Orion Move – District Meeting

Meeting in the ORION MUR, Tuesday, December 11th 6:00-8:00 PM

Superintendent Baker will share information regarding the logistics and timelines for the transition of the Orion Parent Participation Program to the John Gill campus. There will also be time for parents to share their thoughts, concerns, and questions. This is an extremely important meeting.


From Principal Julie:
After a long a thoughtful process, the Redwood School Board held a meeting to vote on the Superintendent’s proposal regarding Planning for Our Future and right-sizing our district. The Board voted unanimously to approve the proposal. Specifically for Orion this means:


Effective the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, Orion will move to the John Gill Campus. Orion will remain a Parent Participation Program. We will be a School of Choice Program operating on the John Gill Campus. We will share the site with the Mandarin Immersion Program. All current John Gill Non-Mandarin Immersion families, will be offered spots in the Orion Parent Participation Program if they decide to stay at John Gill.

PHASE 2 – Next Year

The District will officially change the Boundary for the John Gill School. The site will no longer be offering services as a neighborhood school site.

What: Meeting to Review Orion’s Move to John Gill Campus
When: Tuesday, December 11th 6:00-8:00 PM
Where: The Orion MUR

RCSD Board Meeting FINAL VOTE on Superintendent’s Recommendations, Wed. 11/28

November 28th/28 de noviembre, 7:00 PM
Sequoia High School Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Ave, Redwood City

Message from the Superintendent:

“Dear RCSD community,

The RCSD Board of Trustees will hold a Board meeting tomorrow evening to decide on the superintendent’s final recommendations in regards to the organizational improvement efforts, Planning for Our Future.

The district has arranged to move the meeting to a larger venue from the Boardroom at the District Office in order to accommodate the number of staff, parents, and community members who may be interested in attending.

The meeting will be held as follows:

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7:00 pm
Sequoia High School: Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Ave.

Parents, staff, and community members interested in attending should keep the following in mind:

The venue requires that the aisles remain clear from items such as walkers, wheelchairs, and strollers. There is designated seating for individuals on a wheelchair and walkers will be set aside and returned to the owner once the meeting is adjourned.

All visitors are expected to be seated during the meeting.
Seating reservations made ahead of time is not available.
Doors will open at 6pm, the meeting begins at 7pm and will adjourn by 11pm.

We look forward to seeing you there should you be interested in attending.

Thank you.”

Orion Task Force Update: November 26

[El mensaje en español sigue abajo]

Dear Orion Community,

This is a long update, we thank you in advance for taking it all in!

It has been an emotional several weeks. The board meeting on November 14th had several hours of public comment and hundreds of parents expressing heartfelt opinions regarding RCSD’s Final Recommendations. The School Board will be moving forward to vote on the district recommendations on November 28th and many schools are facing hard realities.

The recommendation to relocate Orion to John Gill will move forward to a vote. The implementation plan stated that John Gill would no longer be a neighborhood school, but it does not state how it will rezone the John Gill neighborhood boundary.

It is critical for Orion to maintain a school of choice status without a neighborhood boundary. We believe that the school board is in support of this idea and the Task Force will work with the district to learn more details for the implementation plan.

Another important consideration for the Orion Community is the impact of the move on our current students. Many students and families walk to school and we understand that the move to the John Gill campus may create a hardship for some families. The Task Force plans to work with the community to identify transportation support options so that all of our students can move together. Some parents have already volunteered to create carpools to make sure getting to and from school is not a barrier.

Please let your teacher, class coordinator, or Principal Julie know if moving to John Gill Campus poses any challenges to you or your students. The ultimate goal is that all of our students have the support they need for a successful move.

Another important theme that echoed throughout the evening and the last weeks, was the concern that too many students will experience significant hardships with these recommendations and that the changes will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable communities. Some members of the larger community feel that the school district isn’t doing enough to address the inequity and segregation across the district and the proposed changes don’t lay out a clear path to make significant improvement in this area. At last week’s coffee with Principal Julie, this equity conversation continued. We understand the current plans may not change but we hope to join efforts with parents across the district to keep the dialogue going so that we can challenge the district to take equitable paths forward.

A community of parents from Hawes, Selby Lane, Taft, Fair Oaks and Adelante organized a walk on Tuesday 11/27 to bring light to this issue. This walk is NOT meant to be a protest of the the district’s recommendations, but an opportunity to show solidarity with our fellow schools.

One final resounding theme that has surfaced throughout all of the these meetings is that the entire district is full of dedicated, passionate families who love their schools and their communities. We thank everyone at Orion for their continued positive energy and support and we will keep striving to foster the community that we all cherish. 


~The Orion Task Force

Final Vote on District Recommendations
November 28th
Sequoia High School Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Ave
Redwood City

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Querida comunidad de Orion,

Esta es una actualizacion larga,así que les agradecemos su paciencia!

Fue una reunión emocional la de la 14th de Noviembre, con varias horas de comentarios públicos y cientos de padres expresando su sentir acerca de las recomendaciones finales del Distrito. El Distrito votará el 28 de Noviembre y muchas escuelas estarán enfrentando una dura realidad.

La recomendación de mover Orion al sitio de John Gill está en la lista para voto. El plan de implementación indica que John Gill ya no será una escuela de vecindario, pero no dice explícitamente como van a cambiar las zonas de para ahora incluir este vecindario en otra zona escolar..

Es esencial para Orion mantener nuestro status de escuela de opción sin restricción de vecindario. Creemos que el Distrito apoya este idea y el Orion Task Force va a trabajar con el distrito a conocer más detalles sobre el plan.

Otra consideración importante para la Comunidad de Orion es el impacto que tendrá mover a nuestros estudiantes. Muchas familias de Orion caminan a la escuela y el cambio puede crear un problema de transporte para estas familias. La Task Force tiene planes de trabajar con la comunidad para identificar opciones de transporte y apoyar a todos nuestros estudiantes para que todos nos podamos mover juntos. Algunas familias ya se han ofrecido a llevar y traer a estudiantes que lo necesiten.

Por favor acércate a tu Maestra(o), a la coordinadora del salon o la Directora Julie si el cambio al sitio de John Gill va a representar un problema para tu familia. Nuestra meta final es que todos los estudiantes reciban el apoyo que necesiten para hacer este movimiento de forma exitosa.

Otro tema importante que escuchamos en la tarde y las ultimas semanas, fue la preocupación de que muchos estudiantes lan a tener muchas dificultades con los cambios propuestos y afectarán en mayor proporción a las comunidades más vulnerables. Una mayoría de la comunidad no cree que el Distrito está haciendo lo suficiente para evitar la desigualdad y segregación a través del todo el Distrito de Redwood City y los cambios propuestos no dan un plan claro de mejorar dichos problemas. En la junta de cafecito con la Directora este viernes el de desigualdad volvió a relucir. Entendemos que los planes actuales no van a cambiar pero esperamos apoyar a otros padres del distrito para que haya más diálogo y le pidamos al distrito que tome caminos más igualitarios para toda la comunidad. Padres de las escuelas Selby Lane, Hawes, Taft, Fair Oaks y Adelante están organizando una caminata el martes 27 de noviembre para llamar la atención sobre la inequidad de los cambios. Todos están invitados a participar.

Un último tema que ha estado presente durante todas estas reuniones es que el Distrito está lleno de familias dedicadas, que están contentas con sus escuelas y comunidades. Les agradecemos a todos en Orion por su energía positiva y el apoyo. Seguiremos manteniendo nuestra maravillosa comunidad que todos aplaudimos. Les deseamos una tranquila Cena de Acción de Gracias.


~The Orion Task Force

Reunión de District
28 de noviembre
Sequoia High School Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Ave
Redwood City

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Orion Task Force Update 11/13

—Para español, deslice hacia abajo—

Dear Orion Community,

As outlined in this week’s Orion Gazette, Superintendent Baker will present his formal recommendations regarding the RCSD Planning for our Future Process to the School Board of Trustees on Wednesday, November 14th. As expected, the recommendations were extensive and involve shifts and transitions of several schools and programs. RCSD Recommendations Here. It is now formally recommended that Orion Alternative School program move to the John Gill Campus for the 2019-2020 school year, which is consistent with previous ideas presented through the planning process.

Three key implementation points of the Orion move were highlighted in the recommendation.

  • John Gill Elementary will no longer exist as a neighborhood school
  • Existing John Gill Students will be invited to choose to join the Orion Community
  • The Mandarin Immersion Program will continue on the John Gill Campus

The Superintendent’s formal recommendations will be presented and discussed by the RCSD trustees at the special board meeting on Wednesday, November 14th at 7pm at Fox Theatre. The final vote will take place on November 28th.

This week’s board meeting will likely be highly emotional with so many schools impacted by these recommendations. A huge thank you to all who have provided feedback, signed letters and attended district-wide meetings during this process; it has been wonderful to see our little school shine through with tremendous spirit and compassion for the whole RCSD community. We hope to continue to demonstrate that spirit for our school while also supporting the entire district through this significant transition.

Principle Julie invites the entire community to her Principal’s Coffee this Friday, November 16th at 8:15am in the MUR, to gather, process and ask any and all questions related to this important news.

Thank you!

The Orion Task Force

Board Meeting:
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway St.


Querida comunidad de Orion,

Así como ha sido mencionado en nuestra carta de noticias de Orion (gazette),el Superintendente Baker va a presentar su recomendación formal acerca del proceso de Planeación para nuestro Futuro del Distrito a la junta Directiva del Distrito Escolar el 14 de Noviembre. Como se esperaba, las recomendaciones fueron extensas y envuelven cambios y transiciones en varias escuelas y programas. RCSD Recomendaciones aquí. Es formalmente recomendado que Orion se mueva para el sitio de la escuela John Gill por el próximo año de la escuela 2019-2020, lo cual es consistente con la idea previamente presentada durante el proceso de planeación.

Tres puntos importantes fueron mencionados es esta recomendación:

  • John Gill Elementary ya no va existir como escuela de vecindario
  • Los estudiantes actuales de John Gill serán invitados a elegir unirse con la comunidad de Orion
  • El programa de Inmersión al Mandarín continuará en el sitio de John Gill

Las recomendaciones serán discutidas en la reunión especial de la Junta Directiva de Distrito este Miércoles, el 14 de Noviembre en el Teatro Fox a las 7pm. El voto final será el 28 de Noviembre.

Esta reunión de la Junta Directiva va a ser altamente emocional con tantas escuelas afectadas por las recomendaciones. Nuestro agradecimiento infinito a todos los que dieron sus recomendaciones, firmaron cartas y atendieron las juntas del distrito durante este proceso; ha sido maravilloso ver a nuestra pequeña escuela brillar con un enorme espíritu y compasión para el distrito RCSD entero. Esperamos continuar demostrando ese espíritu por nuestra escuela mientras apoyamos a todo el distrito durante esta transición tan significativa.

La directora Julie invita a toda la comunidad a su “Cafecito con la Directora” este viernes a las 8:15 en la cafetería de la escuela (MUR), para reunirnos a procesar y hacer preguntas relacionadas con esta importante noticia.

Muchas Gracias!

Task Force de Orion

Reunión de la Junta Directiva:
Miercoles, 14 de Noviembre, 2018
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway St.


Orion Task Force Recommendation: Campus Relocation

—Para español, deslice hacia abajo—

Our school district is in the midst of a reorganization, brought on by declining enrollment and decreased funding (RCSD Plans for its Future). Started by Orion parents Lilli Milton and Stacie Ciraulo, the Orion Task Force is a communications bridge between the school district and the Orion community during this “Planning for Our Future” stage. We have tasked ourselves with providing open forums for Orion families to discuss the best path for change that benefits both our school and our district. Based on these discussions, and after careful review of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council’s ideas, we endorse a path for change that we strongly believe will benefit our Orion children and the Redwood City community as a whole.

“Dear Orion Community,

As we shared during our Task Force Community Meeting, it feels that the district will very likely recommend moving Orion to another campus due to our small size. As discussed during that meeting, moving to a larger site, while challenging, would create some exciting opportunities for our school. This week the Superintendent’s Advisory Council presented a series of ideas to the school board about how to best plan for the future given the budget deficit combined with low enrollment. There was a tremendous amount of thought put into a wide range of ideas some of which involve shifting school programs or sites. The main mention of Orion is Idea #13:

Move Orion to John Gill campus and house with Mandarin Immersion. Keep Orion as a School of Choice.

The district will host community forums regarding the proposed ideas. Parents from all schools are welcome and encouraged to attend and share feedback.

