Superintendent Message: The Importance of Respectful Dialogue


Dear IUSD Community,

As the Thanksgiving holiday beckons, we wanted to express our gratitude for the staff, students and the incredibly invested families we serve in Irvine.

In IUSD, we enjoy a rich diversity of cultures, languages, religions and viewpoints.  We know that this diversity enables our students to understand and embrace our differences – it is our strength.  We also know that our students need to hear and to see examples of respectful dialogue and discussion.  They need to trust that they can express their ideas without fear of censure or retribution.  IUSD staff are committed to the values of equity and inclusion, which means supporting the right of all students to express their feelings and opinions, respectfully.

This past election year offered many teachable moments.  Our educators have facilitated thoughtful discussions in classes throughout our schools. However, the tone and tenor of the current political discourse has raised concerns for some of our students and their families.  These concerns have been communicated to the District Office and to our schools.  The sentiments expressed stem from what our children have observed from an election that was, at times, uncivil and contradicted the respectful exchange of ideas we expect from our children at school and at home.

While we must refrain from endorsing any political point of view, we do have a responsibility to ensure our campuses are safe and that our students are respectful of each other.  To this end, all IUSD schools implement what is known as Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS).  Among the many benefits of PBIS, it establishes values, expectations and guidelines for positive student behavior, irrespective of the behaviors students may observe through the media and in our society today.  PBIS is a constant on IUSD campuses and our staff have continued to remind students about the importance of being good citizens who represent respectful and appropriate interactions with their fellow students and those in our community.  We will not tolerate bullying or discrimination for any reason in our schools.

Please take a moment to discuss the importance of respectful dialogue with your children and we will continue to do the same at school.  If your child needs support or help expressing any concerns or fears he or she may have, please contact your school principal or school psychologist.  You may also contact the Irvine Family Resource Center for additional resources.  The safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority.

To view information about your school’s PBIS, please visit your school’s webpage.

Thank you for your continued engagement, partnership and support, which enables IUSD to best serve our students.

Sincerely,

Terry-Sig-Straight

 

 

 

 

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools, Irvine Unified School District


Annual IUSD Survey Closes Nov. 27


lcap-2016Please take a few minutes to complete our IUSD Annual Survey, which includes the LCAP school funding survey and portions of the state Healthy Kids survey.  The LCAP is an important part of the District’s annual process because it aligns IUSD’s strategic planning with the budget to ensure we accomplish both State and District goals to best meet our students’ needs.  Your feedback, insights and ideas are critical components of this process.

We know that this is a busy time of year and we appreciate you dedicating a few moments to provide us candid and constructive feedback.  The survey will be open until November 27, 2016.

All responses to this survey are anonymous and will be kept strictly confidential.  Please click here to take the survey.


Irvine Re-elects Bokota and Brooks and Welcomes Carroll to the Board of Education


i-voted-imageTuesday, November 8, Irvine voters re-elected IUSD Governing Board Members Paul Bokota and
Lauren Brooks, according to the unofficial election results provided by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.  This is the second term for both Bokota and Brooks, who won with 21 percent and nearly 24 percent of the vote, respectively.

Businesswoman and parent Betty Carroll, also won with nearly 19 percent of the vote.  Carroll’s experience includes Irvine Public Schools Foundation Board Chair, IUSD Education Advisory Committee, School Site Councilmember, PTA board, room parent and classroom volunteer.  She received her Bachelor’s of Art degree in English from UC Santa Barbara and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Bokota, Brooks and Carroll will be sworn in during the December 13, 2016 Board Meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the District Office (5050 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine).

In other education-related election news, Prop. 51 is leading in early returns, which will allow the sale of $9 billion in general obligation bonds to pay for building and modernizing K-12 and community college facilities statewide.  IUSD will receive matching funds that will allow the District to further augment its facilities planning and Measure E funds to ensure all IUSD schools meet the same safety and education standards as our newer schools.

Voters passed Prop. 55, which is a temporary extension of taxes on top earners through 2030, which will raise between $4 billion and $9 billion annually for K-12 schools and community colleges throughout California.  As one of the lowest funded school districts in the state, the passage of Prop. 55 will help provide vital funds for IUSD students.

Prop. 58 was also passed by voters, which is an English education proposition that eliminates the English only mandate of Prop. 227, which was passed in 1998 and approves a multilingual education.  This gives school districts flexibility to teach English learners in a manner that best fits their community.  This proposition has little impact on IUSD, which offers a comprehensive K-12 approach to language programs.


IUSD Students Accessing Higher Levels of Mathematics Than Ever Before


Since the adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2013, IUSD students are accessing
students-studyinghigher levels of mathematics than ever before in IUSD history.

Background:
Previous state standards adopted in 1997, identified Algebra 1 as the grade level course for 8th grade. The recently adopted CCSS added an additional course in middle school, Math 8, which is now considered the grade level course for 8th grade.  The addition of Math 8 increased the number of secondary math courses in the sequences for ALL students within California.

What this Means for IUSD Students:
Students who successfully complete Enhanced Math 7/8 in 7th grade and progress through our current enhanced math pathway will be prepared for Calculus in 11th grade. This is comparable to students in past years completing Algebra 1 in 7th grade, Honors Geometry in 8th grade, Algebra 2 in the 9th grade, Pre-calculus in the 10th grade and Calculus in 11th grade.

As a result, more IUSD students are on track to reach Calculus than in any previous year in IUSD’s history.

  • Districtwide, approximately 35% of 7th graders are enrolled in Enhanced Math 7/8.
  • In 2014-2015, 13.63% of 7th grade students were enrolled in Algebra 1.
  • In 2015-2016, 29.03% of 7th grade students were enrolled in the equivalent course for acceleration, Enhanced Math 7/8.
  • In 2014-2015, 15.17% of 8th grade students were enrolled in Honors Geometry.
  • In 2015-2016, 24.82% of 8th grade students were enrolled in the equivalent course for acceleration, Enhanced Math 1.

IUSD’s progression of math courses also provides students with multiple opportunities to accelerate.  These opportunities did not exist prior to the transition to our new math courses.  For more information about math pathways, click here.

 


IPSF Annual Giving Campaign 2016


Dear IUSD Community,

This year marks the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s (IPSF) 20th anniversary.  For two decades, IPSF has been committed to enriching the educational experience of each child in every school by providing programs, raising funds and uniting the community in support of educational excellence.

The collaborative efforts of IPSF, in addition to our students, parents, staff and community partners such as the City of Irvine, are critical to IUSD’s mission to provide our students with the highest quality educational experience we can envision.  This partnership contributes to IUSD consistently being ranked among the top school districts in the nation, despite being one of the lowest funded.

To help continue our tradition of excellence, IPSF is once again kicking off its annual fundraising campaign.  Funds raised make a difference where it matters most – in the classroom.  At the elementary level, proceeds from this campaign pay for additional qualified instructional assistants who work directly with your children, improving our student to educator ratios.  In our middle and high schools, class‐size support funds equate to additional offerings and smaller classes in critical subject areas.  In addition, IPSF enhances music education for students in kindergarten through grade six, as well as grants that enable our teachers and counselors to pursue new technologies and innovative learning strategies.

Your contributions to support our schools will go even further with the City of Irvine’s Challenge Match Grant.  The City will match every donation made to IPSF, up to $1.3 million dollars.  In addition, if your company has a match program, your dollars will go even further to support IUSD students and schools.

This year is particularly special.  In honor of IPSF’s 20th anniversary, the City will temporarily double the Challenge Match Grant for community donations received by November 20.

That means for every $50 donated, $150 will go toward Irvine schools.  We need your support to maximize this opportunity.  Imagine what our district could do if each of our more than 20,000 families participated.  To make a tax-deductible donation now,  click here.  Every donation is appreciated, no matter how big or small.

Thank you for your continued investments, engagement, partnership and support of IUSD.

Terry-Sig-Straight

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools,
Irvine Unified School District


Irvine Students Take Part in Nation’s Largest Earthquake Drill



Today, at 10:20 a.m., all IUSD schools and facilities participated in the Great California Shakeout.  This statewide earthquake drill is the nation’s
shakeout-2016largest and is annually organized by a coalition of nonprofit, business, government and education partners.

