We, as an Orange County family, have surely encountered a most trying set of circumstances during the past few months. We thank the students, parents, and community for their support and understanding as we have augmented our practices to meet the changing times that have been placed upon us through what the scientific research community has continued to discover about the novel coronavirus.

We have closed the 2019-2020 school year with celebrations of graduation, promotion ceremonies, and Teachers of the Year recognitions. This closure brings us to the immediate preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. Preparation has already begun for learning solutions that embrace whatever guidance Governor Northam suggests.

As we prepare for next year, we are also mindful of the recent violent high profile deaths of African Americans. It continues to be our mission in Orange County Public Schools to love every student who enters our doors and to provide them a voice. To ensure we stay mindful, we will continue to inform our practice as suggested in our ongoing Culturally Responsive Teaching study. This is a journey that we have embraced together for the past two years. Given the culmination of events with COVID-19 and social unrest, we are also introducing Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ book The Deepest Well. We, as educators, believe this will be another tool to create a common vocabulary around an important socio-emotional healing.

Orange County Public Schools will be that safe place for all who enter. If a student of any age believes they’re safe and that they have a voice, then that student will be well equipped to inform us where we need to be as a society. We look forward to growing into a stronger and more inclusive Orange County Public Schools with you!