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november calendar 3

happy fall

5-6 11

Election Day/PTA Bake Sale(Annex) NJEA Convention - School Closed Veteran’s Day & Parenting Center Town Hall 7:30pm (Marshall)

the leaves.


General PTA Meeting 7:30pm (SM)


4-Hour Session


Thanksgiving - School Closed


Picture Retakes

5 10

Winter World Festival (SM) SM Hosts - Parenting Center 6:30pm

in this issue:

School hours:


@ Presidents  

# 3 $ 4 % ^ 6 6 & * 8  

Full Sessions K-5 South Mountain: Column First Bell 8:05am Library News  Principals Message 8:10am-2:40pm   Contact Info 4-hr Sessions  Fundraising 8:10am-12:10pm   Administration Annex:  Coalition on Race First Bell 7:55am  Top Ten Tips 8:00am-2:30pm  Parenting Center   Advertising 4-hr Sessions  Advertisements 8:00am-12:00noon  Fundraising Picture Retakes  Advertising Info Dec. 2










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

Winter World Festival 11am -3pm Dec. 5









many thanks presidents column Sylvia Cutler & Laura Reichgut, PTA Co-Presidents

It has been a busy couple of months and a great start to a year of new and improved happenings at South Mountain. Most importantly, at this time of the year we want to take time to reflect and be thankful for all the important events and things we enjoy in life. We want  to also take this opportunity to reflect and remember Susan Weitzer  who had a major impact and showed true dedication to our musical Superstars over the past few years. We honor her and are thankful to have had our hallways graced with the joyful sound of young emerging orchestral artists under her influence and direction. In remembrance, we will be placing a stone for her in our memorial garden.

The Parenting Center and The Elementary School PTAs  Present Brian Osborne Superintendent of Schools In a Town Hall Meeting  Mr. Osborne will discuss his vision  for South Orange and Maplewood  elementary schools. He will then  answer any questions you may have  in a Town Hall Meeting format.

Speaking of thankful, we give many thanks to Shana Teitelbaum and Marilyn Wright for all of their work on our many fundraisers over the past month. Gift Wrap will come way before the holidays, smiling faces will arrive in your picture packages to give out to eager relatives and our first annual Superstar Walk-a-thon was a great success. We thank all of you who supported all of these programs and also our Superstars who were so excited to strut their stuff for their school!

Wednesday November 11, 2009 7:30pm Marshall School 262 Grove Road South Orange, NJ

Many thanks also to Amy Forman and Julie Saydah for their extreme commitment to get our directory out, all of our class parents assigned, responsibilities given and the phone chain up and running. All our thanks to the many parents who have volunteered to provide our children with a school year full of fun. We give Julie Saydah extra kudos for her hard work and many hours spent on the directory.  We also extend a big thanks to Kim Miller for continuing to provide  our South Mountain community with our electronic backpack in effort to support our district wide effort to go green. 

We very much thank Patricia Canning and Marietta Zacker for their hard efforts to bring new and exciting presentations at our General PTA meetings. Check out the Midtown Direct series to get support and keep informed on your child’s education and welfare – all quickly over a cup of coffee! We also thank them for an awesome first ever SOPAC Movie Matinee. It was great fun to see the kids out of the school  and a good time was had by all. Our Programming VPs have worked along side Kanani Briggs who officially heads our South Mountain Cares (SMC) committee this year. We thank Kanani for taking on this responsibility again after her caring efforts to oversee our annual  coat drive last year. SMC will extend a helping hand to senior and charitable groups in our greater South Mountain community who are  in need of our services. 

We are thankful for all of those who volunteer, co-chair or serve on committees on behalf of the PTA. You make South Mountain a rich  and nurturing school and we always welcome your support and help  to continue these efforts. We wish everyone a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Sylvia and Laura 



Special Education Parent-Teacher Organization November Nov. 17 7:30pm Board Office 525 Academy Street Maplewood


We hope parents and teachers who are interested in special education will join us. If you are not able to attend you can sign up for the meeting minutes with   The goals of the Special Education PTO includes promoting the welfare of special education students by providing parents with the tools and information they need to work collaboratively with the school district and to be more effective advocates for their children.   Each school in the district has a liaison  to the Special Education PTO. The South Mountain liaison is Marilyn Lehren. If you have a question or concern, please call (973) 313-9683 or





imagine a day... principal’s message

South Mountain PTA Executive Board Co-Presidents Sylvia Cutler (973) 378-8286 Laura Reichgut  (973) 763-6905

This has been a difficult and sad time for our  school community. As most of you know, we lost  one of our staff members, Susan Weitzer. Susan was hit by a car  on her way home from celebrating Succoth with her Rabbi and was killed. It was a shock to all of us. 

