Irvine Company Senior Vice President Dan Miller will present the Newport-Mesa Unified School District with a $250,000 check Wednesday, the fourth installment of a $2.5 million philanthropic gift for fourth- through sixth-grade science programs. The gift has been used to fund the Elementary Science Resource Teacher Program and provide a major ongoing source of support for a district-wide science enrichment program.
The gift, announced by Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren in 2006, assures dedicated funding to support highly qualified “specialist teachers” in science over 10 years. Students in grades four through six receive focused educational experiences in science beyond what is provided by their regular classroom teachers as required by California’s state education curriculum.
With the implementation of the Elementary Science Resource Teacher Program, Newport-Mesa fourth- through sixth-grade students receive a comprehensive and professionally driven science curriculum that equals or surpasses that of any school district in Orange County, and test results demonstrate the effectiveness and success of this curriculum.
Since receiving this gift in 2006, the percentage of NMUSD students who have reached the Proficient or Advanced Level in Science has risen from 52 % in 2007 to 63% in 2009 at the Elementary/Middle School level. At the Middle/High School Level the percentage of students who have reached the Proficient or Advanced Level in Science has risen from 48% in 2007 to 60% in 2009.
“As the test results prove, this funding is providing our students with a science curriculum — taught by specialized professionals who are experts in the field – with one of the finest science educations available,” said Dr. Jeffrey C. Hubbard, superintendent, Newport Mesa Unified School District “Our students are benefiting from this enhanced science education not only in fourth through sixth grade, but also into their high school careers.”
“The critical thinking and discipline required in science provides students with tools that they will use to succeed in, and fully appreciate, life,” Mr. Bren said when the gift was originally announced. “I live and work daily with many of the enrichment disciplines I learned during my academic career, realizing over time that what I had learned to appreciate had become a permanent part of my life, both personally and professionally. Many may not associate those disciplines with the everyday business world, yet they are very important to the broadening of a student’s academics and they underscore why we believe enrichment programs are absolutely necessary to our children.”
The Irvine Company and the Donald Bren Foundation have a long history of consistent, generous and passionate support of education in the school districts located on The Irvine Ranch and elsewhere. They have invested more than $200 million supporting students, teachers, principals, individual schools, school districts, universities and university scholars on The Irvine Ranch. Further, the Irvine Company’s innovative education philanthropy, public policy initiatives and comprehensive planning have helped create and sustain some of the most successful and highly recognized school districts in the State of California.
Educational excellence is the hallmark of schools on The Irvine Ranch, and a principal reason people choose to live on The Irvine Ranch. For more information about Irvine Company’s investment in education, visit: http://www.irvinecompany.com/Philanthropy and click on the education link.