Archive for Herma Simmons Elementary News

Summer 2020 Learning Activities

We are pleased to announce that our district will continue its tradition of providing learning activities in the summer. Research data has proven that students who engage in summer learning
activities reduce the effects of the “summer slide”. Summer slide causes students to lose what they have learned during the school year due to the free time that they have in the summer
months, when they are not engaged in learning activities. This year, students and parents will be provided with the following:

  • A recommended list of books to read for each grade level/grade span
  • Access to iXL Math and ELA (K-8)
  • Recommended websites and apps to practice ELA and Math skills
  • Suggestions for parents to assist students with reading (K-5)
  • Key skills that should be mastered by the end of each grade for ELA and Math (K-8)

We would also like to inform you that students will not be required to complete a summer reading project this year. Instead, we are strongly recommending that all students make time to
read and practice math skills as often as possible.

You will find all of the information for the above activities on our district website below. 

Thank you for your support and participation. Have a great summer.

Contact Tanya Clark-
Clayton Public School District


Summer Reading K-12:

Summer Math K-8:

Math – Key Skills To Be Mastered For Each Grade Level

ELA: Key Skills To Be Mastered For Each Grade Level

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5th Grade Promotion Ceremony

Hello Herma S. Simmons Elementary School Family!

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our outstanding 5th grade class on their successful promotion to Clayton Middle School.

The 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony will be conducted online this year. This ceremony will be pre-recorded and posted on the Herma S. Simmons Elementary School webpage for viewing on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 6:30pm.

The link will be provided at that time.

Thank you and congratulations to our Clippers!

Scott G. Uribe

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A message and survey from the NJ Department of Education

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your heroic efforts to support your children’s schools and the learning process during closings due to the coronavirus pandemic. The New Jersey Department of Education (Department) continues preparations for the next stages of school opening, and hearing from parents is a Department priority. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at the following link:  NJDOE parent survey. We appreciate receiving your responses by Monday, June 8th.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement at


Estimados Padres,

Gracias por sus esfuerzos heroicos para apoyar las escuelas de sus hijos y el proceso de aprendizaje durante los cierres debido a la pandemia de coronavirus. El Departamento de Educación de Nueva Jersey (Departamento) continúa los preparativos para las próximas etapas de la apertura de la escuela, y escuchar a los padres es una prioridad del Departamento. Por favor, tómese unos minutos para completar la encuesta en el siguiente enlace: NJDOE encuesta para padres. Agradecemos recibir sus respuestas antes del Lunes 8 de Junio.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor póngase en contacto con la Oficina de Compromiso Cívico y Social del Departamento en

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Letter to the Community from the Superintendent

Dear Clayton Community:

The past months have been challenging for all of us. The pandemic has forced us to change how we live and learn. However, as I expected, we came together and showed our strength as a community. We remained positive and strong in a time of uncertainty.

Now just as we are trying to re-open and establish a new normal, our country is in turmoil over the senseless killing of George Floyd. Unfortunately, this was not the first time our television screens have broadcast the unjustified murder of a black man at the hands of those who are sworn to protect us. These scenes keep playing out over and over again in our society. It is obvious to many we are still combating the legacy of racism and discrimination.  

I have spent the last several days reflecting and listening to a generation of young people screaming for change. People of all backgrounds have taken to the streets demanding justice. We are a nation born from rebellion that declared we have “unalienable rights” as human beings. Protests and demonstrations are part of our history.  I have hope for the future. I believe that this new generation of Americans will bring the change that is needed. I also believe that real change can be brought about peacefully. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela all fought against injustice and changed the world through peaceful protest and civil disobedience.

These events have also made me grateful to work with the Clayton Police Department and especially our School Resource Officers. Our SRO’s do more than just protect our schools. They have become an important part of our school family. They have volunteered as coaches, delivered food to families during the pandemic, and even gave students “curbside shout outs.” They understand that they must be part of the community they serve.

I am also proud to lead such a diverse district. From the time that I served as the Principal of both the High School and Middle School, I have marveled at the acceptance of all people in our school community. I take pride in walking visitors down to the cafeteria and having them see our diverse student body sitting together talking and laughing. I have learned just as much from the students as we have taught them. I am also not naïve, and I do realize that we are not perfect and change is needed to become even more inclusive.

In my role as Superintendent, I take my leadership responsibilities seriously as I endeavor to serve all our students. I find myself asking what can I do to make a difference?  How can I help our students feel empowered? One of our jobs as educators is to lead our students in positive discourse in order to help break the cycle of racism.

In order to begin the much needed but difficult conversations, I will be establishing the Clayton Equity Committee (CEC).  The committee will have a diverse group of educators and students working together to address systemic inequities. My hope is this committee can be a vehicle for change and give a voice to our students. I will be forming the committee immediately upon our return to school in the fall.

I look forward to moving ahead and continuing to make a bright future for all our students.

Clipper Strong,

Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis
Superintendent of Schools

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Important Letter from the Superintendent – March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

Dear Clayton School Community:

It is becoming more and more apparent that this health crisis will be substantially longer and more widespread than any of us may have previously thought. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order has declared that all New Jersey public schools will remain closed until further notice, and there is no return date at this time as long as the Order remains in effect. We will re-open when the Governor’s Executive Order is lifted. Any changes to this status will be announced to families and staff in advance. In addition, the school calendar has not changed. Spring Break is scheduled to begin on April 6th and conclude on April 13th.

In an attempt to continue to promote the recommended social distancing policies and limit the amount of people interacting, we are adjusting our breakfast and lunch service schedule. Beginning Monday, March 30th, both school sites will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Please come prepared to pick up for multiple days.

Finally, I want to applaud everyone for their continued patience and flexibility during this time. I will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Please visit our district website,, for all updated information.


Sincerely yours,

Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis

Superintendent of Schools


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