IUSD students and staff did their part by practicing real strategies they’ve learned to keep safe during and after a significant earthquake.  Today’s event included drop, cover and hold drills and evacuation exercises.

Stay Connected with IUSD

In the event of an actual emergency, below are ways the District will communicate important information and updates to the IUSD community.  Please be sure to connect with us.

IUSD Website

Visit IUSD’s website at iusd.org including the District’s news blog, NewsFlash at newsflash.iusd.org.  Here you will find up-to-date and detailed information.

IUSD Social Media

Stay connected to the District in real time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Social media is an effective and real-time way for IUSD to communicate, especially when phone lines and other communications may not be working.  To connect with IUSD visit:

Facebook facebook.com/irvineunifiedschooldistrict.
Twitter twitter.com/iusd
Instagram instagram.com/irvine_unified/.

Email, Voice and Text Messages

School Messenger is the District’s notification system, which enables near-instantaneous communication with District families via email and voice and text messages. This web-based system enables IUSD to send out emails and recorded calls to families in just minutes.  During an emergency, check your email, voice messages and text messages for important information from the District.

Resources

To find out more information about how you can prepare for an earthquake and other emergencies, please see the following resources.

Great Shakeout
Irvine Police Department – Emergency Management
Ready.gov


IUSD to Host Ask-A-Scientist/Engineer Night


The Irvine Unified School District, in partnership with the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, will host Ask-A-Scientist/Engineer Night on The Irvine Unified School District PresentsThursday, October 13 from 6-7:30 pm. at Rancho San Joaquin Middle School.

This event is the perfect opportunity for 6-12 grade students, who are doing a science inquiry project or making a Rube Goldberg Machine, to ask science and engineering experts important questions.  Participating scientists and engineers are from the local education and businesses communities, including UCI Irvine, USC, Chapman University, Irvine Valley College, Allergan, Rockwell, the Irvine Ranch Water District and more.  In addition, IUSD science teachers will be on hand to also answer questions.

Rancho San Joaquin Middle School is located at 4861 Michelson Road. Visitors may park on Michelson and Yale without being ticketed, even though it says “No parking.” (Note that this special privilege applies only to Ask-A-Scientist/Engineer Night.)  No registration is required.  All students must be supervised by an adult.

For more information, contact the STEM department at 949-936-5057.


IUSD Board of Education Takes Action on Measure E


ps-camposDuring the Irvine Unified School District Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, September 13, the Board voted on and unanimously passed two Measure E motions; the appointment of the Citizens Oversight Committee members and the issuance of the first bond series.  Measure E, a school facilities improvement measure, was passed by Irvine voters on June 7, 2016.

Citizens Oversight Committee
California state law, for measures passed with 55 percent of the vote, requires that a Citizens Oversight Committee be appointed by the Board of Education to monitor bond expenditures and ensure bond revenues are allocated in compliance with the voter approved measure.  The focus of the committee is to provide transparency and maintain public confidence in the use of Measure E bond funds.

Applicants must commit to a two-year term of service and reside or own property within the School Facilities Improvement District (SFID) boundaries.  Click here to view the SFID boundary map.  Membership is voluntary, without compensation, and members must be 18 years of age.  Employees, vendors, contractors, consultants, or IUSD officials are not eligible for appointment to the Committee.

The Education Code requires a minimum of seven (7) members representing the following categories:

  • One (1) member who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District within the boundaries of the SFID
  • One (1) member who is both a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District within the boundaries of the SFID and active in a parent-teacher organization, such as the PTA or school site council
  • One (1) member who is active in a business organization representing the business community residing in the District within the boundaries of the SFID
  • One (1) member who is active in a senior citizens organization residing in the District within the boundaries of the SFID
  • One (1) member who is active in a bona-fide taxpayers association residing in the District within the boundaries of the SFID
  • Two (2) members of the community at-large residing in the District within the boundaries of the SFID

After careful consideration and based on their respective qualifications and interview, staff recommended 11 candidates for appointment to the Measure E Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.  Below is a list of the Board appointed candidates along with the required category each member represents.

