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posted Feb 20, 2018, 6:58 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

School will be dismissed early on Friday, March 23, due to a School Improvement Inservice.  Early dismissal times will be:  C.R. Hanna Elementary School at 11:22 a.m., Orion Middle School at 11:28 a.m., and Orion High School at 11:32 a.m.  School will not be in session on Monday, March 26, through Monday, April 2.  (Monday, April 2 is the school's fifth emergency day.  At this time, we have only used two emergency days.)  School will resume on Tuesday, April 3.

Testing of drinking water sources at C.R. Hanna Elementary School

posted Dec 20, 2017, 12:18 PM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Dec 20, 2017, 12:25 PM ]

Testing of drinking water sources at C.R. Hanna Elementary School was performed on November 10, 2017.  The testing is required by The Lead in Drinking Water Testing Bill (LDWTB) which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner effective January 17, 2017.  

The LDWTB requires elementary school buildings constructed prior to January 1, 2000 serving 5th grade and below to test the following sources:


  • Drinking fountain and drinking sources in buildings
  • Classroom sinks in classroom under 1st grade (kindergarten and pre-kindergarten)


Water testing followed protocol recommended by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the LDWTB.  All water sources have two samples collected.  The first collection at each source is a “first draw” sample.  Water collection occurs in first draw samples after sources were unused for at least eight (8) hours.  The second sample at that source is collected after 30 seconds of flushing.  The two (2) samples are intended to help identify if any concentrations are originating from the fixture or the potable water piping leading to the fixture.


Lead most frequently gets into drinking water by leaching from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through a school’s distribution system. Even though the drinking water you receive from the water supplier may meet federal and state standards for lead, your facility may have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and water use patterns.  Leaching can occur for several reasons but the most significant is corrosion which can occur if water is acidic.


Lead in new plumbing and plumbing repairs was banned in 1986.  This ban did not entirely eliminate lead as 0.2% lead is still allowed in solder and 8% lead is allowed in piping systems.  Pre-1986 plumbing systems have a higher potential to leach lead into drinking water.


Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health.  Young children, those 6 years and younger, are at particular risk for lead exposure because they have frequent hand-to-mouth activity and absorb lead more easily than do adults. Children’s nervous systems are still undergoing development and thus are more susceptible to the effects of toxic agents.  Lead is also harmful to the developing fetuses of pregnant women.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has developed the following guidance for reducing lead in the drinking water in schools;


“3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance:  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):  October 2006 Version”


While there is no known safe level of lead in drinking water the guidance lists a recommended action level of 20.0 parts per billion (ppb) of lead.  Effectively when lead concentrations are at 20.0 ppb or greater some action should be taken to reduce the concentration in the affected outlets.


The LDWTB requires the District to provide notification to parents identifying each location with a detected concentration exceeding 5.0 ppb.  The concentrations of lead in samples at the following location(s) exceeded 5.0 ppb;


·         HCS-2A: first draw room 102 right sink – 12.5 ppb

·         HWF-2B: first draw room 102 left sink – 5.33 ppb

·         HCS-3B: first draw room 103 right sink – 11.0 ppb

·         HCS-6A: first draw room 104 sink – 10.1 ppb

·         HWF-6B first draw room 104 drinking fountain – 6.26 ppb

·         HCS-8A: first draw old art room sink – 7.46 ppb

·         HWF-9A: first draw room 106 east drinking fountain – 6.68 ppb

·         HWF-9B: flush room 106 east drinking fountain – 8.25 ppb

·         HWF-10A: first draw room 106 west drinking fountain – 6.39 ppb

·         HWF-10B: flush room 106 west drinking fountain – 6.81 ppb

·         HWF-15A: first draw small gym drinking fountain – 12.3 ppb

·         HS-16A: first draw nurses bathroom sink – 10.9 ppb

·         HS-16B: flush nurses bathroom sink – 8.53 ppb

·         HKS-21A: first draw south sink on west wall kitchen – 15.7 ppb

·         HKS-22A: first draw north sink on west wall kitchen – 50.6 ppb

·         HCS-25A: first draw room 115 sink – 14.2 ppb

·         HCS-26A: first draw room 116 sink – 21.8 ppb

·         HWF-26B: first draw room 116 drinking fountain – 126 ppb


Based upon the results of this testing the District is taking the following steps:


  1. Sinks that exceed the recommended EPA action level will be taken out of service or labeled to avoid using as a drinking or cooking source.
  2. Drinking fountains that exceed the recommended EPA action level will be taken out of service.

      3.   The 3 samples in bold print will have the faucets replaced and will be retested.


Please click on the attached file listed below (water test report 122017) to view a complete copy of the water testing report.  If you should have any questions regarding the water testing that was performed you can contact Mr. Blessman at 309-526-3388.


