2023 Innovative Grant Recipients Announced!

2023 Innovative Grant Recipients Announced!

February 15, 2023


Each year, Irvine Public Schools Foundation (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 launch new curriculum and improve the educational experiences of students. This year IPSF was proud to award 11 projects, including multi-year commitments to create new sustainable programs, totaling $200,000 to support innovative teaching methods in schools.

Projects awarded included an aquatic science lab, a new climate exploration elective, STEM equipment, musical instruments, and much more.  

“In order to prepare our students for the future, we must provide them with educational opportunities that give them hands-on experiences and skills that they can apply in the real world,” explains Neda Eaton, President & CEO of Irvine Public Schools Foundation. “We are proud to support IUSD instructors who are passionate about elevating student learning far beyond standard academic curriculum. We are also thankful to our community and sponsors who help make these grants possible for our students.”  

A special thank you to Innovative Grant Program sponsors Google Fiber and Assistance League of Irvine, along with support from parents’ donations through IPSF’s Parents Appreciating Teachers and Staff (PATS) program. 

Since 1996, IPSF has awarded over $2 million to teachers and counselors, benefiting over 200,000 students since the program began. 


School: Brywood Elementary School
Name of Grant: Aquatic Science Laboratory
Program Summary: Students will study marine life and learn sustainable farming, wildlife conservation, and restoration through partnership with Get Inspired, Inc.  

School: Eastwood Elementary School
Name of Grant: Harmony Park Instruments
Program Summary: The addition of permanent outdoor music instruments for the Pre-K/Kindergarten playground will help students develop fine and gross motor skills, language, and teamwork. 

School: Early Childhood Learning Center
Name of Grant: Together: Building Social Skills and Language Through Play!
Program Summary: Themed play bags will help students develop social and language skills through developmentally appropriate activities for a variety of learners.  

School: Meadow Park Elementary School
Name of Grant: Empowering Young Minds Through STEM
Program Summary: STEM activity bins will provide students with opportunities to play, explore, and create using their imaginations and problem-solving skills while surf chairs support learning in a variety of flexible settings. 

School: Northwood Elementary School
Name of Grant: Inchy the Bookworm Vending Machine
Program Summary: A book vending machine will provide students books of all ages, cultures, and interests for students to have of their own. Tokens for the machine would be distributed to students on their birthdays and earned through positive behaviors. 

School: Northwood High School
Name of Grant: Interdisciplinary Climate Explorations (ICE)
Program Summary: New course offering that seeks to educate and empower students to address the challenges of climate change, locally and globally.  

School: Rancho San Joaquin Middle School
Name of Grant: Launching & Connecting School Culture
Program Summary: A school-wide project composed of three parts – A Peer Assisted Leadership (PAL) program to foster student leadership, instruments for the school’s growing jazz ensemble, and a large format printer to allow large scale printing for ASB. This grant is funded by IPSF in partnership with Assistance League of Irvine. 

School: Sierra Vista Middle School
Name of Grant: Giving Bach – Your Support is Instrumental!
Program Summary: Instruments will allow students to participate in the Giving Bach program, a partnership with local elementary schools to provide a music exchange program with special education peers. 

School: Solis Park School
Name of Grant: Reinventing Recess
Program Summary: Offers students alternatives to traditional recess activities, allowing them to explore, create, and engage with peers in other ways. 

School: Woodbridge High School
Name of Grant: Makerspace is Going to College!
Program Summary: Beginning as a design lab to expose students to technical skills such as 3D printing, CNC milling, and laser cutting, the makerspace has quickly evolved into the building of guitars, animatronics, and the opportunity for students to earn college course credit.  

School: Woodbridge High School + University High School, Venado Middle School, Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, Solis Park School, Vista Verde School, Canyon View Elementary, College Park Elementary, and Meadow Park Elementary.
Name of Grant: Irvine Climate Action Project
Program Summary: Student-led collaboration, cross school-site initiative to transform youth involvement in environmental activism through education and hands-on projects. Funds will support the creation of 10 gardens and sound equipment to capture youth voices as they prepare to become future environmental leaders.