Jeremy Stonebarger Named New Principal of Turtle Rock Elementary School


We are pleased to announce that Jeremy Stonebarger has been named as the new Principal of Turtle Rock Elementary School. Mr. Stonebarger currently serves as Principal at Valencia Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. He was selected from a talented candidate pool in a competitive selection process that included staff and community input and participation. Mr. Stonebarger will officially make the transition to principal on July 1, 2017.

Mr. Stonebarger brings a student-centered learning approach to his work and is familiar with IUSD’s culture of excellence. He is committed to ensuring that all students learn to their maximum potential and to fostering innovation through collaboration with teachers, staff, students, and families.

Mr. Stonebarger is excited to serve at Turtle Rock and he will work closely with Mrs. Catabijan during this transition in leadership to successfully launch into the new school year in August. He looks forward to meeting with staff, students, and the parent community over the coming weeks.

“I’m excited to begin this new chapter at Turtle Rock Elementary School as we strive to provide innovative learning environments for our students,” said Mr. Stonebarger upon the news of his selection as principal.

A native of south Orange County, Mr. Stonebarger resides in Mission Viejo with his wife, Jennifer, and children, Hannah, 10, and Jackson, 8. Mr. Stonebarger loves watching his children play baseball and soccer.  His favorite family vacation spot is in Maui, Hawaii.

Please join IUSD in congratulating Mr. Stonebarger upon his selection as the next Principal at Turtle Rock.


David Burke Named New Principal of Culverdale Elementary School


IUSD is pleased to announce that David Burke has been named as the new Principal of Culverdale Elementary School. Mr. Burke is well known to the staff, students, and community as he currently serves in a leadership role supporting Mr. Jetzer as a teacher on special assignment. He was selected from a talented candidate pool in a competitive selection process that included staff and community input and participation. Mr. Burke has been a successful site leader at Culverdale for the past three years and was a respected teacher at various grade levels in Irvine Unified from 2000 – 2014. Mr. Burke will officially make the transition to principal on July 1, 2017.

 

Mr. Burke brings a student-centered learning approach to his work and is familiar with the Culverdale community and IUSD’s culture of excellence. He is committed to ensuring that all students learn to their maximum potential and to fostering innovation through collaboration with teachers, staff, students, and families.

 

Mr. Burke is excited to serve at Culverdale in his new role as Principal. He will work closely with Mr. Jetzer during this transition in leadership and will be on site daily to make sure that Culverdale is ready to successfully launch into the new school year in August.

 

“I’m excited to begin this new chapter at Culverdale as we continuously strive to provide innovative learning environments for our vibrant community of learners,” said Mr. Burke upon the news of his selection as principal.

 

A native of southwestern Pennsylvania, David resides in the neighborhood of Quail Hill, and he’s an enthusiastic world traveler who recently visited 6 of the 7 continents in 2016.  He enjoys maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, appreciating the cultural diversity and beaches of southern California, and cheering on the New York Giants.

 

Please join IUSD in congratulating Mr. Burke upon his selection as the next Principal at Culverdale.


IUSD Elementary Schools Celebrate Read Across America Day


During the first week of March, IUSD elementary schools invited a cast of special guests to read their favorite children’s books to officially celebrate Read Across America Day.  Established by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day is an annual literacy campaign that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel — better known to kids as Dr. Seuss.

Local guest readers included Board of Education members Paul Bokota (pictured), Betty Carroll, Superintendent Terry Walker and IUSD staff.


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 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.)


Uni High Student/Teacher Only Calf. Team Selected to Study D-Day in France


University High School is the only California high school to have a student/teacher team selected to Picture Judy Richonne Sonia Kellyparticipate in the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute.  In addition, this student/teacher team is only one of 15 teams, nationwide, to be selected to participate in this prestigious program by the nonprofit education organization National History Day.

As part of the program, University High student Sonia Kelly and social science teacher Judy Richonne will tell the story of a fallen World War II hero.  After a year of research, Kelly and Richonne will first travel to Washington, D.C. this June to finish their research with help from the National Archives, historians and college professors. While in D.C. the teams will tour the World War II Memorial, attend a dinner hosted by the White House Historical Association and prepare for the voyage of a lifetime to Normandy, France.  Once in France, the teams will visit the D-Day beaches, walking in the footsteps of their Silent Heroes. After seeing museums, historic sites and churches that were used as field hospitals, the teams will visit the Normandy American Cemetery. There, each student will deliver a powerful graveside eulogy for the Silent Hero he or she spent the year researching.

“Throughout their research these students and teachers have become incredibly connected to their Silent Heroes,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “When they read their eulogies they are reading a eulogy for someone they know, someone whose story they are responsible for telling. It results in a powerful, and often tearful, understanding of the sacrifice these Silent Heroes made in World War II.”

During the program, teachers and students will also create a memorial webpage about their Silent Hero. After the conclusion of their travels, teams use these websites in presentations to local community groups, schools and classes, and veterans’ organizations.  The overall goal of the program is to teach a new generation or students about the sacrifices and challenges faced during World War II.

The program is coordinated by National History Day® and is funded by Mr. Albert H. Small, a veteran himself.  Mr. Small’s generous donation includes overseas travel, courses, and room and board for each student/teacher team.


Sierra Vista’s Henry Miller Named 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator Finalist


IUSD is proud to announce Sierra Vista’s Music Teacher Henry Miller has been named, by the GRAMMY Foundation, one of 10 finalists for henry-miller-2016-2the 2017 Music Educator Award.  This prestigious honor is particularly impressive, given that there were more than 3,300 nominees from all 50 states.  The winner will be announced in Los Angeles during GRAMMY week and will attend the GRAMMY Awards.

The Music Educator award recognizes teachers 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 schools.

Below is a link to CBS This Morning’s national coverage of the 10 finalists.
http://cbsn.ws/2gmiDzh

Congratulations and best wishes to Henry!

Related News:
Sierra Vista’s Henry Miller Named a GRAMMY Music Educator Semifinalist
Woodbridge High School Named Top GRAMMY School in the Nation
All Four IUSD High Schools Named 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semifinalists