20 Nov

Foundation Appreciation Week is Back!

To show its gratitude to the LAPS Foundation for 14 years of support, Los Alamos Public Schools is celebrating Foundation Appreciation Week Dec. 2-6. As the 2019 year comes to a close, LAPS asks the community to consider giving up one thing a month and instead use that money to make a valuable donation to further the mission of the LAPS Foundation at all schools. What would you give up?

With the holidays coming up, you may be looking for ideas of how to show your appreciation to your child’s teacher(s). Why not consider an alternative gift by making a donation to the LAPS Foundation in a teacher’s name? When you donate, you have the option to have a certificate sent to a teacher notifying them of the donation made on their behalf. The money raised ensures funds are available throughout the year, which makes a tremendous difference in our schools.

Learn more and donate today!

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.

20 Sep

LAHS Alumni, Do You Accept the Challenge?

The Los Alamos High School classes of 1969 and 1979 will be holding their reunions in Los Alamos during homecoming weekend, September 20-22, 2019. Alumni from both classes are encouraged to attend and catch up with friends and classmates. Additionally, the LAHS class of 1989 is issuing a friendly challenge to their fellow classes to help raise money for the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation (LAPSF).

The Class of 1989 held its 30th reunion in early August 2019 and completed a successful fundraising campaign for the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation. The class raised more than $10,000, which will be invested back into the local schools to help make the best possible educational experience for students here in Los Alamos. See the results at lapsfoundation.com/classof1989/. Dave Lyons and Stephanie Archuleta of the Class of 1989, and both board members of LAPSF, had challenged their classmates to “give back to the schools that gave you your start.”

Lyons said, “Thank you again to the Class of 1989 who responded tremendously to the challenge, and whose generosity will help further improve the quality of education in Los Alamos. Stephanie and I are hoping to make this a Los Alamos tradition for all classes that come home for their reunions.”

Archuleta added, “I think this is a fun way to create some friendly competition amongst the classes, and to have it all benefit the local schools at the same time. I think we all recognize that the Los Alamos schools played a huge role in shaping who we became.”

The LAPS Foundation has created web pages for the classes of 1969 and 1979 so alumni can make their donations to their class and join in the competition. For the Class of 1969, alumni can make donations at lapsfoundation.com/classof1969/. For additional questions on the Class of 1969 reunion, please visit their Facebook page at LAHS ’69 50 Year Class Reunion or email them at  LAHSreunion69@gmail.com.

For the Class of 1979, alumni can make donations at lapsfoundation.com/classof1979/. For additional questions on the class of 1979 reunion, please visit the reunion web page at lahsclassof79.com or email them at lahsclassof79@gmail.com.

Lyons and Archuleta noted, “Reunions are great for catching up with classmates, friends and teachers, and this is a way for everyone to participate, whether they can attend in person or not. We had several folks unable to attend, but who could participate from afar by joining in the fundraising challenge. Thanks to both classes of 1969 and 1979 for joining the competition.”

04 Sep

Fall Grants Now Open!

Fall grants are now open, and over $21,000 is available! Applications for the following grants will be accepted through September 30: Great Ideas, Professional Development and Professional Book Group. Mini grants ($100 each) applications will be accepted until the $1,500 budgeted for the fall has been allocated. The above grants are open to certified LAPS teachers.

New this year – Staff Wellness Grants ($100 each)! Any LAPS employee may apply, and up to 5 individuals may collaborate to request a combined $500 for one project. Applications will be accepted until the $2,000 budgeted for the fall has been allocated.

Learn more and apply for a grant today!

Grant Workshops will be held on Thursday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 17, 4-5pm in the School Board Room. This is a great way to learn what makes a successful grant application. Bring your laptop if you wish to start working on the application.

28 Jun

Taste of Knowledge Tickets Now on Sale

Once again we have teamed up with Pig + Fig Café to present our signature fundraising event, Taste of Knowledge. It will be held Sunday, August 25 at the Pig + Fig Café in White Rock. This year there will be two events: “An Afternoon in Provence” from 2:00 to 4:00pm, and “An Evening in Paris” from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 and $95, respectively. To purchase tickets, visit www.tok.givesmart.com.

