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posted Jul 29, 2020, 11:20 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Jul 29, 2020, 11:25 AM ]

Listed below are links to a newly revised Initial Reopening Plan, COVID-19 Flow Chart, and letter to parents concerning protocols in the event a student or staff member in our school district is diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.  Also, please click on the individual school tab on this website to view each school building's specific Return to Learn Plan.  As always, please feel free to contact the District Office if you have any additional questions.  


posted Jul 4, 2020, 5:33 PM by Kyle Taylor   [ updated Jul 4, 2020, 5:37 PM ]

This year the 2020 High School Graduation will be Live Streamed via Youtube at the following link.  

YouTube Video

The graduation ceremony will take place on the High School Football Field on Sunday June 5th, 2020.  

Social Distancing protocols will be strictly followed by all attendees. The Live Stream will begin at 10:55 AM.  The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM.  


posted Jun 1, 2020, 9:04 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Jul 2, 2020, 12:18 PM by Calvin Kruse ]

Online registration opens on Monday, July 6, 2020, for ALL returning students.  Online registration is REQUIRED for all returning students for the 2020-2021 school year.  Preferably, you can complete this process from your own home; however, you may come to the District Office, 1002 11th Avenue, Orion, (beginning July 6:  Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Friday 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon) to complete the process if you do not have access to a computer with internet service.  Please go to and log-in to your child(ren)’s account to begin the process.  (Please contact the District Office (526-3388) if you have not yet created your TeacherEase account.)  Online registration will close at midnight on Friday, August 7.      

2020-2021 Kindergarten Students:  Please follow the options listed below: 

1.  If your child will be a new kindergarten student this school year and you have signed onto the Kindergarten Round-Up google form prior to June 30, 2020, please register as a “Returning Student”. 

2.  If your child will be a new kindergarten student this school year and you did not sign onto the Kindergarten Round-Up google form prior to June 30, 2020, please call the District Office (526-3388) during the month of July (office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon on Friday) to make an appointment for new student registration on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

3.  If you signed onto the Kindergarten Round-Up google form prior to June 30, 2020, please drop off completed registration paperwork to the District Office, 1002 11th Avenue, Orion (office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon on Friday), or mail completed registration paperwork to the District Office, P.O. Box 189, Orion, IL 61273. 

            2020-2021 New Students to the School District:

1.  If your child will be a new student to the Orion School District, please call the District Office (526-3388) during the month of July (office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon on Friday) to make an appointment for new student registration on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

ALL school fees may be paid on-line using your credit card. This includes registration fees, student lunches, etc. The District will credit the $2.00 convenience fee for each payment of $50.00 or more to your child’s lunch account.  

You may also pay school fees with cash and/or checks.  Cash payments and checks may be dropped off at the District Office, 1002 11th Avenue, Orion (office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon on Friday), or checks (no cash please) may be mailed to OCUD #223, P.O. Box 189, Orion, IL 61273.  One check for ALL fees for all family members will be accepted!

Fee waivers are available for those families meeting income eligibility guidelines.   A completed Fee Waiver Application and income verification documents must be returned to the District Office (and approved) prior to beginning the registration process, for fees to be waived.  Please click the "fee waiver FY21" file at the bottom of this article for a copy of the Fee Waiver Application.  Fee Waiver Applications are also available on the school district’s website (listed under the District tab, Forms), or you may stop by the District Office to obtain a paper copy of the Fee Waiver Application.  

Busing information will be completed through the on-line registration process (except for new students).  Please contact Julie Lough, Transportation Director, (526-3382 or if you have any new busing changes from last school year.

