February 21, 2019

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 launch new curriculum and improve the educational experiences of students. The program in total will award 25 projects and over $200,000 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. Projects awarded included innovation labs, virtual reality technology, 3D printers, and flexible furniture.

“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 to real world applications,” 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.”

Funding for the Innovative Grants Program comes from corporate partner donations and parent support of another IPSF program, Parents Appreciating Teachers and Staff (PATS). Parents can purchase a certificate of appreciation to recognize the IUSD teachers and staff that make a difference in their child’s education. PATS is going on now through April 19 at www.ipsf.net/pats, and all proceeds help fund innovation grants for teachers.

Since 1996, IPSF has awarded over $1.5 million to teachers and counselors, benefiting over 200,000 students since the program’s inception. 


School: Alderwood Elementary School
Recipients: Michael Hernandez, Deanna Kimmich, & Alissa Machesky
Name of Grant: Our Flexible Spaces: Anytime, Anywhere Learning
Program Summary: Expands the school’s Learning Commons space with flexible furniture, technology resources, and hands-on learning tools in which students, staff, and community members can access.

School: Cadence Park School
Recipients: Dan Carroll, Daisy Hernandez, Veronica O’Mara, & Preston Trebas
Name of Grant: Walls Down, World Up
Program Summary: Provides students the opportunity to experience interdisciplinary collaboration through video production and 3D printing. This grant is funded by IPSF in partnership with GoogleFiber.

School: Deerfield Elementary School
Recipients: Susan Cortez & Julie Hatchel
Name of Grant: Falcons DIVE – Dream, Imagine, Venture & Explore
Program Summary: Through the creation of an Innovation Lab, students can dream, imagine, venture, and explore (DIVE) through hands-on learning and peer collaboration. This grant is funded by IPSF in partnership with Ellison.

School: Lakeside Middle School
Recipients: Rich Glasgow & Daryl Singhi
Name of Grant: Opening New Worlds: Virtual Reality in the Middle School Classroom
Program Summary: Using VR technology, students will be able to experience immersive classroom environments across a variety of subjects.

School: Meadow Park Elementary School
Recipients: Jaime Charrette
Name of Grant: Inspiring Innovation
Program Summary: Supports the school’s innovation lab by providing resources for coding and video production.

School: Portola High School
Recipients: Amanda Cramer & Grace Waldner
Name of Grant: Integrating Immersive Medias
Program Summary: Incorporates augmented and virtual realities into class curriculum such as creating 360 degree videos, using augmented reality on touch screen devices, and experiencing virtual field trips.

School: Santiago Hills Elementary School
Recipients: Michele Ogden
Name of Grant: Bridge the STEAM Gap
Program Summary: Provides additional technology to transform the school’s computer lab to offer more STEAM-related learning opportunities for K-6 students. This grant is funded by IPSF in partnership with GoogleFiber.

School: Springbrook Elementary School
Recipients: Grace Linfield
Name of Grant: The Sky’s Not the Limit, Anymore!
Program Summary: By pairing classroom curriculum with virtual reality, students will have the opportunity to experience learning in an engaging and meaningful way.

2019 Innovative Grant Surprises