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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County Board of Education discusses school reassignment, codes of conduct

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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 met on Dec. 4 at the Board of Education office in Hillsborough to discuss school reassignment and teacher support.

What’s new?

  • Thomas Dudley, program manager of the Operations Research and Education Laboratory, presented a new draft of a school district reassignment map, which is meant to address overcrowding between elementary and high schools.
    • He said the difference between this draft and the previous two was that there were not as many students from Pathways Elementary and Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary was reassigned, which balanced the number of students in each school.
    • Board member Will Atherton expressed confusion about the draft. He said that the board discussed the topic in previous meetings and decided not to pass it.
  • Some community members spoke during public comment about school district reassignment. Speakers asked board members to keep their neighborhoods assigned to certain schools.
    • “It’s hard to conceive how the maps are logically drawn, and I don’t understand how they, frankly, lack a bit of human touch and understanding,” community member Peter Maddox said.
  • Orange County Schools staff presented Policy 4305, a revision of the Code of Student Conduct. The new policy will remove separate conduct policies upon its adoption, and the existing policies will be consolidated.
    • “The other code was a little more rigid in that there were consequence ranges, and you were confined to those ranges," board attorney Neal Ramee said. "This code allows for departures from, in some cases, from one tier to another if there are aggravating or mitigating factors."
    • The board made a motion to approve the policy, contingent on feedback from stakeholders.
  • Connie Brimmer-Kaltz, Orange County Schools director of staffing and licensure, provided an update on the Beginning Teacher Support Program in Orange County.
    • She said one of the challenges the program is facing is a slot shortage. She said the program spoke with the OCS director of federal programs to see if they can maximize their funds next year to acquire additional spots.
    • Brimmer-Kaltz also said the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program is interested in making Orange County Schools the model for other districts. 

What’s changed?

  • The board approved proposed changes to Orange County Schools’ 2024-2025 academic calendar, including adjusting language such as “teacher” to “staff” to be more inclusive and moving workdays to align with the traditional or year-round academic calendar.
  • Board member Sarah Smylie requested a version of the calendar for families be posted on the Orange County Schools’ website that is simple, direct and does not use a lot of colors.
    • "This is just much more complex than earlier iterations that we had from a parent perspective, I have to look at this calendar and be like, 'That red one, what does red mean?' and look at the code," Smylie said.
  • The board also approved a fund balance appropriation for un-budgeted items, including 2024 high school graduations and charter enrollments, after the Board of County Commissioners did not include them in the current fiscal year.

What’s next?

  • The board will meet again after their winter break on Jan. 8, 2024 in the Whitted Building in Hillsborough at 6 p.m.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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