CAPS in the news!

CAPS raises over $80,000 to local schools.

December 19, 2017

 Teachers received thousands of dollars in grants from CAPS for their classroom actives and supplies

Photo contributed  


           Every year the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) has an annual fundraising event, held on Aug. 26. The event had more than 200 guests attending.

CAPS is made up completely of volunteers, including teachers, community members, parents and retired teachers. CAPS formed 11 years ago and was awarded more than $800,000 for schools, according to their website. Atascadero Unified School District’s budget has gotten tighter and tighter these last few years and the CAPS grants have become more and more important in the education of the students. This year AHS received over $80,000 from CAPS.

            Some grant recipients this year are Ms. Steyer, Ms. Bell, Ms. Beck, Mr. Bradley, Ms. McDaniel, Ms. Denzel, Ms. Hogan, Ms. Hurni, Ms. Bravo, Ms. Dery, Mr. Weatherly, Ms. Futak, Mr. Forte, Mr. Pascolla, Mr. Melzer, and Ms. Highland.

Steyer said, “I received a CAPS grant that includes art supplies for AP Studio Art and Advanced Art students. We received canvas boards and acrylic paints for an abstract painting project, linoleum block printmaking supplies for a printmaking project, and a box of mixed media art supplies and a package of paper. I am so delighted to have received this grant, as it truly helps the AP and Advanced Art classes to excel because of using a variety of quality art supplies.”

Bradley said, “This will be the fourth year of a collaborative project that brings together student talents in the creation of a digital book that is published to iTunes bookstore. A writing contest is held featuring a number of categories. Winning entries are included in the book. The grant funds are used to purchase prizes for the winning writers and a stipend for a guest writer that speaks at the awards ceremony.”

            Highland, McDaniel, and Bravo are all using their grants to take field trips. Highland said, “The grant I received from CAPS is to be used for a field trip for US history students going to Estrella Warbirds Museum. Without the grant, many of our students would miss out on learning about a great museum very close to us, and the history preserved there. Learning outside the classroom is always a memorable adventure and I’m excited for this year’s students to have the opportunity provided by funds raised by our community.”  

McDaniel said, “I was awarded two stand up desks for students. This will allow students the option to stand up for part or all of the period. It will be optional. I was awarded enough money to take all of my Honors Geometry students to Cal Poly in the spring. I plan on having them tour classrooms, meet professors and tour the dorms.”

            Bravo said, “The money that the Spanish Department got is for a future AP Spanish field trip to LA to give the students a variety of authentic experiences to help them prepare for the AP test. We are so thrilled that we were granted the max amount, $1,500, so as to make the trip as affordable as possible for the kids.”

Bell said, “My grant is a partnership with Ms. Corey and it supports the LIT club. Every year we use CAPS money to take a field trip to Barnes and Nobles to pick out books for the AHS library. Students are each given a budget and they select books. It’s really fun.”

Hurni said, “The CAPS grant money that I received as gone toward art supply packages that will be given as prizes to the winners of our Wellness Center art contest.”

            Overall, CAPS is a great organization for raising money for the teachers at Atascadero High School, and without it none of this would be possible.


Teachers Receive CAPS Help

March 3, 2017

By Riley Shiel

     AHS students went on field trips, hosted guest speakers, and were able to participate in fun projects thanks to grants from CAPS. This year several of teachers from AHS received grants from the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS), which raised $90,000 dollars for the Atascadero Unified School District and over the last ten years they have raised over half of a million dollars.

     Ms. Highland’s US history class at AHS will be taking a field trip to the Paso Robles Airport to “learn about and look at American aircraft, vehicles, and displays about World war I and II,” along with similar exhibits from other U.S. wars. The students will also have an opportunity to speak with several war veterans. The trip will happen later in February.

     Photography students got supplies for several projects, including the “Day in the Life” project, from Mr. Pascolla’s grant. The CAPS grant, according to Mr. Pascolla, “has allowed students to make larger color prints… of a professional quality.”

