IHS Teachers Win Grants to Fund Classroom Endeavors


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Once Timothy Jacobs opened the doors of his classroom, he was met with the applause of 15 people holding balloons and a giant check with a $15,900 grant. 

While teaching anatomy, Jacobs wanted his students to feel more immersed and enriched with the content of the course. He was able to find the Anatomy in Clay, a business that would allow students to create models of different human systems with clay. 

“I contacted the company, Anatomy in Clay,  first and asked how much it would cost for a model for every two students.” Jacobs said. “As we don’t want too many students to work on the same model or else they would have nothing to do. Since the mind will not forget what the hands have learned.”

Every year, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation allows both teachers and students to apply for the Innovative Grants Program. This year, the program provided 25 grants accumulating to more than $200,000 to improve the educational experiences of students. 

“They said it would be about $15,900 for all the models I needed.” Jacobs said. “So I thought this would be a perfect thing to submit to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation to see if they will fund this project. I wrote up a grant and did not think anything of it.”

Irvine High School’s anatomy and physiology teacher, Timothy Jacobs received a $15,900 grant for his anatomy class. The money received from this grant will be used for next year’s anatomy students to have their own Anatomy in Clay model. 

“Even though you have diagrams it helps a lot to have something 3D in front of you.” Anatomy student Pihu Garg said. “That’s why I feel like when we do dissections it’s cool to see in front of you rather on a piece of paper. I think it will help students see actual parts of the body clearer.”

After figuring out the total, Jacobs sent in the grant during December 2020 and received news that he was granted the funds to purchase these models for his future anatomy classes. 

“I was super excited after stepping out of the classroom.” Jacobs said. “We will be ordering all of these Anatomy in Clay models for our anatomy students for next year. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year because the kids will be constructing these models as they go through the different body systems.”

After a year of no performances, Sheryl Sloate applied and received a $2,500 grant for this year’s Dance Showcase giving her dancers a chance to express themselves in their art. 

Over the past year, Sloate has been trying to find unique ways to combat the Covid-19 mandates in California. She decided on filming the performances, but specifically creating a live stream for parents, students, and staff to watch. 

“I asked myself what other approach could we do instead of an actual show.” Sloate said. “It was filming and the whole idea was to get different perspectives of dance instead of getting the front. In looking at filming I realized that this would be a great project to get everyone to dance, but it would be super expensive.”

No one knows when the mandates for COVID-19 would end, but throughout quarantine many individuals including Sloate found that exercise was beneficial in multiple aspects of their daily lives. Once realizing exercise and movement was important, Sloate sent in an application for the Innovative Grants Program. 

“Knowing how important moving was, I applied for the grant showing why we needed to dance.” Sloate said. “Research supports the need for art and movement in times like this. So I felt like there was a lot of support in applying for the grant.” 

Similar to other performing arts, dancers were not allowed to hold actual performances. However, applying for this grant allowed a different way for the dancers to perform for an audience. 

“I think it’s amazing!” Dance Ensemble member Avery King said. “Obviously this has been an unexpected year and the fact that she got this grant so we can keep doing what we love, dancing, is incredible.”

Although the $2,500 was originally meant for the Through the Lenses showcase at the end of March, the grant money will be used for the final showcase at the end of the school year. 

“Our next step is to perform. It’s not going to be the same until we can perform for an audience.” Sloate said. “It’s definitely not the same as before but we are making strides.”

Sheryl Sloate not pictured.