Moving to the John Gill Campus provides Orion an opportunity to grow in a thoughtful way that would benefit both the school and the district. Both the Mandarin Immersion program and Orion are centered around active parent communities, which creates good synergy for a thriving campus. The spirit and soul of Orion lie in our community, not necessarily in our walls and expanding our walls onto a beautiful campus with additional facilities is exciting. That said, if we do move to the John Gill Campus, we hope the district will consider the critical elements needed to ensure that Orion thrives.

We hope for:

  • A principal and community of teachers dedicated to the parent participation model.
  • Enough time and communication to plan for a transition.

We hope the district and school board is already factoring these elements into their larger thinking, but we encourage parents to support our message if they choose, at either of the community forums. On November 28th, the school board will be voting on the final recommendations and nothing has been officially recommended or decided yet.

While we are obviously invested in the success of Orion, we also want to strongly support the entire Redwood City School District community. This planning process has aligned all of the schools in the mutual goal of creating equitable and enriched education across all programs and sites. No one school deserves to have greater leverage or voice in this difficult transition. It is wonderful to profess support and love for our school, and it is important to set the tone that we value our neighboring schools, parents and students too.

If you have questions regarding this planning process, please reach out to Principal Julie or our SAC representatives at SAC@orionschool.org. If you want to show support at the forums, please do. If you wish to speak, please do! Below are the district links.

Thank you!”

More info:


Nuestro distrito escolar está en medio de una reorganización a consecuencia de la disminución de fondos en el presupuesto y de niños inscritos (RCSD Planes para su futuro). Fundado por miembros de nuestra escuela Lilli Milton y Stacie Ciraulo, the Orion Task Force es un puente de comunicación entre el distrito escolar y la comunidad de Orion durante “La planeación de nuestro Futuro”. Nos hemos encomendado la tarea de ofrecer foros abiertos para las familias de Orion para poder hablar sobre el mejor camino a los cambios que podrán beneficiar tanto nuestra escuela como nuestro distrito escolar. Basado en estas pláticas y después de haber inspeccionado las ideas presentadas por la Junta de Concilio del Superintendente, apoyamos el camino al cambio que creemos firmemente va a beneficiar nuestros niños de Orion y la comunidad de Redwood City también.

“Comunidad de Orion:

Como se mencionó en la junta que realizo la “Task Force Comunity” (grupo de enforce de la comunidad), creemos que es más probable que el Distrito recomiende mover Orion a otro edificio escolar debido al tamaño del nuestro. Como se dijo en la junta, movernos a un espacio más grande aunque va a ser un reto, crea unas oportunidades emocionantes para nuestra escuela. Esta semana la Junta de Concilio del Superintendente presento una serie de ideas al Junta Directiva del Distrito de como planear mejor el futuro de las escuelas debido al déficit en el presupuesto combinado en el bajo número de niños inscritos. Los integrantes de dicha junta, han puesto un gran esfuerzo y debatido mucho para generar las sugerencias, las cuales incluyen mover de sitios algunos programas existentes. Orion está mencionado específicamente en la idea #13:

Mover Orion al sitio de la escuela John Gill y compartirlo con el programa de Inmersión al Mandarín. Mantener Orion como escuela de opción (School of Choice.)

Ahora, el distrito tendrá 2 foros comunitarios relativos a las ideas propuestas. Padres de todas las escuelas son bienvenidos y motivados a asistir para que puedan expresar sus comentarios.

Moverse al sitio de John Gill le dara la oportunidad a nuestra escuela de crecer en un modo planeado que beneficiara tanto a nuestra escuela como al distrito. Tanto el programa de inmersión al Mandarín como Orion, están centrados alrededor de una comunidad de padres activos lo que crearía un ambiente de sinergia para que tengan éxito ambos programas. El espíritu y alma de Orion está en nuestra comunidad y no necesariamente en las paredes que conforman nuestro espacio actual y la idea de hacer crecer nuestro espacio a un sitio bonito con facilidades adicionales, es emocionante. Dicho esto, si nos movemos a John Gill, esperamos que el distrito considere unos puntos críticos para que Orion siga siendo excitoso.

Nos gustaría:

  • Un Director y una comunidad de maestros dedicados al modelo de participación de padres.
  • Suficiente tiempo y comunicación para planear nuestra transición.

Esperamos que la Junta Directiva del Distrito ya haya tomado estas consideraciones en cuenta al momento de estar planeando todo el cambio de todas las escuelas, pero también les pedimos a todos los padres que apoyen nuestro mensaje (si están de acuerdo) ya sea en alguno de los foros comunitarios. El 28 de Noviembre, la junta directiva votara en su recomendación final y hasta ahora nada se ha recomendado o decidido oficialmente.

A pesar que oviamente estamos interesados en el éxito de Orion, también apoyamos la comunidad entera del Distrito Escolar de Redwood City. Este proceso de planeación ha unido a todas las escuelas a tener una meta común de crear una educación más completa y mejorada atreves de todos los programas y sitios escolares. Ninguna escuela se merece tener una ventaja o influencia mayor en esta transición tan difícil. Es mejor profesar apoyo y amor por todas las escuelas, y es muy importante dar la muestra que valoramos nuestras escuelas, padres y estudiantes.

Si tienes alguna duda sobre este proceso de planeación, por favor comunícate con la Directora Julie, nuestros representantes en la Juna de Concilio (SAC) SAC@orionschool.org. Si deceas mostrar tu apoyo en los foros, por favor asiste. Si deseas hablar en alguno de ellos, por favor hazlo! Abajo están los enlaces del distrito.


Music Volunteers Needed!

Due to budget cuts, the Music for Minors program will be ending as of November. One of our Orion parents has stepped up and developed a music program specifically for Orion grades k-2, but she cannot do it alone.

Can you carry a tune?  Do you know the difference between a quarter and an eighth note?  Are you willing to sing songs in a language you might not know? Can you modify what you are doing on the fly to adapt to time available?  If so, you would make a great music volunteer.

We are looking for adults to give weekly music enrichment from a pre-planned but adaptable lesson in grades K, 1, or 2 beginning in early November.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Diane Wakeham at d_wakeham@yahoo.com.

RCSD’s “Planning for Our Future” Updates: Community Engagement

News from RCSD:

“Dear RCSD community,

This is a reminder that you are invited to a series of “Planning for Our Future” community forums that Redwood City School District will be hosting in the coming weeks seeking your feedback as the school district plans for its future–maintaining a healthy and responsible financial status with a focus on a high-quality education for all RCSD students.

The scheduled community forums are as follows:

  • Monday, October 22, 6-8pm, McKinley Institute of Technology, Auditorium
  • Thursday, October 25, 6-8pm, Taft Community School, Multi-use Building

At each forum RCSD Superintendent Dr. John Baker will make a brief presentation followed by an opportunity for attendees to add their feedback to the ideas generated by the Superintendent’s Advisory Council (SAC ideas). This input will be added in a written format using the “pros” and “cons” structure, which will be helpful to the Superintendent as he reviews the ideas. We encourage you to come ready to write down your feedback as it is important to RCSD to have your feedback as part of this process.

Please note that these are preliminary ideas based on an extensive review of data presented to the Superintendent’s Advisory Council including a parent and community survey, enrollment information such as where RCSD students from each school live, enrollment history, district enrollment projections, kindergarten registration and enrollment over time, Schools of Choice applications/enrollment over time, school transfer data, classrooms and capacity at each school site, financial information, an academic overview such as professional learning, instructional strategies, and the current state of the district such as academic gains, popular programs, and technology integration.

The school district wants and needs to gather formal input from all community members to better understand if a particular idea should be pursued and further analyzed. Once the superintendent has a better understanding of the needs of the RCSD community, he will then develop a comprehensive implementation plan with his formal recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

After these first two community forums, the RCSD leadership will have an opportunity to add to the “pros” and “cons” from the community and share any additional ideas. The superintendent will then review input from all stakeholders and prepare a draft of recommendations. The school district has scheduled two other locations to seek community feedback should there be any revisions after the first round of the community forums in October. This will be the final opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to provide input on the ideas under consideration:

  • Thursday, November 1, 8:30-10:00 am, Hoover Community School, Cafeteria
  • Thursday, November 1, 6-8 pm, Kennedy Middle School, Gym

Final recommendations will be voted on during the November 28 Board meeting.”

Additional Info: