17 Oct

Nearly $20K Given Out For Fall Semester Grants So Far

Through many generous contributions, the Foundation has been able to continue, and even grow, our grants program for the 2019-20 school year.  This fall, we’re pleased to be able to support 38 grant ideas so far. As a result of your kind and continuous donations, we are having a huge impact on the quality of education in our Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS).

So far this fall we have given out nearly $20,000 for grants, which has impacted every school in the district in some way. This includes 23 Mini-grants, 5 Great Idea Grants, 5 Professional Development Grants, and 5 Book Group Grants.

Mini-Grants are given to certified LAPS teachers in hopes of funding new and innovative ideas in the classroom that teachers otherwise wouldn’t be able to pursue without the grant. Although we had planned to offer 15 mini-grants this fall, we were able to increase that number because of a fundraiser organized by the Homecoming Court called “Court for a Cause.” Some of the fall grants included math and logic brain games for Mountain Elementary,  magazines and books for Barranca, headphones for creative listening assignments at Pinon, a live Hawk for art classes at LAMS, and a screen capture software at LAHS.

Great Ideas Grants support teachers who have innovative ideas for enriching their curriculum to provide students with unique and effective learning experiences. The LAPS Foundation can unlock remarkable resources and opportunities for the schools’ classrooms in ways the schools’ budgets often cannot. In the 2019 fall semester, the LAPS Foundation will fund five Great Ideas Grants, including adding 35 novels to a classroom at LAHS, furthering a 3-day team building event at LAMS, and purchasing 2 Breakout EDU kits for a classroom at Barranca.

Professional Development Grants provide the opportunity for teachers to strengthen their classroom abilities for not only themselves but also for their students. These grants make it possible for teachers to attend conferences and workshops, and take advantage of online training. Fall 2019 grants will send teachers to the National Association for Gifted Children Conference, the BER Seminar: What is New in Children’s Literature, and a WEB Crew Coordinator Training session, among others. Through these professional development grants, teachers are able to further grow in their field of study to gain new perspectives on their teaching methods and adapt them to the needs of each individual student. 

Professional Book Group Grants allow for LAPS instructors and assistants to gather to read and discuss educational and instructional books. This fall we had an overwhelming response, and we will provide $3,500 worth of books to Barranca, Chamisa, and LAMS educators. These book groups encourage instructors to collaborate on their individual instructional techniques, with the goal of implementing new or refined practices in their classrooms.

16 Oct

Wellness is the Name of the Game

Last spring, our Board had an exercise to identify 1-, 3- and 5-year goals for our organization. One of the 1-year goals that rose to the top time and time again was to improve student and staff wellness, which is also a primary goal of Los Alamos Public Schools district-wide. We got to work right away meeting with LAPS Healthy Schools Director Kristine Coblentz to identify ways in which the we could help.

While LAPS already has a number of successful initiatives to promote student and staff well-being, we were able to identify three concrete ways in which we could leverage our resources to augment the district’s programs and have a true impact on wellness in the 2019-20 school year: 1) offer $5,000 worth of wellness grants to LAPS staff, 2) fund and help facilitate a community conversation about a topic of interest to parents, and 3) support and help to fund a student summit or other activity primarily focused on student wellness as defined by the students themselves.

The wellness grants launched this fall with much enthusiasm from school staff. We decided that the Foundation would make $300 available to each school each semester this year to fund initiatives that promote physical fitness, mindfulness/stress management, morale, creativity or other types of wellness. The spirit of the grants is to promote a positive school culture, bring staff and/or students together, break down barriers, and build resiliency and/or connectedness. They can support students, staff, or both. Schools must apply with their specific ideas each semester. Click here for more information and the application.

We will be sponsoring the community conversation on the evening of Monday, November 18. It is one of three such events put on by LAPS this year. The topic of the November event will be Community Conversation: Strengthening Connection, and the conversation will be centered around the concepts from Dr. Laura Markham’s book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. Dinner will be served, and it will be a great opportunity for parents to learn, discuss and meet other parents. Details and registration will be available soon. Please contact us if you would like us to email you with more information.

The third program is still in the very early stages of planning, so more information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

Our entire Board is excited about this partnership with LAPS and these ideas for improving student and staff wellness. In today’s fast-paced world, I think we can all agree that sometimes we need to find ways to find ways to connect with those around us for a collective well-being!

