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OCS Connections for March 17, 2023



OCS Connections 2023 #8
for March 17, 2023 


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

Now Hiring! Work for OCS

Spring Break – Traditional Calendar, March 24 - April 2

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


Top 10!




BOARD Matters

  • Meeting March 20 – Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

  • Special Called Meeting April 3 – Public Hearing on Budget


Peachjar is Live


Staff and Community Updates


Social Scene




One-stop shop, April 15 at Cedar Ridge High School: 

  • Apply for ALL OCS job openings – classified and certified

  • Interview, meet with supervisors and principals

  • Obtain a provisional job offer… all in one day!

Pre-register now and tell a friend to visit to make their reservation today!






Current OCS employees, click here or the image below for details and to participate in the staff referral program! 

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 →




Spring Break – Traditional Calendar, March 24 - April 2

Schools are closed for students on the traditional calendar from Friday, March 24 to Sunday, April 2, 2023. Friday, March 24 is an optional teacher workday for staff. All schools and sites will be closed to the public from Saturday, March 25 until schools reopen on both the year-round and traditional calendars Monday, April 3. See this year’s calendar and new calendars for the next two school years on the OCS website.

(Note: An earlier version of this page had the wrong date for Spring Break. This page has been corrected.)


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

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 may choose 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.




Family Expo – Saturday, 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

  • Family resource fair, and a

  • Cultural showcase with displays from all over the globe



Attend, and also participate! Bring items to celebrate your cultural roots, and explore cultures around the world. Learn about local summer programming options and connect with resources for all families in Orange County. 

Families of OCS students or staff – Visit our easy registration form to reserve a table for your display. We would love to have at least one table from every school on April 15! Learn more and get full details here on the OCS website.


NCCAT CTE Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Cedar Ridge High School Family & Consumer Science teacher, Ms. Beth Ball, for being chosen by her peers to represent Orange County Schools as the 2022-2023 CTE NCCAT Teacher of the Year for our district!



OCS Night of Poetry – Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Orange County Schools is getting ready for a special “OCS Night of Poetry” that you will not want to miss! 



Ms. Jaki Shelton Green, the North Carolina Poet Laureate and a native of Efland, NC, has partnered with OCS to create this program – first of its kind in North Carolina – to raise awareness and love of poetry through poetry clubs, and the naming of “Youth Poet Laureates” in our high schools:

  • Wednesday, April 5, 2023 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Cedar Ridge High School.

  • Student poets from Cedar Ridge, Orange, and Partnership Academy High Schools will read original poetry.

  • Local authors including Cortlan Gilliam (Chapel Hill Poet Laureate), Liz Wolff-Francis (Carrboro Poet Laureate), Jennifer Daniels (Hillsborough Poet) will attend and read original poems.

  • Youth Poet Laureates for each high school and an overall OCS Youth Poet Laureate will be named at the event.

  • Other education leaders will be in attendance, including NC Teachers of the Year and a representative from the Dudley Flood Center at the Public School Forum of North Carolina.



Equal Opportunity Schools Showcase

Students of color and low-income students are consistently and systematically under-enrolled in the most academically intense high school courses. More than three-quarters of a million students in U.S. high schools are qualified for but are missing from Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. These students are disproportionately students of color and/or low-income students. 

Because such racial and economic access gaps persist in U.S. high schools, Orange County Schools (OCS) strategically entered into partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) in 2021 in order to directly address and correct this.

Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) collaborates with school systems to increase equitable enrollment in rigorous courses. 



EOS has helped nearly 800 schools in 250 districts across 33 states to identify students of color and low-income students who qualify for, but are missing from, AP and/or IB classes, and OCS is proud to be among them.

Following an EOS showcase at Orange High School with presentations from program representatives, students, and staff on how and why the program works, the Board of Education heard a presentation on March 6 about the difference a network of support can make in a student’s mindset and academic journey. 



Ms. Laurie Carr, Chief of Schools and Achievement, joined Principal Jason Johnson, Assistant Principal Tenisha Williamson, teacher and mentor Xavier Adams, and junior Samiya Baldwin from Orange High School to bring testimony and share initial results. There has been an increase of almost 50% in student requests for AP/IB courses from targeted students between 2021 and 2022 (from 113 to 165)! 