For additional information about lead in drinking water you can visit the USEPA’s website;


posted Nov 17, 2017, 6:17 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Nov 17, 2017, 6:21 AM ]

Goal Area 1 – Student Achievement/Curriculum

The Board of Education shall support the curriculum at each grade level within the District ensuring each grade is aligned to the Illinois standards.  Subjects of focus shall be Math, English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Health.  The Board shall assign the Administration the task to assess the district’s overall curriculum and give a status report and proposed plan moving forward.  The Board shall then determine how it will support the chosen direction.

Goal Area 2 – Programs and Services

The Board of Education shall support professional development opportunities for the staff targeted at those individuals developing skills and resources that help advance the district in its educational offerings and improve student learning.  Utilization of this shall be reported to the Board every semester including some detail on how the particular learning was shared amongst the staff organization.

Goal Area 3 – District/Community Relations

The Board of Education shall support and promote the accomplishments and informational news of the school district by holding an annual meeting sometime between now and the end of the first semester of the 2018-19 school year.  This event shall be used to inform and engage our community furthering their understanding of district and community achievements.

Goal Area 4 – Facilities

The Board of Education shall support the development and maintenance of our educational facilities through the development of both a short-term plan (5 yrs) and a long-term plan (20 yrs).  These plans will incorporate end-of-life projections of key facilities.  Development and prioritization of these plans shall begin and be driven through the Buildings and Grounds Committee. 

Goal Area 5 – Finance

The Board of Education shall be fiscally responsible in how we spend the tax payers’ money to support and provide a top quality education for our kids.  We will continue our yearly budget planning and incorporate a “what if” planning strategy into these fiscal plans.  This overall fiscal responsibility shall be measured during our annual audit which measures the days of cash-on-hand as we strive to maintain our current level or slightly increase that while still providing a high quality education for our children.

Goal Area 6 – Technology

The Board of Education shall support the definition, development, and execution of a technology plan for the district as determined by the Administration and Technology Committee.  This plan shall be focused on how the district evolves with changing technology to support the various grade levels of education.  The Board shall then determine how it will support the chosen plan.


posted Aug 1, 2017, 8:21 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 6, 2018, 6:18 AM ]

Please help welcome our new Orion School District employees:  Ashlee Amador ~ High School Activities Director and C.R. Hanna Aide; Jeff Anderson ~ Middle School Assistant Wrestling Coach; Larry Anderson ~ High School Assistant Boys' Basketball Coach; Lynsay Bainter ~ C.R. Hanna Aide; Sandy Campbell ~ C.R. Hanna Aide; Suzy Ferry, Middle School Aide; Parker Haley ~ Middle & High School Vocal Music Teacher; Brandi Hull ~ Bus Driver; Dennis Lehr ~ C.R. Hanna Custodian; Ted Leuck ~ 8th Grade Boys' Basketball Coach; Darlene Linden ~ OMS Cook; Andrew Lister ~ High School English Teacher, High School Detention Supervisor & Junior Class Sponsor; Tori Matzen ~ High School Assistant Volleyball Coach; Emily McVietty ~ 7th Grade Girls' Basketball Coach; Robert Nicholson ~ Part-time Custodian; Jamee Sovey ~ C.R. Hanna Aide; William Starcevich ~ High School Girls' Golf Coach; Jon Steiniger, Middle School Head Wrestling Coach; Leah Stropes, C.R. Hanna Aide; Brandon Taets ~ Middle School Assistant Football Coach; Marcy Wegerer ~ High School Business Teacher; and Travis White ~ High School Boys' Golf Coach.

Also, please help welcome back these school employees who have accepted new/or additional responsibilities this school year (new and/or additional responsibility is underlined):  Brian Bagby ~ 7th Grade Head Football Coach; Jennifer Bakener ~ High School Counselor & Senior Class Sponsor; Christina Carlson ~ 4th Grade Teacher; Alisha Labash ~ Kindergarten TeacherJennifer Maertens ~ 7th Grade Science Teacher, Student Council Sponsor, 8th Grade Volleyball Coach & Middle School Lego Robotics Sponsor; Jenna Munoz ~ 2nd Grade Teacher; Kelsey Rentfro-Cline ~ High School English Teacher & High School Winter Spirit Squad Coach; Michele Weston ~ Middle School Cook (4 hours per school day), and Anthony Zuidema ~ Full-time Custodian.


posted Apr 20, 2017, 9:14 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

The school board election for Orion Community Unit School District #223 was held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.  Three seats on the seven-member board of education were filled at the election and will serve four-year terms expiring in April 2021.  The official election results are as follows:

            Four-year term:

            Brandon Cooper (Western Township)                 336

            Aaron J. Kayser (Western Township)                  320

            Christina S. Monson (Andover Township)          296


Brandon Cooper, Aaron J. Kayser, and Christina S. Monson were elected for four-year terms expiring in April 2021.  Thank you candidates for your interest in Orion Community Unit School District!


posted Mar 20, 2017, 11:29 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 20, 2017, 11:31 AM ]

Federal law requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to administer certain assessments to all students who attend public schools in the state.  Please click here to view a letter from the Illinois State Board of Education concerning student achievement assessment.

