Portola High School Site Testing Update

In Superintendent Terry Walker’s last communication to the IUSD community about the Portola High School site, he shared that test results and data will be made available to the public and all interested parties in mid-to-late May.  As part of IUSD’s ongoing commitment to transparency, the following is an update about the testing and lab results.  While the District is waiting for the final report to be completed, it appears this third series of tests confirms the 2014 and 2015 site approvals granted by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

However, the District will not know conclusively, until the DTSC has reviewed the data and made its own determination.  We anticipate this information in the coming weeks and will communicate with the community at that time.

Below are three potential “outcomes” of the confirmation soil sampling as detailed on March 22 by DTSC Division Chief Dot Lofstrom during a Special Board Meeting.  She explained that “Outcome Two” is the current status of the site and that if the testing supports the current status, no further action would be required of IUSD.  She stated:

Outcome One

“One outcome is that all samples come back non-detect.  That means that no contaminants were discovered above the capabilities of our laboratory instruments to detect them.  In that case, the concerns described by me tonight would have been met by the District and no further action will be requested of the School District.”

Outcome Two

“A second outcome might be that contaminants are discovered but at very low concentrations.  So low as to constitute no health risk to occupants of the school.  That’s the current status of the site – our current conceptual model that there are very low concentrations of some contaminants – scattered areas underground.  These contaminants that do exist are sometimes as low as 600 times below the health concentrations, so I’m talking very low concentrations.

A few scattered concentrations of low level contaminants would confirm the current conceptual site model that there is no risk to future occupants of the school.  Very low levels of contaminants in the soil do not trigger cleanup requirements, because walking or running on a field, playing on the ground, or sitting inside rooms with concrete floors and walls do not result in any exposures that are a health concern.

In this case again, the concerns of DTSC would have been met and no further action will be requested of the School District.”

Outcome Three

“There is a third outcome that is contaminants are present and at sufficiently high concentrations to have possible health impacts.  In that case, additional investigation will be required of the District.”

To view a video of Chief Lofstrom’s presentation during the March 22 public meeting, click here.

IUSD is cautiously optimistic that DTSC will concur that the site meets “Outcome Two” and this will provide the public with confidence that all standards, protocols and procedures set by the DTSC have been met by IUSD to ensure the site’s safety.

Once completed, the final report, including the raw data, will be posted on iusd.org/portolaconstruction.  In the meantime, please visit the Portola webpage for a history of the site, site approvals, resources and correspondence.

Dr. Michele Ogden Named New Santiago Hills Principal

Dear IUSD Community,

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Michele Ogden has been named as the new Principal of Santiago Hills Elementary School. Dr. Ogden was selected from a talented candidate pool as the best fit for Santiago Hills. The selection process included staff and community input and participation. Dr. Ogden is an experienced Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) leader. Most recently, she spearheaded curriculum and instruction initiatives in math and science district-wide. She was an elementary teacher with experience in grades 1-4, spending seven years at Vista Verde. Her official start date is July 1, 2016.

Dr. Ogden brings a student-centered learning approach to her work and is familiar with the Santiago Hills school community and IUSD’s culture of excellence. She is committed to fostering innovation through collaboration with teachers, staff, students and families.

Dr. Ogden is excited to work with the Santiago Hills’ students, staff and community. She will begin her transition to Santiago Hills over the coming weeks and will meet with Mr. Pace to ensure a smooth start to the next school year.  She cannot wait to meet with students, staff, and the parent community.  “I look forward to becoming an active member of the Santiago Hills family and sharing the energy, excitement, laughs and day-to-day opportunities that come our way,” said Dr. Ogden.

She lives in Aliso Viejo with her husband, son and daughter.  After seven years of cheering for her kids in their running pursuits, she has recently become a runner, completing three 5Ks and two half marathons in 2016 alone.

Please join IUSD in congratulating Dr. Ogden and in welcoming her to Santiago Hills.

Eamonn eSignature


Eamonn O’Donovan
Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Irvine Unified School District

Measure E – School Facilities Improvements

Instagram-logoThe Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) has placed Measure E, a school facilities improvement measure, on the June 2016 ballot. IUSD serves more than 32,000 students and is one of the
highest performing districts in the nation. However, due to the state’s new funding formula, IUSD ranks at the bottom in per pupil funding in California. As a result, IUSD’s general fund cannot support the significant investments many of our aging facilities need without creating a significant impact on our instructional programs across the District.

If approved by 55 percent of registered voters, the measure will provide an investment of $319 million to address the serious school facility issues that have been identified by each school site within the Measure’s boundaries.  The cost of the measure will be $29 per $100,000 of assessed value, (as opposed to market value, which is typically much higher) over a 30-year period. To provide some perspective, the estimated approximate cost to the average property owner will be about $10 per month.

