Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the questions that you have will be answered below. Please also check the Clinton Handbook for the school policies and procedures.

If you see something missing from these lists of questions, please let us know!

Help!!! My child…

…needs an account to get lunch in the cafeteria.
…has forgotten his/her lunch.
…needs money in his/her lunch account.
…is on medication that he/she needs to take during the day.
…got sick during the school day and I’m at work!
…is late for school.
…will be absent from school.
…lost his/her lunchbox!
…needs before school and/or after school care.
…needs permission to walk home alone.

Board of Education and Administration

Who is on the SOMA Board Of Education?
Who are the current BOE members?
How can I contact a person in the Administration?

English as a Second Language

What is ESL?
How many children does Clinton serve?

Special Education

What services are offered at Clinton?
How can I obtain a copy of A Guide to the Special Education Process?
What are integrated classrooms?

School Hours

What are regular school hours?
What is the schedule for a 4 hour day?
Will the school’s after school program (ASP) be running in the event of a 4 hour day?
What time is my child’s lunch?

I moved here during the summer, how do I…?

We just moved here during the summer. The Clinton office is closed. Whom do I call to get my child registered?
When will someone be back in the Clinton office?
Can I have a tour of the school before school starts?
Where should I go the first day?
Where do my children line up?
What part of the school do my children come out of at dismissal?

Questions for Incoming Kindergarteners

Where/when does my child line up for school?
When will I learn the name of my child’s teacher?
What supplies should my child bring on the first day?
Should my child bring a snack on the first day of school?
What number should I call in the event my child will be absent?
What are my child’s Before School and After School Care options?
I am concerned about how my child is performing in school or adjusting to school. What should I do?
What’s the food like at Clinton School?
How do recess and lunch work?
It’s my child’s birthday. Do we celebrate at school?
Am I welcome in my child’s classroom?
What is the PTA and how can I get involved?
How do I access information about the school district and the school?
I have questions about the curriculum. To whom I should I speak?


Help!!! My child needs an account to get lunch in the cafeteria.
Students may either bring lunch from home or buy lunch, drinks, and snacks using a PIN number to access their pre-paid lunch account. In order to open a lunch account, you will need your child’s student ID number. This number is usually included with correspondence that is sent by the school district after you have registered your child for school. You can also obtain this number by calling Food Services. The number is (973) 762-5600 X1002. Once you have that, you can pay via check using the form for lunch accounts, which is located in the office or go to mealpayplus.com and use your credit card, or call (866) 575-5353 to give your credit card information over the phone. When logging on to Mealpay, please remember to drop the first zero from your child’s ID number.


Help!!! My child has forgotten his/her lunch.
You can deliver your child’s lunch to the main office before his/her scheduled lunch time. Clinton School staff will be sure your child receives it.


Help!!! My child needs money in his/her lunch account.
An account needs to be opened for a student before purchases can be made. Please be sure to replenish the money when the balance is low. This can be done online (www.mealpay.com) or buy sending money to school in designated envelope. Information can be obtained from the EZ Lunch Office at 973-762-5600.


Help!!! My child is on medication that he/she needs to take during the day.
By state law, children may not have medicine in school. Even if your child takes his or her own medicine at home, this IS NOT ALLOWED at school. Please contact our school nurse, Joann Harrigan, to advise her of any medical issues or situations you have, and plan for them before the school year starts. Contact her whenever a health situation arises for your child.


Help!!! My child got sick during the school day and I’m at work!!
In the event your child is sick during the school day, he/she may rest in the nurse’s office until either the guardian or your emergency contact is able to pick him up. Please make every effort to make sure your emergency contact list is correct and current.


Help!!! My child is late for school.
If a child is late for school, please tell him/her to go directly to the office to get a late pass. If this is a planned event (i.e., doctor’s appointment), please leave a message on the main office number at (973) 378-7686.


Help!!! My child will be absent from school.
If your child will be absent, please notify the school by calling (973)378-7686 by 9:00 am. In case of absence due to illness, please inform school of the nature of the illness. It is important for us to know when there is a communicable illness so that we can notify other parents and/or take appropriate action.

A student must be absent for two consecutive days before homework will be sent home. Homework will be ready by 3:30 pm on the second day, only if requested by a parent.


Help!!! My child lost his/her lunchbox!
All lost and found items are collected in the hallway outside the cafeteria. Unclaimed items are donated to the Clinton School account at a local consignment store several times a year. We use this account from time to time to help families in need. Please look for lost items sooner rather than later.


Help!!! My child needs before school and/or after school care!
The South Mountain YMCA runs the before school program. Their number is 973-762-4145 Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30a-5p Sat 9-11:00a 13 Jefferson Avenue, Maplewood. They also run an off-site after school program.

