Message from the Superintendent of Schools

April 2019

          California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond visited Jordan Elementary School and inspired staff with his life story exemplifying the power of public education, turned story time for K-2 students into a wonderful teaching moment about kindness,  explored the innovative opportunities offered to students in Jordan’s STREAM Lab, and engaged in a conversation with District leadership to address how the state can better support Orange Unified schools by reforming the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to make it more equitable.

          Elected to serve as California’s top K-12 educator this past November, Thurmond also used the appearance as an opportunity to reinforce his vision for public education, stating, “Our kids are more than a number. They are more than a test score. We need to show them that they are number one and we start by increasing funding for districts like Orange and schools like Jordan.” 

          This funding allows for the creation of specialized programs and school wide improvements that are critically important since  nearly 89 percent of its 422 students are currently eligible for the free/reduced lunch program, based on their socioeconomically disadvantaged status, and nearly 64 percent of the students are identified as English language learners.

            Invited to visit Jordan’s campus by Principal Lorena Rubio, Superintendent Thurmond received a grand welcome from students and teachers alike. Thurmond began his visit in the school’s library, where he was welcomed by OUSD Trustees Kris Erickson, Brenda Lebsack, Kathryn Moffat and Andrea Yamasaki, along with OUSD’s executive leadership team, Orange Unified Education Association, representatives the Orange County Department of Education, Jordan’s parent volunteers, and community members.

            Thurmond later donned an oversized Cat in the Hat top hat and delighted more than 60 students from Jordan’s TK, special education, first and second grade classes with his animated reading of two books the students had chosen. What could have been the simple telling of stories quickly transformed into highly engaging teaching moments about self-esteem, kindness and acceptance, with enthusiastic students chiming in on how to champion positivity and kindness.

          “Jordan Elementary is a wonderful example of our OUSD schools. We have raised achievement levels and the students are excelling, but there are always opportunities for us to get better,” said OUSD Superintendent of Schools Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D. “Today we have a unique chance to tell that story to Mr. Thurmond. He has always been an advocate for schools like Jordan and the programs that make them successful. We are going to utilize the opportunity to speak with him directly about additional resources to take that success further.”

More information about Jordan Elementary School is available online at https://www.orangeusd.org/jordan-academy

Click HERE for the audio version. 

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• To see video of the Superintendent Thurmond’s visit to Jordan Elementary School, click here.

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

 

 

 

December 2018

It is an exciting time in Orange Unified as student achievement continues to increase, athletic teams are competing at higher levels, and work is underway to construct new facilities at our four high schools. Our motto for this school year is Building Success because it perfectly reflects the great strides we are making in every measurable aspect of our academics, facilities and operations.

OUSD students are thriving as we continue to launch new programs to prepare them for successful college, career, and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) experiences. We are providing students with unique opportunities starting in elementary school and building upon those experiences through our middle school programs, high school career pathways, and early college classes. Each step builds our students’ skills and knowledge to set them up for success beyond our doors.

While Measure S is allowing us to build state-of-the-art STEM classrooms at our high schools, OUSD has also invested additional funds to improve school athletic facilities. From new playing fields and all-weather tracks, to tennis courts and new learning spaces, we are creating campus environments that are exciting for students and a source of pride for our communities. We are grateful for the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who worked diligently to ensure the passage of Measure S in 2016 and to the voters in the communities that we serve for agreeing that our students deserve modernized facilities.

Visit www.OrangeUSD.org for news and updates on construction, facilities updates, and signature practices our schools are using to prepare students for future careers and college. We think you will agree that OUSD is truly Building Success.

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

 

October 2018

 

       Excellent schools and modern facilities are critical to quality neighborhoods and have a direct correlation with higher property values.  Voters within the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) community recognized this fact when they approved Measure S by 62.5% in 2016.   The centerpiece of the bond is the improvement our four aging comprehensive high school facilities with the construction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) labs and the investment of state-of-the-art computer technology and science equipment.  The construction has already begun on the new science building at Orange High School. The new science centers at Villa Park, Canyon and El Modena High Schools will begin later this year and in early 2019.

