From the Orcas Island Education Foundation and the Orcas Island Community Foundation

The new school year is just around the corner. Like so many aspects of our lives in the new COVID world, school will be different for our public school students. While having hoped to have a hybrid mix of remote and in-person education, it was deemed safest for children, staff, and community that the start of school should be Distance Learning only.

Unlike in March when schools closed immediately without an opportunity to plan, the remote education for our public school students starting in September will be more structured and accountable. New also is a planned day per week of education outdoors for students K-5. OISD is contracting with Camp Orkila to create a dynamic program to engage students physically and creatively. Students will have a chance to engage socially in a safe outside environment, and for working families, it provides a day of supervised care outside the home.

In regard to this new program, Superintendent Eric Webb says, “OISD’s outdoor learning opportunities at Camp Orkila are essential to promoting the social and emotional health of our students as we embark upon our Distance Learning Model in September.  Bringing our children together to safely socialize and experience learning at a camp setting with their peers is but one step we can take to reduce the isolation this pandemic has imposed on so many.”

All of this adjustment comes with a price tag. In order to keep online classes smaller grades K through 6th, para-educators will be hired. The district also wants to support families without adequate technology with tools for remote learning. Finally, there is an obvious cost in contracting with Orkila. All of this adds up to over $600,000. While the OISD will bear the cost of the new para-educators, fundraising is essential to cover the other additional

To that end, the Orcas Island Education Foundation (OIEF) and the Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF) are partnering to raise money to pay for the new Orkila program and for family tech support.

OIEF has pledged a significant portion of the needed funding to support the Orkila program. It also will be contributing additional funds so that an expansion of AOK may continue and art can continue at home!

OICF is accepting donations to the Community Emergency Response Fund (CER Fund) to support the schools. Fortunately, donations to it will be matched up to 100% by the Seattle Foundation’s “All in WA” program, as the Seattle Foundation has extended this campaign.

OIEF will be the lead donor to the new All in WA/OISD fund initiative so its significant gift can be leveraged for more funding. But more gifts are needed — and we hope you will help support our public school students in this critical time. Please consider a gift to the CER Fund and mark “All in WA/OISD fund” in the recognition line to ensure your donation will be matched! ANY amount is appreciated. If you would like to give and have your gift matched, go to: You may also send in a check to: OICF, PO Box 1496, Eastsound, 98245. PLEASE NOTE on the check that this is for the “All in WA/OISD fund.” It must note “All in WA” so as to be eligible for the match.

Please join OIEF and OICF in helping to make the start of the school year as best as it can be. We all know how difficult this time is for everyone; our hope is to make it a little better for the youngest among us. Thank you so much — and go to