07 Nov

An Invitation to Our Supporters

Please join us at a special seminar/reception for our supporters on Thursday, December 6, 5:30-6:30pm in the School Board Room. LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus will brief us on the current school year, Executive Director Laura Loy will give an update on the Foundation’s impact in the schools, and then local CPA Tony Belletete will give a brief but informational presentation about about the impact of the 2018 tax law changes on charitable giving. Tony will also outline the benefits of the Qualified Charitable Deduction for those interested. Tony and local Edward Jones financial advisor Shelly Wiemann will be on hand after the presentation to answer individual questions.

Refreshments will be provided by Pig + Fig, and there will be time to mingle, enjoy, and allow us to once again say THANK YOU!

Feel free to bring a friend! There is no cost to attend, but please register yourself and your guests so we know you are coming.

01 Nov

Grant Spotlight: Culturally Relevant Books

In the fall of 2018, at the suggestion of a teacher, the LAPS Foundation began offering mini-grants to teachers. Each grant is up to $100, and teachers can receive a maximum of 1 mini-grant per school year. The Foundation has allocated $1,000 each in the fall and spring semesters to fund these requests, and so far the return on investment as been huge!

Grant Spotlight:
A new ELL teacher for the district was looking to purchase some books that reflected her students’ backgrounds, ethnicity and cultural experiences. Her rationale was that “when students can connect what they read to their own lives, they have more academic success, feel valued, and are more motivated to read. Currently I have students who have cultural connections to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Vietnam and Israel.” The Foundation was able to help her purchase a dozen books for this purpose.

Here is what one 1st grade student said about one of the books: “I liked the book because it was about a coqui and I have seen one. I liked that it is about Puerto Rico because that is where my grandma lives and where I was born. Can I take it home to read to my mom?”

Success!

01 Nov

Grant Spotlight: LEGOs For STEM

In the fall of 2018, at the suggestion of a teacher, the LAPS Foundation began offering mini-grants to teachers. Each grant is up to $100, and teachers can receive a maximum of 1 mini-grant per school year. The Foundation has allocated $1,000 each in the fall and spring semesters to fund these requests, and so far the return on investment as been huge!

Grant Spotlight:
One teacher at Barranca Elementary School requested a mere $50 for LEGO bricks to be used with her students for STEM activities and sensory breaks. The Foundation awarded the grant, and the teacher was able to purchase and start using the LEGOs right away. Here is what she had to say about the first project: “Students had to build boats and then we tested them to see how well they did in water. Thanks again for approving my grant! I deeply appreciate it- the LEGOs will be such an asset to my classroom.”

01 Nov

Honoring Our Teachers

Did you know that teachers in the State of New Mexico, who start out at Level I, are required to submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) at the end of 3-5 years of successful teaching in order to advance to Level II? They don’t have a choice, and yet they must pay for it themselves! Teachers may also choose to seek Level III licensure by submitting an additional PDD after their third year of successful teaching at Level II. Again, they pay for it.

It’s actually quite a lot of work for teachers to prepare these dossiers, so that they can be considered for advancement to the next level. The teacher must compile classroom data (lesson descriptions, handouts, student work, video and audio recordings, photos) with explanations of that data written by the teacher, and accompany it with verification and recommendation by the district superintendent.

The LAPS Foundation recognizes this hard work and sacrifice made by our district teachers, and shows its respect and appreciation for these teachers by reimbursing them for their out-of-pocket expense to procure the advancement. This typically takes place at a School Board meeting at which the teachers are recognized.

This fall, two Los Alamos teachers successfully advanced to Level II: Eric Beckstead and Ted Atkins. Congratulations to them both!

Three cheers for our teachers and all their hard work and dedication!

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