Principal's Message

  • Single Subject Acceleration Window Is Open!

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/22/2021

    Dear Parents,


    The following information from Mrs. Foxx, your AG/AIG teacher, is about the SSA testing window!


    Please note the last day to register your child for SSA testing is Monday, March 22nd!

    From Mrs. Foxx:


    Dear Parents:


    The time to request Single Subject Acceleration testing is here! You can request for your child to be tested for Math or English/Language Arts. Testing is open to any student, even if he/she was tested in the fall of 2020. Please read the information provided by WCPSS, in the linked form, to learn more about the practice of SSA and to determine if your child is a good candidate. If you choose for your child to participate in the testing, please use the link to complete the test request form by Monday, March 22, 2021. No forms will be accepted after March 22nd. Please honor this deadline as it is set by WCPSS and allows time for materials to be ordered.

    I will be offering Virtual SSA Parent Information Sessions to give more detailed information about testing. Plan to join me on Tuesday, March 2nd at 12:30pm or Thursday, March 4th at 6pm to learn more. Please use the links below to access the test request form and Parent Information Meets. Thanks!

    SSA Test Request Form:

    March 2nd Meeting Link:

    March 4th Meeting Link:


    Leigh Ann Foxx
    AIG Teacher/SSA Contact


    Comments (-1)
  • Interim Principal for Olds Named by Board of Education

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/17/2021

    Dear Parents:

    The WCPSS Board of Education approved Dr. Diann Kearney as the Interim Principal for Olds Elementary beginning March 1, 2021. I have known Dr. Kearney for many years and have always found her to be very professional and personable. I feel confident that you will love having her at Olds in this key leadership position! The following letter was written for you from Dr. Kearney as a message of hello and introduction. Sincerely, Dr. Wheeler


    February 17, 2021


    Dear Olds Elementary School Families,


    I am excited to serve as your interim principal from March 1 until your new principal is named. Dr. Thompson, Area Superintendent, and I have discussed the unique timing of my appointment and how I can best support the Olds Community. We are both confident that together with the continued support of parents and staff, we will be able to sustain the positive energy that makes this school such a wonderful place to work and learn.


    Despite the fact that my appointment falls during this unique time, I am committed to supporting students, staff, and families to make this transition as seamless as possible. My leadership experience as principal at Conn Elementary, Martin Middle, and Apex High, has afforded me many unique opportunities including moving school campuses in preparation for renovations and reconstruction, working with staff and community to develop a new magnet theme, strengthening school culture to reduce teacher turnover, and garnering community support to promote a greater sense of identity and school pride. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of WCPSS and am excited about the opportunity to serve the Olds community.


    If you have questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to me at Thank you for your support of Olds Elementary School!



    Diann Kearney, Ed.D.
    Interim Principal

    Dr. Kearney

    Comments (-1)
  • Morning Meeting Cancelled for Wed. February 17!

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/16/2021

    Dear families,


    Some students will be returning to Olds tomorrow, Feb. 17th, for in-person learning. Due to the many safety protocols that teachers need to review and teach, we are cancelling Morning Meeting tomorrow to provide the time for this important information to be shared.


    Additionally, please be sure your child checks their Google Classroom for new schedules that begin tomorrow. Some codes and times have changed, so your child will want to be prepared for their classes at the correct time.


    As always, let us know if you have questions.


    Thank you in advance for your flexibility and cooperation!  Dr Wheeler

    Comments (-1)
  • Students Returning to School

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/11/2021

    Dear Families,


    As many students prepare to return to Olds next week, either for daily instruction in grades K-3 or in rotations for grades 4-5, we wanted to share some information about what school will look like.


    1. All students and staff are required to wear masks that fit to their faces. This means it must cover their nose and their mouth, and not gap at the sides or other areas.


    2. All students and staff will go through a health screening before entering the building, whether they are walkers, carpool students, or bus riders.
    a. If someone has a fever of 100.4 or higher, they will be asked to wait 5 minutes for a second reading. If it is still 100.4 or higher, they will need to go home and follow the return to school protocols.
    b. If the second reading is below 100.4, the individual will need to wait another 5 minutes for a third reading, which will determine if they are able to come inside or need to go home.
    c. If the individual being sent home for not passing the health screening has siblings or other family members in the building, they will need to go home as well.


