IUSD Celebrates Groundbreaking of Newest Elementary School

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The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for Eastwood Elementary School, June 1 at the new school site – 99 Meander, Irvine. The ceremony marks the start of construction on Irvine’s 39th school, serving the Eastwood Village.  Eastwood is a K-6 school and is expected to open in August 2017.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by the IUSD Board of Education, IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker, IUSD staff, PTA Council President Connie Stone, President of California School Employees Association, Chapter 517 Janelle Cranch, Mayor Steven Choi, city of Irvine representatives, Irvine Company representatives Robin Leftwich and Mike LeBlanc, and members of the community.

“Like all Irvine schools, Eastwood Elementary has been designed to encourage curiosity and collaboration to prepare our students for 21st century college and careers,” said IUSD Board President Paul Bokota.  He then announced Eastwood’s new Principal Aaron Jetzer who will transition from Culverdale Elementary.

Click Here to see photos of the event.

Irvine Voters Pass Measure E

Dear IUSD Community,

I am pleased to announce that voters have passed Measure E.  The school facilities improvement measure, which was placed on the June 7 ballot by the Irvine Unified School District Board of Education, passed with 60 percent of the vote, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ website.  The county agency will officially certify the results by the end of the month.

Although only voters in the neighborhoods served by Irvine’s oldest schools voted on Measure E, it was the subject of citywide discussion and campaigns.  Passage of this measure is an affirmation of the community’s confidence in the Board of Education and our District.

IUSD’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the Irvine Teachers Association, the California School Employees Association and the many parent volunteers and community members, who comprised the Yes on E Campaign, were pivotal in communicating the importance and positive impact of Measure E to the Irvine community.  PTA Council President and Campaign Committee Chair Connie Stone and her team worked tirelessly to ensure educational equity for all IUSD students, now and for generations to come.

Measure E will provide a maximum available bond issuance of $319 million to provide modernizations to the District’s aging schools. This funding will be issued in four series over 12 years. IUSD anticipates the first bond issuance to occur in January or February of 2017.

Click here for a list of schools that will receive funding and to see proposed project lists for each school site.

District staff will present the proposed school site project lists to the Board of Education during a yet to be determined Board Meeting in the coming months.  In addition, the District will begin the process to form a Citizens Oversight Committee to oversee the allocation of bond funds and to conduct an annual audit.  By law, funds can only be used for facilities projects and cannot be taken away by the state or redirected for other purposes.  Property owners in the newest areas, who are paying Community Facility District (CFD) fees toward school facility construction, will not be impacted by the Measure.

Passage of Measure E is a tremendous step forward to ensuring 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 regularly communicate important milestones and updates through our school communities and on our website iusd.org.

Thank you for your support and engagement, which helps IUSD better serve our students.


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


2016-17 School Funding Survey Closes Monday

The 2016-17 school funding survey, which is part of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process closes Monday, May 16.  If you haven’t already, please take a moment to participate in this survey.

The LCAP process helps IUSD identify annual goals, take action on those goals, and measure progress on academic achievement, school climate and parent engagement.  Your input is critical to IUSD’s decision-making process and will help guide investments in the District’s priorities.

To learn more about the state’s funding system, including the Local Control Funding Formula and the LCAP, visit iusd.org/LCFF-LCAP/.  Click here for an informational summary of the proposed LCAP actions.

Click here to take the survey now.

IUSD to Receive World’s First K-12 High-Speed Network

Kids on ComputerThis week, CENIC Networks announced that it has partnered with the Orange County Department of Education to provide Orange County public schools with the first-ever 100-Gigabit per second K-12 internet connection.  The Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) is one of 27 districts to benefit from this ultra-fast network.

IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker, who is the only K-12 superintendent representative on the CENIC Board of Directors and Executive Committee, said of this high-speed network, “It is the equivalent of adding 20 lanes to the 5 Freeway – imagine what that would do for traffic in Southern California. Now, imagine the possibilities for education.”  Superintendent Walker continued, “So much of what we do as educators, to provide our students with real world learning experiences and access to resources, is dependent upon internet connectivity.”

A 100Gb connection will provide IUSD with the limitless ability to dramatically transform how students learn by leveraging technology and internet bandwidth in a way that has never been possible for K-12 schools, until now.  IUSD is uniquely positioned to fully maximize this opportunity due to the ongoing investments the District is making in its technology infrastructure.

Students will have increased access to quality research resources, interactive lessons and video streaming to increase their engagement in science, technology, reading, engineering, art and math.  Such an opportunity will afford our students with experiences found on college campuses and in innovative 21st century careers.

IUSD will continue to manage how technology is integrated into classroom learning and will continue to educate our students about good digital citizenship.  This historical opportunity will ultimately better leverage the human potential of our students, teachers and staff.

To read the full CENIC press release, click here.

IUSD Named Top Five District in Nation for Student Achievement

Technology-Master-PlanAt a time when the achievement gap between low-income students and their affluent counterparts is growing nationwide, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) was named one of the top five districts in the nation to close this gap, by Education Cities.  The nonprofit organization, which recently published the first-ever Education Equality Index tracked data from school districts in the 100 largest U.S. cities.  According to the organization’s website, “the index score is calculated by identifying the percentage of students from low-income families that reach proficiency averaged across every subject/grade.”

“IUSD and our dedicated teachers and staff continuously work to improve how we deliver the highest quality education we can envision,” said Superintendent Terry Walker.  “The recognition that IUSD is providing educational equity for all students is another piece of powerful evidence of our significant accomplishments in support of students.”

IUSD has made student intervention and a commitment to supporting the individual needs of students a critical focus.   Intervention work includes training teachers to assess student performance and to identify the necessary resources and strategies to maximize student learning. To support our learners in reading, the District utilizes targeted small group instruction to assess students as they are learning and to provide increased rigor or greater support during lessons.  This kind of differentiation ensures that teachers monitor student needs and intervene appropriately.

In addition, IUSD integrates evidence based intervention with the support of highly trained intervention lead teachers and intervention psychologists.    Our increased focus on intervention began seven years ago, and continues to be an integral part of our practice.   Meeting the needs of each student, encouraging student voice and generating greater levels of authentic engagement are integral components of our practice.

IUSD believes that our robust science, technology engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programming for all students as part of their daily instruction also supports student success.   These opportunities could not exist without our gifted and committed Instructional staff who enable IUSD to reduce class size and individualize instruction. The addition of classified support staff enables teachers to work more closely with students and facilitates effective small group instruction.

Support staff includes:

  • Instructional Aides are an effective part of IUSD’s current strategy to reduce class size and increase individualized instruction.
  • Teachers on Special Assignment, who perform a wide variety of tasks designed to support classroom instruction based on the needs expressed by teachers and school sites.
  • Science and Technology Coaches, who support teachers and students on meaningful integration of technology in classroom activities.
  • Intervention Lead Teachers, who monitor students in need of additional support.
  • Intervention Psychologists, who design and provide effective intervention and intervention training.
  • Health and Wellness Staff, including school psychologists, counselors, guidance paraprofessionals and guidance assistants.

Visit, iusd.org to learn more about IUSD programs and initiatives. To read the Ed Source article, “Achievement gaps in Irvine, San Francisco are among smallest of US cities,” click here.


Woodbridge High School Named Top GRAMMY School in the Nation

grammyWoodbridge High School has been named the 2016 National Grammy Signature School for its outstanding music program.  This designation is one of the most prestigious accolades in music education.  Since the inception of the GRAMMY Foundation in 1988, IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools have received 12 Gold and Signature Grammy awards but this is the first-ever top honor for an IUSD school.

In 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation presented Signature School awards to just 13 schools across the nation.  The top three schools were designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients, Woodbridge High School, was named the National GRAMMY Signature School.  Woodbridge will also receive a $5,000 prize.

“This national honor is a tribute to our extraordinary music program, including our dedicated music instructors and students,” said Woodbridge Principal Chris Krebs.  “Winning this award is akin to winning a national championship in athletics.”  Krebs went on to praise the music instructors for their professional and personal investments in the program and its students.

In late 2015, the GRAMMY Foundation announced that all four of IUSD’s comprehensive high schools were named 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalists – a historical first – making IUSD the only district in the nation with four schools with this designation.  Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools were among 119 schools nationwide selected as semifinalists.

“This is a very important and prestigious honor for our students, staff and community,” said Brad Van Patten, Coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts.  “It is a testament to the entire K-12 program that allows for a quality music education with access and equity for every child in IUSD to help develop their individual talents in a collaborative ensemble that will be a part of their college and career skillset.”

Applications for the honor were submitted in the fall. Semifinalists were asked to submit additional documentation, including concert recordings. Those materials were reviewed by an independent committee of top music educators and professionals, who decided which schools merited the designation.

The Grammy Foundation promotes the impact of recorded music on American culture and recognizes schools that provide exceptional music opportunities for students. Each year, more than 20,000 public high schools have an opportunity to apply to become Grammy Signature Schools, but only a small number earn the honor.

Important IUSD Update: No Cause for Alarm

Dear IUSD Families,

I want to assure you that the news events this morning related to Los Angeles Unified School District’s shut down are not connected to the Irvine Unified School District.  We are working closely with the Irvine Police Department, which is monitoring the situation and confirmed there is no cause for alarm or concern.

Although these events are not related to IUSD, the Police Department has an increased police presence around our school sites.  We will continue to work closely with the Irvine Police Department and other agencies to monitor and ensure the safety of our schools.

We recognize that the events in Los Angeles are distressing and may generate strong emotional reactions, but we want to reiterate that there is no evidence to indicate that Irvine has reason for concern.  Our schools are open.  Should students need support or counseling, we have resources available at each school site.

If there are any updates, we will share them with you.  In the meantime, I encourage you to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  In addition to regular updates about our District, we use these sites to provide real-time updates during emergencies.

Thank you for your support.


Terry L. Walker

IUSD FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/IrvineUnifiedSchoolDistrict
IUSD TWITTER: https://twitter.com/iusd


Northwood High School Dedicates Culinary Arts Facility

Northwood High School recently held a dedication ceremony for its new Culinary Arts facility, which serves nearly 180 Northwood students as part of the District’s Career Technical Education Pathways program.  The Culinary Arts program is one of several career pathways in the Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Industry Sector Pathway, giving students real-world experiences and skills that are relevant to any career path.  Such programs create an opportunity for students to learn and explore their interests, while earning elective credits toward college and career readiness.Insturctor and Students

“We are excited about this culinary option for our students,” said Dr. Keith Tuominen, Director of Secondary Education.  “It was due to the tenacity of Northwood Principal Leslie Roach, school administrators and community members that this dream became a reality.”

In addition to securing District funds, Roach and her team diligently worked to secure state and local grant funding with the support of key community members, such as Venkata Renduchintala and his wife Aruan Renduchintala, who is a teacher at Northwood.

IUSD will further expand the program Districtwide by opening a second Culinary Arts facility after the first of the year.  The new facility will be located on the Creekside Education Center campus at Harvard and Barranca.

When asked why Career Technical Education is beneficial to students, Tuominen said, “It gives students the opportunity to develop a concept and to work through a collaborative planning and design process to deliver a fully realized product.  These kind of experiences are invaluable for students in both their academic and professional careers.”

The dedication event was attended by Board Clerk Ira Glasky, school administrators, IUSD administrators, students, parents and community supporters.  To read the County Register’s coverage of the event and IUSD’s Culinary Arts Program, click the following link http://bit.ly/1M5Np2o.

IUSD Pilots Google’s Virtual Reality Fieldtrip Program

The Irvine Unified School District was selected to pilot Google Expeditions, a fully immersive virtual reality platform that provides teachers and students with access to educational virtual field trips.  There are more than 100 Expeditions that range from trips to the Amazon, Buckingham Palace, Gettysburg, Madagascar, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, the Moon, and more.   IMG_4631

With 360° panoramic photo spheres, 3D images and video that include annotated details, highlights and questions, the program is designed to easily integrate into curriculum already used in schools.

Twelve IUSD schools are participating in the pilot, including more than 7,500 4th-12th grade students.  Adding to the excitement, ABC7 news visited Oak Creek Elementary to film the experience (air date: 10/26/15 at 4 p.m. abc7.com/).

Guided by their teachers, Oak Creek students were able to visit the Amazon, Ancient Greece, the Galapagos Islands, the Natural History Museum, and more exciting locations.  Among the screams and cheers of excitement, students could be heard saying, “Whoa…no way!” to “This is so cool!” to “I wish we could do this every day.”

Principal Carlo Grasso best summed up the experience, “We continually look for new ways to make learning fun and beneficial for our students and it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Northwood’s Ben Case Named a Grammy Music Educator Semifinalist

Congratulations to Ben Case, music teacher at Northwood High School, for his designation as semifinalist for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.  Ben is one of 25 semifinalists selected from 4,500 nominations from all U.S. states.  His nomination and the gold award presented to Northwood High School as a Grammy Signature School last May represent Northwood’s outstanding music program and Ben’s skill and dedication as a teacher. Ben Case and Students

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (K through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.  A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, this special award will be presented at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception.

In December, one recipient will be selected from 10 finalists, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be in Los Angeles during GRAMMY week to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Click here to read CBS’ coverage of this prestigious honor.