Five IUSD middle schools among OC’s top 10

The Irvine Unified School District has never really put much of an emphasis on school rankings.

After all, so much goes into creating a topnotch educational environment – from a talented staff and dedicated parents to stellar enrichment programs and, well, the students themselves – that it’s difficult to say one campus is more outstanding than another.

So, again, IUSD isn’t too interesting in rankings. But others are, and the latest assessment from the Orange County Register certainly bears mentioning here.

In the Register’s annual rundown of O.C.’s best middle schools, IUSD’s Lakeside, Rancho San Joaquin, South Lake, Venado and Sierra Vista middle schools all ranked in the top 10 countywide – in fact, they represent five of the top seven – earning gold medals from the newspaper. Moreover, Lakeside was singled out as the No. 1 middle school in Orange County, and Irvine Unified was deemed the No. 1 district.

“I’m so happy that all of our five traditional middle schools made it into the top 10,” Lakeside Principal Gina Cuneo said, “and I’m thrilled that we came out on top.”

There’s no doubt that Plaza Vista and Vista Verde schools should also be perched on the gold medal stand, but both are K-8 campuses, and the Register doesn’t include K-8s in its annual evaluations. (To read about the newspaper’s methodology, click here.) Still, it’s worth noting that Plaza Vista scored an eye-popping 951 on the state’s most recent Academic Performance Index, which measures achievement on a scale of 200 to 1,000, and Vista Verde posted a stellar 942.

The Register’s coverage of O.C.’s top middle schools was posted online Saturday, March 27, and appeared in print the following Sunday. To access all of the rankings and stories on the Web, click here.