Friday, February 23, 2018

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Each year, Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s (IPSF) offers teachers and staff in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) the opportunity to apply for funds through the Innovative Grants Program to implement new and creative approaches to teaching and counseling. The purpose of this grant program is to support innovation in schools by awarding funds to implement new curriculum and improve the educational experiences of students. The program in total will award 19 projects and over $160,000 in grant monies this year to support innovative teaching methods in schools. This year, IPSF awarded eight (8) mega grants, up to $20,000 each, to provide educators an opportunity to create an even greater impact on their schools and classrooms through innovation. IPSF made surprise visits to mega grant recipient’s schools, presenting big checks during assemblies, fire drills and in the classrooms. Projects awarded included Innovation Labs, a district-wide mental health program, a forensic science program for high school students, and a career certification program. “In order to prepare our student for the future, we must provide them with educational opportunities that give them hands-on experiences and skills that they can apply to real world applications,” explains. Neda Eaton, President & CEO of Irvine Public Schools Foundation. “We are so proud to support IUSD instructors who are passionate about elevating our student’s learning far beyond standard academic curriculum. We are also thankful to our community and sponsors who help make these grants possible for our students.” All recipients will be recognized at a reception on Monday, February 26 at TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Irvine. Since 1996, IPSF has awarded over $1.5 million to teachers and counselors, benefiting over 150,000 students since the program's inception. MEGA GRANT RECIPIENTS AND DESCRIPTIONS: SCHOOL: Rancho San Joaquin Middle School RECIPIENTS: Mike Modeer PROGRAM SUMMARY: Enhancing Student learning Through Technology With increased access to technology, teachers will be able to provide differentiated instructional strategies, immediate feedback mechanisms, online textbooks and instructional resources, and increase student engagement in the classroom. Similarly, students will be able to gain the skills and have the practice necessary to appropriately access technology tools on campus, navigate virtual learning environments, and work collaboratively with other students in a way that was not previously possible. This grant is funded by IPSF in partnership with GoogleFiber. SCHOOL: Greentree Elementary School RECIPIENTS: Stephanie Frazier, Tamara Brown & Patricia Hanes PROGRAM SUMMARY: Project SOAR Funding for the SOAR Media Center will expand the space and technology available for students to establish higher order thinking and collaboration skills. Technological tools and other items will increase students’ interest in subject matter, increase engagement, and develop new learning behaviors, attitudes and experiences. With additional books, teachers and students will be able to reference materials and equipment, supporting new curriculum standards and provide engaging and relevant information. The implementation of Project SOAR will consist of three components: Tech-Buddies, Classroom Scoop and Lego Wall Collaboration: Mascot Challenge. SCHOOL: Northwood High School RECIPIENTS: Sandy Banks, Mickey Dickson & Phil Roh PROGRAM SUMMARY: The Forensics Core Program This project is a year-long, cross-curricular program that seeks to understand the nature of truth through integration of science, psychology, and philosophy. With additional funding, the Forensics Core program will continue to sustain and improve the connection among three courses, as the use of Chromebooks makes it possible for students to work together in the classroom. Consisting of three courses (Forensic Science, Forensic Psychology and Critical Theory & Literature), this program will provide students an understanding of not just criminal but more generally, human behavior. Students maintain a digital portfolio of work in all three classes and present a comprehensive inquiry-based capstone project each semester. Students will be introduced to a variety of majors and careers related to the criminal justice system. SCHOOL: Stone Creek Elementary School RECIPIENTS: Christina Pierson, Francheska Anderson & Klara Saunders PROGRAM SUMMARY: Full STEAM Ahead! This project is aimed at utilizing students as active agents in inquiry and investigation so they can connect their learning to experiences they design. It enhances their current innovation lab by bringing in tools to create activities more aligned in developing essential modern learning skills critical to student success. With the addition of materials such as the Dasher launcher and Ozobot Evo robot, it will create engineering and building experiences that support coding activities. This project also creates more dynamic and flexible classrooms, building activities that activate deep thinking and allow students to explore beyond an innovation lab space. SCHOOL: University High School RECIPIENTS: Tinh Tran PROGRAM SUMMARY: Implementing Industry Certifications and Internships/Apprenticeships into Engineering Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathway This project seeks to implement industry certification exams into engineering core curriculum. Upon the validation of students' knowledge and skills gained in the classroom and passing the exam, students receive a career skills certificate which could be utilized in job interviews. Teachers will support students by leveraging existing connections with industry partners to establish a Career and Technical Education (CTE) internship program that places students in entry-level STEM positions at local companies. Teachers will continuously work with both students and the employer during internship. Funding of this project demonstrates the commitment to work-based learning that ultimately helps those businesses meet their workforce demands. SCHOOL: Woodbury Elementary School RECIPIENTS: Teresa Yau, Michelle Blanco, Jessica Mossbarger & Julie Siff PROGRAM SUMMARY: Build Today, Lead Tomorrow This project aims to provide engaging, project-based learning experiences for students through their STEAM Lab. Technology tools such as Dash and Dot, Blockly and 3D printers allow students to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. The Lab will help address the need for greater workplace and college readiness as well as provide students opportunities to learn about careers in a STEM-related field. SCHOOL: IUSD Prevention and Intervention RECIPIENTS: Sunghie Okino PROGRAM SUMMARY: Building Lifelong Resiliency This project extends The Second Step Program to Early Childhood, grade 6-8 and high school students to provide social-emotional learning curricula. Licensing and support from Prevention and Intervention will enable staff members to implement evidence-based and uniformed approaches to building lifelong resiliency. Prevention and Intervention will partner with the Youth Action Team, the Irvine Police Department and other community organizations to build a system with the goal of establishing consistent strategies and language throughout Irvine so that students acquire resiliency and practice skills in multiple settings. SCHOOL: IUSD STEM Department RECIPIENTS: Kristen Winn PROGRAM SUMMARY: Star Lab Provides all elementary and middle school students a star lab projector to learn about astronomy and earth sciences. The StarLab is funded by IPSF in partnership with Microsemi. About Irvine Public Schools Foundation 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, after-school and summer programs, grants for classroom innovation, and support for athletic trainers and school nurses. For more information about IPSF, visit ipsf.net.

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