Coffee With Mrs. G

Mark your calendars for October 29, 8:15am, SHS Library when Mrs. Grimaldi will be answering any questions you might have about the inner workings of SHS. Feel free to submit your anonymous questions here.

Peer Leaders 2.0. They’re Back and Better Than Ever!

Remember those great tour guides on Back to School night?   They all had something in common – they participate in Peer Leadership, the program started last year by Ms. Lauren Wells, Ms. Laura Gibson and Ms. Amy Herber, the three program advisors.

Ms.Gibson and Ms.Herber were both Peer Leaders in HS and came up with the idea of bringing it to SHS.  The program’s goal of “character education” starts with training upperclassmen to work in a team format to support under-classmen.  With funding from SEF the program has been able to execute the required training retreats, and the students have raised funds for award dinners and a holiday party.  Peer Leaders are selected based on a holistic set of criteria including grades, interests, diverse backgrounds, and the desire to support others. (Read smart, kind and relate-able. Where were you, Peer Leaders, when I was a HS Freshman?)  Out of 100 students 36 were selected last year and the number of leaders grew to 42 this year.

Ms. Wells summarizes the feedback on a recent survey of Peer Leaders. Peer Leaders said they learned “how to be a leader” and “how to support others”.  Last year they made presentations to the elementary schools, spoke on panels, and met with the Superintendent.

So, what’s in store for 2017?  Peer Leaders set the goal to calm fears of HS for middle school students and to mentor HS freshman.  (Well done, Peer Leaders!)

Ms. Wells holds a BA in History from TCNJ and currently pursues a Master’s at Columbia.  This is her sixth year teaching and her fourth at SHS.  She loves music and concerts.  Last year she brought the Holocaust & Genocide class as an elective to the SHS curriculum (more on that in another feature).

It’s a Wonderful World

It’s a great big world out there and this year, SHS students will have the opportunity to go on school-organized trips to Spain & France, Eastern Europe and Nashville!  Your generous donations to the PTO have enabled us to provide travel scholarship assistance to students.  Click on the link to see eligibility rules and to get the ball rolling on the travel scholarship application.  Even though the trips will all take place in April 2018, the deadline for travel scholarship applications is November 20.  Click link to access application. SHS Student Travel Scholarship Application

Swipe Right to Hook Up with the PTO’s First Parent Book Group!

Save the date for our inaugural parent book club gathering at 7 pm on Thursday, October 26, in the HS library. Take advantage of this new opportunity to meet other parents and share observations with literature as the backdrop! Light fare will be served.

Our first book is Mrs. Fletcher, by Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children, The Leftovers and Election. The story follows Eve and Brendan, a mother and her son, as they reinvent their lives after Brendan leaves for college. Eve ponders her future as she fills her empty nest — she makes new friends, takes a class and develops an online fixation. Brendan faces his own struggles — will he adapt to his sometimes isolating university, understand his divorced parents and grow into a responsible sexual being?

NPR reviewer Michael Schaub said Mrs. Fletcher is a “stunning and audacious book, and Perrotta never lets his characters take the easy way out. Uncompromisingly obscene but somehow still kind-hearted, Mrs. Fletcher is one for the ages.”

Copies of Mrs. Fletcher are available for borrowing at the Summit Free Public Library and the SHS Library. Public library card holders may also reserve/borrow Mrs. Fletcher from all Union and Middlesex county libraries. If borrowing from the HS Library, speak to one of the librarians since the books are not in the stacks, but being held in the Library Office. Alternatively, the book may also be purchased from Amazon at the following link: Mrs. Fletcher book purchase

Mrs. Fletcher is one of three books the PTO parent book club will read and discuss this year. Future meeting times and book titles to be announced at a later date. We look forward to lively discussions!

Please RSVP to Julie Adams at

Parent Wellness Series Presentation – 10/25

Save the date for “Hidden in Plain Sight”, October 25, when the latest installment of the Parent Wellness Series will be presented. The topic will address how to identify red flags in the house if your teen is engaging in risky behavior. Click the link for the Hidden In Plain Sight flyer.

Saving Green by Going Green – SHS Online Directory

In an effort to be responsible stewards of our environmental and PTO resources, the SHS Directory is now available online. Access directory information anywhere and any time on your computer or mobile device by downloading the MySchoolAnywhere app or via the PTO website’s “Directory” tab above. The app is free and can be downloaded for Apple or Android phones. Monies saved from printing the directories will enable us to fund more transformational programs at SHS.

If you haven’t already signed up, we encourage you to do so at If you would prefer to have a hard copy version of the directory, please click the “Print” icon at the top of the page once you log into

Talking Money with Your Kids – PTO Speaker Series

Please mark your calendars for Monday, November 13th when Ron Lieber, popular NY Times “Your Money” columnist, will be dispensing his special brand of wit and wisdom to students about fiscal awareness and smarts. Later in the evening, Mr. Lieber, author of The Opposite of Spoiled, will have a separate presentation and discussion for parents on how to talk money with your teens. Copies of the book will be available for loan to parents from the HS library at the end of September.

Prior to joining the Times in 2008, Mr. Liebman penned a Wall Street Journal column about personal finance, entitled, “Green Thumb”. He has authored and co-authored three books, including the NY Times bestsellers, Taking Time Off and The Opposite of Spoiled. Mr. Liebman’s appearance is courtesy of your PTO dollars at work, allowing us to bring innovative and relevant programming to our SHS community.