Name                                                                Required Category Fulfilled

Roza Mansouri                                               Parent/Guardian
Jeffrey Schmehr                                             Parent/Guardian
Todd Cope                                                       Parent active in Parent-Teacher Organization
Ryan Larson                                                    Parent active in Parent-Teacher Organization
Connie Stone                                                   Parent active in Parent-Teacher Organization
Kristi Smemoe                                                Parent active in Parent-Teacher Organization
Terri Elia                                                          Business Organization Representative
Betty Jo Woollett                                            Senior Citizen Organization Representative
Patti Ragland                                                   Bona-fide Taxpayers Association Representative
Kenric Stone                                                    Member of Community At-large
Adele Heuer                                                    Member of Community At-large

Issuance of the First Bond Series

During the August 23, 2016 Board Meeting, staff presented a draft Measure E Project Implementation plan, which identifies project planning to begin this fall. The motion voted on during the September 13, 2016 meeting authorizes the first issuance of bond funds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $95,000,000. Approval of this resolution enables IUSD staff to execute the financing documents required for the marketing, sale and issuance of this first bond series.

Measure E will provide a maximum available bond issuance of $319 million to provide modernizations to the District’s aging schools. This funding is currently planned to be issued in four series over 12 years.

Measure E funds will ensure all IUSD schools meet the same safety and academic standards as new schools and that all students have equal access to 21st-century educational facilities.  IUSD will continue to regularly communicate important milestones and updates through our school communities and on our website iusd.org.  For more information about Measure E and the Citizens Oversight Committee, please visit iusd.org/MeasureE

Related News and Information:
Reminder: Measure E Citizens Oversight Committee Applications Due Aug. 10 – July 26, 2016
IUSD Seeks Applicants for Measure E Citizens Oversight Committee – July 6, 2016
Irvine Voters Pass Measure E – June 8, 2016
Measure E – School Facilities Improvements – May 3, 2016
Board of Education Votes to Put School Facilities Improvement Measure on June Ballot – March 1, 2016
Board of Education to Hold Public Hearing March 1 on Facilities Measure – February 24, 2016
School Facilities Informational Mailer – February 2016
School Facilities Improvement Letter from Terry Walker – December 5, 2015
School Facilities Improvement Measure Informational Mailer – December 2015


IUSD Ranks Top in State and County for California Assessment Scores


The Irvine Unified School District’s state standardized assessment scores have outperformed both state and county score averages, with IUSD ranking the highest in the state among public school districts of 25,000 or more for students who exceeded the standards in both Math and English Language Arts/Literacy.  IUSD was also the top performing district overall in Orange County.

Last spring, IUSD students in grades three through eight and grade 11 participated in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), which provides information on each student’s progress on state standards.  While the scores are just one of many measures of student performance, they help to enhance our understanding of each student’s needs and inform our educational efforts.

“I am incredibly proud of Irvine Unified students’ outstanding performance.  These results are a testament to our collective efforts and the special partnership between our hardworking students, dedicated families, and talented staff,” said Superintendent Terry Walker.  “As a key driver of excellence, IUSD is guided by our Continuous Improvement Efforts, which are focused on critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and other learning outcomes also found in state standards. These student capacities have been an integral part of IUSD’s educational mission and vision since our inception. As we strive to ensure that the Irvine Unified School District remains one of the highest-performing districts in the country, we will continue to leverage collaboration and connections with our students, parents, staff and community partners.”

California released this statewide aggregate data on Wednesday, August 24, 2016.  IUSD anticipates that individual student score reports will be mailed home in the next few weeks.

In the interim, please keep the following in mind about these assessments.

Scores are One of Many Measures

Assessment scores should be recognized as only one measure when evaluating student learning; they provide some but not all information about a student’s knowledge and skills.  Results from tests should be reviewed in combination with other measures, such as in-class assignments, classroom tests, and teacher input.  For more information about your child’s academic progress, please stay in close contact with your child’s teacher(s) and school.

