OCS Board of Education - Work Session
Date: April 26, 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 26, 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>.
April Equity Warrior and Student Essay: The Equity Warrior for April 2021 is Mr. Kumar Sathy, a fifth-grade teacher at Hillsborough Elementary School. Thank you, Mr. Sathy, for modeling for students that in the face of this adversity, we must still be our authentic selves, genuine, empathetic, and most of all … brave!
Cameron is one’s Mr. Sathy’s students and he demonstrates in his compelling essay that Mr. Sathy creates a classroom environment where students feel not only comfortable to speak out against injustice, but where they are also encouraged to be skeptical and form their own opinions. Cameron chose to write his opinion essay about tough topics. And this is a demonstration of the outcome for students when you have a teacher who sees equity as not another thing, but the thing. #EquityWarrior
May is Mental Health Awareness Month: In order to increase awareness and show support of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, the OCS website will prominently feature a section devoted to events and resources available throughout the month. Community partners who wish to publicize Mental Health Awareness resources/events may contact Melany Stowe to secure a place on the site. *May 10, OCS Board Members and Staff will show their support by wearing green!
Attestation App: The ABC Science Collaborative’s attestation app will be shared with principals this week, and schools and other sites can roll out the app in the coming weeks. This app will be a timesaver when staff and students are arriving and entering facilities, and it will also ensure consistency with screening questions and keeping sick individuals at home.
Preferred Name Option: PowerSchool now offers a preferred name option for all students in North Carolina Public Schools. Only student transcripts will be required to list legal names of students. Any student or staff member may request this option. It is an addition for our learning communities that will help with students/staff who go by nicknames, their middle names, transgender/transitioning individuals, and many other instances where schools can show an added layer of support and identity.
Gender Support Plans: School Counselors and Social Workers are receiving training needed to help to being creating gender support plans for LGBTQ+, transgender and transitioning students. School Counselors and Social Workers will be the one “place” students will go for these services. Staff may contact HR for the same. ***Every teacher and staff member must know and use preferred names and pronouns. This will be a critical requirement of staff, once support plans are in place.
OCS Summer Scholars Academy (Registration Deadline is May 9!): Remediation! Readiness! And Enrichment! Come, learn and have fun! Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kathleen A. Dawson presented the plan for OCS Summer Scholars Academy, which aligned with House Bill 82 requirements (number of hours, academics and accountability) and will also feature the “traditional” summer program offerings (Read to Achieve, STEM Camps, ELL and AIG support, and credit recovery), all under this one “umbrella.” The OCS Summer Scholars Academy is open to all OCS students--not just those who are currently working to identify who may need extra support, in the wake of a year of remote learning during a pandemic. Other features will include: Physical Education, STEAM, SEL and enrichment geared toward tapping into each student’s individual passions and interests, and then offering opportunities for the exploration of those passions. Some enrichment activities will involve Durham Technical Community College, a partnership with Apple, and coding opportunities at all levels of experience--from introductions to college level courses! THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP IS MIDNIGHT, MAY 9! Every student will experience success this summer! Here is a link for more information.
Proposal for OCS Online Academy Update (This item is in the Planning Stages Only): Current plans are to offer a 100% fully remote/online learning academy for K-12 for the 2021-2022 school year. First, surveys will be sent to collect data on numbers of students and families who want this option. It is proposed that all learning is asynchronous, attendance will be tracked, and students who participate are driven and dedicated, self-motivated and _ among other characteristics. Right now, leadership is exploring an admissions process that may involve an interview, readiness assessment, and signed agreement that the student and parents fully understand the academy, its expectations, etc. It is a different model than what OCS currently offers, mainly because leadership hopes to eliminate concurrent teaching, as it places tremendous demands on teachers who are already stretched beyond their limits.
Bell Schedules: The School Board unanimously approved new bell schedules for next school year (2021-2022). The changes were recommended to add time between tiers and bus runs so that students will be on time at every level. (Please see slide below):
Resolution to Improve Student Learning Conditions: The School Board unanimously adopted a resolution that encourages legislators to vote for and to co-sponsor specific legislation that would improve wages, working and learning conditions for all support staff, restore longevity and master’s pay, establish a minimum $15/hour base pay for all school employees and adjust all other pay scales accordingly… just to name a few. Board Chair Hillary Mackenzie will send the signed resolution to local leaders by the end of the week. Click HERE to read the full resolution.
Collins Ridge Student Attendance Zone: The School Board unanimously approved the recommendation for attendance zones for the new Collins Ridge Subdivision.
Elementary students residing there will attend Central; Middle grades students will attend A.L. Stanback; and high school students will attend Cedar Ridge.