Parent Student Handbook

Somerville School




45 South Pleasant Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ 07450


Lorna Oates-Santos, Ed.D.



Dear Families of Somerville School,

This book has been prepared to help answer questions you may have regarding school policies, procedures, and programs.  We ask your cooperation in helping your child understand the policies in this handbook.  These policies and procedures are in place to ensure that all students and staff are safe, supported and able to learn to their optimal levels.

Here at Somerville we know that a strong working relationship between home and school is an essential part of a healthy school.  We hope that you will become an active part of Somerville School and, as a result, your child’s learning experience.

Communication is a key part of this success.  We urge you to attend scheduled parent-teacher conferences, attend school functions, and to call or e-mail the teachers or myself whenever you have a question or concern.

I am very proud of the staff and students of Somerville School.  I look forward to working with you at this important task of educating our students and enriching their lives.  I look forward to our journey together.


Lorna Oates-Santos, Ed.D.

Principal, Somerville School

Table of Contents

Attendance & Schedules

Arrival & Dismissal

Student Safety

Student Code of Conduct

Bicycle Policy

Lunch and Recess Procedures

Lunch Ordering Instructions

Food at Somerville

Partnering with your Teacher

School Parking and Drop-Off Rules


Home and School Association

Special Events



School begins at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.  The first bell rings at 8:35 a.m. and the second bell rings at 8:45 a.m.  Please call the school at 201-670-2750 ext. 55699 before 9:00 a.m. if your child is unable to attend for any reason.


It is a reasonable expectation that in order for learning to exist, each student must arrive to school on time.  Students who are tardy excessively from the instructional program will fall behind in academic achievement.  A student, who is tardy to school, not only places his/her own learning in jeopardy, but also interrupts the learning of other students.  Students are considered tardy if they are not in their classroom by the 8:45 am bell. 
If the student is late to school, he/she should report to the office to get a tardy slip.


Parents are discouraged from taking their children out of school during the school day except for a medical appointment that cannot be made after school hours or a family emergency.  If it is necessary for students to leave during school hours, they should bring a note from the parent or guardian stating the time and reason for dismissal.  When a student is dismissed from class, he/she must meet their parent or guardian in the Main Office.  Parents picking up students during school hours must sign their child out in the Main Office.

School Hours

Please DO NOT ARRIVE before 8:30 AM.  There is no adult supervision before school hours!  If morning supervision is needed, please contact the Before School Program run by the Ridgewood YWCA at 201-444-5600.

Grades 1-5                             8:45AM-3:00PM

Lunch                                     Hours vary by grade

Minimum Day Grades 1-5         8:45AM – 12:45PM

  • Delayed Openings:  Delayed openings are a rare occurrence and as a result, can cause some confusion.  Please note:  

  • Afternoon kindergarten begins at its normal time (12:20 p.m.)

  • The YWCA Before-School Program is canceled.

  • The YWCA After-School Program is open.

  • The school day begins 2 hours later (10:45).  Buses will pick up 2 hours later (e.g. if your child is normally picked up at 8:10 a.m., the pick-up will be at 10:10 a.m.).

  • Lunch time is compressed.  If your child has ordered school lunch that day, they will still receive their lunch.  Other children who did not order lunch must bring lunch from home since there isn’t sufficient time to take them home or out for lunch.

  • The dismissal time remains the same.


Somerville School is located along heavily traveled streets. For the safety of our children, students should not arrive at school before 8:30 a.m.   Remind children to be careful walking to and from school.  They must cross where there are crosswalks, crossing guards, or safety patrols.  Children are not allowed to cut across the parking lots or lawns.

One of the best things about a neighborhood school like Somerville is that most (if not all) students live within walking distance of the school.  All students are strongly encouraged to walk to and from school.  The benefits of walking/riding to school are numerous.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Good exercise

  • Builds friendship by walking with groups of students and adults

  • Eliminates traffic at the school

Please note that the children will be utilizing specific entrances for morning drop-off and afternoon pickup.

  • Kindergarten will be at the Kindergarten doors

  • Grade 1 will line up at the entrance nearest Ms. Gieniec’s room (to the right of the flagpole)

  • Grades 2 and 3 will line up at the flagpole entrance

  • Grades 4 and 5 will line up at the doors near the gym (to the left of the flagpole)

If you decide to drive to school, please remember that student safety is our first priority.  It is extremely important that all parents and guardians follow these safety guidelines to ensure the safety of all Somerville students and families.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.



