Orange County Schools (OCS) Equity Department

  • Improving academic outcomes and transforming educational experiences
    Dr. Dena Keeling
    Chief Equity Officer
    (919) 732-8126 

  • What is Equity in Orange County Schools?

    We see our schools as centers for culturally diverse learning, where all students are educated to their fullest potential, and as centers of our community, around which we come together in support of the education of all students. Equity is critical to the success of our schools, our students, and our community (OCS Board Policy 1030, Equity in Education).

    Equity in Orange County Schools is:

    • Each and every student having what they need to succeed academically and participate responsibly in our community
    • Identifying and removing barriers to access to resources, opportunities, support, rigorous instruction, healthy environments, and caring adults
    • Adults who recognize the uniqueness of students and their individual strengths and needs and who treat every student as capable of success
    • Disrupting and interrupting systems by challenging and countering bias and unfair policies and practices.  It recognizing that there are systems in place that continually put some students at a disadvantage, dismantling those systems, and creating a new system of education where all students thrive
    • Continual self-reflection of our own practices and how they impact student outcomes as opposed to blaming or trying to fix students  

    Equity Department Goals (2019-2020)

    1. Goal 1: Recruit and train a diverse workforce
    2. Goal 2: Identify inequities in access to opportunity and academic barriers
    3. Goal 3: Engage staff, students, parents/guardians, and the entire community towards a culture of equity


  • Equity Task Force

    The Orange County Schools (OCS) Equity Task Force has been created with the aim of engaging diverse voices committed to equity in Orange County Schools and the community in an open dialogue on issues of race and areas of improving equity in Orange County Schools.  Members of the OCS Equity Task Force are volunteers and do not receive compensation for their service. The Orange County Schools Chief Equity Officer leads the OCS Equity Task Force.


    The purpose of the OCS Equity Task Force is to advise and make recommendations to the Board and the Superintendent with regard to matters of equity in Orange County Schools.  

    The OCS Equity Task Force is tasked with: 

    1. Assisting in the development of the district’s Equity Plan by:
      1. Identifying and prioritizing areas of inequity and barriers to equitable outcomes
      2. Highlighting areas of success/what’s working
      3. Making recommendations for action steps to address disparities, setting a timeline for the implementation of action steps, and monitoring progress and outcomes of action steps
    2. Assessing district programs, policies, and practices through an equity lens  
    3. Ensuring that all students, staff, parents, and community have a voice by being open to equity related feedback and questions from all stakeholders 
    4. Relaying school and community concerns/celebration/updates related to equity back to the OCS Equity Task Force 
    5. Identifying assets and opportunities to support equity efforts   
    6. Communicating OCS Equity Task Force recommendations and Equity Department progress to stakeholders 
    7. Presenting a report at a School Board meeting outlining: 
      1. A prioritized list of disparities and areas of inequities 
      2. Barriers to equitable outcomes 
      3. Recommendations for actions steps 
    8. Meeting annually with the Board as a means of Board and OCS Equity Task Force introductions and for the OCS Equity Task Force to a share plan of action for the year of the how the Board and OCS Task Force will work together to achieve equity in OCS