17 Aug

It’s Time To Tango!

Our biggest fundraiser, Taste of Knowledge, is coming up on September 30, and the theme this year is “A South American Food and Wine Exploration”. We have partnered once again with Pig+Fig to bring you an amazing evening of food, wine, entertainment (tango, anyone?) and more, all while supporting Los Alamos teachers, students and schools. There are fewer tickets for sale this year, and last year the event sold out, so be sure to get your tickets soon!

Purchase tickets online at tok2018.eventbrite.com

Menu (subject to change):

First Station
lump crabmeat, sweet shrimp, smoked peppers + creamy avocado

Second Station
Fried plantain chips + parsley-garlic olive oil marinade

Third Station
“Black Bean Shooters”
Creamy bisque of black beans, roasted poblanos + cotija cheese

Fourth Station
Grilled and marinated angus tenderloin + toasted baguette slices

Fifth Station
Roasted vegetable empanadas

Sixth Station
Guava + cream cheese turnovers

Seventh Station
“Chocolate Bark”
Guanaja chocolate mixed with toasted almonds

Eighth Station
assorted meats + cheeses

Hand-selected South American wine pairings will accompany each food station.

08 Aug

Fairy Godmother to Los Alamos Public Schools

We were recently referred to as the Fairy Godmother to the Los Alamos Public Schools, and the title stuck! Thanks to so many generous supporters, the LAPS Foundation is able to make dreams come true in our schools. We couldn’t do it without you.

How did we make an impact in the 2017-18 school year specifically? Well, we were able to invest nearly $100,000 into Los Alamos Public Schools into innovative programs, training for teachers, staff morale activities, scholarships and more. For the most recent school year this included:

  • Allowing 87 teachers to participate in professional book groups
  • Sending 17 teachers to attend national conferences and seminars
  • Enabling Great Ideas Grants submitted by teachers impacting roughly 7,325 students
  • Supporting morale boosting initiatives reaching countless LAPS staff and students
  • Presenting 21 scholarships to graduating LAHS seniors

Let’s make 2018-19 another great school year!

Pinon teachers participate in a book groupAspen’s new school-wide resourceA LAHS student uses new math software
23 May

LAHS Yearbooks Site to Launch Soon!

LAHS alumni have asked us to make their yearbooks available online, and we have heard the call. With funds donated by individuals and LAHS classes, we are planning the launch a new section of our website soon that will include every LAHS yearbook from 1949 through 2017. Not only that, but it will feature a database of senior photos to take the place of the ones that used to hang in “Senior Lobby”. The site will also have a mechanism for alumni to comment and post. Our plan is to continue adding future yearbooks to the site, not to replace printed yearbooks, but to augment the yearbook experience for alumni.

We’re excited that this will be one more benefit that we can offer to alumni! Others include tours of the renovated high school during class reunions and Hilltopper Alumni t-shirts, which are on sale at CB Fox. If you are a member of the LAHS alumni and you would like to be notified when the yearbook site launches, please like our Facebook page and/or sign up our alumni newsletter at lapsfoundation.com/alumni.

06 Apr

Great Ideas Abound at LA Schools

Every fall and spring, we accept applications from teachers for 3 types of grants: Professional Development, Professional Book Groups, and Great Ideas. It’s the latter that really showcases the innovative ideas that teachers have for their students, and it is our job to try to make those ideas a reality. Last fall, we were able to fund 8 great ideas grants at 5 schools.

Chamisa 5th graders hold up copies of the book WonderOne of last fall’s Great Ideas Grants gave copies of the book Wonder to every 5th grade student at Chamisa Elementary School. The book is about a boy named Auggie who was born with a facial deformity and how his peers initially perceive him. Ultimately he makes new friends and accepts himself for who he is. In the process, Auggie teaches all of us how to be better people. It’s a truly inspiring story that fits perfectly with Chamisa’s theme this year of “Mindfulness”, and the students were excited to read it. They also had the chance to watch the movie based on the book at the Reel Deal Theater.

At LAHS, math students benefited from an interactive program called IXL that helps to bridge the gap in students’ learning. The teachers are able to see in real timeA LAHS math student uses IXL which students are making progress and which students are struggling. Because of this, they can immediately help students who are stuck, they can assign material that will help students “fill the gaps” in their understanding, and they can access many different reports that show how the students are performing individually as well as collectively.

Shelley Morey-Sloan displays Aspen's “Empathy Tool Box for Teachers”Shelley Morey-Sloan, a teacher at Aspen elementary school, applied for and was awarded a Great Ideas Grant last fall to build an “Empathy Tool Box for Teachers”. Shelly meets some students who are brilliant but suffer from emotional problems that limit their happiness. Knowing that empathy can be learned, Shelly requested funds to create the toolbox. Shelly filled it with two professional books on the importance of teaching empathy, as well as 18 children’s books that have a focus on empathetic themes. Now Aspen teachers can check out books from the box to be read during classroom “read aloud” times.

