IUSD Students Have Strong Showing at County National History Day


Every year, about half a million students in grades four through 12 take part in National History Day events across the U.S. These young historians produce original websites, papers, documentaries, performances and exhibits, which are showcased at the local, county, state and national levels.  The theme this year is “Taking a Stand in History.”  The Orange County National History Day competition took place on March 11 at the Orange County Department of Education offices.

IUSD had a tremendous showing with 170 students submitting 108 projects. Topics ranged from “Taking a Stand Against McCarthy: The Power of Modern Day Journalism,” to “A Voyage to Freedom: The Korean Independence,” to “William Wilberforce: Stand Against The Slave Trade.”

Students moving on to the State National History Day Competition in May are listed below.  All five IUSD high schools and four middle schools are sending projects to the state level.  Congratulations to all students who participated!

Group Documentary
Sierra Vista Middle School
Terrence Vincent Powderly: Warrior for Labor Rights
Ethan Chen, Rachel Gima and Daniel Yang

Jeffrey Trail Middle School
Equality and Justice: The 1963 March on Washington
Mishtee Shaw and Kowoon Jeong

Jeffrey Trail Middle School
The Danish Resistance: The Savage Canary’s Emblem of Fire
Padma Iyengar, Grace Wen and Ryan Jung

University High School
Fred Korematsu: A Despicable Case Against an Innocent Race
Christian Duhay and Evan Juan

Northwood High School
The Berkeley Free Speech Movement: A Protest for All Protests
Kiana Wang and Rebecca Yu

Individual Documentary
Sierra Vista Middle School
Jeffrey Wigand – Taking a Stand Against Big Tobacco
Jasmine Sinchai

Sierra Vista Middle School
Lewis Hine: How One Man’s Camera Eliminated Child Labor
Sonia Chacon

Irvine High School
All Action and Results, and Not Just Talk, Talk, Talk: John Lewis, a Lifetime of Taking a Stand for Civil Rights
Christine Park

Group Exhibit
Sierra Vista Middle School
Marian Anderson: The Voice That Took a Stand
Emilia Bretana, Amanda Carlson, Gayatri Kalyan, Quinlan Solomita and Ainsley Zapata

Sierra Vista Middle School
The Gulf War 1990-1991 – Operation Desert Storm
Shreya Shah and Rhea Mehta

University High School
Dorothea Lange: Pictures Worth More Than a Thousand Words
Alina Guo, Lan Jiang

Individual Exhibit
University High School
Joseph Lister: The Father of Antisepsis
Maggie Zhang

Irvine High School
Saddam Hussein Taking a Stand in Iran-Iraq War
Farnoush Nasouri

Historical Paper
Sierra Vista Middle School
Fred Korematsu: Fighting for a Battle Never Fought
Kevin Miura

Sierra Vista Middle School
Andrei Sakharov: Father of the Soviet Human Rights Movement
Jenny Won

Northwood High School
Peter the great: Recreating Russia
Angelina Chen

University High School
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Politics, Poetics, and a Stand for Women Scholars
Peter Thomas

Northwood High School
William Wilberforce: Stand Against Slave Trade
Stuti Agrawal

Individual Performance
Jeffrey Trail Middle School
Gandhi: A Man Who Inspired Others To Take A Stand With Him To Free India From The British By Only Nonviolence
Lavanya Gupta

Sierra Vista Middle School
Rosie the Riverter: Fighting World War II from the Homefront
Jasmine Chhabria

Woodbridge High School
How British Female Spies Stood Up Against The Nazis And Gender Opposition During World War II
Naomi Hampton

Individual Website
South Lake Middle School
Mihajlo Pupin: Taking a Stand for Serbia
Mia Stojanovic

Northwood High School|
The Womanhouse Project
Angela Chung

Portola High School
Muckrakers of the Progressive Era Taking a Stand Against Injustice in Society
Julia Kim

Group Website
Sierra Vista Middle School
The little Rock Nine: Pioneers of Equality in Education
Annabel Yang and Andrea Huang

Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
Creation/Evolution Debate
Samuel German and James Koga

Sierra Vista Middle School
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Jake Compton, Rohin Palsule and Derek Yazan

University High School
Taking a Stand Against McCarthy: The Power of Modern Day Journalism
Sabrina Huang and Frankie (Hyeseung) Son

University High School
Ahn Chang-ho: Taking Initiative on Korean Liberation
Kyle Chen, Kevin Dang and Hahn Kang

 

 


Hundreds of IUSD Students Participated in 35th Annual Bren Honors Concert


Hundreds of IUSD’s outstanding musicians took center stage during the 35th annual Donald Bren Honors Concert at Segerstrom Concert Hall, located at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Approximately 625 top IUSD vocalists and instrumentalists in grades five through 12 participated in the musical showcase. This annual event is presented by the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, in partnership with IUSD.