The on-site after school program (ASP) is run through the Township of Maplewood Dept of Recreation. The number is (973) 762-0183 and their hours are generally 9-4.

The PTA is not affiliated with either of these programs.


Help!!! My child needs permission to walk home alone.
Students in kindergarten, first, and second grades will not be allowed to walk home alone. They must be picked up at their assigned locations.

Students in third, fourth, or fifth grades may walk home alone with their parent’s permission. Any parent who does not want their child to walk home unescorted must complete a dismissal form designating who will pick their child up. Forms will be sent home at the beginning of the year and will be available in the main office after that.

Any designated escort other than parent/guardian will be required to show identification before taking the student.

Students who walk home must leave school grounds immediately. There are no staff members to supervise students after 3 pm.

If a student must be picked up early from school for any reason, parents/guardians must report to the main office to sign out their child.


Who is on the SOMA Board Of Education?
The Board of Education is the governing body of the South Orange – Maplewood School District with responsibility for developing policy to ensure the proper care, management and control of District affairs. The Board consists of nine citizens elected at large by the voters of South Orange and Maplewood. Board members serve three year terms, with three members of the Board subject to election each year.

In addition to setting policy, the Board hires the superintendent; approves staff hires, transfers, resignations, terminations, and leaves of absence; approves expenditures; approves educational programs (curricula); and otherwise ensures that the facilities and equipment are available to support learning and teaching in the District.

The Board also approves the budget for the School District. However, the tax levy is approved by a separate entity, the Board of School Estimate (BOSE), which is comprised of three members of the Village Trustees of South Orange, three members of the Township Committee of Maplewood and two members of the Board of Education.

Every year in April, the Board holds an organization meeting to elect officers (President and two Vice-Presidents), appoint committees and settle other routine business. There are four standing committees — Finance and Facilities; Human Resources and Legal; Educational Programs; and Policy — that meet periodically to study specific issues and work on special projects as assigned by the Board, and make recommendations to the Board as a whole.

To contact any Board Member please e-mail chackett@somsd.k12.nj.us, the Superintendent’s executive confidential secretary, who will forward the message to the board member(s).


Who are the current Board members?

Elizabeth Baker
Board President
Term: 2015-2017

Chris Sabin
1st Vice-President
Term: 2016-2018

Madhu Pai
2nd Vice-President
Term: 2016-2018

Susie Adamson
Term: 2017-2019

Maureen Jones
Term: 2015-2017

Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad
Term: 2017-2019

Ann Marie Maini
Term: 2016-2018

Donna Smith
Term: 2015-2017

Joanna Wright
Term: 2017-2019

For more information: http://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/page/5


How can I contact a person in the Administration?
http://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/domain/63

What is ESL?
ESL (English as a Second Language) is the teaching of English to children whose native language is other than English. These children are referred to as ESL or ELL students (English Language Learners). The children receive services from specially-trained teachers to improve their English literacy and support the child’s work in their classroom.

How many children does Clinton serve?
Clinton is the ESL elementary school in the SOMA School District. The ESL population makes us a truly international school and every student in the building learns from and values our incredibly diverse environment. One need only visit our annual International Dinner that takes place every spring to see one amazing result of this diversity.

About 10% of the student population are ESL students, although this number varies from year to year. When we quantify this diversity we’ve found that we often have 30-40 countries represented and many, many languages.

The Clinton PTA translates a bi-monthly newsletter into Haitian Creole and Spanish as they are the two most commonly spoken languages of Clinton families after English.


What services are offered at Clinton?
Please contact the District Special Education Department to learn about the services provided.


How can I obtain a copy of A Guide to the Special Education Process?
Copies of A Guide to the Special Education Process are available through our district’s department of Special Services, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, 973-762-5600 x1840.


What are integrated classrooms?
Inclusive education is when students with varied academic needs and learning styles are placed in general education classes with appropriate supports. Please read a letter from the principal for further information.


What are regular school hours?
First bell: 8:05am
Dismissal: 2:35pm


What is the schedule for a 4 hour day?
8:05am until 12:05pm


Will the school’s after school program (ASP) be running in the event of a 4 hour day?
Yes, the on-site after school program normally runs until the normal time. However, you should definitely confirm this with your after school provider.


What time is my child’s lunch?
lunch


We just moved here during the summer. The Clinton office is closed. Whom do I call to get my child registered?
All registrations are handled by the School District Office. You can contact the registration office at 973.762.5600. You will also need to go to the office in person to complete paperwork (525 Academy Street, right next to the high school). Be prepared to bring proof of residence (mortgage, utility bill etc), child’s birth certificate as well as any documentation from your previous school. Kindergarten registration is handled at the same office.