Vice Presidents, Administration Amy Forman  (973) 763-5669 Julie Saydah  (973) 327-4482

Susan was our much loved music teacher who taught our fifth graders how to make beautiful music. Susan taught music to the fifth  graders in every elementary school in our district. She took great pride in introducing many generations of youngsters to an instrument for the first time. She worked tirelessly and patiently to bring them  from making screeching, discordant sounds to creating harmonious pleasing music in only one year. She loved her work and never stopped believing in every child’s ability to make beautiful music. The day before she was killed she came into my office, sat down, smiled across my desk and said, “Tina, this is the best group of students I have ever had. I am so happy”. Susan did not remember that she said this to  me at the beginning of every year since I have known her!  

Vice Presidents, Fundraising Shana Teitelbaum  (973) 378-9160 Marilyn Wright  (973) 761-7404 

Vice Presidents, Programming Patricia Canning  (973) 327-4515  Marietta Zacker  (973) 327-4715

At her funeral, her Rabbi spoke of her love of music, her love of children and her deep commitment to her faith. Susan lived her life well. She taught me the importance of spending my time doing what matters most to me. Her death has reminded me to appreciate every precious moment of life. 



contact info:

Tina Lehn, Principal

On the morning after we were told about Susan’s death, our district social workers and interns went to each of our fifth grade classrooms during Morning Meeting. Bonita and I also sat in on these meetings and were moved by what your children said about Susan, and  the larger issue of death. They spoke of what her loss means to them, other losses they have experienced, and what they would like to  do in Susan’s honor. Many of them expressed a wish to put something  in our memorial garden here in South Mountain, and to write or send messages to her family. We plan to add a stone in her honor to the garden with her name on it. We have some other ideas that are still being discussed.


Treasurers Debbie Granados  (973) 761-5357 Letitia Campbell  (973) 763-8014 

Corresponding Secretary Jen Stemmermann  (973) 327-4149 

Recording Secretary Renee Leviton  

Congratulations to Mrs. Bott on the birth of her son,    Nicholas.

thank you! I would like to acknowledge Betsy Joseph for the beautiful calligraphy teacher’s name signs she made which are hanging outside each  of the rooms. It adds a nice touch to our school. 


Born Thursday, September 24th 8 lbs. 4 oz, 21 inches





hello superstars! fundraising

thank you! Amy Forman & Julie Saydah, Administration VP Co-Chairs

October was a busy month with many fundraising events so we thank you so much for all your support. First, a big Thank You to our Gift Wrap Co-Chairs, Kim Miller, Jane Jones and Susan Benslimane who, once again, ran a successful sale. Your purchases should be delivered by Thanksgiving. Second, another big Thank You to Jen Ratner, Priscilla Goldman and Janet Christmann for Co-Chairing our Picture Day.  The photo process went very smoothly thanks to them and all of the volunteers who ensured that (most of!) your children had big smiles on their faces and their hair combed in place! If you are not happy with your child’s photo or he/she was absent on Picture Day, retakes will be on Wednesday, December 2nd.

Thank you so much to all the class parent volunteers who have been busy attending our meetings and working  on organizing projects and events for the year!  

The emergency phone  chain was tested on  October 8th.   If you did not receive  a call from one of  your class parents, please contact us!   

Thank you, also, for supporting South Mountain’s first Walk-A-Thon. The students all had a great time walking and dancing while raising money for their school. Once we receive all of the pledged funds,  we will select the winners of our exciting incentive prizes. Please encourage your sponsors to submit their payments promptly to keep billing costs down.     