Funds from this measure would be used to upgrade Irvine’s oldest schools by:

  • Providing the facilities and equipment needed for career and technology classes so students are prepared for college and good paying jobs in fields like science, engineering, technology and skilled trades.
  • Providing classrooms, science labs and school facilities that meet current academic, technology and safety standards.
  • Ensuring that all schools have the classrooms and instructional spaces needed for Irvine’s world class art and music programs.
  • Improving traffic and safety in and around schools.
  • Updating instructional technology in the classroom for improved student learning in core subjects like reading and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
  • Replacing aging roofs, plumbing, electrical systems, and heating and cooling systems.
  • Ensuring classrooms, labs and other facilities are accessible for students with disabilities.

To view a list of priority facilities improvements by school, click on the school names below.

Elementary/K-8 Schools Middle Schools High Schools
Bonita Canyon Lakeside Creekside
Brywood Rancho San Joaquin Irvine
Canyon View Sierra Vista Northwood
College Park South Lake University
Culverdale Venado Woodbridge
Meadow Park
Oak Creek
Santiago Hills
Stone Creek
Turtle Rock
University Park
Plaza Vista K-8

For more information, visit iusd.org/schoolimprovements.  Click here to view IUSD’s legislative priorities, which provides information about the District’s funding.



Portola High School Update

Dear IUSD Community,

As part of the District’s commitment to providing you with ongoing information about the Portola High School site, the following is an update on the status of recent confirmation soil sampling.

On March 22, the District held a special Board Meeting to present information about the school site and to receive public comments about the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) plan for additional soil sampling of the site.  This was the 17th public meeting, since 2013, in which the Portola High School site has been discussed.  During the meeting, DTSC and District staff informed attendees that 10 locations throughout the site had been identified to conduct confirmation soil samplings that were intended to reaffirm the state agency’s initial approvals of the site.  DTSC Geologist Dan Gallagher stated, “In my professional opinion, 10 samples at two depths…should be sufficient to clear this site.” However, upon hearing public input, the Board of Education requested DTSC identify additional locations beyond the initial 10.

In the weeks following the meeting, DTSC Division Chief Dot Lofstrom and DTSC Geologist Gallagher, under DTSC Director Barbara Lee’s oversight, have worked in collaboration with IUSD to identify seven more soil sample locations, beyond the initial 10, for a total of 17 locations.  This is in addition to the 27 soil gas locations with 136 tests and the 68 soil sample locations with 105 tests that had been previously conducted throughout the school site.  Overall, the site will now have 112 test locations with more than 300 tests conducted site-wide.  As acknowledged by Chief Lofstrom during the March 22 meeting, the Portola High School site has had more scrutiny and testing than any other site on the former El Toro Marine Base, because DTSC “tends to be particularly protective of schools.”

The independent confirmation sampling process is being conducted under the oversight of DTSC, including Chief Lofstrom and Geologist Gallagher.  The process has included the following organizations and steps:

  • Drilling and setting of the soil gas probes is being conducted by Interphase Environmental, Inc.
  • An onsite California professional registered geologist with PlaceWorks (IUSD consultant), inspects the soil and collects the soil samples.
  • Jones Environmental, Inc. conducts the onsite analysis of soil gas samples in mobile laboratories.
  • Soil samples are sent to A&R Laboratories to test for the presence and levels of petroleum hydrocarbons.

In collaboration with DTSC, District consultant PlaceWorks, will develop the final report.  Upon completion of the report in mid-to-late May, IUSD will make this information available to the public and all interested parties, including the raw data.

I look forward to communicating with you next month to share the test results and next steps, if any.

For more information about the Portola High School site, including a comprehensive site history and District communications, please visit iusd.org/portolaconstruction.  See the following links for recent IUSD communications about the school site.

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




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

LCAP School Funding Survey Now Open

Dear IUSD Community,

I would like to encourage your participation in the 2016-17 school-funding survey, which is part of the 10-month Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.  This is the second of two funding surveys.  The first survey was sent to the IUSD community last September and asked for your feedback about District priorities.  Based on your responses, the District developed a series of proposed actions.  This survey is to review those actions and investments with you, and to request your input.

The survey is divided into four brief sections:

  • New proposed actions and investments
  • Ranking of additional funding priorities, should the District receive additional state funds this May
  • A review of actions, using one-time funding, recommended for extension for one or two additional years
  • Open comment section

This interactive 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, and to see the results of the fall 2015 survey, visit iusd.org/LCFF-LCAP/.  To view an informational summary of the proposed LCAP actions, click here.

