2014-2015 Welcome Back Message from Mr. Corcoran

August 4th, 2014

Hello, OCS Families!

August has arrived and that means it is time to officially welcome everyone to the start of the 2014-2015 school year! Staff members and I have been working hard, in a number of different ways (cleaning, interviewing, attending workshops, painting, reading, renovating…etc., you get the point:)), to prepare for yet another successful school year. One thing is certain: we look forward to catching up with returning families, hearing all about your summer adventures, and welcoming the newest members of our school family.

Throughout its seventeen-year history, Orange Charter School has never settled for being “ordinary”. This year, 2014-2015, will be no different. We are adding an after-school program, engineering elective classes for both elementary and middle school students, as well as interscholastic athletics competition for middle schoolers.

However, our focus, with your ongoing support and involvement, will be to continue our three-year journey to becoming a model Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning environment. We believe strongly in a STEAM instructional framework and how it sets all kids up for future academic and career success. The model addresses the regular curriculum, then goes way beyond by providing learning/enrichment activities that are exceptionally fun/high-interest, hands-on, and team/project-based (see STEAM Learning Showcase, https://enoriveracademy.org/steam-learning-showcase/). It shows kids the natural linkages between subject areas while teaching them to be outstanding creative and technical thinkers. It is highly motivating to both teachers and students. As you can see, this is an exciting time to be an Orange Charter Tiger!

Now, it’s time for some important back-to-school reminders:

    • School supply lists are available on the OCS website.
    • Car rider info:
      • Morning drop-off begins at 7:30 AM, once staff members are on duty to safely supervise. The drop-off location for all students is the bottom entrance(s)/parking lot. As our instructional day begins promptly at 8:00 AM, please try to have your child dropped off by 7:50 AM to allow him/her enough time to travel to class without feeling rushed. Earlier arrivals also help with traffic congestion.
      • Afternoon dismissal starts at 3:00 PM. Elementary students should be picked up from the bottom entrance(s)/parking lot and middle school students from the upper breezeway/main entrance. Parents are asked not to line up in their vehicles prior to 2:45 PM.
    • Bus transportation to schoolis available on a limited basis. Contact the main office for group stop info. Meanwhile, click here or visit https://www.carpoolworld.com/carpooling.html?c=orangecharterschool to explore carpooling opportunities.
    • We are thrilled to have an on-site After-School Program up and running for the first time in school history! Full-time, part-time, & early release options are all available. Spots are filling up fast. Registration forms can be accessed in the main office or through our school website (https://enoriveracademy.org/after-school-program/). Contact Program Director Vicky Wilson (asp@orangecharterschool.org) for further details.
  • Mark your calendars:
  • A Kindergarten Playground Play Date will take place on Thursday, August 7th from 6-7 PM.
  • Please join us for a drop-in Open House on Thursday, August 21st between 5-7 PM. Middle schoolers will learn their class schedules at this time.
  • Monday, August 25th is the First Day of School(!) for all students in grades 1-8. Kindergartners will enter on a staggered basis-see earlier e-mail from Mrs. Strong for details.
  • The opening meeting of Parents and Teachers Helping (PATH) is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3rd starting at 6:30 PM. Come spend time with a dynamic group of parent         leaders while learning about the many different ways to get involved in fundraising, community/social, and teacher appreciation activities. The group is excited to hear your ideas as well. There is nothing more important or fulfilling than volunteering at your child’s school!

We are looking forward to another great year at Orange Charter School! See you soon!

Tiger Pride,


Jon Corcoran, Principal


*Staffing Update-New Faces, New Places:

While we will certainly miss those staff members who departed for new family and work opportunities, we are thrilled to welcome the following new faces to campus:

At 4th Grade, Tammy Russell joins us from the Orange County Schools. She possesses nine years of teaching experience along with an impressive list of career accomplishments including a Teaching Fellows Scholarship, Master’s Degree in Reading, National Board Certification, and building-level Teacher of the Year recognition. Ms. Russell is known for instilling compassion, strong work habits, and a love for Reading in her students.

The 5th Grade group will be lead by Katie Willis, who started her teaching career in Durham. Katie is an Appalachian State alum who specializes in Science instruction, a perfect match for our STE(A)M emphasis. Katie’s references raved about her strong collaboration skills, love for kids, and dedication to professional growth.

Amber Coburn is our new 7th & 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher. Amber is a former Teaching Fellow from Elon University. She wowed us during her model lesson and interview. Students will benefit from her enthusiasm, creativity, and prior teaching experience in Alamance-Burlington Schools. She aspires to bring more service-learning to OCS.

Chelsea Knapp inherits the K-5 Music/Elementary Spanish/Middle School Band Teacher position. Chelsea earned a Music teaching degree from UNC-Greensboro and brings tremendous versatility to this role, having taught General Music, Band, Chorus, and Musical Theater in the past.

Vicky Wilson is our new After-School Program Director. Vicky brings years of experience to this role and is dedicated to creating a balanced program that meets the needs of kids, parents, and teachers alike.

Also, you’ll notice some familiar faces in different places:

Leslie Strong, formerly our 1st and 2nd Grade Teacher Assistant, will be taking over the Kindergarten classroom. Leslie was the overwhelming top pick of our interview team based on her extensive background in early childhood education, strong relationships with students and colleagues, and creative teaching style.

Brenda Hunt will be accompanying her last year’s students and moving up to become our new 6th Grade Math & Science Teacher. Brenda is thrilled for this new career challenge and opportunity to focus on the subjects she is most passionate about.

Donna Kuhl, a regular substitute, was chosen to fill our newly-created Part-Time Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Teacher position. She will work with classroom teachers to accelerate learning for students in grade 4 through 8. Mrs. Kuhl is an experienced teacher with the collaboration and organizational skills needed to thrive in this role.

Super-sub Jerri Morris assumes the Grades 3 through 5 Teacher Assistant role while Katharine Whalen slides over to the 1st and 2nd Grade Teacher Assistant position. Both ladies have expressed to me their aspirations of becoming full-time teachers someday.