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OCS Connections for March 10, 2023 — School Calendars



OCS Connections 2023 #7
for March 10, 2023 


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OCS Job Fair April 15 – Don’t Forget to Pre-Register!

Now Hiring! Work for OCS


Adjust Your Clocks This Weekend: Spring Forward


“Know Before You Go” COVID Testing, March 28 and April 2


Top 10!




Spring Flowers


Staff and Community Updates


Social Scene





Apply for classified and certified positions, interview, meet supervisors and principals, and obtain potential job offers all in one day! Pre-register now and tell a friend to visit to make their reservation today!




Orange County Schools has a referral program for ALL current full-time and part-time staff to recommend new staff members for ALL job openings. Current OCS employees, click here or the image below for details and to participate!



Are you looking for a new opportunity? Visit our Careers page and view all our current job openings. Start your journey with Orange County Schools today. (Tell a friend! Share this link →


Adjust Your Clocks This Weekend: Spring Forward

Starting this Sunday, March 12, at 2:00 a.m. clocks will be turned forward one hour until November 5, 2023. Don’t forget to adjust clocks early to get used to starting one hour earlier before Monday.

And good luck during intersession to all our students and staff who just completed their third nine weeks on the year-round calendar!


“Know Before You Go” COVID Testing, March 28 and April 2

Students and staff on both calendars are asked to join the optional COVID testing program and “Know Before You Go” back to school after intersession (year-round) or spring break (traditional). 

Scheduled testing dates for all students and staff will be March 28 and April 2, before returning to school on April 3, 2023.

Testing kits are optional. Families have the choice to opt out.

School nurses in Orange County Schools have “Know Before You Go” information available from NCDHHS to help families and staff understand the testing program. This literature will be sent home along with the free At-Home Testing Kits, according to your child’s school schedule.




Calendars Approved for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025

On March 6, the Board of Education approved traditional and year-round calendars for the next two school years, 2023-2024 and 2024-25. 

Note: With primary elections at multiple campuses on March 5, 2024, schools will close for a teacher workday with no school-related activities, and no outside activities or facility rentals on school campuses before, during, or after the school day.

View and download calendars on the OCS home page, under the Calendar tab.


Summer Program Eligibility Letters, K-8

This week, letters were sent home with students in grades K-4 who are eligible for summer programming based on each student’s current academic skills based on DIBELS and aimswebPlus assessments. Letters will be sent home with eligible students in grades 5-8 by March 15th.

Please see your email for more details, and contact your child’s teacher with any questions that you may have at this time about summer program eligibility.

Ambra Wilson, Executive Director of Literacy

Mariah Morris, K-12 Director of Literacy

Family Expo & Global Showcase, April 15

All are invited to the Family Expo and Global Showcase on Saturday, April 15, 1:00-3:00 pm at New Hope Elementary School! We will have food trucks, summer camp displays, a family resource fair, and a cultural showcase with displays from all over the world.



You can attend, and you can also participate! Register to bring items that celebrate your cultural roots, and explore cultural appreciation around the world at displays by students, staff, and families. At the Expo, learn about local summer programming options and connect with resources to assist all families in Orange County. 

Families of OCS students or staff: If you want to set up a table with items that celebrate your culture from anywhere on the globe, visit our easy registration form. We hope to have at least one table from every school on April 15! Learn more and get full details here on the OCS website.


School Social Work Week

Thank you once more to all our School Social Workers for all you do in our schools! To mark School Social Work Week from March 5-11, a special recognition was offered at the Board of Education meeting Monday, March 6. 




Visit the OCS website to read remarks by Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder, Dr. Jessica Dreher, Director of Student Engagement and Support, and School Social Worker Sarah Patterson from New Hope Elementary. 


