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SchoolWatch: Irvine’s Other School District


It’s well known that for many people, the top reason for moving to Irvine is the excellent Irvine schools. But not all “Irvine schools” are in the Irvine Unified School District.

In fact, about 5,000 students who live in certain northern areas of Irvine — mostly in Northpark, Northpark Square, and West Irvine — attend schools that are located in Irvine but are actually part of the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD).

This confusing situation is attributable to school district boundaries that were established many years ago.  For years, parents expressed surprise and even anger when they learned that their children weren’t in IUSD schools, but were in TUSD schools located in Irvine.  But that’s not the case anymore.  In fact, the TUSD schools located in Irvine are among the highest-ranking schools in California, in many cases outperforming comparable IUSD schools.  On a State scale of 10, all four TUSD schools in Irvine boast a “10.” They have all received State achievement awards. And all have very high scores on the Academic Performance Index (API), where it’s unusual to score in the 800s and 900s (out of 1,000).

Here are the important particulars: Hicks Canyon  Elementary (K-5), a California Distinguished School in 2008 and 20012, with an API of 945; Myford Elementary (K-5), a California Distinguished School in 2006, 2010 and 2014, with an API of 931; Orchard Hills Middle School (grades 5-8), a California Distinguished School in 2013 and a Gold Medal School in 2015, with an API of 942; and Beckman High School, a California Distinguished School in 2007 and 2011, a California Gold Medal School in 2015, with an API of 886.

One reason for excellent schools in TUSD is its Superintendent.  Dr. Gregory Franklin.  He is one of the top superintendents in the country.  In fact, he was named the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Superintendent of the Year in 2015.  And, of course, the outstanding TUSD Board that hired Dr. Franklin deserves credit as well.

Carolyn Inmon
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Irvine, CA
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