Vista Verde 2020 Blue Ribbon Designation

Vista Verde K-8 School has been named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, making it one of 367 schools from across the nation to have earned what is widely considered the nation’s highest level of recognition for public and private schools. Thirty-six schools in California received this designation, with only five from Orange County.

This is the second Blue Ribbon designation for Vista Verde, which was also recognized in 1996.  Overall, this is IUSD’s 19th Blue Ribbon School dating back to the start of the federal program in 1983. (Below is the full list.)

Principal Jerry Vlasic, who made the announcement to his community said, “We are honored to be named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Our staff and families should all be extremely proud of our hard work, innovative teaching and dedication.  This is a tribute to our teachers and staff for their commitment to our students.”

Vista Verde was recognized for a culmination of different programs and initiatives focused on a positive school climate, positive student behavior, student academic performance, parent involvement, and a strong sense of family and community.


Professional Learning Communities (PLC) – Focused on sustained, quality, evidence-based, assessment-informed approach to teaching and learning, which includes a strong Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Team, 1:1 instructional technology device access, flexible learning spaces designed to promote collaboration and communication, and a focus on mindfulness and well-being.


Empowered Learning – Vista Verde encourages students to have a voice and to empower their own learning. Our school embraces mindfulness-based resilience practices school wide. Students and teachers stop two to three times per day to briefly reconnect in a mindful way to help students manage stress and achieve emotional well-being throughout the day using evidence-based relaxation techniques. For the Vista Verde team, learning is more than just academics, it is also about mental and physical well-being.


Developing the Whole Child – Vista Verde’s desire is to focus on the success of the whole child by fostering informed, productive, and capable students who are effective decision makers and problem solvers. Our goals are to empower students to take intellectual risks, to embrace innovation and creativity, all while developing social-emotional, critical thinking and communication skills in partnership with our community members.

IUSD Board of Education President Betty Carroll said, "On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like congratulate Vista Verde K-8 School, which is a phenomenal school with an exemplary staff, engaged students and highly involved families.”  Carroll continued, “As a Vista Verde parent, I know first-hand how this wonderful school exemplifies the Irvine tradition of excellence and a commitment prepare our students to be engaged citizens, who are college and career ready.  I feel grateful to be a part of the Vista Verde family." 

Schools earn the Blue Ribbon designation in two ways: “Exemplary High-Performing” sites like Vista Verde are those that rate among the best on English and math assessments. Student subgroups at these schools, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, must also perform at a similarly high level. “Exemplary-Improving” schools are those that are able to demonstrate significant improvement on assessments even though 40 percent or more of their students are from disadvantaged backgrounds. "Disadvantaged” refers to students who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals, those who receive federal Title I services, those who are limited in their English proficiency, migrant students and students who require special services.

Both paths require schools to complete extensive data reviews and exhaustive reports. "I couldn't be more proud of our Vista Verde students, teachers, staff and administrators, who are being recognized as national examples for excellence," said Superintendent Terry Walker. "This prestigious recognition illustrates the tremendous work we do here in IUSD to prepare our students for challenging colleges and careers.”

An awards ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13. Each of this year’s winners will also receive plaques and flags through the mail.

For more information, visit

 IUSD National Blue Ribbon Schools

Elementary Schools
Brywood Elementary 1991
Canyon View Elementary 2003
Deerfield Elementary 2007
Meadow Park Elementary 1998
Northwood Elementary 2008
Stonegate Elementary 1998 (Westwood), 2013 and 2019

K-8 Schools
Vista Verde K-8 School 1996 and 2020

Middle Schools
Lakeside Middle School 1990, 2012
Rancho San Joaquin Middle School 1997
Venado Middle School 1982 and 1995

High Schools
Irvine High School 1988
Northwood High School 2006
University High School 1986
Woodbridge High School 1986