     Because OUSD is fiscally conservative, we used our top AAA credit rating and a competitive bidding process between underwriters to save $4.7 million compared to original projections.  These savings were directly passed on to our local taxpayers and will allow us to stretch our dollars to further repair and modernize our high schools.

     The Measure S bond is not only overseen by OUSD’s Board of Education, but also by an appointed independent Citizens Oversight Committee.  Committee members include small business owners, a retired banker, the President and CEO of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, current and former elected officials from our cities and county, a PTA representative and a public finance attorney.  These financial professionals and community stakeholders have a deep understanding of bonds, taxes, and economics. They are required by law to review annual, independent financial and performance audits of the bond program. In addition, the District staff are in constant contact with legal counsel and external auditors to ensure program expenditures are in compliance with Measure S and adhering to the contract made with our community.

     In addition, to modernizing our high schools’ science labs, career training facilities, libraries and computer systems, Measure S requires the school district to set aside other, non-bond monies, to ensure funding will be available for ongoing maintenance of the facilities to protect the taxpayers’ investment. 

     None of the bond money goes toward salaries or benefits of any teachers or administrators.   

     On March 8, 2018, the chairperson of the Citizens Oversight Committee, Villa Park Councilwoman Diana Fascenelli, delivered the Annual Fiscal and Performance Audit of the operations related to the Measure S bond and reported that everything was in order.  Like our Board of Education meetings, the Citizen Oversight Committee meetings are open to the public, the agendas and minutes are posted to our website, and all are welcome to attend.   

    We pride ourselves on our transparency and accountability.  All presentations and monthly progress reports regarding the expenditures for Measure S are posted to the District’s website at www.orangeusd.org/measure-s.

     With the passage of Measure S, the District is now eligible for state matching funds. With the appointment of our new, highly experienced Chief Business Officer, David Rivera, the District has prioritized obtaining additional funding from the state of up to $60 million to provide even more improvements to our campuses. Prior to passing Measure S, these funds were being awarded to other districts because OUSD lacked the required matching funds. As the Superintendent, it is one of my top priorities to provide efficient and effective management to ensure quality facilities for our high school students.  With the oversight and involvement of both the publicly elected Board members and the Citizens Oversight Committee, we are keeping the projects on time and under budget. 

     Since joining the OUSD family in 2010, I have had countless conversations with current and former students, parents, and community stakeholders about our aging facilities. Our students and communities deserve school facilities that parallel any in Orange County. Measure S projects and the additional investments being made on our campuses will have long-lasting community benefits, enhance the educational environment, and improve property values.

     Orange Unified School District, in partnership with our taxpayers, is building a vision that address the needs of our students and our community for the next 50 years.

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

August 2018

Dear Parents and Community Members,

Welcome to Orange Unified School District! It is an exciting time within the District as we begin modernization of current facilities and construction of state-of-the-art science centers at each comprehensive high school. OUSD’s Facilities & Maintenance Departments are also updating our athletic fields and will be starting the process to renovate Fred Kelly Stadium. You will see a lot of construction at our schools, so please check our website for updates on facilities and Measure S schedules.

We are also excited to be launching new programs and services, continuing to prepare students for successful college, career and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) experiences. Orange Unified Schools provide a balanced instructional experience with continual innovation to ensure our students are able to compete in the global marketplace. The District’s teachers and principals are providing a rigorous instructional program that engages all students in deeper levels of collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. We believe that “what’s best for our students comes first and foremost,” and we continue to push for greater levels of success within our organization. 

This coming school year will provide more personalized learning opportunities than at any other time in the history of the District. Our comprehensive Career Technical Education (CTE) program offers students classes in digital music, aviation, computer aided design (CAD), finance and business, robotics, marketing, fire science, crime scene investigation, marketing, and film making, just to name a few. In addition to these secondary course offerings, the District will be facilitating an expanded CTE program in our middle schools next year.

