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Education programs and survey update: OCS Board of Education's first 2023 meeting


The Orange County Board of Education building, as pictured on Monday, March 28, 2022, is located on East King Street in Hillsborough.

The Orange County Schools Board of Education held its first meeting of 2023 on Monday to discuss Advancement Via Individual Determination program updates, review fall 2022 concussion reports and examine Panorama survey data from families and students.

What’s new?

  • Teacher vacancies at Gravelly Hill Middle School have raised concern and frustration among parents and teachers. Community member Polly Dornette and Gravelly Hill literacy coach Cristie Watson expressed their perspectives on the issue during public comment. 
    • “If we are to recruit and retain qualified teachers, we must be conscientious of our collective messaging,” Watson said. 
    • Watson added that all community members should reflect on the messages their words send and if these will help the school reach its goals.
    • “I will continue to come to every board meeting until every one of our students in Gravelly Hill is sitting in a classroom with a teacher every day,” Dornette said. 
    • Dornette also expressed her concern over the continuing vacancy of a seventh-grade math teacher position.
  • As part of OCS Strategic Plan Outcome Goal 1, chief academic officer Denise Greene presented an update on the Advancement Via Individual Determination program available to students in middle and high schools in Orange County. The AVID program aims to place students in a rigorous learning environment with a special emphasis on college preparation.
    • Efforts are being implemented to expand the program in 2023 and improve recruitment of students who opt-in to AVID. 
    • Schools and select district representatives will receive professional development to build capacity by 2024, according to Greene. 
    • By 2025, the Board is aiming to see improved student achievement measures given by the College and Career Readiness Framework through WICOR: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading. 
    • “AVID is a program to help kids be successful in school and in life,” AVID support coach Peter Jocys said.
  • Director of athletics Dwayne Foster and lead nurse Sylvia Compton presented the Fall 2022 Concussions & Head Injuries Report for both athletic and non-athletic related incidents.
    • The presented report showed that data fell within the typical threshold, with about five to 10 percent of student-athletes experiencing a concussion in their sports season. 
    • “Overall, where these injuries occur, for high school you’re seeing most of these occur in PE class. Middle school — we’re seeing PE and recess and for elementary school we’re seeing at recess and in the class,” Compton said.
    • Foster said while concussions and head injuries cannot be prevented, there are measures to prevent and minimize risks through education, awareness and using athletic equipment as intended.
  • The Panorama Family Perceptions Survey data was presented to the Board. The survey was sent out to families in both English and Spanish, detailing nine areas ranging from family engagement to school climate.
    • “I think you’ll see the results have been modest — something we can use but we do have a lot of goals on how to make sure we’re gonna get the most out of this process going forward,” Kevin Smith, chief public information officer, said. 
    • Survey completion was at about 50 percent, with 93 percent of respondents speaking English at home. Smith said this is a sample that is not representative of the actual school makeup.
    • The administration of the survey addresses the district’s Strategic Outcome Goal 4 to create safe, inclusive, racially, culturally and linguistically affirming and relevant spaces and experiences.
  • The Fall 2022 Social & Emotional Learning Competency Measures data was shared with the Board. The data found while the majority of students reported they had adults and friends they could trust, student emotional regulation was under 50 percent. 
    • Out of the 11 topics on the survey, three areas showed responses at an unfavorable rate. Those areas included diversity and inclusion, emotional regulation and social perspective-taking.
    • “It gives us an opportunity to tweak and change the curriculum that we’re giving them,” chief equity officer Lee Williams II said. “It gives us framework for conversation.”

What decisions were made?

  • The Board voted to renew Panorama Education’s contract for the 2022-2023 school year.
  • The Board approved a bid from Cross Painting for a $38,075 project to paint New Hope Elementary School.
  • OCS board member André Richmond was approved as the Board representative for the School Safety Task Force.
  • The Board approved a revision change for the 2022-2023 inclement weather plan to align the year-round calendar with the traditional school calendar for both the inclement weather makeup plan and optional teacher workdays for staff.

What’s next?

The Orange County Schools Board of Education will meet again on Jan. 23. 


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