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Posted: October 7, 2015

We Pull Together When It Counts

Supt. Reedy encourages employees to consider giving through United Way.

I’ve worked at Albuquerque Public Schools for more than three decades, and no matter what challenges we’ve faced, I’ve always known we pull together when it counts. You see it in schools, when teachers and administrators back one another through a crisis. You see it when our maintenance and operations folks go the extra mile to make sure a school is safe or warm – or both. You see it when our support people find a solution to a difficult problem and make things better for kids, parents, staff and community.

We are APS, and we believe in one another.

That’s why I’m writing you today. Our kids, our schools, our community, need you.

The 2015 APS Employees/United Way Campaign is kicking off this week. Very soon, your schools will be receiving United Way pledge forms and I hope you will consider giving through United Way. Individuals like you may donate to any non-profit you choose and those monies will go to that organization.  Also on that form is the opportunity to contribute to the APS Education Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. The Foundation uses every single dollar contributed through the United Way to benefit classrooms, schools and students in the district. The Foundation’s grant-giving campaign is putting more than $500,000 into classrooms this year, and a big part of that is thanks to APS employees.

Let me offer a few – just a few – names of the teachers and schools the Foundation has helped. Dominic Pettine at Washington Middle School. Alma Ripley at Carlos Rey Elementary. Margie Weinstein from Sandia High School – the list is very long and it is very likely you know someone who has received a grant from the Foundation. And just this week, the Foundation donated $150,000 to key school-wide projects at E.G. Ross and Arroyo del Oso elementary schools, the education wing at the Juvenile Detention Center and a wonderful effort at Cleveland Middle School.

I am asking our principals and site leaders to make this a priority this fall. I’d like them to name a campaign “champion” – one of those energetic folks that can be found at all of our schools. I’m asking that champion to be a real cheerleader for the campaign, because it works wonders for kids in our community and it works wonders for the district.

The Foundation is turning 20 this year and our goal is to have as many employees as possible donate $20 to the APS Education Foundation. If everyone employee made that commitment we would exceed a quarter of a million dollars back into classrooms. A gift of $5 per paycheck, a total of $120 for the year, not only would put nearly $1.5 million back into schools but also enter you for a chance at Southwest Airlines tickets, a Disney Vacation, and gift cards galore.

Yes, it’s a sacrifice. But I also know that if all of us could do that – or more – we could make even bigger gains in APS. I’d like to see our employees raise their level of participation, if only because I believe we are central to our community. Truth be told, we are the leader in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

When we do well, everyone does well.