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Important Information on Release of Confidential Student Data

February 19, 2016

 

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

We want to make you aware of a recent court case in which the California Department of Education (CDE) has been ordered by the court to release all the student data that CDE has collected on general and special education students since January 1, 2008. This case has received significant attention and is impacting all school districts across the state.

 

As a parent/guardian, you have the right to object to the disclosure of your child's protected personal information and records by notifying the court in writing by April 1, 2016. To notify the court, parents/guardians may complete and mail in an Opt-Out Form from the CDE website: Opt-Out Form.  The form must be sent via regular mail to the court by April 1, 2016 (return address and instructions are at the bottom of the form).

 

Please note that Orinda Union School District was not involved in the lawsuit, and is not the subject of any of the suit's allegations. OUSD is not involved in this release of data, nor collection of the objection form. Also, please be aware that our district no longer collects student social security numbers. Instead, we use a state-issued unique student identification number.

 

For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase. You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

 

Click here to read State Superintendent Torlakson’s message regarding this matter.

 

Sincerely,

Kathy Marshall

News

6/13/16

A Note of Appreciation

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Orinda community for the incredibly warm welcome I have received since beginning my new position as Superintendent of Schools on May 2.  Many of you have likely heard of Jim Collins and the book he authored, Good to Great.  My goal is to collaborate with all Orinda USD stakeholders to take our District from great to extraordinary.  Since my arrival, I have been incredibly impressed by our teachers' rigorous and creative instructional practices, our knowledgeable and dedicated support staff, the support of our parents and community, and the visionary site and district leaders who are committed to implementing researched based programs and practices to ensure our students are prepared for their future. 

 

Though I have held several administrative positions during my 32 years in education - middle school Assistant Principal and Principal, Executive Director of Educational Services, Executive Director of Human Resources, and now Superintendent of Schools, I am a teacher at my core.  I have had the privilege of serving as a fifth grade teacher, an elementary science specialist, a middle school gifted and talented specialist, and a middle school science, math, English, and language arts teacher.  I know firsthand the magic that can occur in a classroom when students discover a new concept or skill.  Every day Orinda parents and guardians are entrusting their most precious resource, their children, to Orinda USD educators and staff.  My pledge to the Orinda community is that I will use the lens of what is best for our students to guide every decision. 

 

I am eager to meet and get to know many of you as I begin to familiarize myself with our schools and community.   

Honoring Our Retirees

We have six treasured Orinda USD employees who are retiring after many years of dedicated service to our students and our District.  They are:

  • Terri Brasch, Fourth Grade Teacher, Del Rey
  • Sandra Buscheck, Second Grade Teacher, Del Rey
  • Ted Harwood, Woodshop Teacher, Orinda Intermediate
  • Maribeth Renno, School Secretary, Sleepy Hollow
  • Catherine Shipp, Kindergarten Teacher, Sleepy Hollow
  • Bethany Valentine, Second Grade Teacher, Del Rey

These dedicated members of our Orinda USD family have provided 81 collective years of service.  They have contributed so much to educating, mentoring, guiding, and supporting students and staff.  Their effect is immeasurable, and our District will not be the same without them.  They will be honored at the Board of Trustees' June 13th meeting.  We wish all of them well as they begin this exciting new chapter in their lives. 

Orinda USD Secures Credit Rating Upgrade 

and Refinances Existing Bonds to

Reduce Taxpayers' Bills

Earlier this week, the District sold $8.16 million of refunding general obligation bonds in order to generate savings for taxpayers.  Due to historically low interest rates in the municipal bond market combined with high investor demand for the District's bonds, the refinancing resulted in savings greater than expected.  Investor reception was further helped by a credit upgrade from Standard & Poor's to "AA+," the highest rating of all Contra Costa County school districts. Through this refinancing, property owners in the District will save over $975,000 (in today's dollars), which equates to roughly $120 for the median homeowner in the District over the remaining term of the bonds (based on fiscal year 2015/16 assessed value data).

 

In a school district general obligation bond refunding, similar to refinancing a home mortgage to a lower interest rate, proceeds of the new bonds are used to retire the older bonds.  Unlike refinancing a mortgage, the term of the original debt is not extended.  With municipal bond rates near historic lows, the District was able to refinance at an all-in cost of 0.97 percent compared to prior interest rates ranging from 4.5 to 5.0 percent on the original bonds issued in 1998 and 2001.  The lower interest rates reduce the debt service payments, which results in savings to taxpayers. 