Prevention of and Response to Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment

posted Apr 22, 2016, 9:08 AM by Kyle Taylor   [ updated Apr 22, 2016, 9:19 AM ]

Bullying, intimidation, and harassment diminish a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate. Preventing students from engaging in these disruptive behaviors and providing all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment are important school goals.

Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, military status, unfavorable discharge status from the military service, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, religion, physical or mental disability, order of protection status, status of being homeless, or actual or potential marital or parental status, including pregnancy, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in each of the following situations:

1.  During any school-sponsored education program or activity.

2.  While in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities.

 3.  Through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.

4.  Through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the school district or school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.

Bullying includes cyber-bullying (bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication) and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

1.  Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;

2.  Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;

3.  Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or

4.  Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

Examples of prohibited conduct include name-calling, using derogatory slurs, stalking, sexual violence, causing psychological harm, threatening or causing physical harm, threatened or actual destruction of property, or wearing or possessing items depicting or implying hatred or prejudice of one of the characteristics stated above

Students are encouraged to immediately report bullying. A report may be made orally or in writing to the district complaint manager or any staff member with whom the student is comfortable speaking. Anyone, including staff members and parents/guardians, who has information about actual or threatened bullying is encouraged to report it to the district complaint manager or any staff member. Anonymous reports are also accepted by phone call or in writing.

Complaint Managers:

Nathan DeBaillieScott BrineyR.C. Lowe
1100 13th Street, P.O. Box 39, Orion, IL 61273800 12th Avenue, P.O. Box 129, Orion, IL 61273900 14th Avenue, P.O. Box 159, Orion, IL 61273
(309) 526-3361(309) 526-3392(309) 526-3386

A reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying is prohibited. A student’s act of reprisal or retaliation will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.

A student will not be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information, even if the school’s investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.

Students and parents/guardians are also encouraged to read the following school district policies:  7:20, Harassment of Students Prohibited and  7:180, Preventing Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment

Student Management System and Parent Notification System

posted Apr 22, 2016, 9:05 AM by Kyle Taylor   [ updated Aug 29, 2016, 7:27 AM by Bobbi Thomsen ]

The district's student management system (TeacherEase/SchoolInsight) includes a suite of applications that enhances communications and the sharing of information.  Parents may access data in this system through the website:    A memo was sent home with students asking parents to provide the school district with their preferred e-mail address.  The school district needs this email address to be able to send directions to you on how to create your account.  (Please click here to view memo to parents concerning providing preferred email address).  You can also contact your child’s school and provide them with an e-mail address.  Once you have activated an account, I urge you to navigate throughout the website to discover all the data that you can access and monitor.  

Credit card payment options in TeacherEase/SchoolInsight include not only lunch deposits, but also athletic and registration fees.  Through your account in “TeacherEase”, you can select to pay “Fees” on the Parent Main Page and decide what and how much to pay.  We want to thank the many parents who have been using “TeacherEase” to make lunch deposits.  We recognize that the $2 convenience fee is a deterrent for some parents to use this efficient way for us to credit money to lunch accounts.  Thus, the District will credit back this $2 fee to your child’s lunch account for each payment of $50 or more!  We would like to encourage all parents to use this option of electronic payments.  It helps the district streamline this daily operation and creates an accurate flow of funds to your student(s) accounts.

The school district uses "SchoolMessenger”, a parent notification system.  The district uses this system to notify parents of school closings, early school dismissals, and other important messages.  Please take the time, if you have not already done so, to create a “Contact Manager Account”, so we can be sure to send any voice, email, or text message to the appropriate numbers and/or -email address(s).  Please click on the SchoolMessenger tab on this website to create/customize your account.  Please use your child's TeacherEase student identification number when accessing SchoolMessenger.  (Please contact your child's school office if you do not know your child's TeacherEase student identification number.)  A SchoolMessenger account is automatically set up using the main phone number in your child's TeacherEase account.  By creating a "Contact Manager Account" in SchoolMessenger, you will have the ability to "customize" your account.  SchoolMessenger has the ability to call four different phone numbers, send emails to two different email addresses, and send text messages to two different numbers ~ for each child.  Also, SchoolMessenger contains different message categories to check (non-school hours emergency, school hours emergency, attendance, general, sports, and survey).  Please be sure to check the "general" category, as this is how most messages are sent.

Please feel free to contact your child's school office or the district office if you have any questions concerning these systems.  We will be happy to help answer your questions.

Joseph A. Blessman - Superintendent

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