On Thursday, October 8th, a test  of our emergency phone chain system was conducted. You will continue to receive an automated call from the district for any early morning closings or delays, but  our phone chain is crucial in  case of a school emergency that might arise during the day. Please  contact us as soon as possible  if you have not received a call from a class parent, so we can make  sure your information is updated and included!   And by the time you read this we hope the directory will be published! If you ordered a copy but do not receive  one, please let us know. The listings  are as accurate as possible based on information available at press time.  We apologize in advance for any  errors, but please do contact us about any inaccuracies so we can publish corrections or updates in future newsletters.

The Juice Pouch and Box Tops collection bins are in! Please save all juice pouches (all brands will be collected, such as Honest Kids and Capri Sun) and have your children place them in the collection bins  in the cafeteria. South Mountain will receive two cents per pouch.  And make sure to cut out and submit those Box Tops! Our goal  is to raise $1700 through this program so start cutting! Also, visit and enter your e-mail and our school name  to receive added Box Top incentives. Thank you so much to Yvette Holowczak for all her efforts on our school’s behalf. 

The Winter World Festival will be held at the Main School on Saturday, December 5th from 11-3. Bring your kids for a fun day of activities! We will also be holding a vendor sale with great items offered just in time for the holidays. Think…, handbags, scrapbooking supplies, children’s books and many, many more! 

Finally, we want to take this opportunity to thank, once again, all  of our wonderful committee chair people and volunteers! We have  had a fabulous start to the new school year and could not have  done any of it without your assistance! 


Amy & Julie

December 5th

mark your calendar!



Shana Teitelbaum & Marilyn Wright, Fundraising VP Co-Chairs




Election Day Bake Sale November 3





The Coalition The Coalition is a private, non-profit organization in Maplewood and South Orange, NJ promoting diversity and inclusiveness in housing patterns and community involvement. 



bingo/silent auction November


The Schools Committee is one of several committees of the Coalition. Its focus  is to work toward a school district that  is stably integrated overall, within academic levels, and within schools. Committee members envision a time when students of all races are expected and encouraged to excel in a community that is proud and supportive of its students. 

South Orange Maplewood  Community Coalition  on Race 516 Prospect Street Maplewood, NJ 07040 800-CLOSE-BY

Mark your calendars  for the Columbia High School Scholarship Fund (CHSSF) Family Bingo/Silent Auction event to be held November 14, 2009 from 4-7pm in the Columbia High School cafeteria. Get ready to enjoy an afternoon with friends and family while having the chance to win and bid on fabulous items including Broadway tickets, signed Nets jerseys and basketballs, a weekend in a  great vacation home, gift certificates, children’s prizes and much more. This  is an all ages event and dinner will be available. To learn more about the CHSSF, check us out at For further information about this exciting event call 973-763-8246.

Please visit for additional information about the Coalition.

Dear South Mountain Community, Do you worry about not having enough food for dinner? Do you have a place to call “home”? Or do you have extra food that you don’t need? Do you know that people in our very own community don’t have enough food and don’t have a place to call home? Well this is true, and they need help from us. Our Girl Scout troop wants to help people who are homeless and don’t have enough food. Please donate non-perishable food to our food drive for the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). IHN helps keep families together by working with congregations in our community to give them food and shelter. Last year we brought joy to many families by making and serving a dinner and also running crafts tables at their holiday party. This year we also want to give them non-perishable foods, but we need your help. Please bring non-perishable foods, such as breakfast cereals, boxes of pasta, and cans of vegetables to either the Annex, in the drop-box in Ms. Lehn’s office or at the Main School and put them into our drop-box in the auditorium on the left side of the stage. Together we can help keep families healthy with good food. The Fifth Grade Girl ScouT Troop


coat drive   

south mountain coat drive  Please save all of your gently used coats.  There will be a collection box in each school starting November 16th.  Check your child’s backpack for information soon. 







top ten tips

The Parenting Center presents, “Enrollment Evening with NJ Family Care” for families wishing to apply  for free or low-cost health insurance.  Thursday, November 12, 2009   6:30-8:30pm  Clinton School Cafeteria  37 Berkshire Road, Maplewood

The following Top Ten Tips were presented at the  October general PTA meeting:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Set high expectations for your child  Project a positive image of school and education  Read to your child everyday and listen to your child read  Monitor your child’s academic progress  Check that daily homework and projects are complete  Encourage play, healthy eating, exercise and fun activities  Communicate with your child every day  Advocate for your child  Become involved with your child’s school  Plan ahead for your child’s academic career


the parenting center 

for supporting Your Child’s Academic Achievement


Representatives from New Jersey Family Care will be at Clinton School to help applicants fill out forms to enroll for medical insurance for their families.  

