The Irvine Unified School District welcomes students back this month, so we sat down with Superintendent Terry Walker to ask about his plans for the coming year, Measure E improvements – and the 10 new schools that IUSD has opened in the last decade.
You’ve successfully opened several new schools over the past decade. How’s that going?
We have opened 10 schools with state-of-the-art facilities since 2013 to meet the needs of the community. These schools are incredible and provide teachers with the technology and options to foster innovation, individualized instruction and flexible learning environments that support student-centered learning. IUSD now has 45 schools. This includes 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, five K-8 schools, five comprehensive high schools, one alternative high school, our Early Childhood Learning Center, two virtual academies and our Irvine Adult Transition Program.
How do you maintain and improve schools in more established communities?
In 2016, Irvine voters passed Measure E, a $319 million school-facilities improvement bond that enabled us to upgrade our older schools. Since then, the IUSD Facilities and Construction team has completed or begun over $275 million in Measure E projects at the 28 schools slated for improvements. These include new modernized classrooms, science and innovation labs, high school theaters and dedicated music rooms, and athletic tracks and fields. For example, IUSD innovation labs are modeled after Silicon Valley tech offices to inspire creativity and collaboration.
What are you focused on this school year?
Our focus continues to be on fulfilling our promise to provide the highest quality educational experience for our more than 36,000 students. In our more than 50 years of service to the Irvine community, we know that a student-centered focus is foundational to the academic success and overall well-being of our students. This helps students cultivate the skills to become resilient and resourceful learners. It is the optimal environment for learning.
How can people get involved?
We encourage the community to regularly visit our website at iusd.org and their school websites for the latest news and information about the district. We also encourage families to get involved with their children’s school. Parents have always been vital partners in supporting our commitment to student success, and we could not fulfill our promise without them.