Deerfield Elementary students get a sneak preview of where they’ll learn next year

A couple hours before the Los Angeles Lakers were parading through the streets of downtown L.A., students from Deerfield Elementary School were on a march of their own through the City of Irvine, heading to the campus they’ll call home next year.

With Deerfield set to undergo much needed modernization, IUSD’s shuttered El Camino Real Elementary School will reopen in September to temporarily accommodate Deerfield’s population. On Monday, Deerfield students trekked a mile or so, one grade level at a time, so they could check out their new digs on Karen Ann Lane.

“I really want to see what it looks like and how it will be,” said Claire, a first-grader, as she headed toward El Camino. “But it will be a little sad to leave Deerfield.”

The El Camino campus closed down a few years ago with the debut of the brand new Woodbury Elementary School. Still, the site continued to be maintained, and it was the natural choice to house classes during Deerfield’s extensive makeover. Interim Principal Dennis Gibbs said the idea of taking a “Walking Field Trip” to preview the campus came after meetings with parents to discuss the transition.

“We just thought, OK, we’ll make it a big event and we’ll help the kids know what it’s like inside the building,” he said.

The Deerfield staff planned the walk in collaboration with local police, who were out in force to make sure the route was safe and secure. Even fifth-graders helped with the tour, escorting their younger schoolmates.

As for the bigger move, Gibbs offered plenty of praise for the Deerfield staff, as well as the district’s Maintenance and Operations team and IUSD’s Facilities Planning crew for diligently planning the transition.

And what will students and staff call their temporary home? Deerfield II? Caminofield? El Deer Real?

“We really don’t have an official name,” Gibbs said. “We’re just saying we’re going to be over there for next year.”