January 16, 2021
Dear Orinda USD Community,

This pandemic has affected all of us greatly and has taught us the need to be flexible and patient. All of our patience is wearing thin, however, and we learned Thursday afternoon that the state has once again shifted its school reopening requirements. Critical implications of this new mandate, January 14, 2021, California Department of Public Health COVID-19 and Reopening Framework, are as follows for Orinda USD:
  • TK-6 schools may now only reopen in the Purple Tier when Contra Costa County reaches adjusted case rates below 25 per 100,000 population for five consecutive days (pages 8 and 10-11).
  • Schools may not reopen for grades 7-8 if the county is in the Purple Tier. Grades 7-8 can only reopen after the county has been in the Red Tier for 5 consecutive days (pages 8 and 10).
  • Despite providing instruction to our SDC students on the Wagner Ranch and OIS campuses, these school sites are not considered “open” under the new requirements (page 6). Please note, this is contrary to prior guidance that we received from the county when we were developing and implementing the phased reopening of our school sites.     

What does this mean for Orinda USD? The Orinda USD Board will be holding a Special Board meeting on Thursday, January 21, 2021, from 3:00-4:30 p.m., at which time I will be making the following recommendations for action:
  • Expanding specialized small group instruction for TK-8. Our goal is to get as many students as possible back on campus safely through the Guidance Related to Cohorts for Children and Youth.
  • Returning 6th-grade OIS students at the same time that TK-5th grade students are eligible to return for hybrid instruction, i.e. when adjusted county case rates fall below 25 per 100,000 for five consecutive days.
  • Welcoming grades 7-8 back to campus for hybrid instruction after the county has been in the Red Tier for 5 consecutive days and expanding opportunities for students to be on campus in small groups between now and then.
  • Submitting all required documents for the Covid Safety Plan (CSP) to the State Safe Schools for All Team prior to the due date of February 1, 2021, so we are poised to open the day we are allowed. 

I fully understand that many of you may respond to this news with anger and frustration. I share and empathize with your sentiments. While I welcome your comments and concerns, I respectfully request that all communications be civil and professional in tone. We are all being forced to accept what is simply beyond our control; these requirements come from the California Department of Public Health, not the Board or the administration. I can assure you that I remain committed to returning our students and staff to our school campuses on the very first day that we are able to under this new mandate. I will continue to work closely with our school principals, teachers, staff, and the Board to find creative and innovative ways to serve our students in person now while continuing to support our students and staff who will remain in distance learning. 

I hope you will join our Special Board Meeting on January 21 to hear more about my recommendations and the Board’s decisions.

Option 1: Join Zoom Meeting using a computer or the app:
Password: 235653

Option 2: Call in using a normal telephone; dial 1 669 900 9128; Webinar ID: 880 2299 4320
Password: 235653

FREE COVID-19 Testing - Next Opportunity on 1/25/21
Our next testing opportunity will be on Monday, January 25. This is voluntary, but we very strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. If you tested on previous test dates, you are welcome to test again. You must make an appointment in advance as well as complete the required forms to partake in this testing day. Here are the details:

Date: Monday, January 25, 2021
Time: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: District Office, 8 Altarinda Rd.
Parking: District Office Lot or Masonic Lodge Lot (across the street)

To access more information including the online scheduling calendar and the required forms, click here.  
As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions on any topic related to our Orinda USD schools.


Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools
District Calendar
  • January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, No School
  • January 19: Revised Distance Learning Schedule Implemented for OIS
  • January 20: WISSE Committee Meeting, 3:30 p.m.
  • January 21: Special Board Meeting, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
  • January 22: Minimum Day
  • January 25: COVID-19 Testing at the District Office
  • January 26: Coordinating Council Meeting, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
  • February 8: Regular Board Meeting, 6 p.m.
  • February 11: Board Coffee for Sleepy Hollow, 8:30 a.m.
  • February 12/15: No School, Presidents' Weekend
Board Shorts
2020-21 Orinda USD Board School Assignments:
OIS: Liz Daoust
Del Rey: Cara Hoxie
Glorietta: Hillary Weiner
Sleepy Hollow: Jason Kaune
Wagner Ranch: Carol Brown
The Board of Trustees took the following actions at their January 11, 2021, regular Board meeting:

If you would like information regarding future Board meetings, email Debbie Jamieson at djamieson@orindaschools.org.

Upcoming Events
  • January 21: Special Board Meeting, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
  • February 8: Regular Board Meeting, 6:00 p.m.
  • February 11: Board Coffee for Sleepy Hollow, 8:30 a.m.
Kindergarten/Transitional Kindergarten Registration in February 2021
OUSD Kinder/TK Registration in February 2021
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten registration for children entering an Orinda public school in August 2021 will be open February 1 – 4, 2021. On those dates, parents may register their child online at www.orindaschools.org. Kindergarten students must be at least five years of age on or before September 1, 2021. A child is eligible for Transitional Kindergarten if his/her fifth birthday is between September 2, and December 2, 2021. Additional information regarding registration is available on the district website: www.orindaschools.org.
Curriculum Update
Teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Preparing for Black History Month
Orinda USD continues our diversity, equity, and inclusion work on many fronts, including teaching about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. All staff members were provided resources to help teach the important lessons of Dr. King and are finding ways to share his impact with their students. This includes reading his writing and listening to his notable speeches, along with learning about his work as a part of the Civil Rights movement.

Some students will get to hear from Orinda USD’s own Stuart House, our Director of Maintenance and Operations, who was also a Civil Rights pioneer and worked directly with Dr. King. Last year Mr. House spoke at all five Orinda schools about his experiences as a part of the Civil Rights movement.

Orinda USD schools are also making plans to celebrate Black History Month with a focus on different themes and activities at each grade level. Stay tuned for more details about this work in February! Our work is part of a larger year-round effort to develop and emphasize inclusion and equity for all students and staff, and involves the work of our Community Coalitions, the Wellness, Inclusion, Student and Staff Equity (WISSE) committee, and Orinda USD’s partnership with the City of Orinda. We understand that this work is ongoing and essential to ensure that “Everyone Belongs Here.”

Partnership With the Anti Defamation League
Our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League continues as we look forward to our next parent event on January 27 from 7:00-8:30. Our first event of the series was held on December 9, 2020, and was well attended. For our second session, we intend to go deeper into our conversations and how to develop a language and lens to recognize bias and make an impact in our community. The goal of these sessions is to continue to help create more safe, inclusive, and respectful communities.  
We also look forward to an ADL training session next month with leaders from the Orinda Union School District and the City of Orinda.  

Read more about teacher training, professional development, and the outstanding work of the Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) team.
ONE (Orinda Network for Education) finished 2020 on a positive note and, as of January 10th, the Orinda community has raised over $3.8M.  Of this amount, over $46,000 is dedicated to the Back to Campus effort and close to $20,000 is generously donated through our newly launched Business Partner Program.

The Business Partner Program continues to build its donor base of local parents and community members. If you own a business in Orinda, please consider joining and supporting our beloved schools - earning recognition as well. 

On the financial front, over the holidays, reserves were transferred from the Orinda parents clubs and will be invested and managed together by the ONE Investment Committee.  

ONE continues to work with Orinda Union School District and Miramonte High School on current budgetary needs for 2021 and for the future as we plan for challenging times ahead.  

ONE is looking for volunteers! We are looking to expand the board of directors, the advisory committee, and the subcommittees. If you can lend a hand, please contact: info@oneorinda.org for more information on how to help! 

We are ONE Community, and we remain Stronger Together for a Brighter Tomorrow.
On January 4, Wagner Ranch welcomed students back with their monthly flag salute. Wagner Ranch focused on the character trait of a positive attitude. With the pandemic that goes on and on, nothing could be more valuable than a positive attitude! Wagner Ranch also had the pleasure of listening to a beautiful song performed by the WR Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Pickett.

Students dressed up in wacky outfits to show their wild and crazy side on Freaky Friday (January 8). A flipgrid was created to document the silliness!

Upcoming Events:
  • January 21: Community Coalition Meeting, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • February 1: Flag Salute Virtual Assembly
  • February 16-19: Staff Appreciation Week
The start of school in 2021 coincided with the launch of the second semester at Orinda Intermediate School, an indicator that the time has come to look ahead to springtime activities and the next school year. This year, even with the particular challenges of running a school during a pandemic and preparing for a return to in-person instruction via a hybrid model, plans for the upcoming academic year continue as always. The first week of January, OIS administrators and counselors met with Julie Parks, Principal of Miramonte High School (MHS), and her team to discuss the transition process for the current eighth graders. In lieu of the annual OIS trip to MHS with the eighth graders, the transition team has scheduled a Zoom event for students on Monday, February 8th, and a parent/guardian webinar the following evening. In addition, the OIS team is beginning work on promotion activities for eighth graders.

Upcoming Events:
  • January 19: New Schedule Begins; 8:45 a.m. start time
  • January 21: OIS Parents' Club Meeting, 10:00 a.m.
  • January 25: Synchronous Instruction (Advisory, Periods 4-6)
  • February 8: MHS Zoom for 8th Graders, 8:45-10:00
  • February 9: MHS Webinar for 8th Grade Families, 6:30 p.m.
The return to school after Winter Break is usually a very solid time in student learning. We almost always see a jump in student maturation and accomplishments. It is lovely to see the curriculum themes come to life across grade levels. In writing, for example, our youngest students are reading and writing in the genre of non-fiction and are moving those skills into writing where they are teaching us how to do things that they are experts in. As you move up the grade levels the theme continues, but spirals up in sophistication. Fifth graders are diving deeply into argument essays and learning to support their statements with evidence found in non-fiction texts. All students explore the non-fiction text features like tables of contents, captions, illustrations and diagrams, glossaries, etc. that are the guideposts to deciphering informational texts. They then apply those replicable features into their own work, thereby growing their own skills.

Upcoming Events:
  • February 10: DRPC meeting
In December, Glorietta compiled a list of ways to lend a helping hand during the holiday season to those in need and encouraged families to spread cheer and contribute in a variety of ways, if they were able to. Through their virtual Food Drive for the Contra Costa and Solano Food Bank, Glorietta raised over $1000 for the Food Bank. Every $1 donated can provide 2 meals which means Glorietta's donations will provide over 2000 meals! Glorietta is proud of its community’s generosity! 

Upcoming Events:
  • January 21: Glorietta Coordinating Council Meeting, 3:00 p.m.
Sleepy Hollow welcomes the New Year with open arms! The Sleepy Hollow staff bulletin board showcases ideas from staff members about what the new year will look like, finishing the sentence, "This is your year to...". Needless to say, Sleepy Hollow is full of high hopes and lofty goals!

Nothing helps bring exciting energy to the Sleepy Hollow campus more than having students at school. While families often drop off and pick up work each week, students had a chance to come to school and "smile for the camera." Monday, January 11th, was Picture Day and Sleepy Hollow students were thrilled at the chance to stand six feet apart and wave to each other before and after getting their picture taken. Sleepy Hollow students, teachers, and staff enjoyed many announcements made throughout the Monday morning Zoom sessions about classmates actually seeing each other at school. 

Upcoming Events:
  • January 23: School Site Council Meeting, 3:15 p.m.