IUSD Preschool Enrollment Open for 2017-2018 School Year

The Irvine Unified School District’s (IUSD) preschool program is open for Registration for the 2017-18 school year.  The program is open to children ages 3 and 4 who live within the District’s attendance boundaries, and is run by a staff of professional educators at IUSD’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  A variety of options are available, including subsidized funding for income-eligible families.

Established in 2002, the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) has worked collaboratively with local families to build a world-class learning community that supports each child’s social, emotional and pre-academic needs.

The ECLC campus is located at 1 Smoketree in Irvine. To learn more about registration and enrollment, visit the ECLC website or call 949-936-5890.

30th Anniversary of Astounding Inventions

Innovative student inventions will be featured during the 30th annual Astounding Inventions contest on Saturday, January 28 from 11 a.m. astounding-invetions-image-2016to noon at the Irvine Valley College Hart Gymnasium.  The awards ceremony for grades K, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 starts at noon.  The awards ceremony for grades 4 and 5 starts at 1:15 p.m.  This year’s theme is, “Reducing your carbon footprint: small footprints help our environment.”

Supported by Cox Communications, Astounding Inventions brings together kindergarten through 8th-grade students from the Irvine and Tustin Unified School districts for an elaborate science, technology, engineering and math competition that fosters student entrepreneurship and creative thinking.

This free event is open to the public.  In addition to this year’s student displays, the event will feature a stage show, “Mad Chemists.”

For more information, see the attached flier.


All IUSD schools and offices to be closed Tuesday in honor of Veterans Day

Just a friendly reminder that all IUSD schools and offices will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day. The federal holiday honoring the men and women who have served in the military is observed annually on Nov. 11.

To learn more about the history of Veterans Day, click here. And we’ll see you back at school on Wednesday.

School’s back in session for students and staff at Plaza Vista, Vista Verde, Westpark and Woodbury

And we’re back.

Today marks the first day of the 2014-15 school year for nearly 4,000 students enrolled at IUSD’s four year-round sites.

Plaza Vista School, Vista Verde School, Westpark Elementary and Woodbury Elementary all start up in July but take three lengthy breaks during the year. The idea is to give families the choice of an alternate calendar, but Irvine’s year-round schools still offer the same number of instructional days as IUSD’s other campuses.

Speaking of which, the first day for students on the traditional calendar is Tuesday, Sept. 2, which also marks a new chapter for IUSD with the opening of Cypress Village and Portola Springs elementary schools.

And by that time, our year-round students and staff will be looking forward to their fall recess, which starts Sept. 22.

For more calendar information, click here.

Commencement ceremonies are coming up for high school seniors and their families

Here we are, a third of the way through June, and that means high school graduation season is upon us. Here’s a schedule of the commencement ceremonies coming up in IUSD:

2014 graduation ceremony schedule

Speaking of dates to mark on the calendar, June 25 will be the final day of classes for all K-12 students in the district — or at least until summer school, which starts on June 30.

Year-round students may also want to note that July 29 is the first day of the 2014-15 school year. IUSD students on the traditional calendar will report back to school on Sept. 2.

Oh, and Sunday is Father’s Day.

Textbooks recommended for the 2014-15 school year will be available for review

High school textbooks recommended for adoption in IUSD will be available for public review beginning Monday, March 17.

These are instructional materials under consideration for 2014-15, covering the content areas of English, foreign language, math, performing arts, science and social science.

The books are set to remain on display at each of IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools throughout the adoption process, which is expected to conclude with a vote by the Board of Education on May 6.

APAAS applications are now being accepted for the 2014-15 school year

The Irvine Unified School District’s APAAS program is accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year.

APAAS — the acronym stands for Alternative Program for Academically Advanced Students — serves students in grades four, five and six who are considered highly intellectual learners and divergent thinkers. The pace of instruction in these courses is accelerated, and students use creative outlets to demonstrate their understanding of the core academic content.

For more information on the program, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit the district’s APAAS Information webpage. To complete an online APAAS application, click here.

Deadline for leaving feedback on new academic calendars is extended through Feb. 1

IUSD is extending the deadline for those who want to leave feedback on its new school calendars.

Last month, the district posted provisional calendars for the next two years, noting one significant change in practice: The 2015-16 school year for students on the traditional schedule is set to start the final week of August, rather than the first week of September.

You can read more about the change by clicking on the link above, but the general idea is to make sure Irvine students aren’t at a disadvantage. By starting the year sooner, IUSD’s high schoolers would receive more instruction in core subjects before they take high-stakes exams, including those that have a bearing on college admissions.

Such a shift would also align Irvine’s schools with athletic seasons and extracurricular events throughout the county.

With the Board of Education set to vote on the new calendars next month, district officials have set up this online feedback form for those who wish to leave comments. Jan. 6 was initially established as the deadline for input, but that date has since been pushed back to Feb. 1.

IUSD drafts calendars for the next two school years; 2015-16 start date set for August

For those who like to plan ahead, the Irvine Unified School District has come up with provisional calendars for the next two school years, and while they may look similar to previous editions, there is one significant change worth noting: The first day of school in 2015-16 will be during the final week of August.

The reason? Academic and extracurricular calendars across the country have shifted in recent years, and there’s an interest in making sure IUSD students are competing on a level playing field.

Starting the school year earlier would ensure Irvine students receive more instruction in core subjects before they take high-stakes exams, including those that have a direct impact on college admissions. It would also better align the district’s high schools with athletic seasons and extracurricular events throughout the county, many of which start in August.

For those reasons and more, IUSD and the Irvine Teachers Association are jointly recommending the new calendars, which must be approved by the Board of Education.

Once again, the earlier start would not impact the upcoming 2014-15 school year, which is slated to begin on Sept. 2 for schools on the traditional calendar and July 29 for year-round sites. The following year, students at traditional-calendar schools would report back on Aug. 26, 2015, and year-round campuses would welcome back students on July 21, 2015. Other key dates are listed below.

Eamonn O’Donovan, assistant superintendent of human resources, said there is an interest in continuing the earlier start date in subsequent years, providing consistency over time. The first day for students has generally been dependent upon the placement of the Labor Day holiday, he said, and that can fluctuate between Sept. 1 and Sept. 10. As a result, the end of school can sometimes be as late as the third week of June.

“Beginning the school year in August would provide additional instruction in core curriculum for the thousands of high school students who take high-stakes tests, including the SAT, ACT and advanced placement exams, which are significant for college admission and important to our students,” O’Donovan said. “In addition, many high school athletics and extracurricular activities in Orange County are scheduled during last two weeks of August.”

An earlier start also means students would be released earlier in June, giving high schoolers a better chance at landing summer jobs and offering graduates more flexibility to attend college orientation sessions.

The new calendars were developed by representative committees of district staff and teachers, taking into account the long-term implications for students, families and employees at year-round and traditional-calendar sites. Implementation of the earlier start date was delayed until 2015-16 to give families and staff ample time to prepare.

“The bottom line is what’s best for kids,” O’Donovan said, “and we feel that we’ve developed an academic calendar that will provide consistency, as well as a beneficial arrangement of instructional days.”

The IUSD Board of Education is expected to vote on the two calendars in January. In the meantime, if you have input on either 2014-15 or 2015-16, you can click here to leave comments. This link will be live until Jan. 6. [Update: To ensure the district gets as much feedback as possible, the response form will be open through Feb. 1.]