Award-winning schools and academic success are due to the dedicated and talented people who contribute throughout the planning and implementation of strategic goals. Every one of our dedicated employees strives to lead the District to greater levels of achievement. Orange USD faculty members are lifelong learners, demonstrating high levels of care and commitment to student academic and socio-emotional needs. Support staff serves in multiple capacities to ensure successful day-to-day operations, and the leadership team acknowledges the value of professional development and service to students and families.  Our community and business leaders are also committed to the excellent education provided by the Orange Unified team - as evidenced in their overwhelming support for Measure S - which we are now seeing come to life on our high school campuses. The success of each and every student is a collaborative effort between all stakeholders in the process of teaching and learning.

Parental and community support are essential for maximizing the learning experience of students.  I encourage each of you to work in partnership with teachers and principals to provide students with positive educational experiences.  Additionally, I urge you to provide input to our annual LCAP development process by sharing feedback at your school.

Please stay up-to-date on Measure S construction, the progress of our innovative educational programs, and other important District communications by visiting the website at www.orangeusd.org and following us on social media.

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

 

 

Audio Version


 

April 2018

Overview of Educational Technology Department Programs

Orange Unified School District has a cutting edge Educational Technology Department that offers professional development programs to increase access to and promote purposeful integration of technology in classrooms across the district. The team support teachers as they move through their initial emerging use of technology to fully integrated implementation in a student-driven classroom. All of our programs meet teachers where they are at in this continuum to support their further development.

                In 2013, the iTeach program began. This program provides classroom teachers with iPads to enhance classroom instruction and student learning. The purpose of this program is to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, design & develop digital age learning experiences and assessments, model digital age work and learning, and engage in professional growth and leadership This process is facilitated by an instructional coach who works with the teacher each week for approximately 12 weeks as the teacher completes tasks to create a blended learning environment.

                The eBadge program began in 2014 to provide teachers with one device that allowed them to explore and learn. Over three years, teachers had the opportunity to explore Chromebooks, HP Streams, and mini iPads. This program required all teachers to demonstrate fluency with the device by completing requirements focused on classroom integration and digital work.

                That same year, iLearn began to increase classroom access to technology. This program provides a loaner cart to teacher teams to be used daily in the classroom. The devices allow teachers the opportunity to create 21st century, blended learning environments where students will develop technology skills for college and career readiness. Teachers choose their area of interest and guide their own professional development while utilzing the cart.

                In 2015, the 1:1 program kicked off to increase access and integration in our schools. Instructional coaches work with teachers daily at their school sites and in their classroom to build best practices for classroom instruction and to help teachers move along the technology use continuum through personalized professional learning plans. The program continues to expand each year, and next year the team will move to supporting the entire school’s technology initiatives.

                Last year, the iPilot program was introduced to provide teachers the opportunity to receive a variety of instructional technology tools for their classroom use in exchange for providing feedback on lesson integration. This program has allowed our teachers to access coding devices, drones, and various other tools.

                Next year, the technology will introduce the iLead program. This program will allow our teachers to design their professional development through a grant writing process focused on student achievement. The teachers will identify a need, implement a solution, and work through the collaborative cycle of effective instruction with an instructional coach to improve student achievement. As this program continues to grow, we will foster a collaborative culture at school sites and across the district focused on sharing best practices for improving student achievement.

March 5, 2018

Dear OUSD Parents and Community Partners –
 

The impact of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida has reverberated on school campuses throughout the nation, prompting concerns about school safety. 
 

Many of our students have expressed an intention to participate in a publicized nationwide school walkout for 17 minutes - starting at 10:00 a.m. on March 14 - in response to gun violence and in remembrance of the 17 Florida victims. The nationwide walkout is student-driven and voluntary.  The event is not sponsored by Orange Unified School District nor any of its schools. However, principals, District staff and student leaders are meeting to ensure a peaceful event should students decide to participate.
 

Orange Unified respects the First Amendment rights of our students to support a cause and express their opinions provided they adhere to District and school guidelines:

  • All activities must remain peaceful
  • Students may not leave campus
  • Students must stay in designated areas and not disrupt the educational environment for other students and staff
  • After 17 minutes, students must return to class when instructed by school staff
     

To further student safety, individuals who are not on official school business will not be allowed on campus to participate in the walkout. As is our current protocol, all visitors or school volunteers must check in with the school’s front office. Our number one priority at Orange Unified is the safety and well-being of all our students.
 

OUSD has received legal guidance from the Orange County Department of Education that school districts may provide appropriate time-and-place alternatives to ensure minimal disruption of the instructional process.  Principals from schools that are aware of planned student walkouts will be contacting their parent communities in the coming week to provide information about their campus. We understand how important and impactful this issue is to children and families, and we encourage honest and frank conversations with your children. 
 

OUSD will be holding an Active Shooter Response Training for Parents  on Tuesday, March 6, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the gym at Canyon High School, 220 S. Imperial Highway, Anaheim.  Please note, this event features mature content and is not suitable for children.  We encourage parents to attend tomorrow’s presentation where law enforcement representatives will be available to discuss student safety
 

Thank you for your continued support of our schools and community.
 

Sincerely,

Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools
 

Click HERE for a PDF of the Superintendent's official letter.

Leer la carta en Español aqui.

 


February 15, 2018

Dear OUSD Community:

We are all deeply saddened by yesterday's school shooting tragedy at the Broward County High School. As a collective school community, we mourn for the lives lost and those affected by this tragic event.

Today, you may notice police vehicles on or in the vicinity of your campus. This is not necessary indicative of a problem, but law enforcement agencies serving our schools often plan increased presence on the day after such a devastating incident to show solidarity and commitment to school safety. The Orange Unified School District tremendously values the partnership with our local law enforcement, fire/rescue and first responders.

Rest assured that the District takes school safety seriously and there are strong emergency plans in place at all schools and support sites where our protocols are consistently practiced and refined.  Below are some resources you may wish to use and share if questions come up regarding a national crises and the social emotional impact on students.

http://www.ocde.us/Search/results.aspx?k=school%20shooting%20response

http://newsroom. ocde.us/five-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-helpinq-kids-cope-with-crisis/

We value the hard work of school staff to provide a safe and secure learning environment.  Please do not hesitate to contact District staff for any support!

Kindest regards,
Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

See the Superintendent's letter by CLICKING HERE.

 

Additional Resources:

Talking to Children About Violence

Talking to Children About Violence: Infographic

Talking to Children About Violence: Spanish

Managing Strong Emotional Reactions


15 de febrero del 2018

Estimada comunidad del OUSD:

Estamos profundamente entristecidos por el trágico tiroteo escolar ocurrido ayer en la escuela Broward County. Como parte de una comunidad escolar unida, lamentamos la perdida de tantas vidas y nos unimos al sufrimiento de todos los afectados por esta tragedia.

Hoy ustedes notarán algunas patrullas de policía cerca de su escuela. Esto no significa que hay un problema, sino que las agencias protectoras incrementan su presencia en los planteles escolar el día después de una tragedia, para demostrar su solidaridad y compromiso de mantener las escuelas seguras. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Orange valora enormemente la asociación con las agencias protectoras locales, los bomberos y los rescatistas.

Le aseguramos que el Distrito toma muy en serio la seguridad y tiene un plan de emergencia establecido en todas las escuelas y sitios educativos, el cual practicamos y mejoramos constantemente. Abajo encontrará algunos recursos que puede usar y compartir si tiene preguntas referentes a crisis nacionales y el impacto social y emocional en los estudiantes.

http://www.ocde.us/Search/results.aspx?k=school%20shooting%20response

http://newsroom. ocde.us/five-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-helpinq-kids-cope-with-crisis/

Nosotros valoramos el gran esfuerzo que el personal escolar hace para mantener un ambiente de aprendizaje seguro y protegido. Por favor comuníquese con el personal del Distracto si necesita apoyo.