When will someone be back in the Clinton office?
Clinton School staff will be back in the office a few days before the start of the new school year.


Can I have a tour of the school before school starts?
We cannot give tours during the summer since the building is closed and classroom are often being cleaned, painted, etc. During the school year you can call the main office or contact the PTA to arrange a tour.


Where should I go the first day?
When you receive the letter with your child’s teacher assignment a few days before the start of school, the envelope will also contain a map of the building entrances that shows where each class/grade lines up. If you did not receive that letter, please contact the main office for information.


Where do my children line up?
The envelope with your child’s teacher assignment letter will also contain a map of the building entrances that shows where each class/grade lines up. Doors at Clinton do not open early, so please plan to arrive at school just before 8:00 so that your child has a smooth start to the school day. Your child’s teacher will meet his/her students at the door and escort them to class. In the fall after our 5th grade safety patrol is organized, our fifth graders hold the doors open for a couple of minutes past 8:05 for your students to enter. When the doors are closed, you must enter the building through the main door (the one that says “CLINTON” above it) and escort your child to the main office to receive a late pass to go to class. Please DO NOT walk your child to class.


What part of the school do my children come out of at dismissal?
Your child will come out of the same door they entered in the morning at 2:35pm dismissal. Please do not instruct your student to ‘meet you’ somewhere, as teachers will not dismiss students in grades K-3 without seeing authorized “pick-up” people at the door.


Where/when does my child line up for school?
The envelope with your child’s teacher assignment letter that is mailed to you a few days before the first day of school will also contain a map of the building entrances that shows where each class/grade lines up. Doors at Clinton do not open early, so please plan to arrive at school just before 8:00 so that your child has a smooth start to the school day. Your child’s teacher will meet his/her students at the door and escort them to class. In the fall after our 5th grade safety patrol is organized, our fifth graders hold the doors open for a couple of minutes past 8:05 for your students to enter. When the doors are closed, you must enter the building through the main door (the one that says “CLINTON” above it) and escort your child to the main office to receive a late pass to go to class. Please DO NOT walk your child to class.


When will I learn the name of my child’s teacher?
The Maplewood South Orange School District sends teacher assignment letters to every student a few days before the first day of school. Teacher assignments are sent out on the same day for all elementary schools in the M/SO School District. The school will not release teacher assignment information before letters are mailed out.


What supplies should my child bring on the first day?
If your child’s kindergarten teacher requires any supplies on the first day of school, a list will be included with your teacher assignment letter. You can access the school supplies list here.


Should my child bring a snack on the first day of school?
Kindergarten and first grade students eat a snack every day. In most classrooms, parents are responsible for sending in a small, healthy snack and drink daily. In some classrooms, snacks might be provided by one family for an entire week. On the first day it is recommended that you do send in a snack. If the teacher has different plans for snack time, you will be informed at some point early in the school year.


What number should I call in the event my child will be absent?
Call the main office at (973)378-7686.


What are my child’s Before School and After School Care options?
Before and after school care are available at Clinton Elementary although the programs are run by other organizations. You should contact these organizations directly to find out about registration dates and procedures.


I am concerned about how my child is performing in school or adjusting to school. What should I do?
First, contact your child’s teacher. Often, the cranky child at home after school was a happy child at school, but has saved his or her frustrations and fatigue for home. Email or call and leave a message for your child’s teacher, find a good time to have a phone conversation, or ask to make an appointment to see him or her at school. Please DO NOT expect teachers to be able to meet with you before or after school without scheduling a meeting in advance. Our school social worker, Lindy Rollo, can also be of help as can our Assistant Principal, Timothy Beaumont. But your FIRST contact should always be your child’s teacher(s).


What’s the food like at Clinton School?
The SO-M school district has garnered national attention for its efforts at health and wellness, and that includes our food choice and programs. The school menus come home each month in your child’s backpack/folder and are also available on the school website. Elementary students DO NOT bring money to school for lunch. You may establish your child’s lunch account in person at the district offices or online at mealpayplus.com. Your child’s account number is their student ID number, which will be provided to you in a letter in August. Please help your child learn how to ‘do lunch’ at Clinton by keeping their lunch account current and by packing easily-opened, healthy and sure-to-be-eaten foods to fuel them up for the rest of their day. Kindergartners should bring a healthy snack to school each day for their mid-morning break. Your teacher will advise you of any allergy conditions in your child’s classroom.