Dig In To School Breakfast



OCS School Nutrition celebrated School Breakfast Week with the national theme, “Dig Into Breakfast,” to highlight the fact that students who eat school breakfast are more likely to:

  • Reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math

  • Score higher on standardized tests

  • Have better concentration and memory

  • Be more alert and maintain a healthy weight




But when the school week gets busy, it’s easy for students to rush out the door in the morning without having a nutritious meal. That’s why school breakfast is such a great option! In fact, students who participate in school breakfast tend to have better attendance rates and fewer behavioral problems.

The cafeteria and staff at A.L. Stanback and throughout Orange County Schools were completely dressed and ready to “Dig Into Breakfast” this week. Thank you to all our dedicated cafeteria and school staff for supporting school breakfast!



Read Across America

Children and readers of all ages celebrate National Read Across America Week from March 2-6 every year. We can’t ever stop celebrating literacy!

Did you know:

  • More than half of American adults haven’t read a book in the past year. (Just because we CAN read doesn’t mean that we WILL) 

  • Learning to read is closely tied to talking and listening. And reading reduces stress by up to 68% (reading-stress-relief) that’s more than two-thirds.

  • If you read just 20 minutes per day, that adds up to approximately 1,800,000 words per year. Reading that many words over any length of time will challenge and inspire you to think differently. 

  • Here’s the kicker – Children who read one million words per year are in the top 2% of reading achievement. That’s only half of those 20 minutes per day. Half.

  • By reading one book per day to your child, they will have read 1825 books by the time they are five years old.



Here, Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder enjoys reading one of her favorite books – “All Are Welcome,” by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman – to students at Grady A. Brown and River Park Elementary Schools who know the story well.



We hope everyone enjoyed Read Across America Week, and we are proud of all our readers for showing our community and state the results we can achieve when we make reading a priority every single day!

Team 587 Hedgehogs Shine at UNCA

The Hedgehogs are marching their way toward the state finals in FIRST Robotics Competition next month at ECU, after their alliance won the event at UNC Asheville on March 4-5, 2023!

They joined an alliance with the “Eastbots” from East Chapel Hill and other teams to come out on top. Follow the team on Instagram and Twitter for more photos. 

Watch one round from the competition on YouTube, and view all playoff matches from the final day of competition on the FIRST website.



But beyond the competition, the FIRST motto “More Than Robots” and the value of “coopertition” (cooperation in the midst of competition) took on a very personal meaning for team mentor Patrick Mitchell.



Students are allowed to nominate their mentor for the “Woodie Flowers Award” that celebrates the values of “cooper-tition” and “gracious professionalism” in being an exceptional mentor. Members of Team 587 collaborated to submit an essay that nominate Mr. Mitchell, who is now a state semi-finalist in the running for this year’s state award.

Congratulations Hedgehogs! Good luck to the team and mentors for the rest of this season!

Stars of OCS – All Educators’ Conference, June 14

The Superintendent's Teacher of the Year Roundtable announced “Stars of OCS: An Education Conference” designed FOR educators BY educators, being held on June 14, 2023 at Orange High School! All district staff are encouraged to attend.



During this one-day education conference, teachers will have the opportunity to lead and attend professional development sessions to continue their growth and engagement in current district initiatives. Learn more here.



Every OCS staff member received an interest form and invitation. We are excited to see what our creative and innovative OCS educators will share with colleagues this summer! Staff with questions may contact their school’s Teacher of the Year representative or Mariah Morris, Director of Literacy for K-12.

Classified Staff Forum, March 24

The 2022-2023 school year has been filled with listening and learning since we began the year 100% in person and fully engaged. All staff gathered in schools and departments for a lively convocation to start the school year. 

Dr. Felder and district leaders have visited staff meetings in every OCS school, as well as forum discussions with students at all three high schools and the district’s Teachers of the Year.



On the teacher workday on March 24, all OCS classified staff will have an additional roundtable opportunity, meeting virtually from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. across the whole district via Zoom. Staff will receive updates on raises from the state and local budget, school calendars, and recruitment and retention bonuses. Then the floor will be open for questions and answers with feedback.



All classified staff will receive further updates via staff email. We are grateful for the huge contribution that OCS staff make to serve students every single day!

Peachjar Reminder – Digital Flyers

Beginning Tuesday, March 14, flyers from your school, district and approved community organizations will be sent digitally through Peachjar. You can expect to receive these flyers as images in your inbox where you can easily click to take action. 


As a reminder, no action is required. You will receive a welcome email from Peachjar once we launch. If you are not receiving this important communication after March 14, please contact your child(s) school to ensure your email address is correct in the student database.

Peachjar is used exclusively for the distribution of school and district-approved flyers only. Your email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

In order to ensure delivery of these notifications, please confirm that your email address is on file with the school district and add to your email contacts.

We look forward to providing you with important updates through this new communication tool!  



Stay informed of school board action. BOARD Matters is not meeting minutes, which must be approved at a later board meeting. Find meeting minutes HERE. Visit the OCS website to view the most current BOARD Matters.


Board Recognitions

Learn about Board agendas at the Board of Education websiteAn additional recognition was on the Board agenda for March 6, 2023:

  • Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) Showcase at Orange High School



Stay tuned in a future issue to learn more about how EOS is opening doors of access and support to help more students participate and succeed in rigorous classes during high school. 

The model of knowing every student and following their interests throughout their high school career to provide them with personalized growth opportunities is a hallmark of the program, and it makes a difference for students that we can already see in the first couple years of implementation.

Joint Meeting

The Orange County Board of Education joined the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education in a joint meeting with the Orange County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, March 9, 2023. 



This meeting takes place twice each year for school boards to present their top areas of growth and concern. Commissioners ask questions to better understand challenges faced by the two school boards today and into the future. 


Spring Flowers

Just outside our doors at 200 E. King Street and around every street corner, spring has sprung! What are you seeing in bloom where you live and go to school?



Share photos of spring blossoms at school or in your neighborhood! 

Use hashtag #OCSInspires or #OCSBlooms and we will find your post.




Governor’s Educator Discovery Award - Deadline March 31

The Governor’s Educator Discovery Awards recognize the value of quality professional development for teachers at all phases of their careers. The program will provide a stipend of up to $1,000 for preK-12 traditional public and public charter school teachers to pursue a professional development experience of their choosing. Teachers can use the grant award to attend a workshop or conference that deepens their subject area knowledge, such as a coding workshop for computer science teachers, or a session on how to create a project-based learning experience for students. 

Applications close March 31. Learn more and apply here.

PD Opportunity - Global Educator Digital Badge

Educators, if you’re looking for an opportunity that will help you integrate global education into curricula and build global competency in students, consider earning the Global Educator Digital Badge (GEDB)!

Educators can earn the GEDB by completing a professional development plan and a capstone project focused on embedding global education in instruction.

Learn more here.

Orange County, Climate Action Plan

A survey and a series of engagement sessions have been developed to help the County prioritize climate action strategies and identify ways we can work together to tackle climate change and meet the goal of 100% renewable energy. 

They will host a zoom meeting on Wednesday, March 15 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. You can register here. If you are unable to make the meeting, you can take the survey, also available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Burmese

All of this information may be found on the county’s Climate Action Plan page.

Questions? Contact Kristin Prelipp, Community Engagement and Public Information Officer, Orange County Community Relations Dept.

Community Wellness Event, Orange County DSS

Orange County Department of Social Services will host a community wellness event on Tuesday, April 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the parking lot of Hillsborough Commons (113 Mayo St.). There will be a fire truck, mammogram bus, smoothies and a whole lot of resources offered from various organizations and agencies in Orange County! See the flyer for details.




Enjoy inspiring posts at the accounts pictured below. Follow and share your favorite accounts, and help us connect with you. Let us know what we’re missing… and use hashtag #OCSInspires or tag Orange County Schools to join the conversation!


Our mission at Orange County Schools is to educate students in a safe, inclusive environment where we engage, challenge, and inspire them to reach their maximum potential.