Foundation Awards Funding to Middle School Sports, Counseling, Math

Uniforms for middle school athletes, an intensive program aimed at aiding math achievement at several APS middle schools and a counseling department project that hopes to keep elementary-age students safe are among the latest grants awarded by the APS Education Foundation.

The Foundation’s board of directors this week approved the grants, totaling about $43,000. In all, about 8,000 APS students will be served.

“Thanks to our community, including individual APS employees through our employee giving campaign, the Foundation has had a record year,” said Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus. “That’s allowed us to continue to look at bigger awards for projects that serve many kids.”

The Foundation’s community board of directors, which includes three APS students, voted to award $20,000 to middle school athletics. With those funds, the APS Athletic Department will be able to continue its ability to provide uniforms in volleyball, basketball and track and field for boys and girls. Budget problems had threatened those necessities.

“It’s our hope that the Foundation will be a leader for the community to get behind middle school athletics, because while they will continue next year, there remains a need for outside funding to keep them vibrant and relevant in our school. We’re challenging businesses to take a look at the needs in the program, because athletics, like so many of our activities, are critical to keeping students engaged in school.”

The middle school math grant will focus on instruction at a select number of schools that have struggled in recent years. It hopes to improve instruction by helping teachers deliver lessons with more impact, thus energizing students with a renewed passion for the subject.

The district’s counseling department received funding to begin a program targeting unsafe behaviors that threaten the health and safety of elementary school students. With the purchase of age-appropriate curriculum, the project will allow counselors and school staff at district elementary to better identify and report potentially abusive situations.