Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) Announces Innovation Grants for 2019-2020 School Year

Teachers to receive grants to bring new ideas to PAUSD elementary, middle, and high schools.

(May 8, 2019) PALO ALTO, CA – Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) announces that it is awarding over $70,000 to fund 10 Innovation Grants for the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to providing $5.5 million for essential programs and staff in STEM, the arts, and wellness, PiE also fosters new ideas across Palo Alto Unified School District through its Innovation Grants program. Since the program began in 1987, PiE has allocated over $1 million through Innovation Grants, which have provided extended learning opportunities for tens of thousands of Palo Alto public school students.

The 2019 funding recipients cover a range of exciting ideas, many focused on bringing “STEAM” elements into the classroom that integrate the arts with science, math, engineering, and technology. At Gunn High School, a PiE Innovation Grant will support a new Digital Arts Program (DAP) Foundation through funding iPad Pro tablets and pencils to facilitate digital drawing and creation by students. Another PiE Innovation Grant will provide digital drawing tablets for Paly Painting and Drawing Program students so they can extend their skills with the most up-to-date software for digital art design and production.

Not all PiE Innovation grants go towards high tech programs. At Barron Park Elementary School, a PiE Innovation Grant will fund a “Rigamajig,” a large-scale building kit used for hands-on play and learning, which features wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts, and rope that allow children to follow their curiosity through building, exploration, and experimentation. And at JLS, an Innovation Grant will support the purchase of “Breakout Kits” for the school’s wellness program, an activity that encourages problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and risk-taking.

“The 2019 PiE Innovation Grant winners reflect the wide range of ideas and creativity that exists among teachers and staff members in Palo Alto Unified schools,” said Patrick Sullivan, who chaired the Innovation Grants committee for PiE this year. “Palo Alto educators are committed to meeting the needs of their students and to challenge them to grow and learn in new ways. We are excited that PiE can support their efforts to model Palo Alto’s reputation for innovation and excellence in education.”

“The PiE Innovation Grant program allows PiE to encourage the development of high-impact new ideas from teachers and staff which have the potential to be replicated across PAUSD,” said Linda Lyon, Executive Director of PiE. “It is exciting to see each year what the teachers and staff envision is possible.”

The Palo Alto educators who were selected this year for Innovation Grants will receive their funding in May so they can start preparing and have their projects and programs ready for the 2019-2020 school year. “We can’t wait to get our Rigamajig installed so the kids can start learning about gravity, force and more, all through hands-on play,” said Eric Goddard of Barron Park Elementary. “Thank you to PiE for funding this exciting new addition to our Maker Space.”

For more information about PiE Innovation Grants, visit the PiE website at:


Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education foundation devoted exclusively to raising money for all Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) schools, and the only foundation dedicated to raising funds to pay for PAUSD teachers and staff. Through PiE’s partnership with parents, the school district, community members and businesses, PiE raises funds to help give all students in PAUSD an enriched and fulfilling education. Since PiE’s inception in 2004-05, it has donated $58.7 million to Palo Alto schools. Learn more about PiE by visiting the Palo Alto Partners in Education website:



Kirstin Sego, Communications Chair


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