     Geometry students got to learn about shapes from local artist Trisha Smith, thanks to the grant Ms. Denzel received. The students worked on turning an organic bear into a geometric bear, relating it to their regular geometry classes. This two-day project happened Dec. 12 through Dec. 15.
     Part of the CAPS grant that Ms. Ryburn received went to the AP Environmental Science class’s field trip to Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Dec. 10 and 11. The grant also paid for cabins in Santa Cruz KOA campground for students to spend the night in. The goal of the trip, according to Ms. Ryburn, “ …was to provide science students with opportunities to… explore specific problems with a depth not easily achieved otherwise.”

     Mr. Spiller’s grant allows the weight training classes to go to the Atascadero Cross Fit gym. Cross fit is a community-based gym with members of all ages and backgrounds. A high intensity workout, cross fit challenges people of all ages to work harder at fitness. This workout style incorporates skills and techniques from a wide variety if sports and workouts.

     The library adviser Ms. Bell and Mr. Muff collaborated on their grant. The money went to the LIT (Librarians in Training) club’s annual field trip to the Barnes and Nobles book store to buy books for the library. The students manage their own budget to buy books of their own choosing. LIT club meets on Wednesdays in the library.

Ms. Hogan’s grant was used to support the annual AHS writing contest. The funds were given to “prize winners and thank-you gifts for the Student Review Board.”

     Show Choir went to a four-day competition, recently thanks to a CAPS grant of $1,500, which paid for the bus transportation.

     Other schools in the district that received grants include several elementary schools, Atascadero Middle School, Del Rio and West Mall Alternative School. 

Submitted Article 

On August 27 2016, the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) celebrated its tenth annual Evening for Education at the Springhill Suites. Over two hundred community members attended the event which included a night of fabulous dining, casino games, and silent and live auction bidding. Due to the community's overwhelming generosity, CAPS will be awarding $90,000 to AUSD teachers and classrooms this year, bringing the total dollars granted over the last ten years to almost $600,000! 
   Many thanks to the CAPS Committee members for organizing this entertaining and successful event. Thank you to Lori Bickel and Kathy Peterson, Co-Chair Persons, Nicole Hider, Secretary, Mike Bickel, Treasurer, Melanie Karp, Live Auction and Grants, Joanne Rogoff and Susie McCormick-Lilley , Silent Auction, Angie Erb and Kathy Brown, Decor , Hayley Mattson, Publicity, Robyn Schmidt, Sponsorship, Jerry Tanimoto and Glenda Highland, Casino, Jessica Hamilton, Invitations and catalogs. 

On behalf of CAPS, we wish to thank the following sponsors: 
   Platinum - In Kind Sponsors - K-Jon's Fine Jewelry, Opolo Winery 
   $2,000 Gold Sponsors - Atascadero District Teachers Association, Atascadero Unified  School District, Wysong Construction, Pambrun Bracing, BHE Renewables, Topaz Solar Farms, Ravatt Albrecht 
   $1,500 Copper Sponsors - Greg Malik Real Estate Group 
   $1,000 Silver Sponsors -Solarponics , Inc., RSH Construction, Inc., Kathy Peterson, Debbie Arnold, 5th District Supervisor - Heritage Oaks Bank - The Sign Place -Above Grade Engineering, Inc. 
   $500 Bronze Sponsors - Atascadero Glass, Kitchell, Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, Andre Morris and Buttery, Wayne and Diana Cooper, K-Man Cycle and Run, Rocky Canyon Kennels, George Galvan, Connexion Software, Inc., Mike Obayashi 
   $250 Friend of CAPS! - CoastHills Credit Union, Atascadero Pet Center, Atascadero Police Association, Jim Patterson, Lynelle Newitt-Hollarman , Tom and Iris Thompson 
   $100 Casino Table Sponsor - Melanie and Tim Karp, Idler's Home, Modica Financial and Tax, Susie and Bob Lilley, Drs Chalker & Peterson, The Mattson Family, Ray M. Buban, EA Financial and Tax Service, Primary Eyecare, California Meridian Insurance Services, Inc., Jerry Tanimoto 
   CAPS is dedicated to providing teacher grants to support educational programs for all Atascadero public schools. As always, the grants that teachers wrote for this year were varied and interesting! Here are just a few: one school will get a greenhouse. Another school asked for musical instruments. Three elementary schools ordered Lego Robotics kits. CAPS is funding 14 field trips From the Aquarium at Avila Beach to the San Jose Tech Museum to La Purisima Mission to San Francisco. CAPS purchased 65 Chromebooks sending some to almost every school. There is a variety of PE equipment including Pickle Ball! CAPS purchased headphones, cameras, lots of engineering equipment, art supplies, and even a truck load of mulch. The grant materials are mostly ordered by now and should start being delivered very soon. If you check out our website in a couple of weeks you should be able to see photos of all the teachers who received grants along with a list of what they received. 
   The absolute best thing about the event this year was seeing the amazing support that we got from the community. If you go to our website:, you can see the LONG list of our donors and sponsors. These people helped us make the amazing auction items that helped us be so successful. What a great place to live! 

