18 Mar

The Foundation is Here to Support LAPS during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During this time of school closure and social distancing, keep the Foundation in mind for ideas or opportunities to support LAPS staff.  We still have funding for mini grants for the spring semester for any teacher who hasn’t already received one this school year.  Perhaps there is a webinar to watch, or maybe you have an idea to assist your students with online or at home learning.  The mini grant application is short and simple to complete in just a few minutes.  The Foundation also still has funding for wellness grants for many of the schools (Aspen, Barranca, Mountain, Pinon, LAMS and TFA).  Do you have a creative idea to promote wellness for the staff at your school while being physically apart?  Let us know.  We want to help! 

10 Mar

Art for the Sky: What a Great Idea!

Imagine over 600 middle school students and teachers creating an art project together.  Sounds impossible, right?  That’s exactly what happened on January 22nd at Los Alamos Middle School.  LAPS Foundation helped fund this GREAT IDEA!  Inspired by a former colleague’s recommendation, Principal Suzanne Lynne resolved to make the amazing Art for the Sky experience happen at LAMS and bring the entire school together to create something beautiful.  Community members even pitched in and loaned colored t-shirts and jeans for the project.  Team-building, problem-solving and hard work resulted in a radiant Zia symbol photographed from the sky by a drone.  Students commented they would always remember this experience.  It was definitely not an ordinary day in the classroom.  LAPS Foundation funds grants for Great Ideas to give students creative and innovative extras that go beyond the normal curriculum.  Check out the spectacular video by artist Daniel Dancer:   https://vimeo.com/387849665?ref=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR2iTqkPNYCfdDNAvRvt4QZCpCD-cS8biTTpEHkfRxMaFz8ik3yLXSHu1hc

31 Jan


Spring grants are now open, and over $21,000 is available! Applications for the following grants will be accepted through February 29th: Great Ideas, Professional Development and Professional Book Group. Mini grants ($100 each) applications will be accepted until the money budgeted for the spring has been allocated. The above grants are open to certified LAPS teachers.

We are continuing to offer Staff Wellness Grants ($400 each) for the spring semester! Any LAPS employee may apply. Learn more and apply for a grant today!

Grant Workshops will be held on Tuesday, February 11th and Thursday, February 13th, from 4-5pm at The Source. This is a great way to get questions answered and learn what makes a successful grant application. Bring your laptop if you wish to start working on the application.

31 Jan

LAPSF Welcomes New Executive Director!

Los Alamos Public Schools is pleased to introduce Jennifer McCumber as the new Executive Director for the LAPS Foundation. She officially began this position on Monday, Jan. 6.

While this is a new role for Jenny, she is by no means new to the schools or the Foundation. Most recently, she served as a school board member for District 5 (Mountain Elementary) from 2015-2019. Jenny also served on the board of the LAPS Foundation for several years as the school board representative, a committee assignment she thoroughly appreciated. “I have enjoyed working on many different LAPSF projects through the years, including strategic planning, writing grants and surprising school staff with our staff lounge refresh project last summer,” Jenny noted.

“I am so proud of all the LAPS Foundation has accomplished since its inception in 2005. I hope to continue the tradition of support for the educational programs in our schools and professional development for staff as well as continue to grow the support our community has so generously given to allow us to help the schools in Los Alamos. I have big shoes to fill; our two previous executive directors, Joanna Gillespie and Laura Loy, worked tirelessly to bring the Foundation to where it is and I hope to build on their excellent examples.”

28 Jan



Laura Loy joined the team at Zia Credit Union in January as its marketing and business development manager.

LAPS Foundation was fortunate to have Laura as its executive director from April 2017 to December 2019.

Thank you for all your hard work for public education in Los Alamos.  We will miss you!

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.

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