grade students who  are reading below, to slightly below, grade level to become fluent  and competent grade level readers.

Congratulations to South Mountain Spanish Teacher Zobreida Perez for receiving a grant for Leyenda en Español con David, which will be used to purchase books written in Spanish by David Shannon  for 3rd grade students. 

You can donate directly to these projects through January 31, 2010.  A list of the projects eligible for direct funding is on the Achieve Foundation web site at You can contribute toward South Mountain teacher grants or another grant  of your choice either by check to P.O. Box 84, Maplewood, NJ 07040  or via PayPal on the website. 

The Achieve Foundation was faced with difficult funding choices  in order to reach as many students as possible. Some projects  were approved but did not receive the entire amount of requested funding, including the following South Mountain grants. Please consider making a donation to the grant of your choice, so that  our teachers’ innovative programs may be fully implemented.  Each grant accepts partial funding, so even a small donation  can make a difference in our South Mountain classrooms! 

For further information about The Achieve Foundation and the Teacher Grant program, contact Monique Lurie, Achieve liaison for the South Mountain School and South Mountain Annex, at: 






get your forms in!

programming Patricia Canning & Wendy Miller, Programming VP Co-Chairs 

We hope everyone had a wonderful and restful holiday, and that you are ready to skate off the winter blues at our annual Roller Skating Family Party. This will be a great opportunity to connect with friends and have some plain old fun. Wear or purchase your South Mountain Super Star  gear at the event. Admission is free but skate rentals are $3.50. Bring  your own if you have them. If you want to go all out, lessons are offered  at the Florham Park Roller Rink on Saturday mornings. Call the Rink for more information.   Upcoming Midtown Direct Series PTA Meetings Please mark your calendars: 

Do you want to create quick, nutritionally balanced meals for your family? Creating a Healthy Eating Environment for your Family Wednesday, January 19, 2011 – 8:15am  Nutritionist, MS RD, Susan Schachter, will talk about navigating nutrition labels, enlisting your children as nutrition detectives and creating healthy meals for your family. 

Promoting Healthy Bodies Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Exercise physiology expert, David Scott, will give a presentation on promoting healthy bodies – assuring confidence in our children’s body types, and focusing on healthy eating and exercise.  As always, we welcome your feedback about any of the PTA sponsored events. Please contact us at: or Also, please let us know if you would  like to volunteer to help with any of the upcoming events. 

Patricia & Wendy Save these dates: March 26th — South Mountain Auction — “Midnight at the Oasis”

variety show Join us at the 7th Annual South Mountain Variety Show Thursday, February 17th Starring our very own Superstars in  grades 3-5.


  We have made changes to the advertising  section of the Superstar newsletter. The  PTA welcomes personal or business ADs  from South Mountain families and South  Mountain Alumni only. Space is limited,  so AD submission is on a first come basis.  AD deadline is the 15th of the month  for placement in the next month’s issue  (this will give us enough time to track  down payments).  For larger display ADs, please inquire.  Submissions by email only. Printed and digital PDF versions will be  in color. Subject to change.  For advertising information, including any requests for the 2010/2011 Rate  Card, please contact by email:  Thomas Mixon  All checks should be made payable to: SOUTH MOUNTAIN PTA Drop payment off in the PTA mailbox,  communications folder, located in the school office at South Mountain.

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

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