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A Message to Our Families

May 18, 2020

Dear Families,

Nearly two months into remote learning, you’ve shown me that our Orange County Schools community is fully committed to excellence, equity, and access. 

Yet, our new reality can still be hard and you may be looking for resources to help you or your children. As a reminder, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction offers many resources for our students online, along with providing access to instruction via TV programming. 

These resources are available for fourth through twelfth graders each weekday on UNC-TV's North Carolina Channel and streamed online. The full schedule is available here. There are even webinars to help you engage your children in learning along with supplemental resources. These are all free and designed for parents, caregivers and educators--across all grade levels.  

Don’t forget that our website also has many resources for students and families. And, your Choice Boards offer age appropriate opportunities aligned to key academic goals from a variety of sources that should help to keep students engaged through the end of the school year. 

While we are starting to think about wrapping up this school year, we are also planning for the future--and the various scenarios that may come our way in the next year. 

Full guidance from the state on the reopening of schools next year is still coming; however, we do know that the state has mandated a new start date for students of August 17th. Holiday breaks in both the traditional and year-round revised calendars remain the same. The revised school calendar will be presented to the Board of Education tonight for approval.

The state has also told districts to plan for more remote learning or a combined model of remote and in-person learning for at least a portion of next school year. This may be hard to hear, but we must be looking at all options that will maintain the safety and health of our students and staff. As more information becomes available, we will share it with you and seek community input. 

In the meantime, to support teachers with completing end-of-year requirements, teachers’ office hours will be reduced from 5 days to 4 days each week, beginning the week of May 24th and continuing through the end of the year. Expect more information regarding reduced teacher office hours from your student’s school this week.

Budget Update

We are currently working through our budget priorities for next year. We are taking into account that our traditional costs have to be balanced with coronavirus-related costs for the next year. Specifically, we are looking at ways to provide a blended curriculum for our students while supporting our high-quality staff, closing the digital divide, and continuing to offer free food resources. 

Our priority remains equity throughout our district, and the budget brings that to life through three main pillars:

  • Excellent literacy instruction for all students. 
  • Enhanced climate and culture with a focus on social-emotional learning in every OCS school that enables all students to learn free of barriers and staff to help students grow.
  • Engagement with all stakeholders and community members, both those traditionally involved and those traditionally marginalized. 

Our annual budget is an investment in our students and an investment in the future. By investing in our students now, we’re also seeking to prepare our students to thrive in life.

I look forward to sharing more details with you as the budget is finalized in the coming weeks. Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times and remain healthy and safe.

 

Warmly,

 

Dr. Monique Felder