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Culverdale Innovation Lab Brings Next Generation Learning to Irvine Students

Thursday, March 02, 2017

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On February 22, Culverdale Elementary School in Irvine opened the doors to its new Innovation Lab. The new lab was made possible by a grant from Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), a nonprofit organization focused on enriching the educational experience of each child in every school, which awarded $211,850 to support innovation at the highest need Title1 school in Irvine Unified School District (IUSD).

This milestone was achieved thanks to generous gifts from The Hoag Foundation, Croul Family Foundation, and DKN Hotels. These partners’ dedication to education, empowering youth, and creating greater opportunities for at-risk children aligns well with IPSF’s commitment to serving each child in every school in the diverse IUSD. The funding provided significantly needed resources to increase students’ access to 21st century learning.

“IPSF is so honored to be able to provide opportunities for schools to enhance their sites in order to provide a more enriching educational experience for students. This new lab will be able to impact students access to advanced technology for years to come that is usually only seen at the high school level,” explains Neda Eaton, President and CEO of IPSF. “Our hope is that this project will serve as a model for other schools in the community and be easily replicable with additional support from corporate partners.”

The lab is designed to foster student-centered, problem-based learning, and provide technology spaces for a variety of projects and group work. In addition, it creates enhanced opportunities to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) by providing an atmosphere that embraces intellectual risk-taking and the ability to learn from trial and error. Technology is integrated throughout the lab, including three types of robotics, green screen video production, coding lab, and zSpace AR/VR, is designed to engage and inspire a passion for learning in students of all ability levels.

Through the transformation of the school’s existing computer lab into a more flexible atmosphere, students are empowered to embrace collaboration and take a more active role in their own education. Student-centered learning and problem-based learning encourages students to plan and explore topics of interest, and increases student confidence by providing skills to attack all problems.

Culverdale Elementary, a Title 1 school, is the most disadvantaged school in Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) and has the most diverse student population in Orange County. Over 66 percent of Culverdale students are economically disadvantaged, falling into one or more of the categories of English learners (EL), low income, or foster youth. Culverdale Elementary was awarded its grant though IPSF’s Innovative Grants Program, which has provided over $1 million to teachers and counselors, benefiting over 100,000 students since the program's inception.

This year, IPSF marks the 20th Anniversary of enriching the educational experience of each child in every school. Since 1996, IPSF has donated over $65 million dollars to support public education in the community and preserve critical programs in the arts, music, STEM education, afterschool programs, health and wellness, teaching and counseling grants and scholarships for students.

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 a world-class education 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 in funding to Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, small-group learning, after-school and summer programs, grants for classroom innovation, and support for athletic trainers and school nurses. For more information about IPSF, visit

Category: Member News

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