 

The refunding reflects the commitment of our Board to manage its bond program, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, effectively. As the 1995 bond measure is paid off in the next 6.5 years, this refunding is a final step to ensure remaining payments are as low as possible.

 

Regarding the District's credit rating upgrade and subsequent savings to taxpayers from bond refunding, Board President Julie Rossiter stated, "The Orinda School Board takes its fiduciary responsibility seriously.  We know that Orinda taxpayers count on us to be dedicated stewards of public funds, and the District's recent credit rating increase and bond refunding results demonstrate our commitment to meeting those expectations."  

Kindergarten Students' Advice for OIS Eighth Grade Students

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking to our eighth grade students during the OIS Promotion Ceremony.  As I pondered what to say to our students as they were completing their middle school experience and preparing to move on to high school, I reflected on their first year in our schools, Kindergarten.  Many of us have heard of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.  I decided that I would meet with Kindergarten students at all four of our elementary schools to ask them what advice they might have to help eighth grade students to be successful and happy at the high school.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the students' advice was spot on.  Some of my favorite tips that our Kindergarteners provided for their older peers included:

  • Don't be a bully.
  • Don't take things that are not yours. 
  • Don't look at somebody else's paper. Just ask for help. 
  • Don't play rock, paper, scissors when the teacher is teaching something important like math. 
  • Include other people. 
  • If you have a problem, don't blame someone else. If you know something was your fault, say, "I'm sorry."
  • Introduce yourself to people you don't know. 
  • If you see a friend who is sad, invite them to play Pokémon.  That will cheer them up. 
  • Always be yourself. 
  • Go to bed at your bedtime.
  • Sound out the words you don't know yet.
  • Don't brag about your work.
  • Don't get upset if you don't win. 
  • Let everyone play. 
  • When you miss your old school and your teachers, go back and visit. 
  • If you're in trouble, don't hide or run. It's just going to get worse.
  • Be empathetic. Try to understand how other people feel. 

I so appreciate the Kindergarten teachers and Principals at Del Rey, Glorietta, Sleepy Hollow, and Wagner Ranch for providing me with the opportunity to meet with and be inspired by these sage young students at such a busy time of year.  The OIS Promotion Ceremony is truly a community event.  The students behaved wonderfully, and the student speakers were so eloquent and poised.  As I said at the end of my speech, "Congratulations, OIS Class of 2016.  Make us proud!"  

 

Please feel free to contact me with your ideas, questions, and/or concerns.  I look forward to an excellent school year ahead.  Enjoy the summer and encourage your children to read as often as possible. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D

Superintendent of Schools

Orinda Union School District

more
6/10/16

June 10, 2016

 

Earlier this week, the Orinda Union School District sold $8.16 million of refunding general obligation bonds in order to generate savings for taxpayers.  The financing will close later this month on June 22, 2016.

 

Due to historically low interest rates in the municipal bond market combined with high investor demand for the District’s bonds, the refinancing resulted in savings greater than expected. Investor reception was further helped by a credit upgrade from Standard & Poor’s to “AA+,” the highest rating of all Contra Costa County school districts. Through this refinancing, property owners in the District will save over $975,000 (in today’s dollars), which equates to roughly $120 for the median homeowner in the District over the remaining term of the bonds (based on fiscal year 2015/16 assessed value data).

 

In a school district general obligation bond refunding, similar to refinancing a home mortgage to a lower interest rate, proceeds of the new bonds are used to retire the older bonds.  Unlike refinancing a mortgage, the term of the original debt is not extended.  With municipal bond rates near historic lows, the District was able to refinance at an all-in cost of 0.97 percent compared to prior interest rates ranging from 4.5 to 5.0 percent on the original bonds issued in 1998 and 2001.  The lower interest rates reduce the debt service payments, which results in savings to taxpayers. 

 

The refunding reflects the commitment of the Orinda Union School District Board of Trustees to manage its bond program, which is funded by taxpayer dollars, effectively. As the 1995 bond measure is paid off in the next 6.5 years, this refunding is a final step to ensure remaining payments are as low as possible. The results of this bond sale highlight the District’s high credit rating as a result of sound fiscal management, and its stewardship of the taxpayers’ interests.

