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IRVINE : Teachers Get Grants for Classroom Use

The Irvine Education Foundation has distributed $24,000 in grants to teachers that will bring equipment, supplies and materials to classrooms throughout the district.

A total of 24 “mini-grants” were handed out by the nonprofit group last month. They will fund everything from special microscope equipment for a science class to videotapes for a library.

The grants represented only a fraction of the more than 60 funding requests received by the foundation from Irvine Unified School District teachers.

The mini-grant program was established in 1987 as a way of providing teachers with classroom items that the increasingly cash-strapped district simply could not provide.

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“Sometimes, just a few hundred dollars can really help the students so much,” said Elizabeth Thomas of the foundation. “The teachers have to use a lot of creativity and inventiveness to teach their classes.”

Fund raising for the grant program reached a record high this year because of matching donations made by several Irvine companies.

The grants will fund:

* A hands-on science exhibit at Irvine High School designed to increase students’ interest in the subject. The exhibit is located in a busy hallway on campus. The subject of the exhibit will change each month.

* A drama writing and production project for Los Naranjos Elementary School and Irvine High School students. Elementary school students will write dramas that will be performed by high school students.

* Audio-visual equipment that can project images from a microscope onto a large movie screen. The projector will be used in a science class at Woodbridge High where there are not enough microscopes for all students.

* CD-ROM and laser videodisc software in such subjects as history, literature and social sciences for Turtle Rock Elementary School.

* The purchase of videotapes for the library at Sierra Vista Middle School. The tapes will deal with such issues as personality development, parenting, self-esteem and substance abuse.

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The foundation has already begun fund-raising activities for next year’s mini-grants. The goal is to raise $45,000 to $50,000.


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