Message from the Superintendent

Summer 2021 Edition

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In this Message

  • Instructional Materials Review
  • OUSD Communications Feedback Survey
  • Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year
  • Successful OPEB Bond Sale Results in District Savings
  • McPherson Magnet: Project Lead the Way Distinguished School
  • College Board Opportunity Scholarships
  • U.S. News & World Report's 2021 Best High Schools
  • Job Opportunities

Dear OUSD Community,

We are excited to share with you that we have been going through the process of instructional materials reviews of the following programs:

  • Transitional Kindergarten Curriculum – Savvas Three Cheers
  • Elementary Social Studies – TCI Social Studies Alive! (K-5) and TCI History Alive! (6)
  • High School Biology – Savvas California Miller & Levine Experience Biology: The Living Earth
  • High School Chemistry – Savvas California Experience Chemistry
  • Middle School Health – Positive Prevention Plus 2018
  • High School Health – APEX Extended Health

The review process for these adoptions is a critical component. We invite all parents/guardians to review the recommended programs at the Office of Curriculum & Instruction (1401 N. Handy St. Orange, Ca, 92867 - Building D) from June 7 – July 22, for approval at the July 22 Board of Education meeting. If you are interested in reviewing the materials, we can accommodate appointments both in-person and virtually for those unable to visit the district office. Please make your appointment by calling (714) 628-5452.

We are looking forward to receiving additional input on these programs. We value your partnership and participation in this process.

Warmest Regards,
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Now Enrolling New Students for 2021-2022

Click the button for information about enrolling your child in Orange Unified for the 2021-2022 school year. Continuing students will complete the data confirmation and registration process later this summer.

Orange Unified School District Communications Feedback Survey

As part of our quest for continuous improvement, we are interested in your feedback to help us assess our communications and outreach endeavors. Your input will be used to inform District communications outreach efforts for the 2021-2022 school year. The survey should take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions with us regarding our progress on EDGE Focus Area 2.0: Dedicated & Engaged Communication.
OUSD Communications Feedback Survey

Your input is valuable! Please click the button to take the OUSD Communications Feedback Survey.

Congratulations to Sydney Somerndike, 2020-2021 Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year!

Congratulations to Villa Park High School junior Sydney Somerndike for being named the 2020-21 Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year! Sydney is the first recipient of this award from Villa Park High School.

The Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Sydney as California’s best high school softball player.

Sydney has maintained a weighted 4.43 GPA in the classroom. She has made a verbal commitment to play softball on scholarship at the University of Arizona beginning in the fall of 2022.

To view Sydney’s official California Gatorade Softball Player of the Year webpage, visit

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Successful OPEB Bond Sale Results in District Savings

Due to sound financial planning, Orange Unified’s transaction completing the sale of the new Taxable Retirement Health Benefits Refunding Bonds, Series 2021A (“2021 OPEB”), will result in close to $5 million in savings to the District over the life of the bonds. In total, the combined actions taken in 2019 and 2021 by Orange Unified with regard to the 2008 OPEB bonds have resulted in a reduced OPEB debt repayment obligation from an estimated $111 million to $82 million moving forward. The direct result of this savings is additional funding that will go back into the classrooms to support student learning.

Many factors contributed to the successful sale of the bonds, including favorable movement in interest rates, a competitive bid sale, and an upgraded “Aa2” credit rating by Moody’s on the District’s 2021 OPEB bonds due to the District’s maintenance of strong and stable financial position, high OUSD resident income and property values, and proactive management of student enrollment with strategies to grow enrollment via dual-language and other enrichment programs.

Moving the remaining balance of the original variable interest rate 2008 OPEB bonds to fixed interest rate 2021 OPEB bonds provides the District with budgetary certainty for the OPEB debt repayment obligation by eliminating any potential peaks or valleys in the District’s total OPEB debt repayment obligation due to interest rate changes. The new 2021 OPEB bonds carry an average interest rate of 2.48%, which is lower than the 3.25% initially estimated.

The 2008 OPEB bonds were issued to pre-fund the District’s retiree medical and other health benefits obligation to eligible and former employees.

McPherson Magnet Achieves Project Lead the Way Distinguished School Status for their STEM Program

Orange Unified is proud to announce that McPherson Magnet School has been named a Project Lead the Way Distinguished School for both their elementary (Launch) and secondary (Gateway) programs for the third consecutive year. McPherson is one of only 158 schools across the U.S. to receive the honor for PLTW Launch and one of 310 schools for PLTW Gateway.

Launch (Elementary): The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, McPherson Magnet had to have more than 75 percent of the student body participating in the program and had to offer at least two PLTW Launch modules at each grade level during the 2019-20 school year.

Gateway (Middle School): The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, McPherson Magnet had to meet the following criteria:

  • Have more than 50 percent of the student body participating during the 2019-20 school year;
  • Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units;
  • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
  • Have strategies and supports in place that support reasonably proportional representation with regard to race, ethnicity, poverty, gender and can support such claims with relevant data.

“It is a great honor to recognize McPherson Magnet School for their unwavering commitment to provide students with an excellent educational experience despite the unusual circumstances and unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the educational landscape this past year,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, president and CEO of PLTW. “They should be very proud of their achievements in unlocking their students’ potential and equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in life beyond the classroom no matter what career path they choose.”

College Board Opportunity Scholarships

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program helps students stay on track with the college planning process while offering them chances for $500 scholarships for each college planning action they complete. When students complete all six steps, they earn a chance at a $40,000 scholarship. Students whose families earn less than $60,000 per year have double the chances to earn scholarships. Learn more at

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Job 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