Common Sense Media

Since the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, we have been working with our students to teach them about digital citizenship.  We have been using lessons created by Common Sense Education, a non-profit organization.  As a district, we feel it is important to work with students on how to learn and grow in a digital world.  Moving to 1:1 is an important step in leveraging technology to aid in our students' ability to develop their 21st century skills (communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration).  As such, learning how to navigate the digital world and to develop strategies is equally important.  We hope you take the time to view these resources and have discussions with your children about what they are learning in school and what they are doing online.   

Please use this resource to learn more about digital citizenship and the conversations you have with your children about being safe and making good choices online.

This is a great resource for parents on movies, books, games, and other media that children consume.  Get reviews and a guide on whether the media is appropriate for your child.

PA Academic Review Website

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is now fully populated with Eligible Content for English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3 through 8, and in Algebra I and Literature at the secondary level.

The academic review site is designed to promote awareness and understanding of our Eligible Content.  Our goal will be to inform and seek feedback from our educators, parents, and other community members on the Eligible Content statements, their purpose, and value.  If after we gather feedback and conclude that significant changes need to be made, we will engage in a revision process via public hearings.

Educators, parents, community members, and other interested parties are encouraged to visit PA Academic Review and see the content.  The feedback we receive will be invaluable as we evaluate and refine our career and post secondary expectations for our students.

Home School

Dr. Michele Orner, Superintendent, oversees the home school program at Octorara.

The Octorara Area School District offers several services to our home school community.  Home school parents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these services should they wish their child to participate: 

  • take the same standardized tests that are administered to students who attend Octorara schools, you should contact Dr. Orner's office at 610-593-8238 on or before February 1st.

  • take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Tests, Scholastic Aptitude Tests or Advanced Placement Tests at the Octorara Area Senior High School, you need to contact Ms. Jen German, High School Guidance Office at 610-593-8254.  These tests are administered nationally on the same date and require advanced registration.  Contact Ms. German on or before February 1st.

  • attend school assemblies, contact the building principal.

  • participate in performing and visual arts (such as band and chorus), clubs, intramural and interscholastic athletics, contact the building principal.

Your child may take courses at the Junior High School or Senior High School if there is room in the class, and he/she abides by all discipline and other appropriate school requirements.  You would need to enroll your child in the school district since this is an instructional program (per PDE requirements).

Copies of the District's curriculum are available to any parent who is interested in using them.  To request copies, please contact Jill Hardy at 610-593-8238.

For additional information, please click here.

Home School Affidavit 

Bully Prevention Parent Guides

Health Information

What is pertussis?

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious disease involving the lungs and airways.  It is caused by a bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, that is found in the nose, mouth, and throat of an infected person.  More than 100 cases are reported each year in Pennsylvania, mostly in children. Other cases of pertussis occur but are not diagnosed, especially in adults.

Who gets pertussis?

Pertussis can occur at any age.

 How do you get pertussis?

People get pertussis by breathing in droplets from the nose and mouth of already infected persons.  Older children and adults may have milder disease and may spread the disease to unimmunized infants and young children.  An infected person is most contagious at the beginning of the disease.  If untreated, an infected person can spread pertussis for up to 3 weeks after coughing starts.  Antibiotic treatment limits contagiousness to five days after treatment is started.

 How soon do symptoms start?

Symptoms usually start 5 to 10 days after exposure to another person with the disease, but may take as long as 20 days to start.

 What are the symptoms of pertussis?

Pertussis begins as a mild illness like the common cold.  Sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and mild coughing progress to severe coughing.  Some persons have episodes of rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched whoop as they take a deep breath.  However, not everyone with pertussis has a whoop, especially very young infants.  Severe cough may continue for many weeks despite proper treatment.  Symptoms may be milder in older children and adults. However, pertussis can be a serious disease, especially in infants and young children. Complications can include pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy (a disorder of the brain), and death.

 How is pertussis treated?

Antibiotics such as erythromycin may be useful early in the disease.  Antibiotics are particularly helpful in reducing spread of the disease to other persons.

However, once severe symptoms begin, antibiotics may not have any effect on symptoms.

How can pertussis be prevented?

The single best control measure is adequate vaccination of children.  The pertussis vaccine is usually given together with other vaccines such as diphtheria and tetanus (DTaP vaccine). Recent changes in the pertussis vaccine have improved its safety while keeping a high level of protection.  Children should be routinely immunized at ages 2, 4, 6, and 15 months, and again at 4-6 years. 

Before 2005, the only booster available contained tetanus and diphtheria (Td), and was recommended for adolescents and adults every 10 years. Today, there are boosters for adolescents and adults that contain tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, Tdap. Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 should get a dose of Tdap.  Adults who didn’t get Tdap as a pre-teen should get one dose of Tdap instead of the Td booster.

When pertussis does occur, preventive antibiotic treatment is sometimes recommended for household and other close contacts of the person with pertussis.

Click here for more information - English 

Click here for more information - Spanish 

Standardized Testing

Strategies to Help Your Child Succeed During Testing

  • Make sure your child gets sufficient sleep.

  • Make sure your child eats a solid breakfast.

  • Make sure your child gets to school on time.

  • Make sure your child is in school every day during testing.

  • Talk to your child about doing his/her best work.

  • Let your child know you value the test, so he/she will also.

Homeless Students

The Octorara Area School District believes that homeless youth should have access to free and appropriate public education and wishes to limit the barriers that homeless children may face.  Our goal is to have the educational process continue as uninterrupted as possible while children are in homeless situations.

Defining Homeless 
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason

  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations

  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters

  • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals

  • Children and youth awaiting foster care placement

  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc.)

  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations

Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

Below are links to resources with further information and details.  Should you have any questions, you can contact Cheryl Todd at or 610-593-8238 X3501.

Pennsylvania Department of Education-Homeless Education

National Coalition for Homeless

Octorara Area School District-Homeless Students-Policy 251

PA Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Family Promise of Southern Chester County

Parkesburg Point

Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Flyer

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Flyer - Spanish

Bullying Prevention


"Cyberbullying" happens when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child.  Students are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration.  Sometimes they do it for entertainment because they are bored and have many tech toys available to them.  Because their motives differ, the solutions and responses to each type of cyberbullying incident have to differ.  Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" when cyberbullying is concerned.

The methods used are limited only by the child's imagination and access to technology.  Children often change roles, going from victim to bully and back again.  Cyberbullying is usually not a one time communication.  Children usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about bad language used by children than the hurtful effect of rude and embarrassing posts.

School can be very effective in working with parents to stop cyberbullying situations.  They can also educate the students on cyber ethics and the law.

Steps taken by our district to protect students from cyber bullying:

  • We have developed rules and policies that prohibit the use of district computers and technologies at school to bully others.

  • Teachers have been trained through the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

  • We have procedures for reporting bullying and for intervening and addressing bullying as it occurs and when it's reported.

  • We continue to work with local law enforcement and other appropriate agencies to address these issues when needed.

Parent's Role:

  • Parents need to be the one trusted place that children can go when things go wrong online and offline.  Most children, though, will avoid telling their parents about a cyberbullying incident fearing they will only make things worse.  Avoid overreacting.

  • Take it seriously.  Parents need to be supportive knowing that cyber attacks can have a lasting negative effect.

  • Let the school know so the school counselor can keep an eye out for in-school bullying.

  • Two things to consider before responding to a cyberbullying incident:  1-Is your child at risk of physical harm or assault?  2-How are they handling the attacks emotionally?

  • "Friend" your child on Facebook.

  • Check your child's cell phone regularly for pictures and texts.

  • If your child is being harassed via text message, instant message, voicemail, or email, DON'T erase or delete.

  • Contact the website, server, or cell phone company and file a complaint.

  • If your child is being threatened or a crime has been committed, contact law enforcement.

Below are websites with more information and resources on cyber bullying:

Our district will continue to address the problem of bullying/cyberbullying through both prevention and swift response.  Additional resources for parents include ongoing website information and ongoing review of Acceptable Use Policies.

Please feel free to contact your school principal or school counselor if you have a question or concern related to bullying in any of its forms.

Tuition For Non-Resident Users

Tuition rates for the 2020-2021* school year are as follows:

Elementary Level:  $14,783.64

Secondary Level:  $15,297.88

*These will be changed in May of 2021 for the official 2020-2021 tuition rates

Payments for tuition can be made by paying the total amount due at the beginning of the school year, or by making two equal payments at the beginning of the first and second semesters. 

See Board policy 202 "Eligibility of Non-Resident Students" for additional information.