“The Bren Honors Concert has become an important IUSD tradition and has given our exceptionally talented students the opportunity to showcase their music and vocals in a world-class venue,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD’s coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts. “This year, the concert concluded with a special finale featuring 340 student vocalist in the high school honor orchestra having the honor to perform Peter Boyer’s “On Music’s Wings” with the composer also conducting. Students ended the night by receiving a standing ovation.”

The concert is named in recognition of the generosity of philanthropist Donald Bren. Under his leadership, the Donald Bren Foundation and the Irvine Company have provided more than $200 million to support education, including more than $45 million to preserve art, music and science programs in IUSD.
In addition to serving as an incredible performance opportunity for students, the Donald Bren Honors Concert also generates funds to support music education.  “The Donald Bren Honors Concert represents an outstanding effort by donors, parents, music instructors, students and members of the community to provide, preserve and expand outstanding music programs for kids in our schools,” said IPSF President and CEO Neda Eaton.


Irvine High Newspaper Staff Takes 1st in County Competition


Irvine High School’s El Vaquero newspaper staff won 1st Place in sweepstakes at the Orange County Journalism Education Association at Fullerton College on Saturday. The group also brought home 1st Place in Best of Show, Division 2.

Those contributing to the win included Mehr Bawa and Brian Zhou in news, 1st and 2nd Place, respectively; Claire Song and Michelle Ma in feature writing; Brenda Nguyen, 1st Place in editorial writing; and Sahil Patne, 1st Place in sports. Mona Chahine placed 1st in news photography and Joyce Hsiou and Jonathan Lam both placed in newspaper layout. Nineteen Irvine High staffers participated in the annual contest that this year consisted of 14 local area schools and around 300 student journalists.

This is the first time El Vaquero has had four 1st Place winners in a single write-off event.

Winners in the sweepstakes categories of news, feature, editorial and sports will advance to the state competition on March 25 in Long Beach, along with participants in several non-qualifying categories.


IUSD Participates in 10th Annual ACE Day


This month, IUSD Board Members and administrators shadowed custodians, electricians, painters, clerks and other classified employees to learn more about their jobs and responsibilities as part of IUSD’s 10th annual ACE Day.  ACE, which stands for Appreciating Classified Employees, was established in 2007 by the California Schools Employee Association’s (CSEA) to recognize and celebrate classified employees, while building understanding and relationships between administrative and classified staff.

IUSD Board President Ira Glasky worked with Plaza Vista Health Clerk Janice McNeil.  At Culverdale Elementary, Board Member Paul Bokota shadowed English Language Development Instructional Assistant Nahid Sanaiha, while Superintendent Terry Walker assisted Media Tech Charles Anantavara in the school’s innovation lab.  Board Member Lauren Brooks joined PE Paraprofessional Meleah Shank at Stonegate Elementary.  IUSD’s newest Board Member Betty Carroll worked with Media Tech Carrie Finley-Bajak in the University Park Elementary Library and Board Member Sharon Wallin shadowed District Network Specialist Ray Perez at the District Office.

This year was particularly special for IUSD, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of ACE Day and was joined by Ben Valdepena, CSEA Association President; Kerry Woods is, CSEA Association Secretary; Bill Hagar, CSEA Area H Director, who recognized IUSD for the longest running ACE program in the state.

Participants joined a group luncheon after the event to share what they did and learned.

This unique program reinforces what IUSD knows and believes, which is that a school district requires the efforts of everyone – classified staff, community members, teachers and administrators to be successful. A healthy school district is built on teamwork! ACE recognizes and encourages this collaborative concept.


