IUSD This Week – November 18, 2016

IUSD THIS WEEK – November 14-18

Each week, so many great things happen throughout IUSD, we’ve provided the following “snapshot” to keep you informed!  Click here to view a photo gallery of this week’s events.

iusd-thisweek-11-18-16Canyon View Elementary Principal Christina Giguiere kissed a pig on Monday, November 14 as part of a PTA fundraising initiative.  The school met its goal and raised more than $52,000, so Principal Giguiere puckered up and the kids loved it!

Meadow Park Elementary fifth and sixth grade students, in the Specialized Academic Instruction program, organized and hosted a Thanksgiving meal for about 40 teachers, staff and administrators.  To prepare for the feast, students took part in grocery shopping, cooking, decorating and hosting the event, all part of their life skills lessons.  This is the second year this wonderful event has been held – it has become a tradition that Meadow Park students and staff look forward to each year.

Rancho San Joaquin Middle School students participated in a Student Investment Workshop put on by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.  The more than 100 students, who participated, learned about the basics of investing and then managed a portfolio of $25,000 for four weeks.  As part of the conclusion of the program, a final meeting was held in which the winning teams were recognized and awarded prizes.

Woodbury Elementary students were visited by Gabrielino Indian Chief, Ernie Salas, who shared information about his tribe’s culture and history during a third-grade assembly.

Woodbury Elementary second-grade students also participated in a concert for parents in which they sang patriotic songs.

Greentree Elementary students have been and will continue performing the school’s annual play, Disney’s Peter Pan Jr., through Saturday.  This special event is sponsored by IPSF.  Students are performing to sold out crowds of families and friends.

For more information about exciting events and news related to your school, visit your school’s website and social media pages, where available.

Irvine Company Renews Enrichment Fund with $20M Commitment to IUSD Students

board-checkThe Irvine Company has extended the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund with a renewed grant of $20 million over the next 10 years.  The Enrichment Fund supports science, music and art programs for IUSD students in grades four through six.  This most recent donation brings the Irvine Company’s commitment to IUSD students to more than $43 million over 20 years.  Each year, more than 7,000 students are positively impacted by the Enrichment Fund – that’s more than 70,000 children who have benefited from the Irvine Company’s generosity.     
“This gift from Irvine Company allows us to continue an enrichment program that distinguishes Irvine schools nationally,” Irvine Unified Superintendent Terry Walker said. “This is vital, especially during the shift to Common Core and new science standards requiring substantially more hands-on instruction.”
Robin Leftwich, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Irvine Company, presented IUSD with a $20 million check during an Enrichment Fund appreciation event, surprising teachers, students and parents in attendance.  The event, held on Monday, September 26 at Portola Springs Elementary, was to honor and thank the Irvine Company and Chairman of the Board Donald Bren for their partnership with IUSD.   In addition to speaking presentations from the Superintendent Terry Walker, School Board President Paul Bokota, Leftwich, students and teachers, the event also featured student musical performances, science demonstrations and art displays. 
The afternoon began with a performance by the Northwood High School String Quartet; two choral performance by fifth and sixth graders from Brywood, Canyon View, Bonita Canyon, Cypress Village and Portola Springs elementary schools; and finally, a performance by violinist Kevin Muira, an eighth-grade student at Sierra Vista Middle School and 2nd place winner in the Junior Division of the prestigious Menuhin International Violin Competition in London. 
Established in 2006, the Enrichment Fund has provided IUSD $2 million each year over the past decade.  The funds pay for specialists to work in IUSD’s upper-grade elementary classrooms.  To learn more, click here. 

To view a brief video of the event, click here

IUSD Recognized Outstanding Service of Student Board Members

IUSD recognized the outstanding service of the District’s four Student Board Members during the May 24 Board Meeting.  The 2016 student representatives were Courtney Fassett from Northwood High School, Samantha Kosai from Woodbridge High School, Karina Sun from Irvine High School and Sarah Verdegan from University High School.

Superintendent Terry Walker expressed the District’s gratitude to the capacity audience and stated, “Our Student Board Members provide us with invaluable insights from the student perspective and they offer creative suggestions to address some of our more challenging issues. This year’s Student Board Members have been exceptional in their commitment and engagement, and their candid input has been informative and invaluable.”

Superintendent Walker then expressed the District’s sincerest appreciate to the four student leaders, “We deeply appreciate your participation and thank you for your service in representing your peers.  We wish you every success in your future endeavors and are quite confident you leave here well prepared for whatever life holds.”

Below are remarks delivered by members of the District’s executive leadership team to each Student Board Member.

Courtney-soloCourtney Fassett – Northwood H.S.
(Remarks by Superintendent Terry Walker)

Courtney will be attending the University of Southern California, majoring in GeoDesign within the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  She was selected as a Presidential Scholar to receive a half-tuition scholarship.