Completed physical and dental forms, and proof of required immunizations, may be mailed to the School Nurse, P.O. Box 189, Orion, IL 61273; or dropped off at the District Office (office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon on Friday), 1002 11th Avenue, Orion.  Completed physical forms are required for all new out-of-state students to the district, preschool students, kindergarten students, 6th grade students, and 9th grade students.  Completed dental forms are required for all new out-of-state students, kindergarten students, 2nd grade students, 6th grade students, and 9th grade students.  Completed vision exams are required for all kindergarten students.  Reminder:  Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) on or after 11th birthday for 6th graders and 2 doses Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) if the first dose is received on or after the 11th birthday, and the second dose is received on or after the 16th birthday, at least 8 weeks after first dose.  If first dose is received at 16 years or older, only one dose is required.  All seniors are required to have a meningococcal vaccine ~ one or two doses depending on when the first one was administered.  Failure to have this turned in by the first day of school may result in your child being withheld from school.  Physical exams and proof of required immunizations, MUST be completed and returned to the School Nurse by the first day of school (Thursday, August 13, 2020).    

Students who are new to the district may register on Tuesday, August 4.  Please call the District Office, (526-3388) during the month of July to make an appointment. 

School offices will reopen on Monday, August 3.        

            C.R. Hanna Elementary School (grades Preschool-5th):  309-526-3386

            Orion Middle School (grades 6th-8th):  309-526-3392

            Orion High School (grades 9th-12th):  309-526-3361


Athletic fee payments may be made through the 8to18 registration process (both OMS and OHS).


Additional student registration information for the 2020-2021 school year will be included in the August/September 2020 Newsletter. 


The first day of student attendance for the 2020-2021 school year is Thursday, August 13, 2020.   

Video Walkthroughs:

New Family & Student Registration

Check for Emails from TeacherEase: New Families:

On-Line Registration Click-through:


posted Jun 1, 2020, 8:52 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

The District Office hours throughout the summer are as follows:
Monday - Thursday:  8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Friday:  8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The District Office will be closed on July 3rd.


posted May 15, 2020, 6:38 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated May 17, 2020, 10:56 AM by Kyle Taylor ]

The Orion High School Awards Ceremony video will be available to view on Sunday, May 17, 2020, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Please click on the link listed to view the video.  (Link will not be available until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020.)  Congratulations to all of the students who are receiving awards!


posted Apr 29, 2020, 10:35 AM by Bobbi Thomsen

Congratulations and Best Wishes to this year's Orion School District retirees!
Mark Anderson, Custodian, 21 Years of Service
Jennifer Bell, Paraprofessional, 31 Years of Service
Robert "Yogi" McHugh, Bus Driver, 12 Years of Service
Rosie Stiles, Bus Driver, 43 Years of Service


posted Mar 16, 2020, 11:39 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Apr 20, 2020, 8:49 AM ]

Orion Parent FAQ’s

(Last updated: 4/1/2020)


Why are schools closed?

     Governor Pritzker gave an executive order to close all public and private schools in Illinois to limit the spread of the ​COVID-19 virus.


When will school reopen?

     Schools are closed for the remaining 2019-2020 school year.


When will E-Learning Opportunities begin?

     E-Learning Opportunities will begin on Monday, March 30, 2020.


What are E-Learning Opportunities and what are district expectations?

     The purpose of E-Learning Opportunities would be to provide educational opportunities for our students in place of a traditional school day. The intent would be to keep the educational opportunities familiar, using resources that our students, staff, and parents have utilized previously.

     Teachers will prepare learning opportunities for our K-5 students by grade level and course-specific opportunities for our 6-12 students based on their individual schedules.


What will a student’s day look like?

     Students will be required to login daily to complete an attendance form via Google Forms.

     Students will be expected to complete tasks per teacher instruction depending on grade-level assignments.


How does my student sign into the Google Attendance Form?

     Students will go to where the Google Attendance Form will be the top link on the webpage.

     On the Attendance Form, students will enter their school email address, first name, and last name.

     Once the Attendance Form is complete, students will go to the E-Learning classroom that has been assigned by their teacher.  Examples: Google Classroom, Edmodo, etc.


What are my expectations for grading students' work?

     The purpose of E-Learning Opportunities is to provide students an opportunity to continue learning during time away from the school building. However, the purpose is not to grade work but to continue their academic progress.  Students will not be penalized for their work. Students are strongly encouraged to complete all assigned tasks to ensure they do not fall behind in their academic work when school resumes.  For those students who do participate, these activities will be given participation points.


What do ‘specials’ look like with E-Learning Opportunities  (SpEd, Title, Music, P.E., Art, etc.)?

     Specials’ teachers will be co-collaborators on homework with classroom teachers or they may create their own E-Learning opportunities.


What are the expectations for Chromebooks that are borrowed from the school district?

     Chromebooks were sent home with students at the end of the day on Monday.  If you still need to request a Chromebook, please contact or the district office at (309) 526-3388.

     Chromebooks should be returned on the 1st day school returns to regular attendance.

     Chromebooks should be returned in the same condition in which it was signed out.


When do I pick up my students packet of information/work if I do not have Internet?

     March 30th will be the first day that packets will be available for pickup.  Packets can be picked up at the main entrance to each school building and will be available anytime after 8 a.m.  This date is fluid.


Will students be allowed in the building?

     Students will not be allowed in the building with the exception of picking up meals.  If a student left learning materials in the building, call the school office and make individual arrangements between
8 a.m.-3 p.m.


Will lunches be available to students?

     Beginning March 17, 2020, lunches will be available for all children living in the Orion School District, ages 0-18, free of charge.  Lunch pick-ups will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

     The process will utilize a drive through system located in the back parking lot of Orion High School.  This lot is located on the north side of the building. 

     Three days of lunches may be picked up on Mondays and two on Thursdays.  Either parents/guardians or the student may pick up the lunch(es). 

     Initially these lunches will be sack lunches with the potential for hot lunches in the future.


What type of cleaning will be done over break?

     Our custodians currently use products that are recommended for disinfecting against the ​COVID-19 virus.  All buildings and school vehicles will be thoroughly cleaned.

     Over break, each building will be thoroughly cleaned and have limited access from outside visitors.


Will the individual school offices and district offices be open?

     All offices will adhere to the social distancing policies as mandated by the State of Illinois.

     The offices will be staffed for phone calls from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday - Friday.

     Please be aware that these dates and times are fluid due to circumstances within the district.



posted Mar 13, 2020, 12:07 PM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 9:31 AM ]



Update Message to Families

March 13, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,


In Orion CUSD #223 the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff are our top priorities.  With the recently elevated discussion regarding the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the news, we want to take a moment to reinforce preventive safety measures and reference our process and communications.


As a school district, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  We encourage our students, staff and families to be mindful of key preventive measures.  The CDC offers some tips on its website that can be useful in avoiding the spread of this and other illnesses. 


The State Superintendent has requested that school districts immediately begin working on emergency plans, including research-based E-Learning plans, in the event of a state emergency declaration due to the growing number of Coronavirus/COVID-19 cases.  The district worked on an E-Learning plan this week and submitted it for ROE approval. The purpose of this E-Learning plan is to provide educational opportunities for our students in place of a traditional school day.  This plan attempts to accommodate our students’ needs and their internet/technology access capabilities.  However, we are preparing in the event ISBE and/or the Illinois Department of Public Health requires us to do so.  


Here are some facts in regards to E-Learning days that we want you to be aware of:

·         E-Learning activities do not have to be on the computer.  Think beyond the traditional mindset as activities may include:  1) worksheets, 2) online programs, 3) play-based activities, 4) project-based activities, 5) etc.

·         E-Learning days count as a day of regular student attendance days and do not have to be made up at the end of the school year.

·         Each activity (lesson) should take into account the student’s time, pace, and means of learning.