 

Regarding the District’s credit rating upgrade and subsequent savings to taxpayers from bond refunding, Board President Julie Rossiter stated, “The Orinda School Board takes its fiduciary responsibility seriously.  We know that Orinda taxpayers count on us to be dedicated stewards of public funds, and the District’s recent credit rating increase and bond refunding results demonstrate our commitment to meeting those expectations.” 

 

According to Dr. Carolyn Seaton, Orinda USD’s new Superintendent of Schools, “While numerous factors contributed to the district’s increased credit rating, strong community support and a history of fiscally sound budgetary practices were undoubtedly significant factors in the ultimate decision to award Orinda USD with an AA+ rating.”

Orinda USD’s Director of Business Services, Teresa Sidrian, added, "The refunding of the bonds was executed through a competitive bid process.  I was thrilled to learn that the interest rate from the winning bid came in so low, and that the citizens of Orinda will benefit from lower property taxes.”

more
4/1/16

The past two months have been among the most active in our school year. While the fine details of teaching and learning continue to take place each and every day in Orinda classrooms, many other activities have been occurring at the district office as a result of district and community meetings. I would like to share a broad-stroke view and key highlights of current initiatives and programs:

 

FACILITIES PROJECTS

Facilities projects are currently taking place at each school site utilizing funds received from the 2013 Pulte Project (Fund 40), Developer Fees (received as a result of new housing developments), Prop 39 Energy Efficiency, and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.

 

Our district has contracted with Sun, Light, and Power to install solar panels at each of our schools. The process to install solar panels began in 2014 following a series of school-community meetings that helped to establish a priority list of facility projects. This was followed by a feasibility study conducted by solar energy consultants, Terra Verde Renewable Partners. Terra Verde assisted the district in qualifying for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS) which will fund the project from the PG&E savings at no cost to taxpayers. The CREBS bonds are being used to provide solar panels at all five school sites this summer. Plans are in process for construction to begin on June 13, 2016.

 

A webpage has been set up to keep parents and the community informed about the progress of the solar installation.  Click on the constructions project webpage to learn more about the background of the solar project and other projects taking place in Orinda Schools.

 

LOCAL CONTROL ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN (LCAP)

An essential component of the LCAP process is gathering input from our stakeholders throughout the development of the Plan. During the months of March and April, our district staff is consulting with parents, teachers, students, and community members to develop the annual update for the LCAP. The district LCAP goal focus areas are:

  • Student Achievement
  • Professional Development
  • School Safety & Climate
  • Instructional Technology

Opportunities for additional parent and community feedback will be gathered through school site surveys, and between May 10-31, we will receive and respond to public comments. The Plan is scheduled to be presented to the school board for approval in June. Please visit our LCAP webpage for continuing updates.

 

ORINDA INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

BLOCK SCHEDULE FOR 2016-2017

On March 14th at their regular meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the implementation of a block schedule at Orinda Intermediate School for the 2016-2017 school year. The transition to a block schedule for OIS students has been an ongoing process that has included research, school observations, a three-week pilot, surveys and meetings with OIS teachers, staff, site council, union leadership, and the OIS Parent Club. The new block schedule will be discussed in more detail at the upcoming fifth grade Parent Information Night on April 21 at 7:00 pm in the OIS multipurpose room. All fifth grade families are invited to attend.

 

TENTH ANNUAL ART AMBASSADORS EXHIBIT

Students from all five Orinda schools will have artwork on display from April 4 - April 30 at the Orinda Library Art Gallery. For the past ten years EFO, the

Lamorinda Arts Council and Orinda art teachers have been working in partnership to create this gallery experience for students. The theme "Then and Now" will also feature early and current works by Miramonte High School students. The opening Artist Reception for the Tenth Annual Art Ambassadors Exhibit will take place on Wed, April 20, 4:30-6:30pm at the Orinda Library Community Center. The reception will include a "welcoming" performance provided by the OIS Jazz Ensemble followed by a choral student performance and an opportunity to meet the student artists. Click here to view the flyer.

 

CA ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE AND PROGRESS (CAASPP)

The district will be administering the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) this spring. Our district testing window is April 25 - May 27. More information, with a link to the Practice Tests, is posted on the CAASPP Testing Page of the district website.

