Optimistic Household

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Message from superintendent Terry Walker


Terry Walker Headshot

IUSD has partnered with Shawn Achor, bestselling author, speaker and renowned Harvard expert in the field of positive psychology, to launch Optimistic Household, a series of six interactive modules designed only for IUSD families to foster learning and social emotional wellbeing at the highest levels for our students. Click here to read my full letter announcing the exciting opportunity to the IUSD community.


Shawn Achor, Positive Psychology Researcher and Presenter


shawn achor
  • International best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage
  • Top 15 most watched TED Talks of all time (22 Million)
  • Most popular course on Harvard campus for 7 years
  • Most popular training “Workshop on Happiness and Optimism”




Why is IUSD launching Optimistic Household?

Nearly a decade ago, IUSD embraced the principles of growth mindset and intellectual risk taking as part of our mission to prepare students for the complex world they will enter as young adults and professionals.  Optimistic Household builds upon these principles, supporting the skills students need to be college and career ready, as well as engaged citizens.  Skills that will help them become resilient and resourceful learners, who are able to adapt and demonstrate grit as they face academic and other challenges. 

The neuroscience and data behind these principles reaffirms that students, who possess hope and optimism and embrace mistakes as part of the learning process, can become adaptable learners and succeed at higher levels both academically and personally.  IUSD is so pleased to be able to share this first-ever opportunity and important information with our families.    

What evidence (research) supports this decision?

  • Research shows that people make better decisions when they are in a positive state of mind. 
  • Research shows we become more successful when we are happier and more positive.

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology focuses on the positive events and influences in life, including:

  • Deepens student, family, and community development.
  • Positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration, and love).
  • Positive states and traits (like gratitude, resilience, and compassion).
  • Positive households (applying positive principles within families).


To strengthen our core mission,  a commitment to excellence as the hallmark of the Irvine Unified School District. As a school and community partnership, our promise is to provide the highest quality educational experience we can envision and to support families. During this time our primary focus is on creating a highly positive school community that recognizes the importance of positivity, optimism and hope.

Speaker Series

Module 1: Happiness and Gratitude in Challenging Times

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Module 2: Increasing Social Connection in a Time of Social Distancing

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Module 3: Inoculating your Brain about Anxiety and Stress

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Module 4: Being adaptive in the midst of uncertainty and change


Module 5: Uncovering Possibilities with a Growth Mindset

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Module 6: Restart Forward Progress