15 Oct

Surprise! The LAPS Foundation Refreshed the Staff Lounges Over the Summer

What could be more fun than giving money away to help our schools?  That’s our mission and purpose at the LAPS Foundation. Our board members are always hard at work raising money and giving it away to schools to benefit students, staff, and facilities.  This funding makes a difference in the lives of teachers and students by allowing for extras they wouldn’t normally have.

Sometimes, we are able to actually work on a physical project and get our hands dirty, making things at schools better for everyone.  We had that opportunity this past summer.

We went into schools all over the district and worked hard to clean and refresh the staff lounges, creating better places for our school staff to gather, eat and collaborate with colleagues during the workday.  We worked alongside community members, staff and our wonderful students. We cleaned out cabinets, washed dishes, straightened up and made everything sparkle. We also used extra funds LAPSF raised during 2018-19 from our generous community to purchase much-needed items that were not in the schools’ budgets.  Items such as appliances, furniture, storage bins, dishes, and decorations – things we take for granted but make life for our teachers much better every day.

We wanted to use the extra funding and combine it with hard work to make the biggest impact on LAPS staff that we could to help them do the most important job in the world, teaching our children.  This is our way to say thank you to LAPS staff for all they do every day to help our students thrive!

09 Oct

Thank You For Another Successful Taste Of Knowledge!

On August 25, you came out to wholeheartedly support the the Foundation’s mission at our annual fundraiser, a Taste of Knowledge. The event was a great success, and it raised a record-breaking $50,000 for Los Alamos Public Schools. With these funds, we are able to offer more grants to support our schools.

This year there were two seatings: An Afternoon in Provence and An Evening in Paris. Both featured French food and wine pairings, silent and live auctions, all in the relaxed setting of the Pig + Fig Café. For the third year in a row, the event sold out.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who made Taste of Knowledge such a great success again this year. 

Laura Crucet and her team at Pig + Fig went above and beyond to plan, prepare and serve two incredible menus, each featuring 5 French dishes.

Karen Easton worked with Kokoman Fine Wine & Liquor to pick the French wines that perfectly paired with the food. Easton also donated her time to serve at the event, along with other volunteer servers Beth Bathrick, Beth Bouman, Jean Harris and Jennifer Harris.

Jill Cook very graciously agreed to act as auctioneer again this year, facilitating lively auctions at both events.

LAHS instructor Becca Jones arranged for culinary students to once again help Pig +Fig to prepare the food. The students were Tiana Lopez and Haley Adams-Brown.

In addition, a number of LAHS student volunteers, including several members of the Key Club, volunteered many hours to help with setting up, managing the auction, serving food, and cleaning up. The student volunteers were Christina Nisoli, Shena Han, Melisa Varol, Audrey Nolen, Andrew Watson, Max Corliss, Andy Corliss, and LAPS Foundation student board members Isaac Ronning and Victoria Nisoli.

Members of the LAHS Jazz Project, headed by LAMS band director Ryan Finn, charmed the audience with live music. They were Addie Richie, Evs Alexander, Kevin Bojorquez, Alexander Waters, Beth Short and Jackson Bell.

We would also like to give a great thanks to the many businesses and individuals that generously contributed to the auction: Albuquerque Isotopes, Blue Window Bistro, Bob’s Bodacious BBQ, Century Bank, China Moon, Chris & Helen Ortega, Classic Air Medical, Don Taylor’s Photography, EXIT Realty Advantage, Extended Play Photography, Float Los Alamos, Hal Davis, Hilltop Spa, Jill Cook, Julie Goen, LA Canvas Events, LA Daily Post, LA Fire Department, LAHS Prostart, Lance Eaton, LAPS Athletics, Los Alamos Concert Association, New Mexico United, Origami, Papa Murphy’s, PEEC, Petree Garden Center & Florist, Pig + Fig Café, Reel Deal Theater, Renee Mitsunaga, Richard Swenson, Ruby K’s, Ruby Magdalena Vineyards, Ryan Finn Quartet, Sandia Peak Tramway, Shelley Clark, Suzy Kroesche, Thom Mason, Tom Hill, Vintage Hair Co., Viola’s, Windgate Healing Arts, and Zia Credit Union.