 

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE SPRING BREAK

In recognition of the hard work, support, and dedication of our employees, parents, and community partners, I am mindful of how wonderful a break can be! Schools will be closed April 4-8 and will resume Monday, April 11.

I wish all of our staff and families a safe and enjoyable spring holiday.


Sincerely,

Kathy Marshall

Interim Superintendent

more
2/19/16

February 19, 2016

 

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

We want to make you aware of a recent court case in which the California Department of Education (CDE) has been ordered by the court to release all the student data that CDE has collected on general and special education students since January 1, 2008. This case has received significant attention and is impacting all school districts across the state.

 

As a parent/guardian, you have the right to object to the disclosure of your child's protected personal information and records by notifying the court in writing by April 1, 2016. To notify the court, parents/guardians may complete and mail in an Opt-Out Form from the CDE website: Opt-Out Form.  The form must be sent via regular mail to the court by April 1, 2016 (return address and instructions are at the bottom of the form).

 

Please note that Orinda Union School District was not involved in the lawsuit, and is not the subject of any of the suit's allegations. OUSD is not involved in this release of data, nor collection of the objection form. Also, please be aware that our district no longer collects student social security numbers. Instead, we use a state-issued unique student identification number.

 

For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase. You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

 

Click here to read State Superintendent Torlakson’s message regarding this matter.

 

Sincerely,

Kathy Marshall

more
2/9/16

CarolynSeaton.jpg
 

The Board of Trustees is excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Carolyn Seaton as the next Superintendent of the Orinda Union School District. Dr. Seaton currently serves as Executive Director of Human Resources for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. Dr. Seaton will begin serving as Superintendent on May 2, 2016. She will succeed Dr. Joe Jaconette, who has served as the District’s Superintendent for more than eight years.

 

The process of selecting the next Superintendent for Orinda was truly a community effort. The Board is extremely grateful to everyone who contributed their ideas and opinions during the search process. This input was critical in helping guide the Board in making this appointment.

 

The input from the community indicated that the next Superintendent of the Orinda Union School District must be a dynamic, confident, skilled and articulate leader who can establish a collaborative culture. The community input also established the importance of selecting a Superintendent who is visionary, progressive and forward-thinking.

 

The Board unanimously concluded that the clear choice for Orinda is Carolyn Seaton. “The Board conducted a thorough search based on extensive input from our community,” said Board President Julie Rossiter.  “Carolyn Seaton rose to the top of an impressive field. She truly embodies the leadership characteristics most valued by our community.”

 

The Board found that Dr.. Seaton has an inspiring vision to move our already high-performing district forward on a path of excellence. Her unique combination of experience, skills and values will serve our District and enhance opportunities for all our students. The Board was incredibly impressed with Carolyn's dedication to listening to all viewpoints, her ability to solve problems, her skill at communicating effectively with all stakeholders and her interest in increasing the leadership capacity of those around her. She is experienced in leading schools to create and build upon strong programs, and to develop them into extraordinary learning opportunities that exemplify superior standards of student achievement and community.

 

Carolyn Seaton is in her 32nd year as an educator.  She began her career in public education as an elementary school teacher in Texas in 1984, where she served as a fifth grade teacher, an elementary science specialist and a gifted programs specialist.  Prior to her current position in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District as Executive Director of Human Resources, she served in Manhattan Beach as a middle school teacher, as assistant principal and then principal of the middle school, and spent nine years as the Executive Director of Educational Services.

 

The Board received a compelling tribute from a teacher in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District that speaks eloquently to the type of leader we welcome to Orinda.  Citing her compassion, personal touch, kindness and warmth, the teacher remarked at how Carolyn left an indelible mark on her teaching practice.  She closed, "Carolyn Seaton is truly a gem, and I believe she would be an invaluable asset to, and phenomenal leader for your school district."  The Board could not agree more with the teachers, staff and parents who have collaborated with Carolyn in the past and who highly recommended her to our community to help shape the Orinda Union School District’s next chapter in an ever-changing world.

 

Dr. Seaton received a B.A. in History from Southern Methodist University, an M.A. in Education from the University of North Texas, and her Ed.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Transformational Technology Practices in K-12 Schools.”