To take the survey now, click here.  

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




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

Michael Georgino Named Jeffrey Trail Principal

Dear IUSD Community,

 We are pleased to announce that Michael Georgino has been named Principal of Jeffrey Trail Middle School.  After an extensive recruitment process, which included staff and community input and participation, Mr. Georgino has been selected from a talented candidate pool as the new leader for Jeffrey Trail.  His start date is July 1, 2016.

Mr. Georgino has 15 years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator.  He currently serves with distinction as Assistant Principal at University High School, where he is responsible for a wide range of leadership duties, including oversight of Career Technical Education, Advanced Placement, and English Language Development programs.  In the past two years, he has worked with faculty and staff to create and support a vision for the effective use of technology for teaching and learning.

Mr. Georgino has extensive teaching experience. He was a history, economics, and forensics teacher at University High for five years.  He began his teaching career at Brookhurst Junior High in the Anaheim Union High School District, where he served as a history teacher, GATE teacher, yearbook advisor, and athletic coach.

Mr. Georgino is honored to join the Jeffrey Trail team.  He is adept at working with diverse student populations and has experience serving in communities with high standards for academic achievement. He is excited to continue the commitment at Jeffrey Trail to a broad range of extracurricular programs for students.  He is eager to begin building strong and collaborative relationships with staff, students and parents.

Please join IUSD in congratulating Mr. Georgino on his new role and in welcoming him to Jeffrey Trail.


Eamonn eSignature

Eamonn O’Donovan
Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Irvine Unified School District

Hundreds of IUSD Students to Participate in Bren Honors Concert

orchestraHundreds of Irvine’s outstanding musicians will take center stage tonight for the 34th annual Donald Bren Honors Concert at 6:30 p.m. at the Segerstrom Concert Hall, located at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  There are a handful of tickets still available. For more information, visit ipsf.net.  The Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) will also have DVDs of the performance for purchase and the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) will broadcast the concert, in its entirety, on Cox Channel 39 in early May.

This annual event is presented by IPSF, in partnership with IUSD.  In all, approximately 600 top vocalists and instrumentalists in grades five through 12 will participate in the musical showcase.

“Our students’ exceptional talent will be showcased in this world-class venue, including a special pre-concert at 6:15 p.m. that will feature the Northwood High School Jazz Ensemble I,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD’s coordinator of Visual and Performing Arts. “In addition, our high school students will be under the direction of Jonathan Talberg, the choral director of the Bob Cole Conservatory at CSU Long Beach, and Iman Khosrowpour, a IUSD alum and director of orchestras at Irvine Valley College.”

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 a $20 million gift 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 Chief Executive Officer Neda Eaton .

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 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.

Cypress Village, Plaza Vista and Woodbury Earn Gold Ribbon Awards

Gold Ribbon Elementary 2016Cypress Village and Woodbury elementary schools and Plaza Vista K-8 have been named 2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools.  This prestigious designation is the State’s highest recognition for public schools.  The schools were among 772 elementary schools state wide to receive this prestigious honor.

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.  Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies.

Below are details about the model program each school highlighted through the Gold Ribbon application process.  While all IUSD schools implement innovative programs, the three 2016 Gold Ribbon schools demonstrated how they uniquely implement the following programs.

Cypress Village

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – A program designed to create a positive school culture by engaging students through ongoing expectations, communications and feedback between teachers, staff and students.  Cypress Village utilizes STORM to teach behavioral expectations. STORM represents the school’s behavioral norms, Safety first, Take responsibility, On time and ready, Respect, and Make a difference.  To learn more about PBIS, click here.

Plaza Vista

Daily 5 – A framework for structuring literacy time so students develop lifelong habits of reading, writing and working independently.  Students select from five authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring.  To learn more, click here.


Response to Instruction (RTI) – A reading program that supports students by using both formative and summative assessments, which are powerful and effective tools to assess students while they are learning, as well as at the end of an instructional unit.  This comprehensive approach provides ongoing feedback that can be used to guide teacher instruction and improve student achievement.  It also enables parents to track their child’s progress throughout the school year. Additionally, it supports parents to reinforce skills at home that their children have learned in the classroom.

“These schools shine as bright beacons for others, putting forth an exemplary effort to ensure that every student is ready for 21st century college and careers,” Torlakson said. “California teachers are developing an education model for the nation, training the students of today to be the problem-solvers, inventors, and pioneers of tomorrow.”

IUSD congratulates the teachers, staff, students and parents of these three outstanding schools, who exemplify the District’s mission to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision.