Dear IUSD Community,
As each school year comes to a close, it is a time of reflection and a source of pride as we celebrate the tremendous achievements of our students. This year, I am perhaps the most proud I have ever been of our students, staff and families. When the world came to a near grinding halt due to the COVID-19 health crisis, our community made the choice to continue moving forward to support our students and to establish a “new normal” during this unprecedented time that was marked by a genuine commitment to serve students and meet their needs with care and compassion.
We have witnessed our community put into practice the skills we believe are essential for students to be prepared for challenging colleges and careers and to be engaged citizens. Together, our students, staff and families have faced challenges with a growth mindset, adaptability, fortitude, and grace. Teachers found new ways to teach and connect with students and parents, while our students found new ways to learn and engage with their teachers and classmates. Our parent community took on new roles and worked tirelessly to support their children and schools. When you look back at this time, I hope you will feel the same sense of pride. While it has not been perfect, it has been inspiring and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Message to the Class of 2020
To our graduating senior class of 2020, you have demonstrated a depth of character that the entire Irvine community can be proud of and celebrate. As your superintendent, an educator and a father, I have a deep appreciation for the sacrifices you have made for the greater good of our community. While no words can make up for what has been lost or changed, please know that you will forever be remembered for your strength and tenacity as you navigated a senior year that was far from what you had ever envisioned. On behalf of the IUSD Board of Education, our district and the entire Irvine community, we salute you and we are honored to have had the privilege of educating and serving you for these last 13 years. You have made an indelible mark on the IUSD community and we wish you well as you embark upon this next exciting phase of your journey.
Our Principals are working with parents, students and staff to design plans for in-person opportunities for seniors to celebrate and connect in the future, when we have new health agency guidelines confirm that it is safe. We look forward to celebrating with you in the future.
As addressed in my May 27 letter, IUSD is working diligently on planning for the 2020-21 school year. We will provide our community with updates and solicit your direct feedback as we continue this critical work, so please check your email regularly. Our year round schools will be receiving an update in the coming weeks as we prepare for the July 15 start date and continue to work with local and state agencies and officials as part of our planning efforts.
Services and Resources
I would also like to remind our families of important information and resources that may be helpful over the summer. IUSD will be serving the final school meals for the 2019-20 school year this Friday. Pick-ups will be at the same times and locations. For families who need food assistance over the summer break, IUSD has partnered with Families Forward, which offers long-term food assistance to families in need. Click here for more information about Families Forward's weekly food pantry and other community resources.
Since schools closed to the public in March, IUSD’s Nutrition Services team has served close to a half-million meals to our students, our Information Technology team distributed more than 6,000 Chromebooks for Emergency Distance Learning and our staff has worked around the clock to provide a wide-range of services and supports for students and families. We are committed and passionate about serving our community and connecting our families to vital resources. Although we will have our normal reduction of services and staffing over the summer, we will still have resources and staff available to answer questions, so please reach out if needed. Also, continue to visit iusd.org and iusd.org/COVID19 for updates, information and resources, including mental health and wellness, enrichment activities and other supports.
As you know, IUSD launched Optimistic Household a couple of weeks ago as part of our ongoing efforts to connect students and families with resources that support learning and social emotional wellness at the highest levels. Through the first week in August, IUSD will release new Optimistic Household modules that may be helpful and of interest to your family. Exploring and participating in these activities can make a difference, especially as we head into the summer when some students may feel a greater sense of being disconnected from friends and their traditional summer activities. I hope you will take a moment to review this information and share it with your family.
Respect and Care for Each Other
Finally, I wanted to say a few words in light of the events that have gripped our nation in recent days. As one of the most diverse school districts in the nation, IUSD has always maintained that our strength is in our diversity. As such, we abhor racial injustice or inequality. Together, in partnership with our students and families, we will continue to support a culture that celebrates diversity and promote an educational environment of respect and tolerance.
For resources, including how to talk with students about race and racial inequality or for wellness supports, visit our Speak Up We Care page. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do as educators and parents is to listen and engage in constructive dialogue.
Thank you again for your unparalleled partnership and support during this challenging year. On behalf of the Board of Education and our district, we hope you and your families have a joyful, rejuvenating and safe summer.
Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District