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november calendar

fall is here


Schools Closed – NJEA Convention


SM Cares Annual Coat Drive Begins


Town Hall Meeting @ Seth Boyden


General PTA Meeting, 8:15 am


Wednesday 24th – 4 Hour Day




Thanksgiving Recess School Closed

in this issue:

gobble, gobble.

School hours:

@ Presidents 

Full Sessions K-5 South Mountain:  Column 2  After School Prgm First Bell 8:05am # Principal’s Message 8:10am-2:40pm  3  Contact Info 4-hr Sessions $ Fundraising 8:10am-12:10pm  4  S.M.I.L.E. Annex: % Administration First Bell 7:55am 5  SM Cares 8:00am-2:30pm ^ Communications  6  5th Grade News 4-hr Sessions & Advertising  8:00am-12:00noon 7  Cultural Arts Crnr * Indoor Recess Prgm coat drive begins south mountain 8  Advertising Info cares



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

midtown direct series Playground Politics 8:15am

 2009/2010 NJASK Scores results



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





october was a great month! presidents column



after school superstars

Laura Reichgut & Amy Forman, PTA Co-Presidents The Fall Festival was a wonderful way to celebrate the season with family and friends. We want to thank Patricia Canning and Wendy Miller, along with their many volunteers who spent hours planning this day filled with fall crafts, delicious food, and a festive atmosphere filled with reminders of this beautiful time of the year. Our vendor sale was a great opportunity to get a little pre-holiday shopping done, we thank Shana Teitelbaum  and Janet Christmann for arranging this on such short notice! And we are especially grateful for the fun and games provided by our very own Mr. K and Mr. Tait, the fall festival wouldn’t have been the same without them. South Mountain teachers rock!!! 

The After School Superstars launched on Wednesday (Oct. 13) with nearly 160 students enrolled in 10 different classes  in writing, art, fitness and the performing arts. It runs for 8 weeks. We’ll be announcing our spring dates soon. Special thanks to our coordinators Marilyn Lehren and Helene Pamon for organizing such  a wonderful after school program which enriches our South Mountain students.

We also had several parent and child educational and enrichment programs last month at South Mountain. Thank you to those parents that attended our very first Morning Roundtable with Principal Lehn. (If you weren’t able to join us this time, there are more of these meetings scheduled throughout the year, the next will be Friday, December 17th). We also had an opportunity to meet with Assistant Superintendent Rosetta Wilson along with other district educators at the “Parents As Partners: Curriculum Overview” sponsored by The Parenting Center and South Mountain PTA. Parents had a chance to sit in a classroom in a  more “hands on” approach to understanding our children’s academic experiences. Lastly, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders attended an assembly introducing mythology. We also welcomed the 4th graders from Jefferson School as they participated in “Chariots of the Sun”. Thank you Russell Kaplan for organizing this effort! 

your family. (If you do not have access to email please let us know as soon as possible so we can make arrangements for you to continue to receive communications throughout the school year). 

In addition to all the fun fall programs and activities, many volunteers have been working long hours behind the scenes to make sure the school year is off to an organized start.  

And as we approach Thanksgiving, we are most grateful to Kanani Briggs for bringing South Mountain Cares to our community. This year the Coat Drive begins November 15th and runs though December 3rd. 

After School Superstars launched this month with great success, thank you Marilyn Lehren and Helene Pamon for coordinating this awesome after school enrichment program! 

And finally, we hope to see you at our  first Mid Town Direct Series morning meeting this year, Wednesday, November 7th at 8:15 am at South Mountain to discuss “Playground Politics – Talking  To Your Child About Friends, Frenemies  & Bullies” with Karen Weiland of the Parenting Center. 

With the winter weather on the horizon, Randi Mandelbaum has been organizing the indoor recess schedule. Additional volunteers are needed at South Mountain and we are hoping to find a parent to coordinate the program at the Annex as well. We are so grateful to Randi for taking on this task, please contact her at if you  are able to help.  

Marilyn Wright and Julie Saydah have been very busy processing the  first day packet forms and should have the school directory ready soon.  We thank them for their efforts, as well as all the class parents who have volunteered this year! 