Cordialmente,

 Gunn Marie Hansen, PH.D.

Vea la carta oficial de la Superintendente. PRESIONE AQUI


Orange USD Trustees Appoint Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

Orange, CA – December 8, 2017 -Orange, CA – The Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D. as the new Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Hansen has a rich history with Orange having served as both Deputy and Assistant Superintendent, as well as being the current Interim Superintendent for Orange USD.

Input for the new Superintendent included sessions with all stakeholder groups - administrators, staff, community groups, parents and key city and business partners. Forums were held with the constituents and an online survey was available on the District website.  Utilizing the feedback from the community, Leadership Associates, a premier executive search firm, advertised and conducted an extensive nationwide search for the position.  

The Board of Education worked with Leadership Associates Consultants Dr. Kent Bechler, Dr. Dennis Smith and Dr. Mark Ecker, to conduct the Superintendent Search and develop the candidate profile. The recruitment resulted in 36 candidate requests.  This week the Board of Trustees reviewed the 23 completed applications

The Board of Education realized that they did not need to look far to find their new Superintendent, and appointed Dr. Hansen at their regular meeting on December 7. Based on the stakeholder feedback and leadership profile, it was decided she was the best fit for Orange Unified School District.  Dr. Hansen was selected from an incredibly talented group of candidates. 

Newly Elected Board President, Dr. Alexia Deligianni-Brydges stated, ”Dr. Hansen’s leadership and commitment is tried and true. Over the past several months as the Interim Superintendent she has led the district through the opening of schools, developed a collaborative team, supported the implementation of the Facilities Bond, managed the crisis of the Canyon 2 Fire with school closures and evacuations and consistently kept the focus on student learning.  

Her past leadership as the Deputy Superintendent has resulted in the attainment of 24 California Gold Ribbon School Awards, expansion of 13 Career Technical Education pathways, innovative STEAM programs and collaborative relationships with teachers and staff resulting in numerous awards for Orange USD Schools. I look forward to working with her to promote our schools with top quality education preparing students for university, technical trades and well paid careers in the 21st Century.”

Former Board President, Rick Ledesma said, “With a proven track record of success, Dr. Hansen is an incredible asset to the District as we head into the future. She has been recognized for her excellent communication skills, ethical leadership and ability to think outside the box. As an innovator, she established the first Mandarin Immersion School in Orange County resulting in increased enrollment. 

Recently, her leadership team delivered a positive audit report to continue the stellar OUSD fiscal reputation. Dr. Hansen is a highly regarded visionary who will take OUSD to the next level. She is dedicated to the Orange community, committed long-term, and the Board of Education has great confidence in her abilities”

Dr. Hansen said, “It is a distinct honor to be selected by the OUSD Trustees as the new Superintendent.  I am excited to get to work with our team to accelerate student achievement, develop innovative opportunities for learning, and guide the implementation of the Facilities Bond.  I look forward to collaborating with our teachers, staff, students and parents to elevate the district to the next level of success”

Dr. Hansen earned her Masters and Doctorate Degree from the University of Southern California and two bachelors degrees from Tulane University.  She has been an elementary and high school teacher, mentor teacher, assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, university professor and associate, deputy and interim Superintendent.

Orange Unified School District Mission Statement

The Orange Unified School District, being committed to planning for continual improvement, will offer a learning environment of excellence, with high expectations, to provide each student with the opportunity to be able to compete in the global economy.

Top Ten Core Values

THIS WE BELIEVE ABOVE ALL ELSE …

  1. That all students will learn.
  2. That all available resources will be utilized to ensure student success.
  3. That everyone needs to model servant leadership.
  4. That creating a shared vision will empower others.
  5. That communicating our shared vision requires honesty and consistency.
  6. That all people should be treated with respect and dignity.
  7. That we demonstrate trustworthiness by all we say and do.
  8. That we need to listen empathically and respectfully to understand the message beyond the words.
  9. That everyone is our customer and, therefore, we will always follow-up and follow-through.
  10. That what’s best for our students comes first and foremost.