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.”


Portola Springs Dedications Showcase State-of-the-art Facility


IUSD hosted two Portola Springs Elementary School dedication ceremonies to welcome students, their families and community to the District’s newest elementary school.  Participants of both ceremonies learned about the features of this state-of-the-art educational facility, which is designed to leverage the talents of teachers and staff as they work to develop each student’s full potential.  PS Ribbon Cutting Group Shot (2)

The first dedication ceremony, led by Superintendent Terry Walker and Principal Heather Phillips, gave the Board of Education, IUSD principals, IUSD PTA presidents, City Councilmembers, community partners, and other local dignitaries the opportunity to experience an interactive tour of the school site.  During the tour, school staff demonstrated the unique features of Portola Springs Elementary, including the Design and Science Lab, high-tech and flexible-design classrooms, music and performing arts spaces, collaborative work spaces, the Innovation Lab, and the Learning Center.

Click here to read more about the innovative feature at Portola Springs Elementary.

During his remarks to the capacity crowd, Superintendent Terry Walker spoke about IUSD’s accomplishments and how Portola Springs is representative of IUSD’s vision for preparing our children for competitive 21st Century colleges and careers.

“Our relentlessly changing world requires that we adapt and evolve to best meet the needs of our students,” said Walker.  “Portola Springs Elementary is strategically designed to leverage the power of discovery, collaboration, adaptability and inquiry.  It reflects our own relentless commitment to excellence and exemplifies our award winning education specifications.”

The District also held a special ceremony for Portola Springs students and families, who heard comments from students about how they utilize and love their new school, from Principal Phillips and Superintendent Walker.  Board of Education Members joined the festivities and celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Cub Council members. PS School Ribbon Cutting (2)

Principal Phillips addressed the importance of community and the dedication of her staff in opening this new facility.  “When I was thinking about what to speak to that captures what has happened over this past year, as we began building the Grizzly community, it occurred to me that the word “Dedication” is very fitting,” said Phillips.  “That is what I’ve witnessed this community of teachers, parents, and students demonstrate each and every day.”

She went on to discuss the importance of this new school in providing teachers, staff and students with innovative tools.  “What is truly beautiful about this school is that it allows us to focus on what is really important – students, learning, inclusion, relationship building,” said Phillips.  “We have the opportunity to be creative, to connect with each other and with the world outside the walls of our school.  We aren’t limited by our facility…instead it enhances what we are able to do every day.”

Portola Springs serves north Irvine and is home to 630 students in grades K-6.


IUSD’s Marching Bands to Perform Together for ‘Band Spectacular’


After taking the field for separate performances, marching bands from IUSD’s four comprehensive high schools will join forces for a big finale during “Band Spectacular” tonight.  More than 1,200 students, including middle school musicians, will participate in this exciting mega concert.  Band Spectacular

This fun family event will be held at the Irvine High School Stadium at 7 p.m. tonight, October 21.  Parking is free; admission is $5 for individuals and $10 for families.  Proceeds will support instrumental music throughout the District.

For more information on IUSD’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, click here.

 


Message from Terry Walker: School Funding Survey


Dear IUSD Community,

I would like to encourage your participation in the 2016-17 school-funding survey, which is part of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.  This first survey kicks off the 10-month LCAP process for the 2016-17 school year, which will help IUSD to 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.  We will reach out to you throughout the current school year, including a second survey in the spring, for your continued feedback. 

To learn more about the state’s funding system, including Local Control Funding Formula and the LCAP, visit iusd.org/LCFF-LCAP/.

Click here to take the survey now. 

Thank you in advance for your participation.  Your engagement, partnership and support continues to enable IUSD to best serve our students. 

T-Walker2-smooth-sm

 

 

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


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.


IUSD Ranks Highest in State in Math


The Irvine Unified School District’s state standardized test scores ranked highest in the state in math and second highest in the state in English Language Arts/Literacy, for school districts of 25,000 or more.  This comes on the heels of IUSD being ranked first in Orange County for both math and English Language Arts/Literacy.    Elementary classroom

“I am incredibly proud of Irvine Unified students’ outstanding performance.  These results are a testament to our collective efforts and the special partnership between our hardworking students, dedicated families, and talented staff,” said Superintendent Terry Walker.  “IUSD continues to thrive in a challenging environment, including a new state funding model that will continue to adversely impact our educational resources.  As we strive to ensure that the Irvine Unified School District remains one of the highest-performing districts in the country, we will continue to leverage collaboration and connections with our students, parents, staff and community partners.”

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

For more information about state standardized testing and IUSD’s perspective, click here or visit iusd.org/statewide-testing.

To read the Orange County Register article, click here.


Irvine Police Department Working to Ensure Students Have Safe Routes to School


In the coming months, the Irvine Police Department and the City of Irvine’s Community Services Department will continue efforts to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety as part of the City’s Safe Routes to School Program.  Your child may have already taken part in one of the bicycle/pedestrian Safe-Routes-to-Schoolsafety assemblies or bicycle rodeos at their IUSD elementary and middle schools.

