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News from the Foundation

Posted: January 26, 2022

The APS Education Foundation Announces the 2022 Best In Class Nominees

Nominees will be celebrated and the winner will be announced at Gold Bar 2022 on April 29 at Sandia Resort and Casino.

After reviewing four years of grant history the APS Education Foundation narrowed down potential candidates for its highest honor, Best In Class.  Best In Class nominees are Foundation grantees that have implemented innovative programs that have not only contributed to student success, but can serve as a model to educators across the district and the state.  Their programs therefore have the potential to grow, to impact more students or provide more resources that would not otherwise be available.

The Foundation assembled a Best In Class Selection Committee that included two former winners.  After lengthy review and discussions, the Selection Committee conducted site visits.  Once site visits concluded, the Selection Committee made their recommendations to the APS Education Foundation Board of Directors’ Disbursement Committee who voted to approve the three nominees.

Where Everybody Belongs
Eisenhower Middle School

In the spring of 2016, Lisa Sahadeo of Eisenhower Middle School was awarded a Success Award (now called Schoolwide Impact Award) for “Where Everybody Belongs”.   In the spring of 2021 Rebecca Moore received a Student Clubs & Activities Award to continue the program.

In 2016, Ms. Sahadeo wrote, “Our vision is to create a school climate of welcoming, active citizens. Students leading students. Peers mentoring peers. Community supporting community. 8th grade students will learn how to lead and advocate for their 6th grade counterparts. 6th grade students will learn success, focus, and what it means to be appreciated in an inclusive environment. We expect the success of our program to be far-reaching, and our students will find value in the program beyond the scope of middle school.”  The goal of WEB is to provide peer mentorship to incoming 6th graders, creating a welcoming environment during a major transition in learning environments.  It also develops leadership skills for 8th graders who are trained to support their younger peers and are given the opportunity to create meaningful connections and experiences.

Rebecca Moore wrote, “Internally, WEB collaborates with the entire staff as it relies on staff participation such as (1) identifying students who will benefit from targeted WEB Leader coachings, (2) finding time in their schedules to permit WEB Leader "Push Ins" for class activities, and (3) joining in the school-wide WEB based assemblies. Our school staff strongly supports the WEB program and we believe that is because the staff directly sees the positive impact it has on our students.”

Next Generation Middle School Biology
Garfield STEM Magnet Middle School

Christopher Speck of Garfield STEM Magnet Middle School has received four Classroom & Grade Level Learning Awards (formerly called Horizon Awards).  He is being nominated for his collection of projects.

Mr. Speck has shown the value in project-based learning.  His students are equipped with tools and resources not seen in a middle school science classroom including pressure sensors, GPS, Raspberry Pis, hydrometers, aquariums, pumps, digital thermometers, coral reefs, BioChambers, CO2 and O2 sensors, aquaponic gardens so much more.

Mr. Speck wrote last year, “My main goal as a biology teacher is to give students a solid understanding of the natural world so they can protect it. One of my former bosses at the Advanced Materials Lab once quipped ‘Science is a race!’. That mantra drives planning and instruction. I try to overbuild my curriculum so that nothing is left out. If I do anything well, I want it to be consistently done well, and I want to add to it or make it better the following year. That is innovation.” 

Graphic Design Club
Sandia High School 

Kerri Banach Osborne of Sandia High School received two Achieve Awards (now called Student Clubs & Activities Awards) in the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2018.

In her first grant application Mrs. Osborne wrote, “The Graphics Club will create a sense of community within the school, while teaching students a valuable 21st century skill. Obtaining a professional screen printer will keep the business of printing everyday products within our school, and help develop an entrepreneurial mindset for students. This project not only benefits the students involved in the process, but the entire school community (athletic teams, student organizations, community groups) is able to see the results.”  The award purchased a printing press along with enough supplies to get the club started.  The students began taking orders for shirts as well as providing graphic design for numerous clubs and activities on campus.  Her second award allowed the club to purchase a vinyl cutter and heat press, expanding their ability to provide services to the school as they can now take orders for jerseys.

Mrs. Osborne's classes in graphic design are incredibly popular with students and, along with the club, provide real world experience, preparing students for in-demand jobs in business, design and marketing, among many others.  Her students not only serve their Sandia High School clients, but also have filled orders for other APS schools and departments.  Her innovative program has been picked up and duplicated in another APS high school.

The 2022 Best In Class Winner will be awarded $15,000 in funding.  Second place will receive $10,000 and third place will receive $5,000.  Voting opens April 18th!  Please visit APS Education Foundation in February for more information on this year’s nominees and how they plan to expand their programs if they win!