   Joanne Rogoff
 Kathy Peterson 
   Lori Bickel

Fall means tarantulas and CAPS 
Well , I saw my first tarantula yesterday crossing our driveway near the house. I usually see them up on the main road, coming from the hills and traveling toward our driveway. This fellow was moving right along on his mission, whatever that was. Tarantulas always herald Fall for me even though the season is marked as beginning Sept. 22 on my calendar. Personally it's much more fun to go by a big, black, furry fella than a calendar from Staples! 
   Fall means school starts and that means that the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) presents its signature fundraiser, "An Evening for Education." They did just that last Saturday night at SpringHill Suites Marriott Atascadero. I was invited to join Jeannie and Greg Malik at their table with Linda and Tom Zirk, Dennis Eaton, Shirley Summers, Joanne Peters, Melanie Karp and Francia Foss. 
   I remember when CAPS was started by a local woman, Colleen Palermo, 10 years ago. As a parent, Colleen saw a need for an organization to raise funds in order to offer grants and support for educational programs in all Atascadero public schools. She encouraged other parents to join in the effort, and as a result CAPS has answered over $500,000 in grant requests since the first event in 2007. Generous sponsors help cover all of the overhead costs for the evening, allowing 100 percent of the money raised at the event to go directly to the schools through the grant program. 
   I know the committee was hoping to raise at least $100,000 that evening, from a silent and live auction, a raffle , and casino games. And guess what? I talked with Melanie Karp, a CAPS committee member and she announced that they raised $105,000 at the event. 
   "Our community is so generous and supportive. CAPS members are proud to be able to help students, teachers, and schools in Atascadero with grant dollars. We are also excited to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the organization," she said. Donn Clickard acted as Master of Ceremonies and the ever-popular Doug Filipponi was the auctioneer. He loves to "work the crowd" to bring in lots of money, and he does it very well. Thanks go to both of them for helping to raise all that money for education! 
   Kathy Peterson and Lori Bickel co-chaired the event with help from a great committee. Great evening! I'm making everyone involved in CAPS my "Community Heroes" for this week. Congratulations, and keep up your good work! 

Evening for Education raises the bar 
CAPS meets new AUSD administrators with warm welcome 
School board member and event emcee Donn Clickard shares the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools message during the 2015 Evening for Education at the Pavilion on the Lake on Saturday, Aug. 22. Nicholas Mattson/ Atascadero News 


