Irvine Public Schools Foundation surprised Irvine High School’s Archana Jain, a math teacher, and her students with a $20,000 Innovation Grant, which will provide the school with an EnvisionTEC Micro EDU 3D printer package.
IRVINE – Teachers and students at five schools received grants totaling $100,000 to support innovative teaching methods in science and engineering, technology, health, arts and music.
Each year, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation – a nonprofit group that raises money for Irvine Unified School District – offers teachers and staff the opportunity to apply for innovative grants. This year, the foundation gave out five Mega Innovative Award Program grants of $20,000 each to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to take a glimpse into the imaginations of Irvine’s most innovative teachers,” Neda Eaton, president and CEO of Irvine Public Schools Foundation, said in a statement. “Helping to bring these ideas to life and seeing the impact that they have on student learning is truly rewarding.”
Irvine Public Schools Foundation staff on March 13 made surprise campus visits to announce the recipients of the Mega Innovative Award Program, each supporting one of the main areas of focus of the foundation: science and engineering, technology, health and counseling, arts, and music.
Here are the recipients:
• Extreme 3D Printing by Archana Jain (Irvine High): Imagine if high school students could visualize an idea, design it and then create working prototypes of their vision. Irvine High students have wanted to create parts for robots, prosthetic limbs for a competition, jewelry, gears, props for a video project, art pieces and more. To achieve such goals, Irvine Public Schools Foundation provided the school with an EnvisionTEC Micro EDU package, valued at $20,000 and donated by Detroit-based EnvisionTEC, a 3D printer manufacturer with a production facility in Gardena.
• Flipping PE by Karen Whippo (Deerfield Elementary): Providing kinesthetic learning tables and seating to support action-based learning is the primary goal of the proposal. The use of movement will improve cognition, assist memory retention, support behavior goals and anchor learning while developing healthy bodies. In this project, transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students will choose from a variety of kinesthetic seating options.
• STEAMing Forward in Elementary Education by Cynthia Rothman (Cypress Village Elementary): This project will turn an average classroom into a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics lab, offering hands-on materials and tools. The space will be designed to build critical thinking, creativity and innovation. Students will use this space as a deconstruction lab to investigate how everyday objects work by taking them apart.
• Explore, Challenge, Create, Imagine: Our Innovation Lab by Kim Kinnaird, Lauren Taylor and Jennie Bolinger (Alderwood Elementary): This project will provide a safe space for all students to explore, ask questions, problem solve and imagine solutions. This Innovation Lab will be a classroom where collaboration is encouraged and making mistakes is embraced and celebrated.
• The Rhythm Buzz – An Innovative Freshmen Transition Music Initiative by Corey Heddon (University High): This initiative focuses on helping the transition of at-risk students from middle schools to high school through percussion training. The school plans to expand an existing program where current eighth graders, in the last few weeks of middle school, participate in introductory percussion training. It combines fast-paced, loud, dynamic drumming exercises with the rigor and discipline of percussion exercises in five-week, after-school workshops.
Irvine Public School Foundation’s innovative grants, which also include Innovative Teaching Award Program and Innovative Counseling Award Program, awarded a total of 19 projects and more than $136,000 this year.
Since 1996, the foundation has given out more than $1 million in innovative grants.