This year, Courtney was awarded a Pride of the Pack award for demonstrating Northwood’s Core Values: integrity, compassion and mutual respect.  She was also granted the Athletic Booster’s Scholarship, and received two Distinguished Timberwolf Awards for her service as a Super Crew member and an ASB Award.

Courtney shared that her experience as a Student Board Member has furthered her appreciation for IUSD and allowed her to gain a whole new perspective and appreciation for how the education system works.  Her greatest takeaway from this past year was learning how to respectfully, efficiently, and proactively address and solve the concerns of others.  The drive and motivation of community members has inspired her to stand up for herself and what she believes in.  She shared, that she has seen firsthand the passion and dedication the Board Members have for the community and students, and is grateful to of had this experience.

samantha-soloSamantha Kosai – Woodbridge H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent, Chief Financial Officer John Fogarty)

Samantha will be attending UC Berkeley and will be majoring in Sociology.  She also hopes to continue her love of policy and music by being involved in Cal’s student government and their marching band.

This year, Samantha was named Woodbridge’s Youth of the Year, and was named one of the Regional Youth of the Year, which is for all of California and Nevada.  In Samantha’s spare time she served on the founding committee for TEDxWoodbridge, a series of TED Talks given by students, teachers, alumni, and community leaders.

As a Student Board Member, Samantha said one of the most significant insights she gained was seeing how dedicated the IUSD staff and School Board is and always has the students’ best interests in mind.  She said, “It is obvious that everyone in IUSD loves their job, which inspires us students to love learning. It has been honor to serve as Woodbridge High’s School Board Representative this year!”

karina-soloKarina Sun – Irvine H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Eamonn O’Donovan)

In the fall, Karina will be attending the University of California, Berkeley and majoring in Political Science with an intended minor in Public Policy.  Her experience on the Board has greatly influenced her plans for the future as Karina intends to be involved in student politics at Berkeley as well.

This past year, Karina was named a National Merit Finalist and voted a Pacesetter at Irvine High.  She will also be speaking at Irvine High School’s commencement ceremony.

Moving forward, Karina expressed she now has a better understanding of the intricacies of education policy and has an increased appreciation for the time and deliberation that goes into every dollar.  This experience, has showed her how much those in charge really care about every student.  Karina further shared, she leaves tonight reassured that the future students of Irvine are in good hands and expressed her appreciation for everyone she had the pleasure to work with this past year.

sarah-soloSarah Verdegan – University H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Cassie Parham)

Sarah will be attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara, she was one of thirty students, who were awarded a merit scholarship from the Augustinian Scholarship competition.  Additionally, she was awarded the “Cultural Diversity Scholarship”; and plans to help further enrich the diverse community at Westmont.

In IUSD, Sarah was chosen as the recipient for the Dr. Kevin Armstrong Memorial Scholarship which honors Dr. Kevin Armstrong.  Athletically, Sarah was awarded Most Valuable Attacker on her Varsity Lacrosse Team, made 2nd team All-League, and enjoyed serving as captain for her second year.

From her two years serving as a Student Board Member, she says, she has learned to think through even the smallest decisions and consider all the ripple effects that they may have.  In addition, she is thankful to have seen again, what she learned last year, that the District Board is constantly considering what is best first for its students.  She shared she has enjoyed every minute, especially the sandwiches after the meetings.

It is with deep gratitude that IUSD thanks each student for her participation and service.


District Announces 2016 Classified Employees of the Year

Today, IUSD announced its five Classified Employees of the Year – Kitty Fyfe, Manny Lupercio, Kathy McCoy, Lorianne Randell and Meleah Shank. Classified employees are individuals who work hard every day to ensure the District runs efficiently to serve our students and their families. They include custodians, paraeducators, media technicians, food services staff members, analysts, secretaries, bus drivers, maintenance technicians, clerks, and all the other non-certificated staff members. Most are represented by the California School Employees Association (CSEA). This year’s five employees were selected from more than 1,500 classified employees districtwide.

Similar to previous years, a caravan of District employees and Board Members traveled to each winner’s site to surprise them in front of their colleagues and/or their school sites. This year’s well-wishers included Board Member Lauren Brooks, Superintendent Terry Walker, district staff, CSEA President Janelle Cranch and the five 2015 Classified Employee of the Year winners.

Meleah Shank

maleahThe day started at 8:50 a.m., with the first stop at Stonegate Elementary to award Meleah Shank, P.E. Paraprofessional, with the first of five Classified Employee of the Year awards. Meleah has been with IUSD for four years.