The fire alarm is a continuous buzzing sound accompanied by flashing strobe lights.  When the warning bell sounds, all building occupants are to leave as quickly and quietly as possible.  Evacuation is to be completed in an orderly manner.  The appropriate exit route is displayed in each room.  If a barrier blocks an exit, the closest exit should be used.


Lockdown drills have become as necessary as fire drills so that everyone is prepared and their safety ensured in case of an emergency.  A lockdown drill requires that the teacher lock the door to his/her classroom, shut off all lights, have the children sit along a wall farthest away from the outside windows, and block the door window.  They are to remain silent until an all-clear announcement is made.


Extreme caution will be exercised in the release of children to anyone other than a parent or guardian.  Therefore, it is imperative that parents send a note if there is a change in plans for pickup.  Unless we have written permission from the parent/guardian, we will not release a student to another individual other than those listed on the regular dismissal form.


If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms he/she should be kept home:

  • A fever over 100 degrees

  • Having difficulty breathing

  • Is feeling fatigued or complains of general discomfort

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • A severe cough

  • An unusual rash

Please keep your child home for at least 24 hours after they experience a fever of 100 degrees, vomiting or diarrhea.  This will minimize the spread of such illness.  Temperature should be taken when NOT under the influence of medication.



Riding your bike to school is a great way to get exercise and reduce the congestion on the streets around the school.  In an effort to keep our students safe, please review the following guidelines and share with your child.

1.  Riding a bike to and from school requires a level of independence.  Please evaluate carefully whether your child is able to take on this responsibility.  

2.  Bikes must be individually locked in the bike racks each day.

3. Bikes are not to be ridden on school grounds or on the sidewalk in front of the school. Children should dismount on the approach to school and walk to the bike racks.

4. Bicycles may not be borrowed or loaned without permission by the adult owner.

5. Children are required to wear helmets as per NJ State Law.

6. Students must be able to lock and unlock the bicycle without assistance.

7.  Only bicycle riding is permitted.  

I would love to see students and parents biking together to and from school whenever possible.  Honestly, riding a bike is – quite simply – fun!  Please adhere to these guidelines closely and enjoy the ride!

Dr. Lorna Oates-Santos

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Somerville Elementary School Code of Conduct

Somerville students have rights and responsibilities.  

As a Somerville student:

I have the right to be respected; therefore, I have the responsibility to be respectful of others

  • I will accept and include others who are different from me.

  • I will listen while others are speaking.

  • I will use kind words so that I don’t hurt the feelings of others

  • I will respect the ideas and opinions of others.

I have the right to feel safe; therefore, I have the responsibility to be safe and keep others safe.

  • I will follow playground and lunchroom rules.  

  • I will keep my hands and feet to myself.

  • I will walk in the hallways and stairways at all times.

  • I will help make Somerville a bully-free school.

I have the right to learn; therefore, I have the responsibility to work peacefully.

  • I will follow classroom rules.

  • I will work quietly when working independently.

  • I will work cooperatively in groups.

I have the right to be successful in school; therefore, I have the responsibility to be prepared and do my personal best.

  • I will complete my assignments on time.

  • I will obey all Somerville teachers and adult helpers.

I have the right to be a citizen of the Somerville community; therefore, I have the responsibility to treat the building and grounds with respect.



Lunch/recess extends from 11:30 – 12:20 (Grades K & 1st), 12:20—1:10 (Grades 2-5) and is divided into time for eating and time for recess. Lunchtime aides supervise children who stay at Somerville for lunch.

If Your Child Goes Home For Lunch

  • Children must go to the Main Office to sign out upon departure and sign-in upon return.  

  • Please inform the teacher in writing which days your child will leave for lunch.

If Your Child Stays at School for Lunch

  • Your child will be eating lunch with his/her class in the cafeteria.  

  • You may send a lunch or order a school lunch.

If Your Child Forgets To Bring Lunch from Home

  • Please drop off lunch on the table in front of the main office (clearly marked with your child’s name) and the lunch aides will have your child come to check the table for their lunch.

  • Please do not take the lunch to your child’s classroom.


Students will have outside recess every day, weather permitting.  Students should dress accordingly.  Decisions to have outside recess during cold weather are made by the principal.  These decisions depend upon the temperature and the wind chill factor.  Only students with medical excuses will be allowed to remain in the building during scheduled outside breaks.

Students will have supervised indoor recess on days when bad weather prevents outside recess.  Students can play quietly in the classroom.


To order lunch for your elementary school child, go to ridgewood.pomptonian menus.  


Lunch Menu
Elementary Lunch Ordering through Village Fresh
Click here to place an order
Please Note:  Elementary Lunch Ordering is through Village Fresh. Orders are NOT paid through Skyward.  If you have funded your elementary child's food service account on Skyward, you may request a refund or a transfer to a middle or high school sibling's account. Please send your requests to However, if you have a negative balance from prior years for your elementary child, you will receive an email notification with the balance owed and you should pay the balance by check made payable to Ridgewood Board of Education and send it to 49 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, NJ.  Please be sure to include your child's name and school on the check.

Questions regarding Village Fresh should be sent to


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At Somerville School there are a variety of ways in which important information is communicated to families.  The most common are the following:

  • Report Cards:  Report cards for students in grades 1-5 are posted to Family Access three times a year:  December, March and June.  Kindergarten report cards are posted to Family Access in February and June.  Special area report cards are sent home in February and June for students in Grades 1-5.

  • Parent Conferences:  Parent-Teacher conferences are held in October.  Teachers will arrange with parents meeting times for individual conferences.  In addition, K-2 teachers meet with parents in June for a portfolio conference.

  • Somerville Website: This website contains information about school procedures, events, announcements, HSA minutes, web links for you and your child and more!   Visit our website at SOMERVILLE.SCHOOL.RIDGEWOOD.K12.NJ.US

  • Tuesday e-News: The e-news is sent to your e-mail address each Tuesday as a reminder that the Somerville website has been updated with new events and current information. This is our primary means of communication with parents. Directions to sign up are on our website.  If you do not have access to e-mail, please make an appointment with Ms. Cruz, in the Main Office, to discuss other means of receiving information.

  • Class Parents: Volunteer parents will call or e-mail you regarding class celebrations where volunteers or supplies are needed and can be a great source of information regarding your child’s class activities.

  • Letters Home via US Post:  To inform you of important administrative information and/or procedures.

  • Emergency School Closing:  A message will be sent to parents/guardians' emergency contact numbers and email (if provided) via the district's Swift911 telephone notification system.  Radio stations WOR710, WCBS880, WINS1010 and TV channel 5/Good Day NY will also provide information regarding emergency school closings.

  • School Directory: This directory provides addresses/phone numbers/e-mail addresses (optional) of Somerville families, class lists, HSA committees and chairpersons, HSA Executive Board members, Somerville and Board of Education administrative phone numbers, school calendar, etc. You will receive a directory when you join the H.S.A.

  • Summary of HSA Meetings Minutes: These are posted monthly on the Somerville website and on the bulletin board outside the main office.  

  • Ridgewood Public Schools Website:  The district website is your source for information on the entire school district.  The address is



Somerville School and its Home and School Association are committed to providing enrichment experiences for children in all grades.  The HSA organizes and funds the following enrichment programs:

Cultural Arts Enrichment

  • Field Trips:  The HS.A. provides funds for busses

  • Assemblies: include visiting authors, musicians, artists and theatrical groups

  • Miscellaneous includes picnics, teacher grants, Fourth of July float, book fairs and more

TIC TOC/Art Docent

  • Parent/guardian volunteers visit their child’s classroom to talk about a work of art

  • Art on loan to Somerville is available for classroom use

  • Parent/guardian volunteers can create their own lesson plan.

  • Frequency of classroom visits is flexible

  • No art or art history experience is necessary!

Extracurricular Clubs and Activities:

The H.S.A. arranges for the following activities to be available:

  • Somerville TV Club

  • Safety Patrol

  • Continental Math

  • Student Council

  • Running Club

  • Arts and Crafts and more…




The Home and School Association at Somerville School is an integral part of our school community.  Through their efforts, class parents are assigned, volunteers are coordinated, and funds are raised to help provide school assemblies, etc.  Its success depends entirely upon the participation of family members.  The HSA, in partnership with the administrative, teaching and support staff can make positive things happen for the children of Somerville.  We hope you will join us.

When:  Usually the third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 P.M.

Where:  Principal’s Office

Who’s Welcome:  Everyone!  The more people, the better!  You can share your ideas, comments, suggestions, or just sit and listen.  It’s a great way to stay informed and to meet other parents.

Executive Board, Committees and Chairs:  See Somerville Directory or visit our website

To Join a Committee:  Contact Chair (see directory or website)

Minutes of HSA Meetings:  Posted on the Somerville website

Communication:  The H.S.A. sends a comprehensive Weekly Update by e-mail to all the Somerville School families.  Please be sure the H.S.A. has your e-mail address, as all flyers, need-to-know information, and class highlights are included in this document.



Often parents/guardians want to get involved in their child’s school but don’t know how.  Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Come to HSA meetings to learn about volunteer opportunities.

  • Ask your class parents about ways to participate based on your interest and availability.  They can be a great resource and can answer your questions or direct you to someone who can.

  • Become a TIC TOC/Art Docent.  Visit your child’s class and teach the children about great works of art; no experience needed!

  • Check your directory for a list of HSA committees and their chairs – you can join as many committees as you want!

  • Read announcements in Weekly Notices regarding school events – there is always a need for volunteers.

  • Speak to a HSA Executive Board member; see the Somerville Directory for names, numbers and positions.

  • Join Dad’s Night.  This group of dad’s has social gatherings throughout the year that include dad’s only events as well as full-family events.  Every March, the dads put together a revue show that showcases our dads at their best… or worst!  Dad’s Night is a great opportunity to meet other folks and fundraise for the school!  Don’t miss out on this unique Somerville-Hawes experience.

  • Earn your apron… become a lunchtime volunteer.  Parents sign up for weekly or bi-weekly shifts to assist students in the lunchroom.  There are opportunities to supervise groups, open juice boxes and distribute lunch.  Students love to see their parents for this mid-day visit!  Contact Dr. Oates to get involved.



Please read carefully!

With the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, the U.S. Congress established a requirement that all school districts with a federally funded school meals program develop and implement wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity. As of September 1, 2007, Ridgewood’s Board Policy #3542.1 affects us in the following ways:

  •  NO CANDY or SODA may be sent to school for classroom treats, birthdays, or other celebrations (i.e., Halloween, Valentine’s Day.)  

  •  Teachers may not give candy or any food as rewards.  

  •  Peanut butter, nuts, and any food items containing such will not be served in the schools.

  • Snacks may be consumed in the classroom however, only healthy snacks are permitted.


  •  Students may celebrate their birthdays in school with their classmates in a fun, food-free manner.  

  •  Every student will have his/her name announced on the appropriate day in the morning announcements.  

  •  Each student will receive a birthday treat and handshake from Dr. Oates-Santos.

  •  The student will decide, in conjunction with the teacher, how to celebrate the birthday as a class.  Some possibilities include an extra recess, kickball, guest reader or in-class free time.   


  •  Prior to any party, teachers should meet with party coordinators to discuss appropriate activities and refreshments.  

  •  Refreshments can include but cannot exceed 1 serving of a sweet or high fat content food per student as well as healthy options.  

  •  All drinks should be 100% fruit juice or water.

  •  No candy is permitted.

  •  Any foods to be distributed must be accompanied by a list of ingredients.


  •  A goal of the policy is that as students learn about healthy nutrition, they will bring healthy beverages and lunches to school; however, the guidelines do not limit what students can bring to school for their own consumption.




You can help your child to have a great school year by partnering with the teacher.  Good partnership is based on clear communication of needs and concerns.  You know your child best!  Please share your knowledge with the teacher. As you partner, consider the following:

Keep In Touch

  • Make an appointment with the teacher any time you have a concern about your child.

  • Feel free to contact the teacher via e-mail; all teacher e-mail addresses are listed on the Ridgewood Public School website ( and in the Somerville directory.  E-mail has become a very popular and easy way to contact someone.  Often teachers receive e-mails during their instructional time.  However, they have been instructed not to answer until either their preparation period or at the start or end of each day.  Please understand that the teachers’ first responsibility is the direct instruction of the students in their class.  Responding to parent e-mails can only occur when teachers have the time to do so.

  • With our telephone system, each teacher has voicemail.  You will have access to leave a message, etc. with certain prompts on the main telephone number, 201-670-2750.  If it is a time-sensitive issue, such as dismissal arrangements do not leave a message.  Please call the main office at ext. 0.

  • Ask the teacher if there are ways you can partner together to help your child have a great school year.

  • Let the teacher know if your child is experiencing a major change at home or you notice signs of stress: difficulty eating, sleeping, concentrating, and getting along with peers or family members.

  • Inform the teacher if your child seems to be unhappy or fearful about going to school, worried about social interactions, or overwhelmed by homework assignments.

