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Monday, January 23, 2017

Severe Food Allergies

Food allergy is a growing public health concern.  According to the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, as many as 15 million people have food allergies. Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies with young children affected most.  Boys appear to develop food allergies more than girls.

Although childhood allergies to milk, egg, wheat and soy generally resolve in childhood, they appear to be resolving more slowly than in previous decades, with many children still highly allergic beyond 5 years of age. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish are generally lifelong allergies.

 The prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise.
· According to a study released in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an 18% increase in food allergy was seen between 1997 and 2007.
· The prevalence of peanut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008.
With a food allergy, the body reacts as though that particular food product is harmful. As a result, the body's immune system (which fights infection and disease) creates antibodies to fight the food allergen, the substance in the food that triggers the allergy.
The next time a person comes in contact with that food by touching or eating it or inhaling its particles, the body releases chemicals, including one called histamine, to "protect" itself. These chemicals trigger allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. These symptoms might include a runny nose; an itchy skin rash; a tingling in the tongue, lips, or throat; swelling; abdominal pain; or wheezing.
Food allergy reactions can vary from person to person. Some can be very mild and only involve one part of the body, like hives on the skin. Others can be more severe and involve more than one part of the body. Reactions can occur within a few minutes or up to a few hours after contact with the food.
A serious allergic reaction with widespread effects on the body is known as anaphylaxis. This is a sudden, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction during which there can be swelling of the airway, serious difficulty with breathing, a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and in some cases, even death.

Because the prevalence of food allergies continues to increase in the nation and in IUSD, it is critical that we have a healthy awareness and responsiveness to this condition. It is everyone’s responsibility to work together in keeping all children safe and healthy.

Friday, December 16, 2016

You Make an Impact at Woodbury- Thank You!

Dear Parents,

During this season of giving, I would like to take a moment to say thank you and recognize the many generous families who have already made an IMPACT by contributing to Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF). Your charitable gift supports all 38 schools and 33,000 students in Irvine, including ours! Funds raised through IPSF make an impact in Woodbury classrooms every day. 

Please join me in thanking the families on our Woodbury Honor Roll listed here: If your name is not yet on the list, there is still time! Your gift at any level makes a difference. All contributions received by December 31 will be recognized on the Honor Roll, and your impact will be doubled with a matching grant from the City of Irvine. This means that with a $50 donation, $100 will go toward your child's education!

Please join me in becoming a supporter of IPSF so that we can continue to provide a world class education for your student, and every student. Return the donation form you received in the mail, contribute online at, or text IPSF to 41444. 

For more information about where your donation dollars make an IMPACT, visit

Make your IMPACT today!


Alan Battenfield

P.S. – IPSF has just announced that every family who contributes $50 or more will also receive a free hot/cold travel cup that will also earn free drinks all over Irvine! Learn more here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Traffic Safety

Around any elementary school, there are a few challenges present.  Of greatest concern is the automobile traffic around the school and the danger that presents to our students. Our concern is elevated and the danger increases when the weather is rainy. Visibility is reduced, students are rushing to get out of the rain, and the roads are slick. Unfortunately when it rains, there is also an increase in the amount of people ignoring our safety guidelines and traffic procedures. With this in mind and the predictions of a wet winter, I wanted to remind everyone to keep our students safe by following our arrival and dismissal traffic procedures and obey all traffic laws all the time, even when it is raining. 

Please read carefully the information below. Your cooperation is requested with these established guidelines.
  • Use caution when driving around our school.Students are not allowed to cross the parking lot, even with a parent, at any time without using one of the crosswalks.
  • Drop off and pick up students in the designated areas only.
  • When dropping off your children, please pull as far ahead as possible next to the curb in the loading zone before letting your child out of your car.
  • Pull next to the curb to unload or pick up your child. Do not unload or pick up children in the street away from the curb. Not only is it illegal, but incredibly dangerous.
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians must use crosswalks and utilize the assistance of a crossing guard or staff member when provided.
  • Do not leave your car unattended in the loading and unloading zones.
  • When parking in the neighborhood, please obey all traffic laws and be considerate to our neighbors. Please do not block driveways, leave trash in the area, allow your children to play on someone’s yard, or make excessive noise.

Friday, December 2, 2016

School Attendance

Woodbury and IUSD take student attendance very seriously. We believe that student success begins with daily attendance. As a result, we take steps to ensure that students attend school daily and that each student complies with school attendance laws and stipulations outlined in the California Education Code. The two basic attendance laws are:

  • All persons 6 through 18 years of age are required by California State Law to attend school. Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attendance. (Education Code Section 48200) 
  • A pupil is considered truant if he/she is absent for more than 3 full days in one school year without a valid excuse; tardy or absent for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without valid excuse on 3 occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof. (Education Code Section 48260)

As parents of elementary school children, you bear the primary responsibility of ensuring that your children are in school daily, arrive on time, and remain in school the entire day.  With that in mind, I encourage you to take a pro-active approach in establishing positive attendance patterns and avoiding chronic truancy. This will assist your children in reaching their highest potential. By law, absences or tardies are only excused if the child is ill, is attending a funeral for an immediate family member, or involved in religious observance. In each case, documentation or proof may be required. Unless it is an emergency, it is recommended that medical and dental appointments be scheduled after school.

In order to establish positive attendance patterns, it is recommended that you teach your children the following:

  • Follow all district and school attendance policies.Make education their top priority. 
  • Emphasize to them that to get the best start in life, they need a good education.
  • Remind them if they do not go to school, they will fall behind other students and they can’t get the grades needed to graduate.
  • Explain to them that students who miss school are often victims or perpetrators of crimes.
  • Understand that tardies and leaving school early should be an exception, not a norm.

The majority of students who have accumulated more than three unexcused absences  from school or tardies at Woodbury are not considered habitual/chronic truants, but would be categorized as soft truants.
Soft Truancy includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bringing a child late to school (less than 30 minutes).
  • Picking up your child early for family outings, vacations, frequent medical appointments or business, or even trying to avoid traffic.
  • Excusing a student as ill more than 10 days without medical verification.
  • Frequent excused absences.Keeping an older child home to baby-sit.
  • Keeping an older child home to work.
  • Irregular attendance.
  • Taking vacation during school.

Monday, November 7, 2016

English Language Arts and English Language Development Textbook and Materials Adoption

The Irvine Unified School District is currently in the process of adopting new English Language Arts and English Language Development materials that are scheduled to be implemented in the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Last year, in preparation for this change, IUSD established an ELA/ELD Adoption Committee comprised of teachers, site administrators, and district leadership to determine which of these new materials will best serve our students. This group created a timeline for adopting new instructional materials, identified common interests across grade levels, and reviewed publisher materials using an evaluation rubric. 

An important next step is occurring right now during this school year. One grade level team at each elementary and middle school in IUSD is piloting two sets of publisher materials. At Woodbury, our second grade classes are participating. These teachers have received ongoing training and support from the district’s Literacy Department and publishers throughout the school year. Although the new materials may look different, including online resources, class work, homework, and parent communications, they are fully aligned to California’s current state standards and meet the expectations for each grade level. 

If you would like more information on this textbook adoption process, you may want to attend our next PTA meeting on November 30th or our next School Site Council meeting on November 14th. A presentation will be made on the school district’s textbook adoption process. You may also visit the IUSD ELA/ELD Adoption Website at Before a final textbook adoption recommendation is brought to the School Board at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, the IUSD ELA/ELD Adoption Steering Committee will review and consider feedback from all IUSD stakeholders.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

IPSF Kicks Off Annual Campaign

Woodbury Elementary School benefits greatly from the Irvine Public School Foundation. The contributions and support we receive from IPSF are invaluable. The funds they provide have allowed us to have instructional assistant support in every grade level As a result, students receive increased direct instruction and personal academic coaching from qualified instructors daily. Additionally, through IPSF’s facilitation of the ACE program, we are able to offer our students a wide range of after school programs like performing in a musical, running with our Mustang Miler Club, producing live newscasts through IUSD TV, Lego engineering to engage their mind, experience something new, or develop their talents. I know of no other school district in Orange County offering these kinds of student opportunities on such an advanced level. 

With that in mind, I would encourage all Woodbury parents and staff to consider giving a gift to their Annual Campaign. Your participation at any level makes an impact!

If you make your gift by November 20, then the City of Irvine will double match your donation! This means that with a $50 donation, $150 will go toward your child's education. We need your support to maximize this opportunity!

Please pledge your support to IPSF today! Please visit to make your donation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

PTA and Volunteer Opportunities

Woodbury welcomes and values our volunteer parents. Without volunteers, many programs and activities offered at our school would not be possible. Of most importance, is our Woodbury Parent Teacher Association or PTA. This association is composed of volunteer parents and committed staff members who devote their time and talents to providing support for our school and special experiences and events for our students. There are many opportunities for parents to become involved. Your membership and participation in this outstanding organization benefits your child’s education. If you have not yet joined our PTA or volunteered to assist with an event or program, I encourage you to do so. 

With that in mind, we have a couple of large PTA and school sponsored events happening that require volunteer assistance. If you are available to assist in our Mustang Olympics, School Musical, Carnival or help in this year’s Jog-a-thon, please contact your child’s teacher, PTA representative, or just show up. 

If you have never attended a PTA meeting, please consider doing so. In addition, to PTA sponsored events, budget, and ideas being discussed, planed, and approved, it provides an opportunity for me, as the principal of the school to share the latest news as it relates to IUSD and Woodbury and answer any questions that parents may have. There are no parameters around the questions or any specific protocol that is followed. In the past, parents have asked questions regarding school safety, classroom size, teacher training, interview processes, facilities, dress code and many other topics. This open communication facilitates transparency and ensures accurate information is disseminated.