Irvine Co. issues latest installment of $21 million pledge to art, music and science

The Irvine Company on Tuesday presented IUSD with the eighth installment of its commitment of $21 million over 10 years for enriched curriculum in art, science and music. You can check out a clip of the presentation above.

Established in 2006, the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund continues to pay for specialists to work in IUSD’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms. Students receive two 60-minute science lessons per week, two 40-minute music lessons per week and six hour-long art lessons per year, all taught by highly qualified instructors.

Robin Leftwich, the Irvine Company’s vice president of community affairs, hand-delivered this year’s check for $2.15 million and offered a few words about the program’s impact.

Irvine students, she said, continue to outperform their peers on science standards tests and other key indicators, but the benefits haven’t been limited to grades four through six. Enhancing the curriculum has created a ripple effect of academic achievement across the district.

“Other districts may put together these things as children move through middle school and high school,” Leftwich said, “but there is no place like fourth, fifth and sixth grade to help children discover that passion and that love for science or music or art.”

And what better way to illustrate that point than with an inspiring musical performance by an IUSD student. Phil Chen, an eighth-grader at Jeffrey Trail Middle School, very capably obliged with his violin, playing “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” by Saint-Saëns.

The benefits of the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund, as well as a thorough program description, are documented in a new annual report compiled by district staff. Leftwich encouraged the public to peruse the 24-page assessment, which can be accessed here.