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  

Laura & Amy 

We also want to mention how much we appreciate the time and expertise of Priscilla Goldman who has been updating the website and sending the email blasts. These are invaluable contributions as we move toward our goal of going green and paperless and will soon become our only method of communications so please make sure we have an email address for   (continued on next column) 





so many wonderful things principal’s message

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

So many wonderful things are happening in the classrooms in both of  our buildings! Children are learning to capture small moments in their  lives and write about them, using vivid language and colorful illustrations. Kindergarteners have listened with wide eyes to wonderful books,  while those a little older have learned how to choose just right books for their independent reading, and reflect on what they have read to make personal connections, or answer questions about an author’s craft.

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

In every classroom, children use manipulatives to come to a deeper understanding of math. They are learning in small groups, solving challenging problems, and asking each other questions. They are playing math games that help them internalize different math concepts.  There is a buzz of excitement and an understanding that great learning happens socially! 

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

While our children are learning in this vibrant learning community,  our teachers are also committed to growing towards mastery in the subjects they teach. Teachers need to be life long learners. As instructional leaders, the district administrators understand that we have a responsibility to provide a learning community for our teachers  as well as our students. This year, our district is offering meaningful professional development for all our English language arts teachers so that they provide your children with the best teaching practices possible. 

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

Throughout the year, your child’s teacher will be attending several workshops on reading and writing. Instead of sending our teachers out  of district to generic workshops, these workshops are being given in the district. We are using a professional development model that brings in  the best people we can find, to make this learning as relevant as possible to our children’s needs. Our teachers meet with these professional developers in small groups, on grade level. We are also asking that some  of these teachers of teachers do model lessons in classrooms, and give our teachers time to talk afterwards about what they see. Our staff  is excited about this model and are finding it most worthwhile. Your children are already benefiting from what the teachers have learned,  and we have only just begun! 

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

Corresponding Secretary  Jen Stemmermann  (973) 327-4149


Please check us out at for the most updated information about South Mountain. We don’t want you  to miss out on all of the exciting programs we have to offer!


contact info:

Tina Lehn, Principal

Our emphasis on a kinder, gentler school is already showing results. Many children have been overheard reminding a peer how to treat another child, and several have reached out to someone who looks like they are in need of a friend. I am very proud of them. Our social workers will be visiting classrooms to reinforce this goal, and soon we will have peer mediators working with the support of our teachers to help resolve conflicts. 


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






days are getting shorter... fundraising Shana Teitelbaum & Janet Christmann, Fundraising VP Co-Chairs The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Our kids are having a great year so far and hopefully you’re all getting excited for some turkey and a few days  off at the end of the month! 

Midtown Direct Series

A big thank you goes out to our Picture Day co-chairs – Jen Ratner, Kim Miller and Jocelyn Cleary. Along with their amazing volunteers, Jen, Kim & Jocelyn got your kids through the day without a hitch. Smiles abounded  as kids and teachers took some great photos. They will come home in backpacks around Thanksgiving – just in time for holiday gift giving. Just in case you don’t love your child’s photo, Picture Retake Day is Dec. 1st. 

General PTA meeting Midtown Direct Series presents …. Playground Politics –  Talking To Your Child About Friends, Frenemies & Bullies” with Karen Weiland of the Parenting Center Wednesday, November 17th 8:15am @ South Mountain

The Fall Festival was a lot of fun. Hopefully you purchased some great items from one of the local vendors while you were enjoying the pumpkin painting and leaf printing. Thanks to all the volunteers who made this a great day. 

As we mentioned last month, we listened to your feedback and are trying a new program this year. By now you have received a flyer and invite for our No Frills Campaign. Rather than asking you to raise money for a walka-thon or by selling wrapping paper, we’re trying something new – no products to buy, no commission to pay, no sales to make – just pure support from the community of a host of exciting initiatives to enhance our children’s learning. Our goal is 100% participation from our parent community. Hopefully you’ve already contributed…every dollar makes  a difference. Thanks to Linda Thibodeau and Lauren Rutkin for their  input and help getting this off the ground. 

Keep an eye out for the Juice Pouch and Box Tops collection bins.  They should be in soon! 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! Last year we raised over $2000 through this program so start cutting – we want to do even better this year! Thank you to Yvette Holowczak and Julia Cerny for their efforts on our school’s behalf. 

Finally, thank you to all of our impressive committee chair-people  and volunteers! We’re doing a lot of great fundraising and we could  not have done any of it without your help!