Keep the Teacher Informed of Your Child’s Schedule

  • Send a note informing the teacher if your child needs to leave the premises during school hours.

Keep Yourself Informed

  • Be aware of your child’s homework assignments and the class expectations as outlined at Back-To-School Night.

  • Become familiar with the mission and educational philosophies of the Ridgewood Public Schools.  Our website and the district’s website are good sources of information.  

Direct Communication

  • If you have any questions about the curriculum and how it is taught, please discuss this with the teacher in a direct and respectful manner.

  • Don’t voice complaints about one teacher to another – instead communicate your concerns directly rather than indirectly.

  • If you’re happy with the teacher’s efforts, express it!  Teachers appreciate positive feedback!

Respect Appropriate Boundaries

  • Please don’t go into your child’s classroom unannounced, as this tends to disrupt the flow of instruction.

  • Be sensitive about respecting the teacher’s need to enjoy his or her lunchtime.

Somerville School Parking and Drop-off Procedures


These rules are for the safety of our children.  Please inform anyone who drives your child of these rules.

1.  General safety rules

  • Please drive slowly, with caution, obeying traffic signs.

  • Do not park in the drop-off zone (in front of the school) between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

  • No U-Turns in front of the school; it is illegal and very dangerous.

  • No double-parking anywhere, anytime!

  • Park in designated areas only.  Do not park where “no parking” signs are posted.  

  • Use the sidewalks and crosswalks when you are walking from your parking spot, especially when you have your kids with you.

  • Allow extra time for traffic, particularly in bad weather.

  • There is NO PARKING in the faculty lot in the back of the school.  Parents should not enter this driveway at all from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

2.  Drop-off rules (1st bell rings @ 8:35 am). 
  • Students will be allowed into the building at 8:35 a.m. Please do not drop off students before 8:30 a.m.
  • Drop-off is in the area in front of the school, heading north on Pleasant, from the kindergarten wing to the flagpole.  

  • When driving into the drop-off zone, you must pull over completely next to the curb.  

  • Remain in this area and pull up as far as possible to the end of the drop-off zone.  Do not stop somewhere in the middle!

  • Children must use right side car doors only!

  • Do not cut around other cars to get closer.  This is extremely dangerous!

  • Do not reverse.  Wait for the car in front to move.   Cars are big, kids are small!

  • Never get out of your car in the drop-off. If your child is unable to get out without assistance, park your car in an appropriate spot (the cut-out or another street) and walk your child!!

3. Pick-up rules (3:00 pm)

  • If your child is allowed to be dismissed without a hand-off, arrange a designated spot where your child will meet you.

  • Remind your child to come to this designated spot immediately after dismissal.

  • If using the pick-up zone (same as above) wait until you are in the appropriate area to let your child into the car.  

  • If your child does not appear in a “reasonable” amount of time, you must circle around or park in a designated spot!



All outside doors are kept locked during the morning and afternoon sessions.  Visitors must present themselves at the Main Entrance on South Pleasant Avenue to be admitted.  Parent/guardians and other visitors are required to report to the Main Office upon entering the building.

Please remember to follow these procedures when visiting Somerville School:

  • Ring the buzzer and tell the Main Office the purpose of your visit (teacher conference, library volunteer, art docent, etc.)

  • When admitted, proceed to the Main Office.

  • Sign in the Visitor’s Log on the desk in the Main Office and receive a Visitor’s Badge.

  • Wear the Visitor Badge at all times during your visit.

  • Make sure to sign out before you exit the building.  Leaving the building from any door other than the Main Entrance is not permitted.


For numerous reasons, including allergies and liability, dogs and other pets are prohibited from school property during school hours.


Please do not ask that your children be summoned to the Main Office for forgotten items unless it is an emergency.  Do not go to your child’s classroom with items to deliver to avoid disrupting classes as much as possible.  Classes will not be interrupted for forgotten instruments, homework assignments, lunches, etc.  These items may be placed on the table in front of the Main Office for pick-up.  Please write your child’s name and grade on any items you leave on the table.

Events you don’t want to miss

(Your child may be performing!)


Back to School Picnic

Art Show

International Night/ Day

HSA Meetings

Cultural Assemblies

Bingo Night

Halloween Parade

Winter Concert

Somerville Children’s Theatre Show

Instrumental Concerts

Science Day

Lip Sync

Please look for these events to be posted on the Somerville website calendar