Questions?  Call Julie Porter at 973-762-6009  or email box tops: Please keep bringing in those Box Tops! Yvette Holowczak

help students grow

General PTA Meeting Language Arts Curriculum Principal Tina Lehn South Mountain 7:00pm November








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learn, contribute, inspire programming Patricia Canning & Marietta Zacker, Programming VP Co-Chairs We are off to a great start this year. Thank you for your involvement and willingness to learn from, contribute to and inspire our community.

MIDTOWN DIRECT SERIES Our second PTA meeting, which was the first in our Midtown Direct series, fostered discussions on how to advocate for the education of your child. It was facilitated by Meredith Sue Willis and Audrey Rowe from the Coalition on Race (please see TOP TEN TIPS included in this newsletter). We hope you will join us for the other meetings in this series on January 20, 2010 and April 21, 2010. These meetings start at 8:30am, last one hour and are held at the Annex. Please note that evening PTA meetings are held on alternate months (please see IMPORTANT DATES below).

SOUTH MOUNTAIN CARES We are especially proud of the launching of our South Mountain Care initiatives, spearheaded by Kanani Briggs. South Mountain Cares (SMC) provides us the opportunity to make and establish connections in our community while enriching the lives of our children. The highlights and upcoming events for SMC are as follows: October 25, 2009 – Five South Mountain families spent the morning with senior residents at Village Apartments in South Orange, which provides independent living for over 100 senior residents. The families interacted  with the residents and began to form relationships that will transfer into  our school when the residents come to visit the classrooms. November 15, 2009 – The next Sunday gathering – Please let us know if  you want to participate. November 16-December 4 – Coat Drive – The coats will be donated to families in need in our district and through NJ Food Network. Please  look through your closets and then volunteer to help us sort the coats. December 18, 2009 – Holiday Party for Interfaith Housing Network (IHN) – The organization provides food and shelter to homeless families. Please volunteer to help organize the event and plan to participate in an enjoyable evening.

If your are interested in helping with any of the South Mountain Cares activities, please contact Kanani Briggs at

IMPORTANT DATES Sunday, November 15 – Senior Appreciation Gathering at Village Apartments Monday, November 16 – Start of Coat Drive, collection bins at SM and Annex Wednesday, November 18 – General PTA Meeting – Experience how  teachers help students grow through the new Language Arts Curriculum,  led by Principal Tina Lehn and the South Mountain teachers, 7:00pm, SM Friday, December 4 – End of Coat Drive Saturday, December 5 – Winter World Festival & Coat Sorting Party,  11am-3pm, SM Thursday, December 10 – Author Sharon Dennis Wyeth (event sponsored in collaboration with SOMSD’s Parenting Center and all elementary schools), 6:30pm, SM Friday, December 18 – Interfaith Hospitality Network Holiday Party, SM

Patricia & Marietta




advertising notes

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 Wendy Miller 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: Wendy Miller email: phone: 973-761-6780  All checks should be made payable to: SOUTH MOUNTAIN PTA and sent to her home address: Wendy Miller 183 Underhill Road South Orange, NJ 07079 


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.  2009/2010 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 Wendy Miller at:  (973) 761-6780 or South Mountain  Families ONLY!

credits: Design + Production William Kochi KODE Associates, Inc.  Printing KODE Press  Paper donated by: NEI Worldwide Graphics Your Printer Partner




Photo by Stuart Slavicky





SUN NOV 8 11AM & 2PM Children’s theater based on the popular Pigeon stories by Mo Willems, with music and audience interaction. Perfect for ages two and up.



SUN NOV 15 3PM The world-renowned dance company performs classic works from their repertoire in this 60 minute performance. Perfect for families!


Photo by Margo E. Gesser

Photo by Richard Termine


WED DEC 2 7PM THU DEC 3 7PM Avoid the New York rush and bring your family to this kid-friendly, one hour holiday performance. Watch the magic of the holiday come to vivid life!


SUN DEC 13 11AM & 2PM This puppet theater is based on the classic Eric Carle books and brings his colorful characters to a new generation of children.