Shana & Janet


The SMILE program is looking for current/veteran South Mountain parents to be matched with  new South Mountain families.  If you are interested in helping out with the SMILE program, please contact Eileen Trinity at







get your forms in!

administration Marilyn Wright & Julie Saydah, Administration VP Co-Chairs Thanks to all our class parent volunteers who have been attending meetings and getting organized to support our teachers for a great year  of field trips, class parties, and other classroom events. Class parents also serve as a vital communications link between teachers and parents, both for ordinary class activities, as well as emergency situations, e.g., notifying parents if a school bus will be returning late from a class trip. 

Also by the time you read this, the directory should already be published, or will be published shortly. If you ordered a copy, but did 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 email Julie at about any inaccuracies so that we may publish corrections or updates in future newsletters. 

Marilyn & Julie fall is a busy time

south mountain cares Kanani Briggs, South Mountain Cares Committee Chair Fall is a busy time of year for South Mountain Cares and provides us with many opportunities to reach out into our community. It is also a time of thanksgiving and we wish to thank our many wonderful volunteers so far this year:



The emergency phone  chain was tested on  October 7th.   If you did not receive  a call from one of your class parents, please contact us ASAP! On Thursday, October 7th, class parents conducted a test of the emergency phone chain system. For any early morning school closings or delays, you will continue to receive an automated call from the South Orange-Maplewood School District, but our phone chain  is crucial in the event of a school emergency that arises during the day. Please make sure you know who are the class parents in your child’s classroom, and that they have your daytime contact telephone numbers and emails. If you have not received a call from  a class parent, or you don’t know who your class parents are, please email Marilyn at so we can make sure your information  is updated and readily accessible.

A big thank you to the families who participated in the first Senior Appreciation event at Village Apartments on October 3rd. A fun time was had by all ages! We will have a second opportunity to spend time with the seniors in our community on Saturday, November 20th, 10:15-11:15am. This will be a sing-a-long event led by a talented South Mountain parent, Marilyn Lehren. It promises to be another fun activity for the entire family. Sign up on the website to join us.



Another big thank you to the families who so generously provided meals  and spent time with the IHN guest families at Our Lady of Sorrows in October. The families were very appreciative of the food and company. Thank you to the many donations for the South Mountain Cares food drive. The Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges is so grateful for the donations. 

Please send in gently worn clothing to the Annex and South Mountain Nurses’ office. • Unisex styles preferred • Long and short sleeve shirts • Elastic pants • Gloves

Our Annual Winter Wear Drive is also starting this month, so as you clean out closets, please hold onto those coats, hats, mittens, scarves and gloves and watch for additional information.

Thank you! Nina Treitler Annex School Nurse

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday,

Diane Chandler South Mountain School Nurse








did you know? communications




parenting center

Priscilla Goldman & Thomas Mixon, Communications VP Co-Chairs

A Town Hall Meeting  with Brian Osborne 

In this month’s column we wanted to highlight a few endeavors that we have been working on and towards. We hope you’ll be excited about them too! 

Advertising in the Newsletter and on the Website: The Executive Board has finalized the policy for advertising in the Superstars Newsletter and on the website. Advertising space is available monthly on both the website and the newsletter. If you are the parent or guardian of a South Mountain student and you have a business that you’d like to advertise,  please contact us for a rate card. The deadline for AD submission is the 15th of the month for inclusion in the next month’s newsletter.  

Going Paperless: The PTA is committed to reducing the amount of paper sent home in your child’s backpack. Currently, we identify the youngest student  in a family at SM and the fliers are sent home in their backpacks. However,  we are committed to going “paperless” in 2011. That means, all informational fliers, forms (including first day packets), and PTA announcements will be delivered to parents via email and posted on  

You should have already received several Superstar “email blasts”. These emails will be sent about once a week (if you have not been receiving them and you believe we have your correct email address, please check your “spam” folder). Email blasts are the most economical and efficient way to keep our community informed and up-to-date on all the wonderful things going on at the Big School and the Annex.  

Do not fear! Fliers will not completely disappear. We intend to continue  to post fliers on the PTA boards at both schools and send communications home in student backpacks at least through the end of the year.  

