IPSF program lets you make a donation in honor of an IUSD teacher or staff member


March 28 is the deadline to recognize a favorite IUSD staff member through the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s Parents Appreciating Teachers and Staff program, or PATS for short.

Here’s how PATS works: A parent, student or community member makes a small donation in honor of a teacher or staff member, and the proceeds benefit the foundation’s Innovative Teaching Award Program, which offers instructional grants to Irvine educators who want to pilot new initiatives or incorporate state-of-the-art technologies.

All PATS recipients will receive a special certificate and small token of gratitude during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. For more information, or to download a PATS form before the March 28 deadline, visit www.ipsf.net.


IPSF’s Science Little League is enrolling students now for its spring session


The IUSD science department has asked us to pass along word of an engaging opportunity for science-minded students in grades one through six.

Logo.Full.Lg.Color.CenterThere are a few more days to enroll for Science Little League, a fun and educational after-school program offered by the Irvine Public Schools Foundation. These courses, taught by IUSD teachers, encourage students to explore scientific concepts in a hands-on environment. There is a cost to participate, but some of the proceeds will benefit the district’s science program. Scholarship can also be pursued by filling out an application at www.ipsfacademy.org.

Each session consists of five 90-minute classes, which will be starting soon at Alderwood, Brywood, Culverdale, Greentree, Meadow Park, Oak Creek, Santiago Hills,Stone Creek, Stonegate and Turtle Rock and  Woodbury elementary schools, as well as Plaza Vista and Vista Verde K-8 schools. Organizers say there are still spots available, but enrollment ends this Friday, March 21.

[Update: The deadline has been extended until April 7 for the primary sessions at Brywood, Greentree, Stone Creek, Stonegate, University Park and Vista Verde.]

For more information or to register, go to www.ipsfacademy.org


The clock is ticking on IPSF’s Annual Campaign, which looks to raise $1.3 million by New Year’s Eve


It’s down to the homestretch for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, which has until Dec. 31 to fully leverage $1.3 million in matching funds offered by the City of Irvine.

The foundation, which raises money on behalf of IUSD, has so far netted about $900,000 in direct donations during its 2013 Annual Campaign, which kicked off a couple months ago. That revenue will be doubled thanks to the City’s generous pledge to kick in as much as $1.3 million in a dollar-for-dollar match. But that still leaves about $400,000 on the table.

As Superintendent Terry Walker pointed out in October, this funding makes a huge difference in the classroom, paying for qualified instructional assistants at the elementary level and covering additional staffing hours at IUSD’s middle and high schools.

Donations are tax-deductible, of course. If you’d like to help the foundation meet its goal, or simply learn more about the partnership between IPSF, IUSD and the City, click here.


Superintendent sends email to parents endorsing IPSF’s latest fundraising campaign


On the heels of its Spirit of Excellence Gala and Auction, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation has launched its latest campaign to raise money for schools in IUSD, and every dollar that comes in will be matched by the City of Irvine.

Superintendent Terry Walker endorsed the effort on Monday, noting that these funds have previously made a big difference in the classroom.

“At the elementary level, proceeds from this campaign pay for the qualified instructional assistants who work directly with your children, increasing the amount of one‐on‐one interaction,” Walker wrote in an email to the community. “In our middle and high schools, class‐size support funds equate to additional staffing hours that reduce student‐to‐teacher ratios in critical subjects.”

“If you’ve ever considered making a contribution to preserve excellence in the classroom,” Walker added, “or even to help maintain the property values that are linked to our schools’ performance, now is the time.”

Here’s the full text of Superintendent Walker’s email:

Dear IUSD community member:

Last year, voters in our state passed Proposition 30, which thankfully spared our schools from yet another round of devastating cuts. But did you know that California still ranks near the bottom in national education spending? And it gets worse. Of all the districts in California, the Irvine Unified School District is one of the lowest funded as a result of the state’s new allocation formula, which was crafted to buoy lower performing school systems.

The good news is there’s a local organization that continues to work hard on our behalf, marshalling its resources and leveraging our community’s generosity to help maintain IUSD’s standing as a world-class school system.

You’ve probably heard of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, which raises money for our schools and facilitates a number of innovative programs. Well, IPSF is off and running this year with a new campaign, and the City of Irvine has offered to match every donation. That means if you donate a dollar to IPSF, the City will kick in an additional dollar, potentially generating up to $1 million in matching funds.

These funds make a difference where it matters most – in the classroom. At the elementary level, proceeds from this campaign pay for the qualified instructional assistants who work directly with your children, increasing the amount of one‐on‐one interaction. In our middle and high schools, class‐size support funds equate to additional staffing hours that reduce student‐to‐teacher ratios in critical subjects. In addition, IPSF supports music education for students in kindergarten through grade six, as well as grants that enable our teachers and counselors to leverage new technologies and 21st century learning strategies.

Though any amount is appreciated, IPSF and IUSD are asking you to consider a tax-deductible contribution of $100 by the end of the calendar year. This revenue will make an immediate impact in our classrooms, and just imagine what our school system could do if each of our 17,000 families participated.

Keep in mind that IPSF is the only organization with the reach and resources to impact every school – and every child – in our district. If you’ve ever considered making a contribution to preserve excellence in the classroom, or even to help maintain the property values that are linked to our schools’ performance, now is the time.

To make a donation, or to learn more about the partnership between IUSD, IPSF and the City of Irvine, please visit the foundation’s website by clicking here.

As always, thank you for supporting education in Irvine.

