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Posted November 1, 2012

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Monarchs Connect with Universe Thanks to United Way

A Manzano High science teacher saves a dying astronomy program with funding from a Horizon Award paid for through United Way contributions to the APS Education Foundation.

There are only a few weeks left in the 2012 United Way Campaign, which means you still have time to help your schools, your students, your community.

On your pledge form is the opportunity to support the APS Education Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that supports academic programs in the district. For the third consecutive year, the Foundation puts every dollar it receives from the United Way Campaign back into Horizon Awards – the competitive grant process in which district teachers submit proposals for funding.

Members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and other community members evaluate the proposals for funding. Below, you can see what one teacher – Manzano High School’s Kevin Jarigese – thinks about Horizon Awards and the things the program has done for his classroom.

From Kevin Jarigese, Manzano High School

In almost 30 years of teaching and working on countless grants and projects, the Horizon Grant, unlike many other grants, has enabled me to take my ideas and make a difference in my classroom and directly in the lives of my students. 

I was very fortunate to be awarded a Horizon Grant. What a tremendous honor that was for me knowing what a difference I could make in the classroom with additional funding. In the fall of 2011,  the grant enabled me to save a dying astronomy program at my school.  With funds received from the Horizon Grant, I purchased Galileo Telescope Kits as incentives for students to better perform through a hands-on project. It was truly amazing to watch the students’ enthusiasm as they built their scopes, then showed them off around campus.

The students developed confidence in what they had learned and transferred that confidence at the public astronomy viewings that they hosted. My program went from a small class of disengaged students to 38 excited learners who received an educational tool that represented their success.

The final reward for the astronomy students was a trip to New Mexico Tech in Socorro, where students attended a college class, worked in the rock and mineral museum and attended an astronomy viewing hosted by the college. The next day, we toured the VLA and the students discovered how astronomy is used in many ways.

From a teacher’s perspective, the Horizon Grant helped my astronomy students to understand that hard work is followed by reward which bring a new sense of enthusiasm that carries far beyond the classroom. The autonomy as a teacher to set proper goals in the classroom was rewarding.

In 2011, after receiving a Horizon Grant, I felt so successful that I knew I could enrich the lives of even more students.  I could understand that the goal of the grant was simple: To enrich the lives of students and teachers. I could see the need in our school and the opportunity for students to learn. The second year I wanted to expand my vision to include a greater number of students and teachers. The team of teachers and students wanted to refurbish the school's greenhouse and start an Environmental-Astronomy Club. The goal was to plant trees in honor of other inspirational educators who had come before and continue to expand the environmental-astronomy program.

Over the past two years, our success was achieved because of the opportunities the Horizon Grant, through the APS Education Foundation, provided for us.

 

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