We’re proposing a New Year’s Resolution for our South Mountain Schools. In 2011, let’s join together and be committed to using email and the web site  as our primary means of staying informed about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and activities within our South Orange community that may  be of interest. Please make sure the PTA has your primary email address so you don’t miss any important announcements or upcoming events! 

The Parenting Center and Elementary School PTAs are sponsoring a Town Hall Meeting with Brian Osborne on November 16th at 7:30pm at the Seth Boyden School. The Parenting Center  is also offering An Enrollment Evening with NJ Family Care where eligible families can register for free or  low-cost health insurance for adults and children on Tuesday, November 9th from 6:30-8:30pm also at Seth Boyden. For more details, please go to: parenting-center/#more-950

% news Based on the feedback we have received, the South Mountain Superstars website has become a “hit” with SM families! It contains tons of useful information, links, and of course, the Superstar Newsletter.  We encourage everyone to bookmark the website and to visit it often. It is becoming a vital resource for our entire community. We realize how busy everyone’s schedules are so we even have an interface for mobile phones  that makes the site extremely easy to view on the go!  

We want to hear from you! Email us, or any member of the Executive Board, with comments, suggestions or ideas that you may have for your PTA. Also,  if you see any of us at school, at a PTA event (you’ll recognize board members by their infamous “Got Questions” tee-shirts), or at the grocery store — stop us, say hello, ask a question. All members of the South Mountain PTA are volunteers who are dedicated to the school and our students. It’s easy to be an active participant in the process. Contact us and get involved!

Priscilla & Tom 

Priscilla: Thomas:

The 5th graders are working hard to raise money for their camping trip and other special activities. Anyone who ordered pies from the 5th Grade Pie Sale can pick them up at the big school on Tuesday November 23rd from 3-7pm. The first $50 installment for the camping trip will be due on November 15th. Look for notices to be sent home in your child’s backpack. Also don’t forget the second Fifth Grade Fun Friday Night will be held on December 10th. This time it will be a board game tournament so be sure not to miss  the fun!







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

cultural arts corner russell kaplan The 2010-2011 cultural arts program launched last week with Seth Reichgott’s Chariot of the Sun performance. Using a combination  of poetry, masks, mime, and skillful audience participation, this program introduced our 3rd through 5th graders to the heroes, gods and monsters of Greek mythology — providing an ideal  tie in to our 4th grade enrichment program which is exploring mythology as well. In what we hope will be the beginning of a long collaborative process, we were joined by the entire  4th grade from Jefferson Elementary School who are also participating in  the enrichment program.




Calling all Parents!! Indoor Recess Program Needs Your Help!  

The indoor recess program is about to go into full swing and we could  really use additional parent volunteers.  

On rainy or cold (below 21 degrees, “real feel”) days, the children are  in their classrooms (or the hallway and library at the annex) with lunch monitors. Parent volunteers can help by leading a special craft or organized activity on these days.  

This year, there will be a designated special craft or fun activity each week in a special bin in the classroom (at the Big School). Volunteers simply need to come to school for your assigned half hour (the half hour your child has recess) and lead this activity. Of course, you also are free to bring your own activity and talents to the class.  

This is a great opportunity to spend some time with your child’s or children’s class(es) on those cold or rainy days. It also helps make recess fun and special for all of the children. While the PTA has provided games and craft materials, a parent in the room organizing a special activity really adds to the children’s enjoyment and experience. 

Currently, we are working on a schedule so you will know exactly when you are assigned to be with your child’s or children’s class(es) from December through April. Of course, if it turns out not to be a cold or rainy day, you will not need to be at school.  

If you have not already volunteered (via the pink sheets in the PTA packets) and are interested or have questions, please email Randi Mandelbaum at Please let her know which classes your children are in, whether you want to volunteer weekly  or bi-weekly, and whether you have any preference as to which days.  

The PTA also is looking for a parent who is able and willing to be the overall coordinator for the indoor recess program at the Annex, so please let Randi know if you can do this as well.




automated phone call There have been a few auto calls from school, the most recent was a reminder from Ms. Lehn regarding the day off  on Monday, October 25th. If you did not receive a message from Ms. Lehn please contact Andrea Dudley at right away so she can make sure the district updates your phone number. This information is needed to make sure you are informed about early morning school closings or delays!


  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.  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 and  South Mountain alumni ONLY!

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

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