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Joe Blessman at 309-526-3388 or




Mr. Joe Blessman, Superintendent


posted Mar 3, 2020, 1:26 PM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Mar 12, 2020, 8:58 AM ]

The Orion School District recognizes your concerns about the encroaching spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its potential impact on schools.  At this time, while there is no antiviral treatment that attacks the coronavirus, individuals are being treated with pain relievers, cough syrup and other medications for the symptoms.  So, it is important that we rely on prevention, as we did when advising about the "swine flu" (H1N1) in 2009.  As we await guidance from the CDC on specific strategies for schools, the Orion School District encourages you to follow common sense strategies for preventing the spread of communicable diseases:

Individual level
  • Practice social distancing and courtesy when ill.
  • Keep children home who exhibit cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Discourage your student from sharing food or drinks.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Review hand-washing techniques with your student.
  • Encourage your student to keep unwashed hands out of their mouths, eyes, etc.
  • Encourage your student to use antibacterial soap rather than hand sanitizers.
School level
  • Currently, public health officials are not recommending the use of masks or gloves in public settings.
  • At this time, federal health authorities are not recommending that schools cancel classes.
And remember, while the Coronavirus news is concerning, it is important to point out that there are other respiratory viruses like influenza currently circulating in schools.  Fever, coughing and difficulty breathing are symptoms associated with all of them.  Therefore, anyone exhibiting these symptoms should not be assumed to have COVID-19.

A Health Alert was sent out on March 2, 2020, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Please click on the link listed below to view the Health Alert.


posted Aug 8, 2019, 7:36 AM by Bobbi Thomsen   [ updated Jan 30, 2020, 7:44 AM ]

Please help welcome the following new Orion School District employees:  Maddie Anderson ~ ESP Childcare Provider; Shelley Bird ~ Bus Driver; Brittany Brown ~ OHS Winter Spirit Squad Coach; Spencer Brown ~ OHS Assistant Football Coach; Michelle Burge ~ OMS Cook; Sandy Campbell ~ C.R. Hanna Paraprofessional; Christofer Dhabalt ~ 7th Grade Girls' Basketball Coach; Bradlee Fair ~ C.R. Hanna Paraprofessional; Brian Fair ~ OHS Assistant Wrestling Coach; Jeff Ferry ~ OHS Assistant Wrestling Coach; Melissa Haars ~ C.R. Hanna Paraprofessional; Dennis Harlan ~ Camelot Driver; Lauren Heiberger ~ OMS/OHS Instrumental Music Teacher; Kristin Holbrook ~ ESP Childcare Provider; Nathan Houser ~ Bus Driver and Custodian; Stephanie Jacobs ~ C.R. Hanna Paraprofessional; Amy Kayser ~ OMS Assistant Track Coach; Cassie Kingsford ~ OHS Agriculture Teacher, FFA Advisor, Co-op Coordinator & CTE Director; Rebecca Lingle ~ ESP Childcare Provider; Kramer Matzen ~ OHS Assistant Football Coach; Laura Nelson, OMS Principal; Corrie Newman ~ ESP Childcare Provider; and Brandon Wilkerson ~ 6th Grade Math Teacher, OMS Cross Country Coach & OMS Assistant Track Coach.

Also, please help welcome back these school employees who have accepted new and/or additional responsibilities for the 2019-2020 school year (new and/or additional responsibility is underlined):  Sydney Adams ~ Teacher, 7th Grade Volleyball Coach, OHS Assistant Volleyball Coach;  John Crose ~ OMS Teacher, OMS Athletic Coordinator; Jennifer Feldott ~ Teacher, OHS Varsity Scholastic Bowl Coach; Jenna Munoz ~ 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher; Robert Nicholson ~ Full-time Custodian; Becky Nightingale ~ High School P.E. & Health Teacher, Class Sponsor, OHS Student Council Sponsor; Joline Olson ~ Homebound Teacher & Extended School Year Teacher; Kelsey Rentfro-Cline ~ OHS Teacher, Fresh/Soph Scholastic Bowl Sponsor; Abby Thomsen ~ OHS Math Teacher; Laurie Thornburg ~ Records Secretary; Marcy Wegerer ~ OHS Business Teacher & CTE Director.

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