Message from the Superintendent

November 1, 2021

In this Message

  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Plan

  • Mask Guidance Update

  • Measure S Update

  • EDGE Employee of the Month: Michelle Schmidt

  • Verizon Innovative Learning Schools

  • Preschool Students Learn About Environments

  • STEM Expands at Crescent Elementary

  • Red Ribbon Week

Upcoming Events

  • November 2: Non-Student Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • November 12: End of Trimester - Minimum Day, Elementary & Middle Schools
  • November 18: Board of Education Meeting
  • November 22 – November 26: Thanksgiving Break

Dear OUSD Community:

At their last meeting, our Board of Education meeting voted to approve the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Plan, which includes educational support programs and facilities improvements districtwide, such as multi-tiered systems of support, extended instruction time, classroom technology, and facilities updates such as gym renovations, restroom and technology upgrades, shade structures, water bottle filling stations and more. These will be funded by leveraging COVID and internal funds, with no impact on taxpayers. Additional information will be shared with our community and posted on the OUSD website as it becomes available.

We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff, and community by following the latest public health guidance. Most recently, California health officials announced that the indoor mask mandate for students and staff will remain in place as the state monitors conditions through the winter. Previously, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidance for K-12 schools that required students and staff to wear face coverings while they’re indoors on school campuses and said these requirements would be revised or eliminated by November 1. However, Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has deemed wearing masks while playing basketball, volleyball, water sports, wrestling, competitive cheerleading, and gymnastics has the potential to pose a choking hazard. As such, these activities are waived from the CDPH requirement for indoor mask use for students during play. Students who fall under this exemption will undergo weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing using an FDA authorized PCR or antigen test. Students with documentation of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are waived from the requirement for weekly surveillance testing.

In the same guidance provided by CDPH on July 12, schools were to limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission. Approved essential volunteers are limited to five per site per day and must verify their vaccine status as part of the approval process. In addition, all essential volunteers will be required to comply with the District established symptom screening methods, complete required Cal/OSHA and District trainings, and follow previous guidance with regard to Megan’s law, fingerprinting, and a tuberculosis (TB) risk assessment/examination as minimal requirements. At this time, visitors not tending to official business or authorized as a volunteer will not be permitted on a school campus.

Thank you for your support to keep our school community healthy.

Warmest Regards,

Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Orange Unified School District

OUSD Measure S Update - October 21, 2021

EDGE Employee of the Month: Michelle Schmidt

“YOU’VE GOT THE EDGE” Employee of the Month Recognition program has been designed with the District’s Core Values in mind. This program encourages outstanding customer service in the workplace in fulfillment of the District’s new Strategic Plan. It increases awareness of the goals and values as well as the importance and significance of outstanding performance.

The recipient of the “YOU’VE GOT THE EDGE” award for October 2021 is Michelle Schmidt, Senior Information System Specialist in Technology Services.

The Chapman Hills Staff Administration had this to say about Michelle:
“Michelle has an amazing work ethic, and she goes above and beyond on day-to-day tasks as well as tackling new and complex challenges. During the busiest times of the year, Michelle constantly displays her ability to be an invaluable source of Aeries support.”

Technology Services Manager Joshua Holmes said of Michelle:
“She is resilient and reliable under high-pressure moments, displaying an ability to adjust to the district’s needs while maintaining our student information systems’ integrity. Thank you, Michelle, for truly being a difference-maker; always diligently supporting our district’s instruction and learning.”

Congratulations Michelle! The Board of Education thanks you for your dedication and devotion to the Orange Unified School District.

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Portola & Yorba Middle Schools Selected as First Verizon Innovative Learning Schools in O.C.

Preschool Students Learn About Environments

OUSD preschool students have been learning about different environments. Early learners made coral reef plants out of various everyday materials. This activity was a culmination of the ideas they gathered about the ocean and through pictures of coral reefs based upon the book Let’s Visit A Coral Reef. Students were able to make real-world connections and apply them to their projects. The coral reef plants are one piece of a larger oceanic environment that the students build in their classrooms. At the end of the unit, students have the opportunity to share with their families all that they have learned about the ocean.

STEM Expands at Crescent Elementary

The Crescent Elementary STEM program has expanded to focus on biomedical studies while incorporating hands-on science and problem-solving experiences for all students.

Recently, sixth-grade students demonstrated their understanding of the design process by collaboratively creating an ankle/foot orthosis (AFO) prototype for a patient with cerebral palsy. As part of the lesson, students were provided a real-world situation and encouraged to explore solutions together to develop a prototype, allowing students were to see this project through the eyes of a specialist working to create an AFO prototype for a child with cerebral palsy.

Sixth-grade student Mia Van Diest shared about her experience, “I thought the STEM lab lesson was a lot of fun, and it was challenging since we had a limited amount of supplies to use for the prototype.”

At the completion of the AFO, students shared the steps of their design process and their final product.

Crescent has added a STEM teacher and adopted Project Lead the Way to facilitate the expansion of their STEM program.

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week takes place each year from October 23 through 31 and reinforces the importance of being drug-free.

California Causality’s Educator’s Jackpot

Congratulations to Prospect Elementary’s Leigh Lantz on winning California Causality’s Educator’s Jackpot! It’s wonderful to see our educators being appreciated.

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Employment Opportunities

Orange Unified School District is gearing up for its Spring recruiting and hiring initiative. Are you interested in a profession that makes a positive impact in the community? If so, please visit our website at to view a vast array of employment opportunities that span from entry-level to upper management, classified, and certificated. Join the Orange Unified family and Inspire our learners of today to be purposeful leaders of tomorrow.

Connect with Us

We invite you to take a moment to follow Orange Unified on social media to receive the District’s latest news and announcements. Social media may also be a critical line of communication during emergencies and will be an excellent place for you to get up to date information: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube