OCS Board of Education - Regular Meeting
Date: April 12, 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 April 12, 2021 Regular Meeting. 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>.
Assistant Principals Week: April 5-9, 2021, was National Assistant Principals Week to honor and recognize the contributions of assistant principals to the success of students in schools across the United States. We celebrate the important work of assistant principals in leading North Carolina's public schools, especially in OCS.
National Library Week: National Library Week was April 4-10, 2021. The theme, “Welcome to Your Library,” promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building – and that everyone is welcome to use their services. During the pandemic libraries have been going above and beyond to adapt to our changing world by expanding their resources and continuing to meet the needs of their users. Whether people visit in person or virtually, libraries offer opportunities for everyone to explore new worlds and become their best selves through access to technology, multimedia content, and educational programs.
Teachers of the Year: Through peer nomination, review of personal narratives, and voting, schools have chosen their building level Teachers of the Year (TOYs)! OCS Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder recognized the 2021 OCS TOY’s:
Cameron Park Elementary School
Central Elementary School
Physical Education Teacher
Efland Cheeks Global Elementary School
3rd Grade teacher
Grady A. Brown Elementary School
Hillsborough Elementary School
1st Grade Teacher
New Hope Elementary School
Pathways Elementary School
4th Grade Teacher
A.L. Stanback Middle School
EB Specialist/ESL Teacher
C.W. Stanford Middle School
6th Grade Math/SS Teacher
Gravelly Hill Middle School
6th/7th Social Studies
Cedar Ridge High School
Orange High School
WRAL Featured Teacher (Teacher of the Week): Lillie Herman was WRAL’s Teacher of the Week for March 31, 2021. She teaches a self-contained class at New Hope ES where she works to ensure inclusion for her students. <Link to Feature>
Board Resolution: The Board adopted a Resolution to recognize and celebrate World Autism Month this April. <Click HERE to read the Resolution.>
Fantastic Fridays: The fees for “Fantastic Fridays,” for the remainder of the current school year, were unanimously approved by the School Board. Fantastic Fridays is the child care and learning program that operates every Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to support families on asynchronous Fridays. This service is housed this year at Central Elementary School and includes a focus on academics, art and STEM activities. For more information, call the School Community Relations Department at 919-732-4166. The following fees were approved:
- Fee: $25.00 per Friday
- Free/Reduced Student Fee: $15.00 per Friday
- Family Rate: $25.00 for first child, and $15.00 for each additional child
- McKinney-Vento, ESSA, & OCS Staff: FREE of Charge
Board’s Budget for FY 21-22: After a brief review and overview of the budget details to date, the School Board adopted the Superintendent’s Recommended Budget for FY 21-22 as its own. This budget will go to the county commissioners for consideration in May.
Equal Opportunity Schools Partnership: Addressing Equity GOALS 1 & 2.
Goal 1: Identify and eliminate academic disparities and inequities in access to and success in programs and opportunities (The Educational Experience )
Goal 2: Create safe, inclusive, racially, culturally and linguistically affirming and relevant spaces and experiences (The Educational Experience)
Orange County Schools has partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools through a matching grant to assess the district’s gap between white students who are taking and passing honors classes, compared to the numbers of students of color and low income families doing the same. (Low income families are identified by completion of the Free and Reduced Lunch applications.) During the meeting, Dr. Nicholas Wahl of EOS, shared data from a current snapshot of juniors and seniors at Cedar Ridge and Orange high schools. Within two years, the partnership will aim to improve the numbers, with the outcome being increased and proportional numbers of students of color AND low income students, both participating in AND passing AP and IB courses.
Diversity in the OCS Workforce: Addressing Equity GOAL 4.
Goal 4: Recruit, hire, support, and retain a staff that reflect the diversity of the district and mirrors the demographics of the OCS student population (Equity Guided Decision Making)
Executive Director of Human Resources Teresa Cunningham-Brown updated the board members and public on progress toward diversity hiring. The presentation included a look at the current demographic breakdown of teachers, school support staff, school-level administrative staff and central office administrators. This data was followed by more numbers specifically on new hires and beginning teachers. Mrs. Cunningham-Brown shared the framework guiding HR to hire more diverse staff, including nine areas of focus. Noteworthy of mention is that diversity hiring is a state and national challenge as well, but OCS HR staff have strategies and a plan.
OCS Strategic Planning: OCS Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder updated the board on the status of the development of the five-year strategic plan for OCS, the work of which is being guided by the NCSBA. Drafts of the Mission and Vision statements were shared, along with the steps and process which led to the drafts. A mission statement focuses on what an entity is doing “today;” a vision statement focuses on what the organization should strive to be “tomorrow.”
OCS Student Voice: Chief Equity Officer Dena Keeling and Mrs. Melany Stowe, the Public Information and Community Engagement Officer, shared the insight and feedback from our very own OCS students, as the strategic planning team feels that student voice is paramount in this work. A set of beliefs were presented with the meanings from staff and students juxtaposed. Many themes and recurring words, thoughts and feelings surfaced through the process. Now, the work will begin to put the results of the student engagement and staff activity, as well as board feedback, into the right words; then those belief statements will be supported with action plans and goals.
Leanne Winner and Nancy Black from the NCSBA shared how Simbli will house the plan, and how it will be a living document, once the school board votes on the beliefs, mission and vision statements, and goals. This work will continue into the summer and will involve one committee per goal, to include students, parents and teachers.