She was recognized for commitment to student’s health and wellbeing. Through her yoga instruction, she has provided students the unique opportunity to benefit from not only strength training but also from relaxation and breathing techniques. Her instruction has enabled students to become more aware of their environment and better equipped to manage obstacles and challenges by utilizing techniques they are learning.

“Meleah is a dedicated professional who consistently searches for ways to improve her instruction,” said Stonegate Principal Harmony Briscoe. “She is an enthusiastic and inspirational team member who has made a
difference for our kids.”


Manny Lupercio

mannyManny Lupercio, Head Custodian of Brywood Elementary was the next stop at 9:30 a.m. Manny has been with IUSD for 15 years and received the Classified Employee of the Year for his high standard of professionalism and dedication.

Manny is loved by students and staff because of his compassion, integrity and his commitment to Brywood. He knows students by name and gives endless high-fives. Manny is a leader on campus and for his colleagues throughout the district – he is a role model for students and staff alike.

“Manny is an unsung hero who gives of himself to students, staff and our school,” said Principal Astrid Ramirez. “He lets all students know he cares about them and sets a great example with his positive attitude.”


Kathy McCoy

kathyThe third stop was to College Park Elementary at 10:15 a.m., where for the first time in IUSD history, two employees from the same school received Classified Employee of the Year awards. The first was Kathy

McCoy, Nutrition Services. Kathy has been with IUSD for 11 years and received this honor for her customer service and commitment to student nutrition.

Kathy’s recognition is particularly special, since College Park’s kitchen and serving room is one of the smallest in the District. She stepped up to pilot the first elementary “outdoor café” and was heavily involved in the process from planning and design to implementation. Prior to implementing the outdoor café, Kathy could only have five kids in the tiny kitchen at a time. What used to take up to 12-15 minutes in line for students, now takes five to eight minutes. Her vision and work has enabled students to get healthy food in less time.

“Kathy is considered the heart and soul of our school,” said College Park Principal Meg Gwyn. “She goes above and beyond to connect with the kids. She knows every child’s name and takes the time to make sure students know the rules of the café and have access to healthy food choices.”


Lorianne Randell

lorlor2Lorianne Randell, Media Tech was the second Classified Employee of the Year to be recognized from College Park Elementary. Lorianne has been with IUSD for nearly 10 years and received this recognition for helping students develop their technology skills and for supporting both students and teachers in the school’s technology lab.

Lorianne monitors the College Park’s First in Math programs, SBAC testing and works with students on everything from typing to coding. Teachers rely on her with the utmost confidence to ensure the computer lab and related testing and activities are running smoothly. Her knowledge and skills have benefited both College Park students and staff.

“If you have a question, you don’t search Google, you ask Lorianne,” said College Park Principal Meg Gywn. “She knows everything about our school and students and will assist our students on everything from a
paper jam to nose bleed.”


Kitty Fyfe

kittyThe final stop at 11 a.m. was to the District Office to award Kitty Fyfe, Special Education Analyst, with Classified Employee of the Year. Kitty has been with IUSD for 22 years and received this recognition for her dedication to the critical work of the Special Education department.

Kitty, fondly nicknamed “Ninja Kitty” has the ability to remember the history and important details of students and is able to provide background knowledge that is helpful to staff. In addition, she is responsible for a wide-range of duties, including budgeting, staffing, data analysis and information management.

“Kitty is very caring and compassionate for the students we serve,” said Melanie Hertig, Executive Director of Special Programs. “Her ability to support and have answers for those she serves, both in and out of the office is unsurpassed. She is proactive and hardworking, while maintaining a great sense of humor.”

Congratulations again to each winner, who will receive $1,000 courtesy of CSEA Chapter 517, as well as a jacket and commemorative plaque. They’ll also be honored at the May 24 IUSD Board Meeting.

IUSD Students to Showcase Films at “Only in Irvine” Screening Party

IUSD students will screen their short films based on the theme, “Only in Irvine” on Wednesday, April 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Great Wheel Court in the Irvine Spectrum.  This free public event is hosted by the Irvine Company as part of their campaign to highlight students’ and residents’ unique Irvine experiences.

Students from all five Irvine High Schools will present their three-minute films focused on what they love about Irvine.  Food will be available for purchase, including discounted sandwiches and beverages from the Corner Bakery.

For more information about the “Only in Irvine” campaign and to share your Irvine story, visit onlyinirvine.com/.

IUSD to Send Most OC National History Day Projects to State Competition

Woodbridge High School senior group exhibit: “Matthew C. Perry: Exchange through Encounter and Exploration in Japan.”

Woodbridge High School senior group exhibit: “Matthew C. Perry: Exchange through Encounter and Exploration in Japan.”

The results are in…Irvine Unified middle and high school students will send the most National History Day projects to the state competition than any other Orange County school district.