How do recess and lunch work?
Your teacher will share the schedule of your child’s day with you. At Clinton, students go to recess first and then lunch. Try to dress your child in layers as the fall weather turns cooler, and be sure to have hats and gloves at the ready for that first cold morning. We try to get our students out as much as we can for fresh air and activity. On inclement days, students rotate through their classrooms for games, drawing, reading, etc. and one or two classes may be in the auditorium for a movie or video. This schedule is designed so that over the course of a cold or rainy spell, not every student has the same indoor recess activity more than two days in a row. The PTA has worked hard to make the videos, when necessary, age-appropriate and educational. We always welcome parents to volunteer to lead activities at recess.


It’s my child’s birthday. Do we celebrate at school?
We love birthdays at Clinton School. Please confer with your child’s teacher BEFORE the big day. You might choose to send in a small snack or come in to read a special story to mark the event. Please remember that as a CATCH school, our students are learning to make healthy choices about food and nutrition. Small cupcakes, homemade breads, fruit salad or fruit cups are all good, fun choices that say Happy Birthday without too much sugar. Send in a couple extra, as one of our Clinton traditions is for your child to take a walk to share them with a special teacher or adult if time permits. Be sure to check with your child’s teacher if there are any classroom allergies to consider when deciding on a birthday treat.


Am I welcome in my child’s classroom?
At Clinton, we encourage parents to be supportive of and knowledgeable about our teachers, goals, and curriculum , which makes us all better partners in education. Feel free to contact your child’s teacher about sharing a special skill or talent with the class, coming in to help on a project, or being an extra pair of hands for a certain activity. Our art teacher and librarian rely on parent volunteers to help their day go smoothly. Contact them directly to offer your assistance or respond to emails sent by parent coordinators or the PTA about those classes. Also be on the lookout for emails from your child’s teacher about special class events to help out with or attend. Each teacher will have several parents serving as ‘class parents’ during the year and you will receive emails from them asking for support and help in class activities and projects.


What is the PTA and how can I get involved?
The Clinton Elementary Parent Teacher Association works with the district and school to enrich and support their goals to build strong and healthy families and schools in keeping with the mission of the national and state PTAs. It publishes the monthly Clinton Courier newsletter to keep the Clinton community up to date on all school events. It programs and pays for cultural assemblies, puts on school events such as the spring fair and international dinner, runs the book fair, Locomania, and supports the annual author visit as well as works with other schools to share ideas and information. It also runs an after-school enrichment program that runs for 8 weeks in the fall and 8 weeks in the spring. It co-funds a 20-week Artist-in-Residence grant for our 4th grade every year, and supports teachers in grant efforts with the Achieve Foundation. It provides each teacher with a small yearly amount for classroom supplies. It supports the school food pantry and works with the district’s Parenting Center on programming to support families. It has funded audio upgrades in the auditorium, purchased new playground equipment, and supports the all-school musical revue. It has purchased a variety of education technology including iPads for teachers and administrators and funds teacher and family subscriptions to online learning resources. Whether you work during the day, night, or both – we can always find a place for you to be involved – just ask! The success of all of our activities comes from parents who give their time, energy, and money to support Clinton in what ever ways suit their time and budget. The PTA does not make policy for the school or district nor does it make decisions about curriculum and instruction issues or staffing. Find the PTA at clintonelementary.org and be sure to join in the first few weeks of school.


How do I access information about the school district and the school?
The two websites to bookmark immediately are somsd.k12.nj.us and clintonelementary.org. You can also follow the district and Clinton PTA on Twitter and on Facebook (Clinton Elementary). Our monthly newsletter is posted online and emailed to you if you sign up for the Clinton PTA email updates on our website. Please do so to keep informed about all things Clinton! In our ongoing efforts to be green, you must OPT IN to receive a paper copy of the Courier. If you do, you will receive a paper copy each month in your child’s backpack. Otherwise, the full-color, 6 or 8-page Courier will arrive in your inbox at the start of each month.


I have questions about the curriculum. To whom I should I speak?
For questions about what your child is doing in class, speak to your child’s teacher. You can also access copies of the district curriculum on the district website in pdf format. Our district website also lists the names and contact information for all of the district content area supervisors.

After Care
Two of the after care programs used most frequently by Clinton students are:

Maplewood Recreation Department After School Program (on-site at Clinton)
Main Office (973) 762-0183
After School Program Clinton Site (973) 762-0218

South Mountain YMCA After Care (children are bussed to the YMCA)
Main Office (973)762-4145 Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30a-5p Sat 9-11:00a

The Clinton PTA is not affiliated with either of these programs although the PTA does offer two sessions of an After School Enrichment Program during the school year. The courses are commonly offers on Thursdays for 8 weeks (fall and spring) and last for about one hour. Registration materials will be sent home in your child’s backpack and through our email list.