South Orange-Maplewood School District Releases Education Summit Notes, Invites Feedback

by The Village Green
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The South Orange-Maplewood School District has released the notes taken by scribes across 29-plus sessions at its November 10 Education Summit held at Columbia High School. The district has also invited the public to continue to contribute to the conversation shaping the SOMSD’s next Strategic Plan by using its Let’s Talk software program.

District spokeswoman Suzanne Turner explained the timing of release, 20 days after the summit: “We ended up not being able to get the tool we thought we were going to use to do what we wanted it to do. We are therefore using Let’s Talk instead.” 

Turner continued, “We did offer Let’s Talk as a vehicle for sharing thoughts on Summit topics in Dr. Ramos’s letter sent the day after the Summit as well. We saw that as a temporary measure while we got the other tool up and running. We have received dozens of comments and suggestions via Let’s Talk in response to that letter and have been incorporating them into the master database of notes.”

Read Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos’ letter here and find the links: 

Dear SOMSD Community:

The discussions at the November 10th Education Summit were rich and insightful.  In the  29 different topic rooms, we heard creative ideas ranging from establishing “Maker Spaces” in every school, to moving from grade-level groupings based on age to multi-age classrooms based on interests and skills,  to providing MOOCS (online course) at CHS to provide opportunities for students to explore subjects or specialized courses not offered in our regular class schedules.

We also saw some common themes thread their way through many diverse topics, including the need to refresh teaching approaches to be relevant to today’s learners, to foster more partnerships with outside community members and organizations, and to communicate more thoroughly about the opportunities and pathways available to students.

We invite the community to continue participating in the discussion of these important topics through January 4th, so that we can incorporate all perspectives into the next phase of our Strategic Planning Process.

Many thanks to the dozens of facilitators and scribes who captured the essence of the conversations at the Summit. The notes from each discussion group are available here.

If you would like to share your thoughts on one or more of these topics, please do so here.

We look forward to synthesizing all of the ideas, suggestions, and visions shared at the Summit and electronically in the next month as we create a blueprint for SOMSD’s future.  Thank you for being a part of this important process.


Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.


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