IUSD Officially Dedicated Portola High School


 

IUSD hosted two Portola High School dedication ceremonies to celebrate the District’s fifth comprehensive high school, which opened last August.  Participants of both ceremonies learned about the features of this state-of-the-art educational facility, which was designed to leverage learning at the highest levels.

Community Dedication
The first dedication ceremony, on Thursday, March 2, was led by IUSD Superintendent Terry L. Walker, Board President Ira Glasky and Principal John Pehrson.  The community event included the Board of Education, parents, students, teachers, staff, the District’s development partners FivePoint and the Irvine Company, City of Irvine officials, community partners, and other state and local dignitaries.  All participants had the opportunity to tour the school site and experience innovative features such as design and science labs, high-tech and flexible-design classrooms, dedicated music and performing arts spaces, collaborative workspaces, top-level sports facilities, and a world-class performing arts center.

“Today’s celebration is not a beginning, nor is it a finish line but rather the dedication of this amazing facility is an important milestone in providing a world-class educational environment,” said Ira Glasky, Irvine Unified School District Board of Education President.  “Portola is our first high school built in accordance with IUSD’s award winning Education Specifications.   The result of countless hours spent by our teachers, administrators and architects, these ed specs detail the features needed to support instruction and 21st century learning at the highest levels.”

IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker echoed similar sentiments, “This school is more than a beautiful environment, it has been developed to create innovative spaces for learning.  Most importantly, it is a symbol of our sincere promise to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision.”

Principal John Pehrson concluded the official dedication by discussing the importance of preparing students for college and careers.  “We’re so excited to take on this monumental task of preparing our students for 21st century college and careers.  We have and will continue to assemble a world-class staff to meet this challenge with fervor and complete dedication.”

He then went on to thank the many people in attendance, who had active roles in the development and opening of the school site.  “Thank you for your partnership in this journey  and we’re so glad you are here to celebrate with us.  Go Bull Dogs!”

To view the official dedication video, click here.

Student Dedication
The following day, Portola High School students held a special dedication ceremony during their first-ever spring pep rally.  It was a unique opportunity for students to come together and celebrate their school and their positive school culture.

Students representing the inaugural freshman class joined by Superintendent Terry Walker and Principal Pehrson for student ribbon cutting.  During the rally, each of Portola’s spring sports teams ran through balloon arches, while the band performed with the flag and cheer teams.  Students organized and ran the rally demonstrating their tremendous leadership as the school’s first-ever class.

Portola High School serves parts of North Irvine and in the years to come, the campus will accommodate approximately 2,400 Irvine students.  Below is school information and features

Portola High School Vision
“Where every learner belongs, contributes and thrives.”

Portola High School Motto
PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Drive, Empathy)

Portola High School Stats

  • Principal John Pehrson (previously served as principal at University High School for 10 years)
  • More than 450 students are enrolled for the 2016-17 school year. (IUSD estimates the school will have more than 900 students for the 2017-18 school year.)
  • The school opened with only freshmen in 2016-2017 and will add an additional class each subsequent year, resulting in a full 9-12 comprehensive high school by the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The inaugural school staff for the 2016-17 school year is comprised of 65 employees, both certified and classified employees:
    • 25 Teachers
    • 12 Certified Staff
    • 9 Special Education Employees
    • 10 Custodial Staff
    • 4 Food Service Staff
    • 5 Administrative Staff

Portola High School Design and Features
Portola High School is a state-of-the-art education facility designed to meet the 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.

The school’s educational technologies and amenities include:

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

IUSD Superintendent Walker Named Fourth District PTA Outstanding Administrator of the Year


IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker received the Outstanding Administrator of the Year award from the Fourth District PTA, during the organization’s annual dinner, which recognizes PTA volunteers and programs countywide.  In addition to awards given for outstanding PTA membership program, outstanding PTA units and outstanding PTA councils in Orange County, two awards are given to those who go above and beyond to support the PTA in their districts, including the Fourth District PTA Outstanding Teacher and Outstanding Administrator.