As the City builds upon these safety activities, you may see an increase in police officers on bicycles around IUSD schools during high traffic drop-off and pick-up times.  These officers will conduct safety education, enforcement and incentive activities such as giving prizes to students who are seen safely biking and walking.  Officers will also enforce traffic laws in areas surrounding the schools.  The City is utilizing this program to help enhance the safety and well-being of IUSD students and families.


IUSD Names New Beacon Park K-8 Principal


IUSD is pleased to announce Bob Curley has been named Principal of Beacon Park K-8 School, which is scheduled to open August 2016. His start date is July 1, 2016. In the interim, he will continue in his current role, while also planning for the opening of Beacon Park next fall.  To ensure a smooth transition and adequate planning time, Pat Mulhaupt, a retired IUSD elementary principal, will work at Bonita Canyon two days per week, starting in January.  Pat and Bob will work together to ensure continuity during the second half of the school year.  Bob Curley

Bob has been with IUSD for 26 years.  Most recently, he served as Principal for Bonita Canyon Elementary for 6 years, where he developed an excellent reputation as a site leader for working collaboratively with students, parents, staff and the community, including the PTA and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.  His previous experience includes science teacher at Rancho Middle School; Math and Science Department Chair and Assistant Principal at South Lake Middle School; and Principal at Springbrook Elementary.

Bob is looking forward to taking on the challenge of opening IUSD’s newest K-8 school and will work closely with students, staff and parents to develop a student-centered learning environment.  He uniquely understands Irvine and the IUSD culture.  He is experienced at working with diverse student populations, high expectations for academic achievement and a broad range of extracurricular programs.

He resides in Fullerton with his wife and two daughters.  When he is not busy with work and his family, Bob enjoys spending time outdoors running and hiking.


Message from Superintendent Terry Walker: State Assessment Scores Rank IUSD Highest in Orange County


Dear IUSD Community,

I am proud to announce that Irvine Unified School District’s state standardized assessment scores have outperformed both state and county score averages, with IUSD ranking the highest of all Orange County school districts.  Please click here to view the official rankings for Orange County school districts.

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

Irvine Unified’s Continuous Improvement Efforts (CIE) were designed and adopted well before the new state standards. We believe our exemplary score results reflect the CIE alignment with the same critical thinking, creativity, communication, and other learning outcomes in the new state standards. These student capacities have always been an integral part of IUSD’s educational mission and vision. We recognize that there will continue to be opportunities for reflection and growth but these results are a testament to our collective efforts and the special partnership between our hardworking students, dedicated families, and talented staff.

California is in the process of distributing individual student score reports and released this statewide aggregate data on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.  IUSD anticipates that we will receive and then mail home individual student score reports between late September and early October.

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

New Scores Cannot be Compared to Old Scores
The Smarter Balanced Assessments are aligned with the new state standards and are scored in a completely new way.  Therefore, scores from these new assessments cannot be compared to older state testing scores.  Click here for a sample score report.

The New Assessments Provide a Baseline for Future Progress
The new assessment results will provide a baseline to track student progress over time.  As students and schools become more familiar and proficient with these new standards, we expect the scores to continue to increase.

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

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

For additional information, please visit the following resources.

iusd.org/statewide-testing
iusd.org/common-core
cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/

On behalf of our Board of Education and IUSD staff, we deeply appreciate your engagement, partnership and support. Our combined collaborative efforts continue to enable IUSD to deliver on our promise to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

T-Walker2-smooth-sm

 

 

 

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools


Standardized Assessment Scores to be Released in September


IUSD students in grades three to eight, 10 and 11, who participated in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), will SBAC Imagereceive their assessment results by mail in late September or early October.  Below is important information about the assessments, score reports and what they mean to you and your child.  For more information, visit iusd.org/statewide-testing.

CAASPP assessments include:

Grades 3-8 & 11

  • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics
  • California Alternative Assessment Field Test (alternate assessment for students with special needs)*

Grades 5, 8 & 10

  • California Standards Tests Science
  • California Modified Assessment Science (modified for students with special needs)
  • California Alternate Performance Assessment Science (alternate assessments for students with special needs)

New Scores Cannot be Compared to Old Scores

The Smarter Balanced assessments are aligned with the new state standards and are scored in a completely new way.  Therefore, scores from these new assessments cannot be compared to older state testing scores.  Click here for a sample score report.

The New Assessments Provide a Baseline for Future Progress

The new assessment results will provide students with a baseline to track progress over time.  As our students and schools become more familiar with the new assessments, we expect the scores to continue to increase.

Scores are One of Many Measures

Assessment scores should be used as one of many measures when evaluating student learning.  They provide some but not all information about a student’s knowledge and skills.  Results from tests should be reviewed in combination with other measures, such as in-class assignments, classroom tests, teacher conferences and other factors.  For more information about your child’s academic progress, please contact your child’s teacher(s) or school.

How Test Scores Are Used

IUSD will use these baseline scores as one of many measures when looking at individual student learning.  They will also help the District continue to improve upon the high-quality instruction we provide.  The scores will not be used to determine student advancement to the next grade level or as the sole piece of information when making academic decisions about students.

Additional Information and Resources

iusd.org/statewide-testing
iusd.org/common-core
cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/

*Students who participated in the California Alternate Assessment Field Test will not receive results this year.  The 2015 year was a field test, meant to measure the quality of test items, not to measure student performance.