Small Learning Groups
Most education occurs within a classroom, and teachers and teaching assistants – who spend the most time with students – have a direct impact on student learning. This is why IPSF provides a significant amount of funding to the Irvine Unified School District to facilitate smaller learning groups, also called additional staffing hours, every year. These funds provide schools with greater flexibility in managing larger class sizes through the use of small learning groups.
Instructional assistants in elementary schools make it possible for teachers to work with students in smaller learning groups, which has proven to be incredibly effective. Through these smaller groups, teachers and instructional assistants can offer more personalized instruction to these groups by tailoring assignments based on skill level.
In middle and high schools, these funds provide staffing hours, enabling schools to add sections of core classes, including math and language arts. By adding sections, this reduces class sizes in key subject areas and provides students with a smaller learning environment.
The amount of classroom support funding provided to each school is determined by IUSD based on enrollment figures.
Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.
Source: Davis, Barbara G. Tools for Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.
In a time when most public school districts have eliminated school music programs, Irvine’s continues to thrive thanks to community support of IPSF.
IPSF fully funds the primary music program provided to students in kindergarten through third grade. This program provides students with a solid foundation in musical concepts in a fun, supportive environment. IPSF also provides funding for instructional assistants for the fourth-through-sixth grade instrumental music program, enabling a richer learning experience for students.
IPSF works together with the school district to ensure that each child in every school, TK-3rd grade, receives quality music education. Why? Because we know that early exposure to music promotes collaboration and communication skills, creativity, self-expression, leadership, and overall improved academic performance. Music is essential if we want to truly offer a world class and well-rounded education to our students.
Health & Wellness
The IPSF health and wellness initiative exists to ensure that each child in every IUSD school receives high quality school health services, regardless of their health insurance status or ability to pay. Since 2005, IPSF has maintained the health and wellness initiative as a high priority, so that all IUSD students can thrive and succeed in school.
A mounting body of evidence has established links between comprehensive school health programs and educational outcomes, indicating that healthier students attend school more often, perform better academically and are significantly less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.
IPSF is working with IUSD, health experts, and community leaders to implement a comprehensive program to foster healthy and health-literate students. Current objectives include:
Increasing nursing staff at IUSD school sites. School nurses oversee the health of more than 32,000 IUSD students. In the 2014-2015 school year, IUSD’s has a staffing level of 13 IUSD school nurses and a student to nurse ratio of 2500:1. This effort is made possible through ongoing support from Hoag Hospital Irvine.
Supporting Athletic Trainers for IUSD Athletic Programs. Thanks to generous support from Hoag Orthopedic Institute, IPSF is providing support for 4 athletic trainers in the 2015-2016 school year. The major focus of the Athletic Trainer Service will be to identify risk factors, prevent injuries, provide appropriate medical treatment, including rehabilitative services and referral support, and detect and correct health problems directly related to athletic performance, such as concussion risks.
IPSF is working to continue our efforts and engage the medical community, local businesses and foundations, parents, institutions of higher education, and the City of Irvine to meet the health needs of the IUSD student population and those who serve them.
In a rapidly changing global society, our students must be prepared to be creative, think strategically, and innovate. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) provides those skills while engaging students in hands-on learning that is both educational and exciting. Students who are involved in STEAM activities are more likely to thrive and succeed in school, and to pursue careers in STEAM fields.
The goal of IPSF’s STEAM Initiative is to engage the Irvine community in STEAM education so that all students have extensive opportunities to develop high interest in science and related relevant subject areas, in line with next generation Science Standards and the Irvine Unified School District’s strategic priorities. We seek to achieve this by supporting and offering programs that expose young learners to real-world applications and career exploration opportunities throughout their primary and secondary education, both inside and outside the classroom.
Our annual STEAM Carnival event is a creative twist on the traditional carnival, providing children of all ages with fun, hands-on activities in an interactive atmosphere to spark their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
College Counseling Resources
IPSF is proud to support Naviance, a web-based counseling tool that supports personal, social and academic development as well as college and career planning. This tool is made available to IUSD students and their families beginning in middle school and is used continuously until graduation. Families can use this tool to develop course strategies, explore career options, and facilitate college knowledge and planning.
SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS
IPSF is proud to provide nearly $5 million annually in grants and program support to Irvine Unified School District. See how your donations are used to make an impact in our local schools.