Message from Orange Unified

February 24, 2023

In this Message

  • OUSD's YouTube Channel
  • National Merit Scholarship Finalists
  • Every Student Succeeding Award
  • Three OUSD VAPA Teachers Recognized by Orange County Music and Arts Administrators (OCMAA)
  • Remaining CIF Playoffs—Winter Season
  • High School Showcases: Orange & Canyon
  • What is Community Schooling?
  • California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA)
  • Now Enrolling for 2023-2024

Upcoming Events

  • March 2: Board of Education Meeting; Read Across America; Principal for a Day
  • March 7: Minimum Day - Elementary & Middle Schools; Special Education Parent Workshop
  • March 21: West Orange ES Open House; Handy ES Open House; Olive ES Open House; Fairhaven ES Open House
  • March 23: Portola MS Showcase/Open House; Yorba MS Showcase/Open House; El Rancho MS Showcase/Open House
  • March 24: Minimum Day - High Schools
  • March 27 – 31: Spring Break - No School
Communications Feedback Survey

Last call! Please help inform our communications efforts by filling out this survey. We appreciate your time and feedback! This survey closes on March 1.

OUSD's YouTube Channel

Did you know that we have a YouTube channel? Check out our videos featuring programs throughout the District, Board Meetings, school highlights, Measure S progress, graduation ceremonies and more at
Share your good news with us!

Please share details about the great things happening at your school! No fundraisers, please. *Individuals in images must be photo cleared.

National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Congratulations to Sebastian Barretto and Jason Chon, both from Canyon High School, who were announced as National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) Finalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Approximately half the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships awarded on a state-representational basis. Approximately 180 corporations and business organizations will provide about 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. NMSC underwrites scholarships with its own funds and by approximately 340 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Big picture

Every Student Succeeding

Each year, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) recognizes 19 students for overcoming odds and achieving success. The purpose of this award is to honor students who have succeeded beyond expectations or won the hearts of the administrators and other educators who helped them achieve their goals.

We are proud to share that Jaxon H. received the ACSA Every Student Succeeding Award for OUSD this year. Jaxon experienced multiple academic, environmental, and medical challenges in his educational career. Jaxon's story of survival is truly noteworthy and immensely heartwarming.

However, with the special education team's individualized planning and support, Jaxon developed the resilience that allowed him not to be defined by his challenges; but instead by his ability to manage the adversity he faced. He has worked hard to overcome and manage many challenges that he has been presented with.

Defying most logic, Jaxon has become one of the most successful students in our Aspire Special Education Program at Parkside Center. Currently, Jaxon is on track for graduation with a 3.2 GPA, attends school with consistency and intent, and has plans to seek a technical career in the medical field. Aside from his academic success, Jaxon is a kind, caring, and respectful young man. He has learned to advocate for himself and understands that he has so much human value to offer. He has taken charge of his innumerable concomitant challenges. Jaxon truly inspires us with his courage and resilience! Great job, Jaxon!

The ACSA Every Student Succeeding Award Ceremony is scheduled on March 3 at Bowers Museum.

The OC Music & Arts Administrators – 3 OUSD leaders in Arts Education

The Orange County Music and Arts Administrators (OCMAA) is dedicated to quality, equity, and access to arts programs for all students. These programs stem from comprehensive district arts plans, dynamic community collaborations, and inspired, informed leadership.

Earlier this month, three OUSD Elementary Visual and Performing Arts teachers were recognized by OCMAA at the 2023 OCMAA Awards Ceremony: Suzanne Fowler - Award Recipient for Elementary Visual Art Teacher 2023 Orange County Music & Arts Award; Emily Burkhart - Award Nominee for Orange County Music & Arts Awards, and Mio Sharp - Award Nominee for Orange County Music & Arts Awards. Congratulations to these OUSD leaders in arts Education!

OCMAA is a network of district leaders, community arts educators, businesses, and parents.

Santiago Middle School Receives the 2022 Civic Learning Award of Merit

Orange High School's JROTC Color Guard presented the colors at the state dinner.

Remaining CIF Playoffs—Winter Season

Canyon High School:

Boys Basketball, Division 1 CIF Semifinals-Lost 67-57 to Etiwanda HS on Fri. Feb. 17.

Qualified for State Boys Basketball Regional Playoffs. Playoff matchups will be assigned on Sunday, February 26.

Villa Park High School:

CIF Wrestling Masters:

--Roy Haroun (12) 3rd place in Masters—Qualified for CIF State Meet on Feb. 24 and 25.

--Kevin Cardenas (12) 5th place in Masters—Qualified for CIF State Meet on Feb. 24 and 25.

Girls Soccer CIF Division 1 Semifinal: Lost 1-0 to Santa Margarita HS on Fri. Feb. 17;

Pairings for Girls Soccer State Regional Playoffs are assigned Sunday morning, February 26.

Congratulations to all of our student-athletes!

High School Showcases: Orange & Canyon

Orange High School welcomed future Panthers, their parents, and our community to their 2023 Showcase on February 15. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the campus, including the new math and science building, and met teachers, program leaders, and coaches. During the evening, performing arts groups, including students from Cambridge, Handy, and West Orange Elementary Schools, California iInspire Academy, Portola Preparatory Academy and Middle School, and OHS, showcased their talents in the outdoor quad.

Canyon High School welcomed future Comanches, their parents, and our community to their 2023 Showcase on February 22. Like Orange High, they hosted student presentations from their family of schools, including Crescent, Nohl Canyon, and Imperial Elementary Schools, as well as various Canyon High School student performers and the International Baccalaureate Programme.

If you missed any of our showcases and would like to book a personal tour, please complete the interest form at or call Dr. Ken Miller at 714-628- 4350.

California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA)

The California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) of 2016 requires school districts to ensure that students receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education at least once in high school (grades 9-12) and once in middle school Grades 7-8).

State law allows parents/guardians the right to opt their students out of comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. Comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education are not taught in OUSD elementary schools.

You can learn more about comprehensive sexual health education on our website at

Now Enrolling for 2023-2024

Give your child the Orange Unified EDGE!

  • Preschool - Child Care - TK-12 Learning
  • Full-Day TK & Kindergarten at Each Elementary Site
  • EDGE Academy K-12 Online Learning Option
  • Elementary & Diploma IB Programmes
  • Dual Immersion Programs: Mandarin Chinese & Spanish
  • 1:1 Take Home Devices
  • 100% WASC-Accredited Middle & High Schools
  • Extensive Advanced Placement Course Offerings
  • Early College Enrollment
  • CIF Championship Athletics Teams
  • 25 Career Technical Education Pathways

To learn more or book a school tour, please visit or call 714-628-4350.

What is Community Schooling?

In 2022, The Orange Unified School District received a grant for over $15 million from the California Department of Education to create Community Schools at 11 of our elementary sites. A community school is any school serving Pre-Kindergarten through high school students using a “whole child” approach, with “an integrated focus on academics, health, and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.”

Each month, OUSD will update you on the Community Schooling initiative occurring at our 11 community school sites. This month, we introduce each of the Community School Leads and give a brief overview of their work. Check out the newsletter at

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