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OCS Update on Remote Learning

April 27, 2020

Dear Families,

As I shared on Friday, our Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina public schools will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of our school year due to COVID-19. I’m disappointed that we won’t all be together again soon, but I also understand the importance of this decision to keep our state and community healthy and safe. 

With this latest announcement, I want to say that it’s more important than ever to focus on the many options for learning Orange County Schools is providing in line with the state’s guidance. I’m excited to share our next phase in remote learning to ensure learning continues--and meets every student’s needs. 

Beginning May 4, we are releasing new learning content aligned to key academic standards as part of the district’s next phase of remote learning. We want students to have materials that focus on the most important learning objectives from the end of third and fourth quarter that will help them be prepared for the next grade level or course in the fall. As in previous phases of the district’s evolving remote learning model, this next phase doesn’t seek to replicate the classroom experience as content will not be required to be taught live at a certain time on a particular day. Realizing that our students’ and familiy’s schedules, internet access, home learning environments, and other critical factors vary, the district’s remote learning model will continue to afford students and their families the flexibility they need while still being able to continue learning.  

The content in the next phase of remote learning will be available on our district’s remote learning website. This next phase of remote learning material will include pre-recorded videos and new assignments that will also be reflected in the Choice Boards, which will continue to be accessed online and in hard copy form.  

Teachers will continue to have virtual office hours to check-in with and engage students individually, in small groups and/or by class via phone, email, Canvas, Google Classroom, Zoom, Class Dojo, etc. in order to support students' social-emotional needs, guide students through learning experiences, provide opportunities for students to ask questions, and ensure all students remain active and engaged learners.

Please know that schools can continue supplementing learning and we’re not asking teachers to stop providing instruction in a way that is already working, but rather giving them additional materials and resources to help all students succeed. 

We’re also planning for summer learning opportunities.  Those opportunities will be shared in the coming weeks.

While this is all new and unexpected, we do have further guidance from the North Carolina State Board of Education about grading students during this time. 

  • No student will receive a failing grade for spring semester.
  • Our seniors will receive pass or withdrawal grades. 
  • Elementary and middle school students will not receive traditional grades for the year. They will be provided with year-end feedback from their teachers. 
  • High school students in grades 9-11 can choose between a grade of pass/no credit or a numeric grade for their spring semester courses this year. No student will be penalized by having their grade lowered.  

You can read more about the details of this grading structure here: FINAL-FAQ-One Pager-Student Grading and Promotion 4.23.20.pdf

While we are focused on expanding our learning opportunities, I also know how important meeting other needs--like access to nutritious meals--is for our families and students.

That’s why I would also like to remind our families that there are a number of sites where you can pick up healthy, free meals.  I’m so proud that as a district we’ve provided more than 22,000 meals at our food resource sites and more than 700 “to go” food boxes. 

I feel so fortunate to work in a district that has received more than $10,000 in donations to fund the food boxes. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. If you’d like to add to the funds, you can do so HERE. If you need access to food, please click here or visit our website at www.orangecountyfirst.com to learn more.

As you can see, we are supporting each other in these difficult times in every way we can. I know so many of our teachers and school leaders are working hard to move to a new way of teaching and engaging students while also addressing their own personal and family needs during this unprecedented global crisis. We are going to hit bumps in the road. That’s to be expected. But I have committed to providing you and your children with the best education we can during these times, and I know our staff is doing just that, too.

Please take a minute to thank your teachers, just as I thank both you and them for the commitment you have all made to keeping Orange County Schools strong. 

Warmly,

Dr. Monique Felder