At the middle school level, 12 IUSD student projects, out of a possible 18 projects, will advance to the state competition. IUSD middle school students swept the website, documentary, and historical paper categories in both the individual and group entries.  IUSD high school students also had an impressive finish with 17 out of 27 projects continuing to the state level, with IUSD sweeps of the documentary and historical paper categories for both the individual and group entries.

Irvine student presentations included the senior group documentary “Dr. John Snow: Developing Modern Epidemiology”, a senior individual performance of the “Sacajawea Expedition,” a junior documentary “Exploring the Lemba Tribe: An Unlikely Journey of Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange”, and a junior website titled “The Apollo-Soyuz Mission.”

During this year’s competition, more than 550 students from 38 schools produced original websites, papers, documentaries, performances and exhibits for the March 12 competition, which was followed by an award ceremony on Thursday, March 16.  The top submissions from Orange County now head to the state finals, coming up in May. California’s highest-scoring projects will go on to compete in June at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in Maryland.

National History Day contests are held annually at the local, state and national levels, drawing half a million participants in grades four through 12. Working as individuals or in teams, students are tasked with conducting extensive research on a historical topic before submitting in-depth projects based on the year’s theme. The current theme is “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.”

For more information, visit the NHD-OC website.

Irvine High Newspaper Takes First Place in County and Second in State

Irvine High School newspaper recently won first place in sweepstakes, as well as First Place in Best of Show, Div. 1, at the Orange County Journalism Irvine High JournalismEducation Association write-offs at Fullerton College.  More than 250 student journalists and 15 local schools attended the annual event.

Twenty-four El Vaquero student-staff members competed.  Anthony Nquyen and Brian Zhou placed in news, David Hsiou and Brenda Nguyen placed in editorial, Michelle Ma placed in feature, and Arvind Katta and Kevin Lee placed in news. These seven staffers advanced to the Southern California Journalism Education Association state competition on Saturday, March 12 in Long Beach. Sixteen El Vaquero staffers, overall, represented Irvine High at the state level and brought home a Second Place win, missing out on First Place by only one point to Beverly Hills High School.

Other Irvine High students who placed in county competition included Tyanna Adjie, Tiffany Chhuor, Joyce Hsiou, Patrick Nguyen, Claire Song, and Harrison Zhang in novice news; Anissa Govind and Hala Ozgur in editorial cartooning; Marwa Achikzai in critical review; Mona Chahine in news photography; and Teresa Kim and Saieashwar Mukund in news layout.

Congratulations to El Vaquero staffers for a great showing at both the county and state competitions!

565 Students Participate in IUSD’s 35th Annual Science Fair

IMG_2405This year marked the 35th anniversary of IUSD’s districtwide science fair in which 565 students submitted a total of 463 projects.  Once again, the event was organized and hosted by IUSD science teachers and specialists and sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation, in partnership with the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

Submissions included “Extraordinary Elodea”, “Hydroelectricity”, “The Slime Awakens”, “The Effect of Varying Pitch on Voltage Generated by Vertical Axis Wind Turbines”, “Solar Powered-Water Desalination”, “A Math/Algorithm Model for Indoor Visible Light” and “The Exploration of Cellular
Responses to Transfection”

A select few of students were also presented an award from the Irvine Ranch Water District for projects that had water as the main theme. New this year, one student in High School was presented an award from Chapman University School of Pharmacy.

6th, 7th, and 8th graders who qualified are eligible to enter Broadcom MASTERS.  From there finalists enter the competition in Washington, D.C in the Fall 2016.

DSC01360DSC01383Eligible projects that entered in our district Science Fair can move on to The Orange County Science and Engineering Fair which is held on April 11-17, 2016. From there projects have the chance to move on to the California State Science Fair.

Parents are encouraged to check with their child’s school or science teacher to learn more about specific requirements and deadlines. And you may also want to check in with the rules and regulations for the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair.
And https://student.societyforscience.org/broadcom-masters-faq

In the meantime, here are a tips worth noting:

  • SF2016 Awards Ceremony4To be eligible for the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair, students must have participated in IUSD’s Science Fair, and they need to inform their science teachers, who must approve each entry.
  • OCSEF limits IUSD to 125 entrants, and county projects will be selected based on student interest, input from the students’ science teachers and ribbons awarded at the district level.
  • Not all blue ribbon winners from the IUSD Science Fair will be selected to participate in the OCSEF, and in fact some red ribbon winners might make the cut. The district’s Honorable Mention winners won’t be eligible to participate unless there aren’t enough blue ribbon and red ribbon winners to fill the 125 allocated slots.
  • The information above is subject to change.

Once again, be sure to check with your child’s school and the OCSEF Rules & Regulations before planning your project. And good luck!

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.”