Sincerely,

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools


IPSF is enrolling K-8 students for its 2013 Summer Enrichment Academy


Here’s an opportunity for K-8 students we thought we’d pass along: Registration for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s 2013 Summer Enrichment Academy kicked off this week.

Classes will be held at six Irvine elementary schools and two Irvine middle schools from July 1 through July 26, and enrollment is open to students of all districts.

This year’s course catalog should feature something for just about everyone, with classes for reading, writing, math, science, music, art, drama, sports, technology and more.

For information or to check out the catalog, visit IPSF’s summer programs webpage. To enroll online by the June 2 deadline, click here.


IPSF program lets you make a donation in honor of your favorite IUSD staff member


The Irvine Public Schools Foundation is once again putting out the call for its Parents Appreciating Teachers and Staff recognition program, which allows families to recognize their favorite IUSD employees.

Here’s how it works: Parents, students or anyone else can go to this webpage and pay $25 to send a certificate with a personal message, as well as a small gift, to the staff member of their choice. (There are discounts for multiple honorees.) Recipients are then surprised with the recognition during Teacher Appreciation Week in May. And the proceeds go on to fund IPSF’s Innovative Teaching Awards Program, which offers grants to educators looking to pursue innovative learning strategies.

So it’s a worthy cause and a good way to show a little love for a favorite teacher, principal, office staff member, school nurse, health clerk, counselor, custodian or NewsFlash blog-writing guy. (Ahem.)

The deadline to participate this year is March 29, and the foundation’s website has more information.

Oh, and we’re told that IPSF’s Tee It Up For Education Golf Tournament will be held on May 13, and registration is available online. Click here for details.


IUSD in the News: Foundation offers Irvine teachers and counselors grants for innovation


IUSD’s teachers and counselors can apply for grants to fund innovative projects and lessons thanks to a unique program run through the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

Each year, IPSF generally awards 20 to 30 partial and full grants — they range from $100 to $3,500 — as part of its Innovative Teaching Award Program, also known as ITAP. The Orange County Register’s Lauren Jow has the full story here.


IPSF’s Science Little League is enrolling students now for its winter session


Our friends in the science department have asked us to pass along word of an opportunity for science-minded students in grades one through six.

Enrollment is now under way for Science Little League, which we’re told is a fun and educational after-school program offered by the Irvine Public Schools Foundation. Taught by IUSD teachers, these courses encourage students to explore scientific concepts in a hands-on environment. There is a cost to enroll, but some of the proceeds will benefit the district’s science program.

Each session consists of a series of five 90-minute classes, which will be starting soon at College Park, Culverdale, Greentree, Northwood, Santiago Hills, Stone Creek, Stonegate and Turtle Rock elementary schools, as well as Plaza Vista and Vista Verde K-8 schools. Organizers say there are still spots available, but enrollment ends on Friday, Jan. 25.

For more information or to register, go to www.ipsfacademy.org.


Middle school students explore possible science careers at annual UCI conference


About 400 IUSD middle schoolers recently got a chance to test-drive potential careers in physics, robotics, aerospace, health and other specialized fields during a long-running science conference at UCI.

microscopePresentation titles for the 21st annual Middle School Science Career Options Conference, held Dec. 18 at the university’s Social Science Complex, included “Electrical Engineering: The World of GPS Navigation,” “Career Opportunities in Veterinary Medicine,” “Forensic Science: The ‘Real’ CSI” and “Wanted! Scientist to Help Save A Planet.”

Based on their interests, students were able to select from a menu of more than 20 speakers and subjects during four breakout sessions, which were led by real scientists from UCI, the Orange County Crime Lab, the Irvine Ranch Water District, Boeing Co. and other reputable companies, as well as some of our local doctors, including optometrist Dr. Art Corish and dermatologist Dr. Patrick Lee.

Brendan O’Donnell of ChargePoint brought one of Fisker Automotive’s electric vehicles to show students and talked about designing and charging electric cars. Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Van Vorhis Key, also known as “The Bug Lady,” showed off an assortment of tarantulas, scorpions and cockroaches as she encouraged students to pursue their passions when picking career paths.

The Middle School Science Career Options Conference was established years ago to boost student interest in science-related careers – and to encourage middle schoolers to enroll in science courses when they reach high school. Originally funded by a now-expired grant from the National Science Foundation, the program has endured thanks to the support of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.


Upcoming Southern California Half Marathon and 5K race will benefit Irvine schools


The organizers behind this year’s Southern California Half Marathon and 5K race say they’re anticipating 6,500 runners and 3,000 spectators in Irvine’s Woodbridge village on Saturday, Jan. 12.

“This event has developed into a first-class road race, appreciated by experienced runners throughout the Southwest U.S.,” said Race Director George Varvas.

And for the rest of us, it’s a good way to burn off holiday calories while supporting Irvine schools.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente and billed as the largest road race in Irvine, the event features a half-marathon, a 5K Run/Walk and a 1.5K Kids Fun Run. Proceeds will benefit Woodbridge High School athletics as well as the Irvine Public Schools Foundation and the Raise Foundation.

“By designating IPSF as your team, a portion of your registration fee will benefit all Irvine schools,” event Chair Kevin Trussell said.

All of the races will start of the corner of Barranca Parkway and Creek Road. Word has it there will be chip timing for the 5K and half-marathon races; digital clocks at each mile marker; medals for those who finish the half-marathon; and an expo with food, drinks and entertainment. Plus you’ll get to run through the streets of Irvine, which is pretty cool.

To learn more, or to register online, go to www.schalfmarathon.com. You can also get more information by calling 949-559-8171.