Back to School Message from Superintendent Walker

Image of Supt. Terry Walker with a quote about student success

August 28, 2018

Dear IUSD Community,

On behalf of the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board of Education, Leadership Team and staff, welcome back to school!  The beginning of this 2018-19 school year, for both year-round and traditional schools, is an exciting time for students, families and staff.  Together, we will continue the important work of our mission to provide students with the highest quality educational experience we can envision. 

This vital mission and partnership with the IUSD community starts with a strong educational commitment to develop well-rounded students equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in our ever-changing and dynamic world.  To this end, IUSD continues to make intentional and strategic investments to maximize limited resources, while developing essential capacities, and fostering innovation, reflection and collaboration.     

To fulfill this promise to students and families, we continue to focus on the most critical factor in fostering student achievement – empowering our dedicated and talented staff, who work with and in service of our more than 35,000 students.  The District has made ongoing investments in Professional Learning Communities that support collaboration and best practices to improve student learning; engaged in an interactive and inclusive budgeting process, the LCAP to help identify and implement strategic investments; and support greater equity through enhancements to technology and facilities improvements. 

Below are just a sample of investments we are making to positively impact student learning that we will continue to discuss with you throughout the 2018-19 school year. 

Professional Learning Communities
Initiatives like Professional Learning Communities (PLC) enable teachers to examine evidence of student learning and assess what is most effective in helping students learn at the highest levels.  With our Continuous Improvement Efforts guiding the way, the PLC approach is helping our teachers better meet the needs of every child in the classroom. 

To learn more about Professional Learning Communities and why they are so important to our students’ success, I encourage you to watch a brief PLC video

LCAP
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is the District’s interactive budgeting process, which helps IUSD identify annual goals, develop strategic actions, and measure progress on academic achievement, school climate and parent engagement.  By visiting the LCAP webpage, you can review the District’s executive LCAP summary, renewed investments for 2018-19, and other important information. 

During the school year, as part of the 10-month LCAP planning process, the District and/or your school will reach out to you for feedback.  Your input is critical to IUSD’s decision-making process and will help guide investments in the District’s priorities.  Please watch for LCAP communications and do not miss the opportunity to share your ideas at both the District and school levels.

Technology Investments and Measure E Modernizations
IUSD is committed to ensuring all of our schools are equipped with the necessary features and resources to promote intellectual risk-taking, creativity, communication and critical thinking, while infusing innovative educational technologies to prepare students for competitive colleges and careers.  Investments include enhanced technological infrastructure, flexible furniture, and modernizations to aging IUSD schools.  

As a result of the Board of Education’s ongoing strategic investments and upgrades in our technology infrastructure, IUSD is uniquely positioned to fully explore best practices in augmenting student learning in transformative ways.  The District has increased its educational software offerings to provide more personalized attention both at school and at home for our students.  Most of our classrooms now have 1:1 Chromebooks for students – one Chromebook for each student.  In just over the past five years the IUSD has transitioned from 7,500 computers in our classrooms to more than 34,000 devices and/or Chromebooks in classrooms.  This shift is a clear demonstration of the District’s commitment to ensuring teachers and students have access to critical teaching and learning opportunities, necessary for success in the 21st century.  IUSD will continue to build greater access to technology and connectivity for all schools, staff and students.  To view a short video about IUSD’s 1:1 technology integration, click here.

Additionally, to mirror some of the features in our new schools, IUSD has also allocated substantial funds toward innovative furniture, which fosters greater flexibility in space utilization and supports student-centered learning configurations typically only found in top universities and cutting edge companies.  This brightly colored and modular furniture is in classrooms, media centers, innovation labs, makers spaces, collaboration spaces, science labs, and music rooms in many of our schools throughout the District. 

Since voters passed Measure E more than two years ago, IUSD has been engaged in detailed planning and efficient implementation of Measure E projects for 21 of the 28 schools receiving funds in series one.  Measure E projects are focused on facility and technology infrastructure modernization, upgrades to classrooms, science labs and high school theaters, collaborative learning spaces, innovation labs, and general upgrades to the accessibility, safety, and comfort of teaching and learning environments. These projects are bringing our schools up to a similar standard to support educational equity for all students. 

For information about Measure E funding, projects by series or school site, and for a list of 2017 completed projects, visit iusd.org/MeasureE or click here to view the District’s annual Measure E newsletter.

These are only a few of the many IUSD initiatives we are working on this year.  As we move through the 2018-19 school year, we will continue to reach out to you and seek your feedback in a variety of areas.  We look forward to our continued partnership with you and your family. 

Together, we can build a bright future for our children.  Thank you and best wishes for a wonderful school year.

Sincerely,

 Terry Walker Signature

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District