Former Irvine Unified Council PTA President Connie Stone, who nominated
Walker for the award, said, “It would be hard to find another Superintendent in Orange County or California, who has been a bigger supporter of the PTA than IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker.  The support that Terry gives to PTA is evident not only in his words, but more importantly in his actions.  He encourages every school site in Irvine to actively partner with their PTA to support students and to provide quality programming for IUSD school communities.  His support has contributed to Irvine having a PTA at every school site in the city.”

Stone continued, “Terry attends every single monthly Irvine Council meeting providing a firsthand update of district issues to the PTA presidents, always asking the PTA presidents for comments or questions and repeatedly tells the PTA presidents he has an open door policy.”

In addition to fostering productive partnerships with PTAs, Walker was recognized for making the Irvine Unified Council of PTAs a key stakeholder group in IUSD, which participates in the District’s LCAP process, has permanent seats on the District’s Educational Advisory and Finance committees, as well as IUSD’s Coalition for Legislative Action.

Stone concluded Walker’s nomination with the following example, “Several years ago, Irvine Council PTA started a high school advocacy trip to Sacramento.  Each year, Terry makes it a priority to attend this PTA program.  He does not sit next to the teacher chaperones, parents , or school board trustees on the plane and in the legislative sessions, because at every moment of the trip you will see Terry engaging with and getting to know the students.  He wants to know what is, and more importantly what is not working for the students in the high schools.  He asks to hear the good and what needs to be improved upon and brings those items back to the school board himself, always looking for ways to improve delivering the best education that we, collectively, can envision.”

The Fourth District PTA annual dinner was attended by Orange County school districts, teachers and administrators, including the Orange County Department of Education Superintendent, Dr. Al Mijares, who delivered the opening address.  The event was hosted by Fourth District PTA President Bev Berryman.

Walker has been IUSD Superintendent since 2011 and worked for IUSD as a teacher and administrator for more than 20 years.


IUSD High School Students Arrive in Sacramento to Meet with State Lawmakers and Others


IUSD high school students, accompanied by teachers, District staff and IUSD Board Members, are in Sacramento today to meet with state lawmakers, journalists, government experts and staffers to discuss issues impacting education.  Below is are photos of the group, which just recently arrived to the state capital.  They have a full day ahead, including meetings with State Senator John Moorlach; Assembly Member Steven Choi; veteran journalists Jim Miller and Sam Stanton; representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California School Boards Association, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the California School Employees Association; and staffers from various representatives’ offices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top photo: IUSD students for visit to Sacramento
Left to right: Assembly Member Choi, IUSD students, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Assembly Speaker Rick Simpson, Senator Moorlach 

 


IUSD Announces 2016-17 Teachers of the Year


Early this morning, a caravan of District staff and IUSD Board Members traveled to seven schools to announce the three Teachers of the Year and the four Teachers of Promise.  Click here for the 2016-17 Teachers of Promise.

Now in its 31st year, IUSD’s Teacher of the Year program recognizes exceptional instructors at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  Below are this year’s honorees.

Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Mary Thomas-Vallens
Fifth Grade APAAS (Alternative Program for Academically Advanced Students) Teacher
Brywood Elementary

Mary Thomas-Vallens has been an educator since 1977.  Her passion for teaching is as strong today as it was when she first began 39 years ago.  Thomas-Vallens empowers students to strive for academic excellence in a supportive and empowering environment.  In addition to a focus on academic rigors, she encourages students to think beyond themselves and offers a range of service learning projects, such as Families Forward, Team Kids and more!

Her expertise extends beyond the classroom.  Thomas-Vallens has elevated the teaching of thousands of IUSD teachers through her Launch Point Professional Development training by teaching instructional strategies that support higher level thinking skills.  College students just beginning their careers benefit from her support through her coordination of field-study work for UCI students.

As best stated by Brywood Principal Astrid Ramirez, “She does more than teach…she touches lives.”

Middle School Teacher of the Year

Lauren Morrison
Education Specialist – Special Education
Jeffrey Trail Middle School

Lauren Morrison is a devoted and knowledgeable team player who has an excellent relationship with both her students and school staff.  She works tirelessly with her students to ensure they are supported and have every opportunity to be successful.

A typical day for Morrison starts before school with an IEP meeting, followed by a Special Education meeting; she then teaches a full class schedule.  Any free time is usually filled with principal, school psychologist or PBIS team meetings.  After school, she provides academic support to students.  This is only a snapshot of her day and does not fully capture her incredible work to serve our students each and every day.

Jeffrey Trail Principal Mike Georgino said, “Lauren is not only an enormous asset for JTMS but also to the teaching profession in general.  She deserves this recognition for being an outstanding teacher.”

High School Teacher of the Year

Christina Banagas-Engelerdt
English Teacher
Northwood High School

Christina Banagas-Engelerdt has been a member of Northwood High School’s staff since the school opened in 1999 and has established herself as a leader on campus.  From crating English curriculum in the school’s early days to her current role as WASC Chairperson, Banagas-Engelerdt embodies the Northwood core values of Compassion, Mutual Respect and Integrity.

As a compassionate teacher, Banagas-Engelerdt has served as the school’s intervention lead for several years and has had oversight of the creation of countless support classes – teaching several of these classes herself.  As a result, students know they can always come to her for guidance and support.  She is reflective in her teaching and strives to create a challenging yet supportive environment for her students.

Banagas-Engelerdt is held in the highest regard by her colleagues for her tremendous work ethic and her constant willingness to help others.  She has mentored numerous student teachers, helped innumerable students through many obstacles and has been a key player in the school’s evolution.

Principal Leslie Roach stated, “Christina is everything we could ask for in a Timberwolf and we are honored to have her here and Northwood High School.”

More information about the Teacher of the Year program
Nominations are submitted by District employees and candidates are later interviewed by a committee that includes teachers, principals and administrators.  That panel ultimately narrows the field to three, using the following criteria: Evidence of a wide range of instructional strategies used effectively; commitment to the teaching profession; and demonstration of Irvine teachers’ values of integrity, empowerment, learning, collaboration and trust.

Teachers of Promise
IUSD also recognizes a handful of standout first- and second-year teachers, who are announced as “Teachers of Promise.” Click here for the 2016-17 Teachers of Promise.

Excellence in Teaching Awards Banquet
All of this year’s honorees will be formally recognized on Friday, April 21 at the Excellence in Teaching Awards Banquet, which is organized each year by the Exchange Club of Irvine and the Irvine Teachers Association.


2016-17 Teachers of Promise Announced


Today, in addition to announcing the 2016-17 Teachers of the Year, IUSD announced four “Teachers of Promise.” This annual honor goes to first- or second-year instructors who go above and beyond, while demonstrating professional curiosity and an unbridled enthusiasm for teaching.

The 2016-17 Teachers of Promise, as shown above, are Quyen Ly, humanities/social science teacher from Southlake Middle School; Jared Gray, sixth grade teacher from Woodbury Elementary School; Kevin Miller, second grade teacher from Beacon Park K-8 School; and Lauren Hoffman, education specialist – special education from Legacy Education Center.

Ly was recognized in front of colleagues during an early morning meeting.  Gray was surprised in his classroom in front of students.  Miller was recognized during a surprise fire drill in front of the entire school.  Finally, Hoffman was honored in front of her students during a meeting at the Legacy Education Center.

All four Teachers of Promise will be formally honored Friday, April 21 at the 31st annual Excellence in Teaching Awards Dinner.

Once again, congratulations to this year’s Teachers of Promise!

Click here for the 2016-17 Teachers of the Year honorees.

(Photo caption from left to right: Quyen Ly, Jared Gray, Kevin Miller and Lauren Hoffman.)


36th Annual IUSD Science Fair Feb. 28


IUSD’s 36th annual District Science Fair Open House is Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Portola High School gymnasium (1001 Cadence, Irvine) from 5-6 p.m.  The award ceremony will immediately follow in the Portola High School Theater.

IUSD’s Science Fair gives students, in grades 6-12, an opportunity to showcase their innovative science projects.  Participating students will present a biological, physical, or Rube Goldberg project.

This year’s submissions include an impressive array of projects, including “Fungi Busters,”  “Maximizing Efficiency of a Wireless Energy Power System,” “Human Computer Interaction: Translating English into Code,” and “Bubble Gum Science.”  For a copy of this year’s event program, click here.

Family, friends, community members, IUSD teachers and staff are welcome to attend the open house and award ceremony.

This annual event is graciously sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation, though a STEM grant to Irvine Public Schools Foundation.