Other Great Ideas Grants in fall 2017 included copies of the book Spies of the American Revolution for an interdisciplinary lesson at LAMS, a voter response system at Aspen Elementary, a classroom library for a Barranca Elementary 1st grade classroom, an artist in residence at Chamisa Elementary, and a computer program used to conduct quizzes and tests at LAHS.

31 Mar

New Teacher Advisory Board a Success

An important part of our Strategic Plan is to continuously solicit feedback from educators, to ensure our support remains relevant. This year we started a Teacher Advisory Board to do just that. Three times a year we invite one teacher from each school to join us for dinner and discussion. This has proven to be a great way for the Foundation to receive feedback from teachers at all schools about what they need in order to provide excellent education in our schools. This feedback allows us to stay relevant in our support for teachers, staff, students and school facilities. It also gives us an opportunity to say thank you to our teachers and let them know that they are heard and appreciated.

At the beginning of the school year, each school was asked to provide several names of teachers to serve on the advisory board. In some cases teachers were nominated by the principal, in others they volunteered. Either way, we wanted the teachers to feel like it is an honor to serve on this board. The LAPS Foundation arranges the meetings over dinner at a local restaurant, and it buys dinner for all the teachers who attend. An additional and unexpected benefit has been that the LAPS Foundation can support local businesses in the community, as we rotate restaurants each time to spread around our business.
The response so far from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. We have heard multiple times that they appreciate being recognized, thanked and especially heard. With the ratio of teachers to LAPS Foundation board members at roughly 2:1, we are really able to give our full attention to the teachers and take in their valuable feedback.
So far we have had two such dinners. The third will take place in early May. With the feedback we have received from the teachers, our board will adjust the ways in which the LAPS Foundation supports our schools. We look forward to continuing this program again in the next school year!
31 Jan

Now Accepting Grant Applications!

LAPS teachers, do you have a great idea to enrich your curriculum or provide students with unique learning experiences?  Or perhaps you’re interested in attending a conference or holding a book club to enhance your professional development? The LAPS Foundation is now accepting applications through February 28, 2018 for our spring grant cycle. There are 3 types of grants for which you can apply:

  1. Great Ideas Grants. Apply for a Great Ideas Grant from the LAPS Foundation to fund the materials and/or resources to support an idea you would like to implement with your students. We are interested in funding innovative ideas that augment the basic curriculum and align with the Common Core Standards. Please refrain from submitting requests for materials that are typically purchased through the school district or for additional funds for an initiative that is currently being funded. We’re looking to fund your fresh, innovative ideas! These requests may not exceed $1,000. Application
  2. Professional Development Grants. Is there a conference or training that would help you enhance your teaching capabilities? Often times schools do not have sufficient funds to cover these important programs, and that is where the LAPS Foundation can help. We want to invest in developing you as a professional and ensure you can take advantage of these important opportunities! Application
  3. Professional Book Group Grants. Have you come across a book that is of interest to your colleagues and yourself that would allow you to gain new ideas and/or broadening your pedagogical knowledge? The LAPS Foundation funds professional books groups on a variety of topics. Each member of your group will receive a book, and you can request funding for refreshments at book group meetings, too. Application

The deadline to apply for the Spring 2018 grant cycle is February 28, so be sure to apply soon!

26 Jan

How to Support? Let us Count the Ways.

It’s easy to invest in education in Los Alamos. Besides donating online or mailing a check to the LAPS Foundation at 1900 Diamond Dr. Suite 1, Los Alamos, NM 87544, did you know that you can support the LAPS Foundation every time you shop at Smith’s?

Simply link your Smith’s rewards card to the LAPS Foundation. Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to your account at smithsfoodanddrug.com
  2. Under “Welcome” at the top right, click on “My Account”
  3. Click Edit under “Inspiring Donations” (last section)
  4. Enter Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation or organization number KV130
  5. Click Enroll

Voila! Now every time you shop at Smith’s a portion will be donated to the LAPS Foundation!

Support for the LAPS Foundation allows us to:

  • Send teachers to conferences and seminars
  • Pay for classroom makeovers and updates
  • Provide materials and resources for innovation in classrooms
  • Sponsor morale activities for LAPS staff
  • Award scholarships to students
  • Encourage STEAM in the schools
  • Build outdoor classrooms at each school
  • And much more!
22 Dec

What Inspires You?

We all find inspiration in something – often unexpectedly. Shannon Seitz, a member of the LAHS Library staff, found her inspiration recently. Unbeknownst to Shannon, her boss had received a grant from the LAPS Foundation to attend the What’s New in Young Adult Literature Conference, and he wanted Shannon to be the one to go. For Shannon it wasn’t just about selecting new books for the school’s library, rather finding ways to connect with students, supporting teachers’ curriculum, and most importantly helping students and teachers find their own sources of inspiration.

Please make your year-end gift to the LAPS Foundation today so more educators like Shannon, and their students, can find their inspiration.

Your gift of any amount is a worthwhile investment in education. Sending Shannon to the conference cost $400, but the inspiration she gained from it is priceless. Your donation will allow the LAPS Foundation to make these kinds of opportunities available to more educators like Shannon.

Click here to make your tax-deductible gift. Together we can achieve the goal of raising $32,000 for education by December 31, 2017 (we’re 83% of the way there!).

“I’m inspired by people who are passionate about what they do. At the conference, I was surrounded by people – librarians, teachers – who truly love what they do and who shared how they engage students to make them feel welcome in their libraries or inspire them to read in their classrooms.” –Shannon

“Connecting students and staff with books that interest them inspires me. It feels good, being able to make recommendations to students and staff who come in looking for something to read, and then asking what they thought when the book is returned. It opens up dialog, a relationship is built, ideas are shared. It’s one of my favorite aspects of my job.” –Shannon

Check out our What Inspires You? videos!

12 Dec

Meet Our Intern Maddie!

Maddie Ovaska
Currently a Sophomore at LAHS (Class of 2020!)
LAPS Foundation Intern

What’s a typical day like at LAHS in 2017?
Well, we start school at 7:50 am and finish at 2:35 pm. We have A and B days, with four classes each day: 1A, 2A, 3A and the same for B days. 4th period is the same class every day. That way the classes are longer – 1.5 hours each – except for 4th period which is 50 minutes. At lunch, my friends and I like to sit out on the lawn when the weather is nice, or we sit inside at the Commons area. Lunch is also a time when a lot of clubs meet. After school ends at 2:30 pm, we have Academic Time, which lasts until 3:10 pm. This is a time for us to get help from teachers or work on homework.

What’s new at LAHS since you started last year?
Last year they started Topper Freshman Academy, which is like a separate school with its own principal. The freshmen take all their classes in E-Wing except for electives. It’s a way for them to get acclimated to high school. Also new this year is that all students 7th-12th grades are issued a Chromebook for school. Last year they piloted it with the freshmen, so I was one of the ones who got to test it out. We bring them to school every day, and I personally use it a lot for my schoolwork.

In what activities do you participate?
I’m in the Cross Country, Swim, and Tennis teams. I’m also involved in a number of clubs including Student Council, Natural Helpers, and Bridges (a program where students eat lunch with students who have special needs).

What are your favorite classes this year?
I like Honors English, which is not usually my strength, but my teacher Ms. Pomeroy is really great. We have long discussions over books we read in class. I also enjoy Math with Ms. Wilson, she makes math exciting and a great environment to be in. I have my math class during 4th period, so I get to attend the class every day.

Any ideas of what you’ll do after graduating LAHS?
I’d really love to attend the University of Wisconsin and study Physical Therapy. Both of my parents attended University there along with their friends. Their children and I have become very close, we go back twice a year to visit them and visit the University of Wisconsin to watch Football, Basketball, or Hockey games. I have become interested in Physical Therapy after my father had a horrible ski crash where he shattered his leg. After seeing every aspect of hospital positions, I discovered physical therapy was my favorite place to be. I volunteer at the hospital with their program, and under my mentor I help many people recover.

20 Nov

What’s Your Wonder?

Wonder is all around us this time of year. We want to share with you the wonder that your gifts to the LAPS Foundation make possible. In this case, it’s the wonder of students like Zoey and her 5th grade friends at Chamisa. They received copies of the book Wonder, about a boy with a facial deformity and how his peers initially perceive him. Ultimately he makes new friends and accepts himself for who he is. It’s a truly inspiring story that the students are excited to experience.

Please make your year-end gift to the LAPS Foundation today so more students like Zoey, in all grades Pre K – 12th, can find their wonder.

Your donation of any amount makes a difference – $20 buys a book similar to Wonder for kids like Zoey, $100 provides online learning tools, $500 covers hardware and fixtures for a classroom refresh, and $1000 sends a teacher to a national conference or funds an artist in residence for 2 months.

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation today!

Thank you so much for considering this investment in education. Together we’re ensuring brighter futures for all LAPS students. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or ideas.

P.S. In the book Wonder, Auggie’s teacher Mr. Tushman says “The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average–though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.” In the spirit of these wise words, please make a donation to LAPS Foundation and help us reach our goal of $32,000 by December 31!