• OCS Board of Education Work Session Update

    Date: March 22, 2021 - 6:30 p.m.

    The intent of this communication is to provide OCS staff, families, and the community the highlights from OCS Board of Education’s monthly meetings and work sessions. This update is for the Board’s March 22, 2021 work session. This update is not the official minutes of the meeting. The official minutes from the work session can be accessed via Orange County Schools’ website at <link here>.

    Meeting Agenda

    Link to Presentation Slides

    Link to Meeting Recording

    Arts in Our Schools Month: Why are the arts important in our students’ education? Research and best practice shows:

    • • Arts experiences boost critical thinking.
    • • The arts provide challenges for learners at all levels.
    • • The arts provide challenges for learners at all levels.
    • Arts education connects students with their own culture as well as with the wider world.
    • • A study in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates, and test scores.

    In OCS we value, appreciate, promote and celebrate the arts this month and every month. The OCS Cultural Arts Twitter page has new tweets daily, which showcase the immense talents in a variety of arts classes in every OCS school!

    If you don’t want to miss a single post or feature, please follow @OCSculturalarts and look for the hashtag #ocsculturalarts on the district social media platforms.

    Arts in Our Schools Slide

    National School Breakfast Week: March 8-12 was National School Breakfast Week. In OCS, our Child Nutrition teams from several schools used this year’s theme of “SCORE BIG WITH SCHOOL BREAKFAST” to decorate a poster featuring their school’s cafeteria crew and all the wonderful benefits of “scoring big” with a school breakfast every day! First Place was Poster 3 (CW Stanford); Second Place was Poster 4 (Central Elementary); and Third Place was Poster 1 (Cameron Park Elementary).

    National School Breakfast Week Slide

    NC School Hero: Coach Maria McMullin is a 2021 NC School Hero! The Education Lottery created the NC School Heroes program to showcase the positive impacts teachers, principals, and other school workers have in public schools every day. Parents, teachers, and community members submitted more than 4,900 nominations of individuals making a difference in their schools. Both the School Hero and their school receive a $10,000 award. In Coach Maria McMullin’s gym, students learn to work together and develop critical thinking skills, all while incorporating math, literacy, and social skills.

    NC School Hero Slide

    Equity Warrior for March 2021:

    Equity warriors are people who, regardless of their role in a school or district, passionately lead and embrace the mission of high levels of achievement for all students, regardless of race, social class, ethnicity, culture, disability or language proficiency. Mrs. Alexis Kagel demonstrates that being Racially and Culturally Competent, yourself, is the tool, and doing the continual work of identifying and dismantling your own biased beliefs and mindsets is the strategy.

    Equity Warrior Slide

    Plan A for Elementary (K-5): OCS Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder presented a plan for the safe return of elementary students on April 7, 2021 with full support from elementary principals. The School Board unanimously approved the plan for the return of all K-5 students under Plan A, as is mandated by HB 220, which recently became law. A very high-level overview of Plan A is in the slide below:

    Plan A Slide

    Proposed plans for Secondary Schools: In other action, the Board rejected the proposal for the return of middle and high school students this year, on May 3, 2021, as presented by the Superintendent and supported by secondary principals. Rather, the board voted unanimously for middle and high school students to continue with Plan B or all virtual for the remainder of the current school year. The exception to this plan is for students with IEP’s and or 504 Plans at middle and high school levels to be able to return to school under Plan A, per the new law. As rationales for the decision, the board cited challenges with AP and IB testing at the high school level as well as some other anticipated complications in having all students back too quickly and when there is very little instructional time left of the current academic year.

    Plans for next year: The school board voted unanimously to approve the reopening plan for SY 21-22, which includes having all students return under Plan A. This motion came with the understanding that the pandemic is still an evolving situation and that many things could change between now and August.

    Next Year Recommendations Slide