ORANGE, CA (June 7, 2018) – Students from California and Handy Elementary Schools participated in the inaugural iInspire Drone Invitational last week as a culminating event to OUSD’s pilot Drone League. California Elementary, home of iInspire Academy, hosted the event.

Handy Elementary School won the fifth grade competition and California Elementary School’s fourth grade students took first in their competition.  Each school took home a perpetual plaque for their respective grade level wins, which they will be able to display with pride until the second Annual iInspire Drone Invitational next May.

“What we are doing here in OUSD is truly innovative and groundbreaking,” said California Elementary School Principal John Albert, Ed.D. “We are unaware of other public schools or school district that have a competitive drone league for elementary school students in which they are competitively coding drones.”

The Drone Invitational consisted of three events: the Coding Challenge, the Integration Challenge and the Drone Relay. Each school fielded a six-member fourth grade team and a six-member combination fifth/sixth grade team. Judges included OUSD Board Members, District staff and representatives from both Apple Inc. and OCDE’s STEM department.

Since the start of the school year, students at California and Handy have worked with their coaches one afternoon each week to code Parrot drones utilizing SWIFT Playground, a coding language. Learning SWIFT Playground is the precursor to understanding X Code, Apple's official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Mac and iOS developers.

Exposing students to the code knowledge needed to program Apps, along with working knowledge of drones, OUSD is innovatively connecting students to career pathways and providing invaluable communication skills necessary for the digital age.

Schools and/or districts interested in staring their own drone team and competing in the iInspire Drone Invitational may contact John Albert via email at


Drone League



The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 28,000 K-12 grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.