Orange County Public Schools
Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is the public school district for Orange County, Florida. It is based out of the Educational Leadership Center in Downtown Orlando. As of the 2013-14 school year, OCPS has an enrollment of 187,193 students, making it the 11th largest school district in the United States. The school district also employs over 20,000 instructional and classified employees, which make up more than 96% of the OCPS work force.
The superintendent of Orange County Public Schools is Dr. Barbara Jenkins. The position of superintendent is appointed by the school board. The district is overseen by the Orange County School Board, a body of seven elected officers, each board member sitting for a particular geographic district. School Board districts are not analogous in any way with County Commission districts. As of 2014, the current School Board members, in order of district number, are Joie Cadle, Daryl Flynn, Rick Roach, Pam Gould, Kathleen "Kat" Gordon, Nancy Robbinson and Christine Moore.
Board members are elected every four years with no term limits, with Districts 1 through 3 elected during midterm election cycles (next in 2018) and Districts 4 through 7 elected during presidential cycles (next in 2016). School Board elections in Orange County are non-partisan.
A county wide public vote in 2009 created the elected position of School Board Chairman. Bill Sublette was subsequently elected to this position in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.
OCPS has used an attendance model of Kindergarten through Grade 5 for elementary schools, Grades 6–8 for middle school and Grades 9–12 for high school since 1988. Before then, Grade 6 was part of elementary school and Grade 9 was part of middle school (called Junior High in OCPS prior to 1988). As now required by Florida law, virtually all elementary schools have Pre-Kindergarten programs.
OCPS has 184 regular-attendance schools as of the 2013–14 school year: 123 elementary, 3 K-8, 35 middle, 19 high, and 4 exceptional education centers. The district also has an adult education system with six dedicated campuses and night classes at most high schools, four dedicated special education schools as well as a hospital/homebound program, and dozens of alternative education centers, including charter schools. Six of the high schools in OCPS have separate ninth-grade centers, three of them off-site of the main campus, built after the shift from K–6/7–9/10–12 to K–5/6–8/9–12. Several new schools are due to open for the 2016-2017 school year.
Some elementary middle and high schools include magnet programs that allow students to specialize in particular subject areas. Students must apply to magnet schools in order to take advantage of this specialization. Some magnet programs offered by OCPS are Aviation and Aerospace, Engineering, Foreign Languages / Dual Languages, Visual and Performing Arts, International Baccalaureate, International Studies, Criminal Justice, Digital Media, Hospitality, Leadership, Photonics, Medical Sciences, and Veterinary Animal Science.
The schools of OCPS are divided into six areas called Learning Communities: North, East, West, Southeast, Southwest and School Transformation Office (STO). Southeast and Southwest were split from a larger South Learning Community in 2006. The School Transformation Office Learning Community, which was founded in 2013, includes schools throughout Orange County who have received failing grades and helps provide resources for students at these schools to succeed. Prior to the existence of STO, there was a Central Learning Community, which was known as the "Urban Cohort" until 2005.
The district is in an aggressive expansion and school improvement project being fueled by a 0.5% sales tax option passed by the voters of Orange County in 2002. Skyrocketing land and materials costs, however, has outpaced faster-than-expected sales tax revenue increases and slowed progress. Many projects have been pushed back, and some have been cancelled altogether. The district is currently working on extending the half-penny option tax in 2012, when it is set to expire.
Most paperwork distributed to students and parents by OCPS is available in both English and Spanish. Many such documents are also available in Portuguese, Vietnamese and Haitian Creole, due to the significant populations in Orange County that speak each language.
Prior to 1952, there were only two high schools in the City of Orlando: Orlando High School and Jones High School, which was a Segregation-era Black-only high school until integration was enforced. Other municipalities in the County had high schools: Apopka, Florida; Winter Park, Florida; Ocoee, Florida; Winter Garden, Florida (Lakeview H.S.), and Eatonville, Florida (Hungerford H.S.).
In 1952, Orlando High was split into what became Edgewater High School and William R. Boone High School. Originally to be named "Orlando North" and "Orlando South", respectively, Orlando South took its modern name after its principal, William R. Boone, died before it opened. Orlando North took the name of the road it was built on, Edgewater Drive. The former Orlando High campus became Howard Middle School. Jones High moved to its present location in 1952, which was reconstructed in 2004.
In 1975, Ocoee High School and Lakeview High School were closed (their old campuses then housed Junior High schools of the same names) and their students went to the new West Orange High School. 31 years later, a new Ocoee High School was built and opened in 2006.
Hungerford High School in the historically black community of Eatonville was renamed Wymore Tech and Wymore Career Education Center until it became Hungerford Preparatory School in the 1990s and operated as a Magnet School without a specific geographic attendance zone. OCPS closed Hungerford Prep in 2008.
Ten of the district's high schools have been opened in the last 25 years, not including reconstructed campuses for existing schools.
In parentheses is the nickname of the school's athletics teams.
- Apopka High School (Blue Darters)
- William R. Boone High School (Braves)
- Colonial High School (Grenadiers)
- Cypress Creek High School (Bears)
- Dr. Phillips High School (Panthers)
- Edgewater High School (Eagles)
- East River High School (Falcons)
- Maynard Evans High School (Trojans)
- Freedom High School (Patriot)
- Jones High School (Tigers)
- Lake Nona High School (Lions)
- Oak Ridge High School (Pioneers)
- Ocoee High School (Knights)
- Olympia High School (Titans)
- Timber Creek High School (Wolves)
- University High School (Cougars)
- Wekiva High School (Mustangs)
- West Orange High School (Warriors)
- Winter Park High School (Wildcats)
||This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability or notability policies. (December 2013)|
- Actor Wesley Snipes; noted theoretical physicist Sylvester James Gates, NFL players Kevin Lewis, Nate Newton, and Tim Newton graduated from Jones High School.
- Actor/comedian Wayne Brady, singer Joey Fatone, singer/actor Luis Fonsi and baseball players A.J. Pierzynski and Johnny Damon graduated from Dr. Phillips High School, in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood.
- Professional Running back NFL Player Chris Johnson graduated from Olympia High School
- Baseball player Zack Greinke and football players Warren Sapp and Brandon Meriweather graduated from Apopka High School.
- Basketball players Marquis Daniels and Darius Washington Jr. graduated from Edgewater High School, as did Director of the Secret Service Julia Pierson.
- NFL Football player Wayne Radloff, Basketball player Austin Rivers and actresses Arielle Kebbel and Torrey DeVitto attended Winter Park High School.
- Basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire graduated from Cypress Creek High School.
- Recording artist Brian McKnight, NFL football players Leon Searcy, Kennard Lang, Brandon Siler, and basketball players Darryl Dawkins and Chucky Adkins graduated from Evans High.
- Medal of Honor recipient Larry Smedley, actor Buddy Ebsen and astronaut John Young attended Orlando High School, now Howard Middle School.
- Actress Delta Burke graduated from Colonial High School.
- Youtuber Hank Green graduated from Winter Park High School.