The EOS partnership is helping more students enroll and persist in rigorous courses in our high schools. More good news is sure to follow, and we appreciate our partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools.


CRHS Theatre – The Infinite Wrench, Friday-Saturday


The Infinite Wrench is on stage, written and performed by the Cedar Ridge High School Theatre Company, March 17 and 18th at 7:00 pm at CRHS. Don’t miss it!




OHS Winter Guard & Percussion Ensemble Break Ground

We have more Arts news to share than there is space in these pages, but here are two ensembles breaking new ground… 


This season (competitions started in February) is OHS Winter Guard’s first time competing in “SRA1” class since being promoted, and Winter Percussion’s first time competing in school history. Here’s the latest news:


“The OHS Winter Guard and Winter Percussion Ensemble have done it again! Both groups received 1st Place today in their respective classes at the AIA Competition at Panther Creek! And shoutout to Percussion for their first place three-peat!”



“The Winter Guard and Winter Percussion Ensemble perform next at AIA Championships at the Crown Coliseum on March 25th and 26th. Come cheer on our history making groups!” 

Learn more and follow the Orange High School Band page on Facebook.



“Stars of OCS” Education Conference – June 14

The return of an OCS “summer education conference BY educators FOR educators” is less than three months away! 

During this one-day education conference on June 14, 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 Forum, Teacher Workday March 24

On the March 24 teacher workday, all OCS classified staff will have a roundtable opportunity to meet virtually with Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder and district staff from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. across the whole district via Zoom. 



Classified staff members 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!


World Down Syndrome Day, March 21

Orange County Schools will mark World Down Syndrome Day on Tuesday, March 21. Learn more and follow WDSD.

Share the news and send a #LotsOfSocks reminder to make sure everyone knows why you are wearing eye-catching socks next Tuesday. You can also download resources including posters and coloring sheets from the official #WorldDownSyndromeDay website. See you with #LotsofSocks next week!




Author Kwame Alexander at GHMS! 

Once you have ever attended an assembly or book event with author Kwame Alexander, you will never forget it. For many young readers, his books – 38 of them in all – are among the first they read of their own accord, turning page after page.



Verse, poetry, rhythm, and flow carry stories that are often difficult and challenging to hear. While he is producing a new TV show based on his breakout book “The Crossover,” Alexander also read to students at Gravelly Hill from a very recent book, “An American Story” where he was also joined by illustrator Dare Coulter.



Together, they explained how art, culture, history, and empathy come together in the making of a book on any topic – from basketball to the Middle Passage. There was also abundant joy for students and staff who engaged in poetry contests with the author. 



The whirlwind visit began with a parade from the front door to the tune of “The Kwame Funk” written and performed by Gravelly Hill students. It peaked with call-and-response poetry and selfies for everyone in the audience before it was time to say goodbye and send the author on to his next scheduled visit.



We look forward to seeing Kwame Alexander in our schools again soon, and congratulations to all the students and staff at GHMS who enjoyed a very exciting day that is still ringing in the halls!






March is Music and Arts in Our Schools Month!

If you are not following OCS Cultural Arts on Twitter and Instagram, you are missing daily posts to lift up a new teacher and program every day in March! 



The All-County Middle School Chorus concert on Thursday night at A. L. Stanback and “A Night of Comedy” with the Orange Middle School Drama Club are just some of the many ways arts students, teachers, and programs are shining this month. 


Don’t miss out! Follow the accounts and enjoy the performances!




March is Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration by presidential proclamation and began on March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated March as “Women’s History Month.” Since 1995, presidents have issued annual proclamations designating March as “Women’s History Month.” 


OCS recently featured a post on social media about Dr. Christine Darden, a native of Monroe, NC, who worked and led at NASA for over four decades. Her story is inspirational for young women and women of color in STEM, as she went from being one of the “human computers” in the space program to being an engineer after addressing discrimination in her workplace.


“Why is it that the women and men who come in with the same background are assigned different jobs?” she asked a NASA director. And the rest truly is history.





Dr. Darden and her story are known to Orange County Schools. She addressed students at the former C. W. Stanford Middle School in 2018 on her journey of public service and leadership, including her work in the field of high lift wing design in supersonic flow, and the science of minimizing “sonic booms.”

During Women’s History Month, we join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

Whose story would you like to see in our next post for Women’s History Month and the March 24 newsletter? Let us know.


OHS Runners Represent – Nike Indoor Nationals

Three runners from Orange High School ran last weekend at The Armory, a hallowed venue for indoor track, to compete in the Nike Indoor Nationals. 



Myles Jerymn (left) and Lucas Van Mater (right) competed in the freshman mile where they took 14th and 28th respectively. Junior Gabe Schmid competed in the open two-miler, taking 2nd in his heat and 7th overall with a new school record and personal best of 9:09. 


Congratulations to OHS Panthers track and field, and thanks Coach Brian Schneidewind for the above photo!


Cameron Lloyd, Conference Player of the Year

Cedar Ridge Volleyball and Red Wolves senior Cameron Lloyd earned another top honor – 3A Central Conference Player of the Year! Lloyd is preparing to play volleyball for Bucknell University in the fall. Congratulations on this recognition of a great season for Cameron and for CRHS!



Look out below: #PiDay 3/14, #DLDay 3/15, and more…

When we try to highlight the Top 10 stories, it means the Social Scene (below) will feature amazing posts from moments and dates we haven’t even fully explored yet. Did you enjoy Pi Day on 3/14? So did these folks! 




Keep scrolling for joyful views shared by our staff, teams, clubs, and schools, and if you see that we’re missing something, please let us know here.



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.


Upcoming Board Meetings

Learn about Board agendas at the Board of Education website

The Board of Education’s next regular business meeting is Monday, March 20, 2023 in the Donna Baker Meeting Room at the Whitted Human Services Building, 300 W. Tryon Street, Hillsborough, NC. Closed session begins at 6:00pm. Open session begins at 7:00pm. See details here.

There will be a Special Called Meeting on Monday, April 3, for a public hearing on the budget in the Donna Baker Meeting Room at the Whitted Human Services Building. The meeting is scheduled from 7:00 - 10:00 pm.

Peachjar is Live! School Flyers


Peachjar is now delivering flyers for schools and community organizations to OCS families. These flyers will arrive as images in your inbox where you can easily click to take action and learn more! Visit to learn more!



As a reminder, no action is required. If you are not receiving communications via Peachjar, 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!  





Families – Make Your Voice Heard

Comment on New Child Nutrition Standards through April 10

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced a proposed rule, Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent With the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans" which contains new regulations regarding school breakfast, school lunch, summer meals, and more. 

The standards are available for public comment until April 10. Stakeholders are encouraged to review the proposed rule and related materials and submit comments on how the proposed regulations will impact School Nutrition Programs, public school units, students, and staff. USDA will review and record all comments submitted. The number of comments received makes a tremendous difference in the outcome. Every voice matters!


Teachers – STEM Enrichment Program Application

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Student STEM Enrichment Program Accepting Applications Through June 9

The Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in Burrough Wellcome Fund's (BWF) home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. Since the program's inception in 1996, BWF has awarded 275 grants totaling $41.4 million to 130 organizations that reach more than 43,000 North Carolina students.

Learn more and apply here. Applications close on June 9 at 3 p.m.


K-12 Science Standards, All-Stakeholder Survey

The NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) seeks feedback from educators, families, and other stakeholders on the latest draft of revised K-12 Science Standards, to inform any additional revisions (changes, clarifications, additions, deletions, or replacements) to the draft standards.

Click here to enter the survey. There is a page for each grade level, with about 10 questions on each page. Review as many levels as you choose, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Orange County Schools is in the North Central Region, or District 3. The survey will close at 11:59pm on Sunday, March 26, 2023.


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

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 EnglishChineseSpanish 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.




Kindergarten and All New Student Registration, Grades K-12:

Visit our enrollment page to learn more and use our new, easy registration process.


Pre-K Registration Now Open!

Download an OCS Pre-K application for high-quality early childhood education.


Update Your Contact Information:

Complete this form to update your contact information easily.







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 missingand 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.