 

“I am honored to serve as Orinda Union School District’s next Superintendent of Schools,” Carolyn Seaton stated.  “I look forward to partnering with district, school, community, and business organizations to expand the educational opportunities available for our students.  I am passionate about teaching and learning and committed to providing Orinda’s children with the educational experiences that will best prepare them for college, career and life.”

 

Please join us in warmly welcoming Dr. Carolyn Seaton to our community.

more
2/1/16

Kathy Marshall.jpg
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish to thank the Orinda school community for your warm welcome and enthusiastic response to my appointment as the Interim Superintendent for our district.  It has been an honor to work with many of you over the past four years in many facets of our curriculum and instructional programs. I now look forward to an even broader landscape of opportunity to serve and support the other important areas for our district, our schools, and the greater Orinda community.

 

While we are all embarking on the exciting transition toward welcoming a new superintendent, I will continue to guide our education-focused community into the future. We will strive for continuing excellence in our curriculum and programs for students, high quality professional development for teachers, strategic planning for the future of our facilities, and address our technology needs while being mindful of our expenditures and fiscal resources. 

 

I will work diligently each day to strengthen our relationships and ensure that our ongoing efforts for collaboration flourish in an atmosphere of respect, innovation, and creativity.

 

At the core of all that we do, I will continuously ask the same question at the onset, “What will be best for Orinda students?”

 

This simple question, and the answer, is essentially informed by our Mission:

 

Building on a tradition of educational excellence and strong community support, we will inspire and challenge each student through strong academics and continuously improving programs that will develop the character and abilities needed to shape an ever changing world.

 

I will pay close attention to the needs of our school communities and the goals that our Board, staff, teachers, parents and community envision for our schools. I will communicate these aspirations to the new incoming Superintendent.

 

I offer sincere appreciation to our Board of Trustees for their vote of confidence and the trust they have placed in me. I offer my heartfelt thanks to our leadership team, our teachers, our district and site support staff, and our community partners.

 

To the students, teachers, staff, and families of Del Rey, Glorietta, Sleepy Hollow, Wagner Ranch, and Orinda Intermediate School - you inspire me each and every day.  Each one of our schools is a dynamic and progressive learning community. We will continue our journey on the road to excellence by bringing out the best in each other and ourselves. 

 

I am honored, and humbled, to continue in this leadership role as your Interim Superintendent.

 

Sincerely,

Kathy Marshall
Interim Superintendent
Orinda Union School District

 

“ A great preparation for tomorrow is the best use of today.”

more
1/22/16

Kathy Marshall.jpg

The Orinda School Board is pleased to announce the selection of Kathy Marshall as Interim Superintendent, pending the successful negotiation of an employment agreement and Board approval of the agreement at its next regularly scheduled meeting on February 8, 2016. Ms. Marshall will serve as Interim Superintendent following the retirement of Dr. Joe Jaconette on January 31, 2016, and will continue in that role until the District’s incoming Superintendent joins the District.

 

Ms. Marshall is currently the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Orinda Union School District, and has served in that role since 2011. Prior to joining the Orinda School District, Ms. Marshall had a long and distinguished career as an educator. She spent fifteen years as a teacher before moving into a number of administrative positions, including elementary school principal, district GATE coordinator, categorical program director, county special education program manager, GATE coordinator on special assignment for the CA Department of Education and, more recently, Executive Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction for the Novato Unified School District.

 

Ms. Marshall has a Master’s Degree in Education Administration, a Multiple Subjects Credential, a Designated Subjects Credential, and an Administrative Credential. She received her certification from the Association of California School Administrators (“ACSA”) Superintendents Academy in 2010.

 

When considering options for the transition, the Board recognized the remarkable talent and experience on the District’s leadership team. Ms. Marshall is highly respected throughout the community as an accomplished educational leader. Her appointment as Interim Superintendent will ensure the District maintains momentum on its goals and conducts business consistent with its mission. “Kathy Marshall’s experience, positive influence and leadership will be crucial in maintaining consistency and continuity in the school district during this transition period,” said Board President Julie Rossiter.

 

Ms. Marshall will also continue in her role as Director of Curriculum and Instruction during the Interim Superintendent period. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support the Orinda School District during this transition period, and I am confident we will continue on a path of excellence,” Ms. Marshall stated. Please join us in welcoming Ms. Marshall in this new role.

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