    3. While in school, students will need to maintain minimally 3 feet and preferably 6 feet distance from others.
    a. Hallways are marked with paws to facilitate this distancing/
    b. Classroom seats are arranged and labeled with student names. Each student will have their own desk or seating area to minimize sharing.
    c. Thorough classroom cleaning occurs each night. High-touch surfaces like hand railings and bathrooms are cleaned throughout the day.
    d. Desks, tables, chairs are cleaned after eating.


    4. Most students will be switching classes for core instruction and specials. All movement, distancing and cleaning protocols will be followed.


    5. Lunch will be eaten in the classroom and in the cafeteria, depending upon the grade and classroom.
    a. In the cafeteria, there are 3 students per table, all facing the playground. There are 2 empty seats between children.
    b. In the classroom, all students are at their own seat, facing the same direction.
    c. Students will be taught the eating procedures which involve safety procedures like everyone opening their food at the same time, THEN all removing their masks at the same time. Students will need to focus on eating. As soon as they are done, they will put their mask back on.


    6. Recess will still require masks. However, additional mask breaks will be offered. During these breaks, students will be in a designated area, 6 feet apart from others while their mask is off. They will not be playing when the masks are off.


    7. Students learning in-person and remotely will continue to receive the same core instruction.


    8. Students returning to school for in-person learning will:
    a. Have some opportunities for paper/pencil school-work. However, they should still expect online assignments and activities.
    b. Need to bring their device and charger to school with them every day, along with the headsets provided by the county (or their own). Olds gave out almost all of the devices last spring and cannot promise access to one while in school. Students need to bring their devices to school.
    c. Can leave a device in a classroom if there is a concern about the device traveling back and forth between home and school.
    d. Must bring in BYOD Consent form for any personal devices to be used in school. (Parents - Please print out the consent form for any family devices you are sending to school with your child. You can send it to school with your child when s/her returns.)


    9. Students in grades 4 and 5 will return in rotations. Please follow the calendar for your rotation group
    a. Feb. 17th Cohort B, Rotation 2
    b. Feb. 22nd Cohort C, Rotation 3
    c. Mar. 1st Cohort A, Rotation 1


    10. Before and after school care will be provided here at Olds by the local YMCA. The before school program will run from 7 to 8 a.m.; the after school program from 3 to 6 p.m. Fees and more information about the programs are available on the following website:


    We are excited to soon see and hear children in the halls of Olds again!


    We want to assure you we are taking safety protocols seriously. In fact, failure to comply with health and safety procedures can result in a student being returned to virtual academy.


    You will be receiving further information about health and safety protocols from the district and Olds over the next few days.

    Comments (-1)

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/8/2021

    Dear Families,


    Up until now students could choose to turn their camera on or not during remote learning. This was due to privacy and equity issues, which are real concerns, and we supported this optional policy. However, recent updates to Google Meet have fixed these camera issues. Students can add a backgrounds or blur their backgrounds, preventing others from seeing where they are or what is happening behind them.


    Because of this update, Olds students will be expected to turn on their camera's when in live meets, beginning Tuesday, February 9th. Students are encouraged to use the background features, but not required. We will be reminding students of this new policy, but families will be contacted if their student does not comply or leaves the meet. If there is an extenuating circumstance, such as child falling off a bike, scraping their face and preferring not to be seen on camera, then a parent simply needs to send the teacher a note. Otherwise, cameras should be on.


    We are thankful the county took steps to address the privacy and equity concerns. Your teachers are really looking forward to seeing the faces of their students and being able to connect with them in a more productive and personal way. When everyone can see each other, the sense of community and comfort level improves. As an added benefit, we expect a few specific problems to be greatly reduced, including students: a) walking away from instruction and not responding when called on, b) students playing video games or watching YouTube during meets, c) not being able to be observed for support or intervention services (requirements of getting and maintaining services), d) not participating with discussion cues (thumbs up/down, agree/disagree cards, etc.) or being engaged, e) getting counted as attended just for joining a meet, but not participating, turning in work, asking questions, showing their face.

    We continue to recognize the challenges different families face and have worked with many who have reached out to us. We're here to help if you are struggling in any way. Please let us know. Thank you for continued patience and support as we all work on ways to make learning accessible to all our students.


    Thank you for helping us improve our instructional process and helping our children do their best!

    Dr. Wheeler

    Comments (-1)
  • Repost of Plan B Students Back in School Feb. 17th!

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 2/5/2021

    Dear Families, 


    We will be transitioning back to a combination of face-to-face and Virtual Academy instruction on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.  Here are some important updates about the return to school and mid-quarter materials pick up. Please read the information carefully and mark your calendars.


    • Monday, February 15th is a Calendar Out Day and Presidents Day. No school for students.
    • Tuesday, February 16th is a teacher workday. No school for students.
    • On Wednesday, February 17th, Students enrolled in Plan B (face-to-face instruction) will begin returning to school. Virtual Academy students will begin to follow the schedule that was in their January Pick-Up Bags. It also will be posted in your google classroom by your teachers.
    • All K-3 students in Plan B will return to school daily
    • Fourth and fifth grade students in Plan B return in three rotations, starting with COHORT B / 2.  Your child's cohort has not changed since winter break, so please be sure you are prepared to return on the correct week.  If you have forgotten your cohort, please email Mrs. Stradling at for assistance.
    • The calendar can be found under the Alert Announcements: Parent Information … on the Olds website (green area) and is also linked here.
    • Mid-quarter material pick-up is NEXT Thursday, February 11th from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pick-up will take place from the gym. This is especially important for students who will not be in school face to face on Feb. 17th.  Depending on the grade there may be headsets, EL workbooks, new EL text, and school supplies.  Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing when picking up materials. Thank you.
    Comments (-1)
  • Give Your Input for a New Principal

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 1/25/2021

    Hello folks. The following message is from our Area Superintendent, Dr. Thompson. Links can be copied into a browser to help activate them if needed.


    Greetings Olds Families:


    As I work to build the profile of the next principal for Olds, your input is critical to the process.


    As a reminder, the deadline to complete the digital survey (Survey Link: is Friday, January 29.


    For those of you who might prefer a virtual option, the virtual input session is Wednesday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. Please know that the format for the virtual input session will provide an opportunity for participants to answer the same questions that are included in the digital input survey that has been provided.


    The Google Meet Link is:


    Thanks so much!


    Ashlie L. Thompson, Ph.D.
    Central Area Superintendent
    Wake County Public School System
    Crossroads I
    2625 Dillard Dr.
    Cary, NC 27518
    O: (919) 533-7077

    Comments (-1)
  • Annual Spelling Bee with a Twist

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 1/25/2021

    Hi there.


    I just want to give all of our Olds Elementary parents a reminder about the upcoming Spelling Bee.  Our annual spelling bee is online this year. The first step to spelling bee participation is for you to register for the Scripps National Spelling Bee's online testing platform by visiting  If you have already registered in the online testing platform for another child, you can log in to your account and add an additional child to that same parent account. There is no need to register a different email address for each child in your household.  Once registered, there is a sample test that students can take to familiarize themselves with the platform.  You are encouraged  to watch this brief video tutorial that will walk you through the registration process:  As in years past, the best way to prepare is to study the word list!  All the words in the school-wide bee will come from this Scripps word list.


    • Students will be asked to spell twenty (20) words.  PLEASE NOTE: Because this is the school-wide bee and open to all grades, these 20 words can come from the entire 2021 Spelling Bee Word List, NOT JUST YOUR CHILD'S GRADE LEVEL.
    • The online spelling test window will be open from 1/24/2021 to 1/28/2021.
    • Students will have 60 minutes to complete the spelling of all 20 words (it is expected to take them much less than that). 
    • Please contact Leslie Hatch, Spelling Bee Coordinator with any questions by calling 617-869-1641 or emailing her at


    Comments (-1)
  • Parent Input Into Selecting New Principal!

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 1/21/2021

    Greetings Olds Families!
    As you know now, I will be retiring on February 28, 2021. As part of her efforts to serve the Olds community, Dr. Thompson, your Area Superintendent, would like your input on the selection of the next principal for Olds. Please read the attached letter from Dr. Thompson and give her your input by taking the attached survey. Thank you! Dr. Wheeler


    Survey Link:


    Letter from Dr. Thompson:


    Dr. Ashlie Thompson, Central Area Superintendent

    Crossroads 1 5625 Dillard Drive Cary, NC 27518

    tel: (919) 533-7077 fax: (919) 589-6363


    Friday, January 15, 2021


    Dear Olds Elementary School Parents and Community Members:


    Congratulations to Dr. Wheeler on her retirement as principal of Olds Elementary School. While she will be missed, I am sure you will all join me in wishing her well as she begins this new journey. Transitions can be difficult at first, but they can also be very exciting. At this time, given that Dr. Wheeler will continue to support Olds until her retirement date at the end of February, an interim principal will not be named. It is possible that an interim will be named at a later time closer to her retirement date. WCPSS routinely utilizes retired principals as interim principals. We draw from their many years of experience to provide continuity to the school during the selection process.


    Olds Elementary has had many successes under the leadership of Dr. Wheeler, and it is important that we work together to find a leader who will support Olds’ continued growth. I am committed to hearing from all stakeholders and listening to the characteristics and leadership skills you would like to see in the next principal of Olds Elementary. While traditionally I would hold an in-person input session, at this time, I cannot do so. Therefore, I am providing the opportunity for parents and community members to submit their input digitally, and I will also provide an opportunity for a virtual input session.


    Information from the parent and community digital survey and virtual input meeting, as well as information from a separate digital staff survey and virtual staff input meeting, will be used to develop a principal profile and a list of questions that will be used during the applicant screening and selection process. This profile is a very important part of selecting the new principal.


    Once the screening and interview processes are complete, a recommendation for hire will be made to the Board of Education.


    In order to provide input digitally, please review the second page of this document which details the process for selecting the next principal for Olds Elementary School. Additionally, you will find the link for accessing the digital input form at the bottom of that page. Please know that your input is important to me and must be received by Friday, January 29, 2021.


    Thank you in advance for participating in the input process.


    Sincerely, Ashlie Thompson, Ph.D. Central Area Superintendent


    C: Ms. Christine Kushner, Board of Education

        Ms. Cathy Moore, Superintendent

        Dr. MaryAnne Wheeler, Principal



    Olds Elementary School Parent/Community Input


    Due to the current health crisis, we are providing the opportunity for digital input and/ or a virtual input session. Please use the Family Survey link provided at the bottom of this document to share your input digitally if you choose to submit input via the digital survey. Details will be shared soon about the opportunity for a virtual input session. The deadline for digital survey input is Friday, January 29, 2021. Thank you in advance for your time and participation in this process.


    AREA SUPERINTENDENT: Dr. Ashlie Thompson Central Area Superintendent Wake County Public School System

    CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone: 919.533.7077 Email:



    • The Superintendent’s office will declare the position vacant and it will be filled according to the following procedures:
    • The Area Superintendent for that school posts the vacancy in accordance with the posting policy. The vacancy may also be advertised statewide, nationally, and in educational publications. The superintendent reserves the right to transfer and place an internal candidate into the vacancy at any time.
    • Applicants respond to the posting and submit letters of interest and resumes to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.
    • Input is gathered by the Area Superintendent from school staff and parent/community members. The input information is very important as it provides an opportunity for the school community to share/exercise their voice. It is a time to gather information, characteristics, background, and other data from the school community on what they consider to be essential elements for consideration when selecting and hiring a new principal.
    • The Area Superintendent reviews information gathered at the input sessions. This data is used to develop a candidate profile and interview questions.
    • The Area Superintendent conducts interviews with those candidates whose education and experience most closely match the candidate profile.
    • The candidates’ performance records, evaluations, reference checks, and any available assessment results are reviewed during the selection process.
    • The Area Superintendent schedules a meeting for the top candidate(s) to interview with the superintendent.
    • The Superintendent makes a candidate recommendation to the Board of Education.
    • The Board of Education makes the final candidate decision.
    • When the selected candidate is approved by the Board of Education, the Area Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources will notify the candidate, school leadership team chair, and PTA President.



    To help build a profile of important qualities to consider when selecting the next principal for Olds Elementary School.



    • Without using the name(s) of any staff member, administrator, parent, or community person, please respond to the questions and statements.
    • Input session responses will be combined with additional emails, voicemails, and/or written notes received after the input session and will then be analyzed.
    • All information will assist in generating a profile that will guide the interview process.
    • Your responses will help us select the best principal for your school community.



    Comments (-1)
  • Remote Learning Extended

    Posted by Mary Anne Wheeler on 1/15/2021

    Good evening families,


    As you know by now, our Board of Education is keeping all students in remote learning until February 22nd. They want students in school, but also want to keep everyone safe.


    Here are some keys information points for you:
    • All students in K-5 will continue with remote learning through Feb. 22.
    • Students will follow the SAME SCHEDULE that they have been using for remote learning. The second semester spring schedule that was in your pick-up materials is for use when we start face to face instruction again.
    • The board will make a decision in mid-February about when we can return to in-person instruction.
    • Third quarter begins Wednesday, January 20th. If you have not picked up your child's learning materials, it is important that you do so. The materials include new math pages, math kits, and more depending upon the grade. Come to the office at Olds Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday to pick up your materials. If these times do not work for you, PLEASE contact Ms. Stradling ( or 919-856-7699) to arrange a personal pick up time.


    Take care and be safe by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently!

    Comments (-1)