IPSF Awards $250,000 in Innovative Grants to 25 Irvine Schools

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

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Each year, Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) offers teachers, staff, and students in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) the opportunity to apply for funds through the Innovative Grants Program. In celebration of the organization's 25th anniversary, IPSF increased its commitment to innovation by awarding IUSD educators at 25 schools and/or departments with grants of up to $10,000 each, for a total of $250,000.

The purpose of this grant program is to support innovation in schools by awarding funds to launch new curriculum or projects to improve the educational experiences of students throughout the district.


Projects awarded this year included innovation labs, school garden projects, communication devices for speech and language programs, robotics technology, media equipment, virtual reality, and sensory tools for mental wellness.


“We are proud to support IUSD educators who are passionate about elevating student learning far beyond standard academic curriculum, keeping our schools centers of innovation,” explains Neda Eaton, President & CEO of Irvine Public Schools Foundation. “During these challenging times, we are grateful to the group of passionate donors who stepped forward this year to ensure that Irvine students continue to have the most innovative learning opportunities available. A special thank you to Emile and Dina Haddad for their generous leadership gift to help expand the program.”


In addition to a generous personal contribution, Emile Haddad served as Honorary Chair of the 2022 Innovative Grants Program.


“Over the last 25 years, a lot has changed in our lives, and it is all due to innovation,” said Emile Haddad, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of FivePoint. “If we are going to give our children the best chance to succeed in today’s world, we must provide them with opportunities like this program, which are made possible through collaboration of corporate leadership, community leadership, and parent support through IPSF.”


Additional funding for this year’s Innovative Grants Program came from corporate partner donations from Assistance League of Irvine, the Chinese American Mutual Association (CAMA), and parents’ donations via the IPSF, Parents Appreciating Teachers and Staff (PATS) program.


Since 1996, IPSF’s Innovative Grants Program has awarded over $2 million to teachers and counselors, benefiting over 200,000 students. 



School: Beacon Park School
Recipients: Zareen Tarapore, William Berry, and Sarah Barnes
Project Name: The [BeAcon]nection Initiative           

School: Cadence Park School               
Recipients: Seanethon Martinez and Isaiah Olsen
Project Name: VEX Robotics

School: College Park Elementary School
Recipients: Meleah Shank and Meg Gwyn
Project Name: Campus Wide Calm Centers

Department: World Languages Department
Recipients: Emmi Kohout, Zucely Monterroso, Nicole LaPeer , Meg Kirby, Caroline Heavican , and Grace Maginn
Project Name: Free Voluntary Reading Program for World Languages             

School: Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC)
Recipients: Vyvyan Bui, Martha Kelly, and Erin Ferguson
Project Name: Hear Me: AAC              

School: Eastshore Elementary School
Recipients: Kara Rydman, Kimberly Holloway, Patrick Compton, and Zynab Hammoud         
Project Name: Windows and Mirrors

Department: Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)
Recipients: Sandra Ruiz and Christina Reyes
Project Name: Mobile Mindfulness Stations              

School: Jeffrey Trail Middle School    
Recipients: Cori Allen, Karly Shimamoto, Kate Leavey, and Kim Soliday
Project Name: Independent Living Skills / Part 2: Classroom VR Adventures     

School: Lakeside Middle School          
Recipients: Scott Sodorff, Adrienne Everett, Lauren Feng, Bridget Mack, and Kelly Orosz
Project Name: Extraordinary Engineers for Exploration and Lakeside Agricultural Lab Expansion

School: Loma Ridge Elementary School          
Recipients: Jenna Berumen, Kari Krumpholz, and Alexis Swanson
School Project: Cultivating Minds & Hearts

School: Meadow Park Elementary School     
Recipients: Traci Fish, Kimi Yee, and Tim Pardo
Project Name: Promoting Innovation, Diversity, and Inclusion         

School: Oak Creek Elementary School            
Recipients: Cassie Steuart and Mandy Ferrell
Project Name: WISE Owls BELONG   

School: Plaza Vista School      
Recipient: Erica Turrell
Project Name: Let Our Voices Be Heard!       

School: Portola High School   
Recipients: Adrian Rangel-Sanchez, Desmond Stevens, and Kyle Traska
Project Name: Convert Music Classrooms into Recording Studios

School: Rancho San Joaquin Middle School  
Recipients: Terence Ngo, Pam Lockliear, Paige Morris, Jamie Cooper, and Kimberly Snowden
Project Name: Launching and Connecting School Culture

School: Santiago Hills Elementary School      
Recipients: Jessica Muncy and Kathryn Wilhelm
Project Name: Dream, Design, Develop         

School: Sierra Vista Middle School    
Recipient: Gloria Henderson
Project Name: Building Self-Esteem, Teamwork, and Communication Through Broadcasting

School: Springbrook Elementary School        
Recipient: Kayla Davis
Project Name: 21st Century Technology; A Tool in Project Based Learning           

School: Stonegate Elementary School            
Recipient: Kristen Keegan
Project Name: Destination Innovation           

School: University High School            
Recipients: Ranae Bettger
Project Name: Better Together

School: Venado Middle School           
Recipients: Karen Fisher and Luis Torres
Project Name: Can You Hear Me Now?          

Department: Vision Department       
Recipients: Gina Michell, Edwin Moos, Marissa Sherb, Gabriela Valencia, Karen Linnborn, and Alison Rainone
Project Name: Tactile Access Library

Department: Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA)          
Recipients: Carmen Hauser and Kyle Traska
Project Name: GarageBand Peer-Tutor Recording Project

School: Westpark Elementary School
Recipient: Eva Wagner
Project Name: Real World Product Innovation          

School: Woodbridge High School       
Recipient: Daniel Pilchman
Project Name: WHS Makerspace: The Guitar Project             

Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of enriching the educational experience of each child in every school. Founded in 1996 by concerned parents and community leaders, IPSF sponsors enrichment programs and provides financial support to ensure educational excellence in Irvine schools. In addition, IPSF excels at uniting local corporate and community partners, parents and residents in raising funds to nurture student potential. Each year, IPSF provides millions of dollars in funding to Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, small-group learning, afterschool and summer programs, grants for classroom innovation, and support for mental health initiatives, athletic trainers and school nurses.

Category: Education Excellence, Irvine, Irvine Public Schools Foundation