How Test Scores are Used

IUSD will use these scores to better understand each student’s learning and help us continue to improve upon the high-quality instruction we provide.  The scores will not be used to determine student advancement to the next grade level or as the sole piece of information when making academic decisions about students.

For additional information, please visit the following resources:

iusd.org/statewide-testing
cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/
http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/


IUSD Opens Portola High School and Beacon Park K-8


As IUSD kicked off the 2016-17 school year on August 24, it opened two new schools; Portola High School, the District’s fifth comprehensive high school, and Beacon Park K-8.  Serving the Great Park Neighborhoods and parts of north Irvine, both schools are state-of-the-art educational facilities designed to foster collaboration, innovation and integration of technology to ensure students are prepared for 21st Century college and career opportunities.

Common features between Portola High School and Beacon Park include:

  • Design Labs – These spaces become easily accessible extensions of classrooms to facilitate small or large group learning and project-based learning.  They also provide students with collaboration skills they will need to be college and career ready.
  • Dedicated Music Classrooms – Such dedicated spaces improve music instruction and student learning with better acoustics and less time to transition from a general use space.
  • Innovation Labs – These labs are designed to foster flexible learning and technology spaces for a variety of projects and various group work.  They create a robust environment for students to learn, collaborate, innovate and brainstorm.
  • Flexible Furniture – Each school site is equipped with flexible furniture, throughout each campus, to foster student-centered learning. This flexibility enables teachers and students to reconfigure their space for large or small group instruction and collaboration.

Both schools have been designed to meet criteria developed by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, which helps establish campuses that are healthy, comfortable, energy efficient and aligned with modern teaching and learning as reflected by IUSD’s Continuous Improvement Efforts.  In addition, many of the features at both schools are designed to mirror innovation and design lab features at such universities as Stanford and UCI.  As IUSD also continues to strengthen our relationships with the business community to ensure our students are prepared for 21st Century careers, we have developed the flexible student-centered spaces to be reflective of innovative workplaces.

Below is a list of features by school site.

IMG_9490Portola High School
This year, Portola High School welcomed approximately 400 freshmen and will add additional classes each year, resulting in a full 9-12 comprehensive high school by 2019-20.  The school is designed to support up to approximately 2,400 students.  In addition to a dedicated team of high-caliber educators, this state-of-the-art facility offers the latest educational technologies and a variety of amenities, including:

  • 21st-Century classrooms with common areas for collaborative learning
  • Dedicated science labs and visual and performing arts classrooms
  • A student union featuring collaborative learning environment, a library with dedicated quiet rooms and an Innovation Lab
  • Design lab for students’“Senior Passion Project” development
  • An elective building that will house a video production studio, 2D and 3D art, acoustically designed music rooms and more
  • A performing arts building with a 720-seat theater, black box and dance studio
  • A special education facility to facilitate essential life skills
  • A green roof that will enable hands-on, sustainable learning
  • A 2,940 seat stadium with rubberized track and artificial turf
  • An aquatics center with a 50-meter pool
  • A 2,044 seat gymnasium that includes training facilities and dedicated team rooms
  • Eight tennis courts
  • Varsity and JV baseball and softball fields
  • Track and field facilities
  • Two full soccer fields

To learn more about Portola High School, visit iusd.org/phs.  Additional resources include:

IMG_9513

To view a video of the first day at Portola High School, click here.

Beacon Park K-8
Beacon Park will accommodate approximately 1,000 students at capacity.  Similar to Portola High School, this state-of-the-art campus will also include the latest educational technologies and a variety of amenities including:

  • Student collaboration spaces across all grade levels
  • Dedicated music classrooms
  • Dedicated science classrooms in grades 6-8
  • Innovation Lab
  • Design Lab
  • Parent Center
  • Full-Court Gymnasium
  • Dedicated kindergarten play area
  • Large outdoor play field
  • Hard court activities including handball and tetherball equipment
  • Dedicated fitness lab for students in grades 6-8– Mirrors athletic spaces found at the high school level.

 To learn more about Beacon Park, visit iusd.org/bp

IUSD is pleased to welcome back to school all of our more than 32,000 students and their families and we hope those attending our new schools feel at home as they settle in for a great year ahead.