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Newport-Mesa Unified School District Receives Second Installment of $2.5 Million Science Enrichment Fund

•Gift from Donald Bren provides 10-year commitment to accelerate the Elementary Science Resource Teacher Program and provide continued funding

•Grant builds on The Irvine Company’s historic education support for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Irvine Company Senior Vice President Dan Miller will present the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board with a $250,000 check Tuesday, the second installment of a $2.5 million philanthropic gift for fourth- through sixth-grade science programs. The gift has been used to jump start the Elementary Science Resource Teacher Program and provide a major ongoing source of support for a district-wide science enrichment program.

The $2.5 million 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.

“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 in announcing the gift. “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. 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.

Over the years, Newport-Mesa Unified School District schools have consistently demonstrated excellence; schools show progress each year on a variety of standardized tests,
and district scores on California Standards Tests annually exceed county and state averages. In the fall, more than 87 percent of all schools in the district met their state and federal targets based on tests taken last year.

In 2005-2006, four elementary schools were awarded the California Distinguished Schools Honor: California Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mariners Elementary and Victoria Elementary. Eastbluff School received Honorable Mention. In addition, Newport-Mesa Unified School District was the recipient of a Bill and Melinda Gates Grant to assist in opening a new school this fall, Early College High School.

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 The Irvine Company’s investment in education, visit: http://www.goodplanning.org/principles/learn.asp.