For “An Afternoon in Provence,” be transported to the beautiful French countryside for an afternoon of delectable food and wine. Attendees can stroll between five stations, each featuring a French dish expertly paired with a French wine. The stations include:
First Station
“Salade Nicoise”
butter lettuce, albacore tuna, olives, eggs, haricot vert, mustard vinaigrette
2017 Chateau Trinquevedel Tavel Rose

Second Station
“Ratatouille”
grilled farmer’s market vegetables, baguette slices, extra virgin olive oil
2015 Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres Rouge
“Reserve la Demoiselle”

Third Station
Chicken breast braised in tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and olives with sauteed gnocchi
2018 Domaine du Salvant Cheverny Blanc

Fourth Station
Triple creme brie, fresh figs and lavender honey
2016 Chateau Haut Mayne Sauternes

Fifth Station
Mignardises of citron tartlets, petite Rocher truffles and fruit gelees
Bottex Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille” Sparkling Wine, NV

For “An Evening in Paris,” feel like you are dining in the most romantic city in the world without having to show your passport. The seated five course wine dinner will feature:
Reception Wine
2017 Chateau Trinquevedel Tavel Rose

First Plate
Salad of lobster, asparagus, avocado + baby endive; honey-caviar vinaigrette
2018 Domaine du Salvant Cheverny Blanc

Second Plate
Bisque of artichoke, golden potatoes and black truffles
2017 Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc

Third Plate
Steak au poivre – peppercorn crusted filet, haricot vert, potatoes dauphinoise
2017 Charles Joguet Chinon “Cuvée Terroir”

Fourth Plate
Delice de Bourgogne, red fruit compote, brioche toast
2017 Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages

Fifth Plate
Assorted petit fours of strawberry, almond, chocolate, caramel, raspberry and mocha
2016 Chateau Haut Mayne Sauternes

Taste of Knowledge is a fundraiser for the Los Alamos Public Schools. Proceeds will benefit teachers, staff, students and facilities. The events will include silent and live auctions, with many exciting prizes generously donated by local businesses.

Last year’s Taste of Knowledge raised $42,000, which enabled us to support 18 Great Ideas grants, 18 professional development and book group grants, and 17 mini grants. These grants spanned all schools in the district and impacted thousands of students. Some of the grants included: a timer for Science Bowl, books for elementary Reader’s Theater, a kit to build a blimp, continuation of a music sectionals program, and virtual reality headsets and software for an innovative new way of learning.

Get your tickets today!

27 Feb

An Interview with Jessica Keller, LAHS Class of 2004

Recently our executive director, Laura Loy, conducted an interview with Jessica Keller, LAHS class of 2004, to learn what she’s up to now.

LL: Tell us what you’ve been doing since graduating LAHS. Where are you now, and what are you doing?
JK: I’m living in Sacramento CA where I’m a lead line cook at a local restaurant called OneSpeed Pizza. My husband and I moved to Sacramento two years ago to experience something other than NM. His family is originally from this area, and we came out here wanting to be closer to the Bay Area. I like it here. I was in Berkeley yesterday! I started out on the culinary path at Santa Fe Community College where I got my culinary degree. After working at a few restaurants, my mentor and teacher from my culinary program, Michelle Chavez, told me about an opportunity in Albuquerque. That was The Supper Truck that Amy Black and I started from the ground up.  I ran it for about 3 years. It was a lot of cold, early mornings!

LL: How did your time at LAHS set you on your career path?
JK: I was a part of Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) for a short while and also took some of the Home Economics classes. I really fell in love with those classes. I mostly felt fortunate that they accepted and fostered the creative side of students. They want you to have a well-rounded education when you leave there.

LL: What’s one fond memory you have of your time at LAHS?
JK: I have all kinds of fond memories. In my freshman or sophomore year, we were studying medieval times and the Renaissance. My English and History teachers were dong collaborative projects. Some friends and I got together with our teachers to start a Renaissance fair. Of the students who participated, some chose art, others clothing, culture etc. I chose food of that time period (I laugh now when I look back!). We made dishes that represented that time period. We had our own Renaissance Fair in the gym. Another great memory was doing the Humanities project as a Junior. The class met every day, and we studied religions and cultures from around the world.

LL: What do you think of the new culinary arts facilities at LAHS?
JK: I have not seen them, but I’ve heard a little bit here and there. Some of my friends who still live in Los Alamos have told me about the new facilities.  The Pro Start program sounds wonderful. I found culinary a little later in life. I hopped into a really great job running my truck. I know that fostering a good kitchen environment – it makes me really excited. A lot of kids start from the ground up and it’s a hard life.


Jessica, present day, with her husband Lowry Nakamura

If you have a suggestion for our next featured alumni, please email us.

12 Feb

Larry Baca Memorial Scholarship Fund

Several members of the community approached the LAPS Foundation about setting up a fund for a Larry Baca Memorial Scholarship, to honor their friend and colleague who had such a positive impact on so many in our community. The LAPS Foundation has established such a fund. The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior of Los Alamos High School who has participated in track or cross-country.

If you wish to contribute to the scholarship fund, you may do so here.

Larry Baca was a renowned coach in Los Alamos for 30 years and member of the Los Alamos High School Hall of Fame and New Mexico Coaches Hall of Fame. Larry was a tremendous athlete at LAHS participating in baseball, basketball, wrestling, football and track. A role model to youth in our community, Larry’s humility, determination and sportsmanship enabled his track teams to achieve numerous district and state track titles.

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