ATASCADERO The Committee for Atascadero Public Schools hosted the ninth annual Evening for Education on Saturday, and a sold-out crowd enjoyed a meal, live and silent auction, casino night, and more as CAPS raised money to deliver on its mission to provide grants to support educational programs for all Atascadero public schools. 
   CAPS co-chairpersons Kathy Peterson and Lori Bickel raised the bar for the event, and Saturday's fundraiser brought in more than in 2014. 
   "We made enough money that we will be able to give away $65,000," Peterson said. "Which will bring the total that we have given over $500,000." 
   Since 2007, CAPS has given directly to Atascadero Unified School District teachers and classrooms to improve the overall education of Atascadero students. After dinner, Jean Sutton, a veteran fifth-grade teacher from San Benito , shared how her experience in the classroom was improved as a result of grants received from CAPS over the years. 
   Tickets to the dinner were available to the public , and a wide variety of people were on hand for the event teachers, administrators, community supporters, local charity leaders, and more were present for the charitable event. 
   In December of 2014, the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools joined community organization of Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, and AGF president Wayne Cooper was present at the dinner with his wife Diana. 
   "I am really glad that the CAPS organization is a part of the Greyhound Foundation," school board member Clickard said. "It really gives us balance as an organization. They fit so well into what we do, and our mission, because it's all about the kids." 
   The Coopers were seated at a table adjacent to former Atascadero High School Principal Jim Stecher and his wife Janet, and also next to a table with community superstars Keith and Robyn Schmidt is just an example of the excitement the CAPS Evening for Education creates for the support of Atascadero public schools. 
   "It went really well," Peterson said. "We think we had about 210 people there, and we did really well. People had fun, and enjoyed the evening and the casino." 
   Among more than 200 attendees, which could all be named as strong supporters of Atascadero schools, were three 2016 community stars County Supervisor Debbie Arnold, school board member Mary Kay Mills, and Marnie Perry. But the evening was not a who's who, but instead was a celebration of the new year of education, a fundraiser to provide much-needed resources to the school district educators, and a chance to see the community of Atascadero in action. 
   "It's very nice," Peterson said about the support from the community. "We have pretty much the same crew that comes back every year and they just get right to it." 
   Long-time CAPS volunteer, and Dancing With Our Stars committee member Jeannie Malik echoed Peterson's statement. "What really helped was people from the past came back to volunteer," Malik said. "We had about 35 volunteers. We could not have done it without their support. They rolled up their sleeves and got the job done." 
   In it's ninth year, the Evening for Education has a strong supporting cast of volunteers that provided all year, as well as for the setup of the event which was threatened when the tablecloths did not arrive. 
   "On Friday afternoon, we had the Pavilion from 3 to 6 p.m., " Peterson said. "That is when you get everything set up. When we got there, we were told that the table cloths were not there." 
   Scrambling to find a solution, and finding out that the vendor that was supposed to supply the tablecloths was unable to fulfill the duty, the CAPS crew reached out for help. 
   "Everybody got on their phones and started calling," Peterson said, "and by 4 p.m. the tablecloths were all on the tables." 
   Overcoming obstacles through community support rings clearly as the nature of the CAPS Evening for Education 
   "The community was amazing," Peterson said. "All the sponsors we had, with a few new ones this year. Joanne Rogoff, former San Benito Elementary principal, was our silent auction chair, and got a small committee around and got things, I think we had slightly over 70 items and competitive bidding." 
   Clickard emceed the event, sharing a lifetime of pride as an educator in the community, and delivering an impressive message that was met with generosity by the attendees of the event. 
   Rocking the live auction, Clickard and Doug Filipponi helped boost the generous spirit of the sold-out crowd while a list of impressive donated prizes were bid on. "Doug Filipponi and Donn Clickard tagteamed seamlessly," Malik said. "Doug really took the live auction to another level." 
   One of the outstanding items even enticed the auctioneer, Filipponi, to bid on the item himself. Two premium seats at the 2016 Dancing With Our Stars event were auctioned off for a total of $925, with Filipponi joining in the bidding up to $675. 
   During the evening, Clickard introduced a handful of "rookies" that have taken new positions with AUSD this year. Starting at the top, Tom Butler entered AUSD as the district's superintendent from the assistant superintendent position at the Lucia Mar School District. Former Atascadero High School Principal E.J. Rossi took the assistant superintendent of educational services position of AUSD, veteran AHS teacher Bill Neely stepped up to fill Rossi's seat as principal of the high school, and Kurt Eichperger followed Butler from Lucia Mar and fills the position of assistant superintendent of human resources for AUSD. "At the school board meeting, I heard the word excited used 29 times after I started counting," Clickard said, "and I think that is what we are feeling throughout the district. We can be really great, and I think under Tom Butler's leadership, we are going to do that." 
   The 2015 Evening for Education was a fantastic way to welcome Butler to AUSD, and the money raised will go to fulfill needs around the district as he works on moving AUSD into the future. 
   "The CAPS event was a good welcome to the new Atascadero administrators," Clickard said. "I really had a fun evening. The benefit of course is to our kids." 
   Aside from raising money, feeding folks, and appreciating the strong community support that shapes Atascadero, the evening was an opportunity to celebrate some of the people and organizations that made significant contributions. 
   K-Jon's Fine Jewelers and Opolo Vineyards were the event's platinum sponsors, and both made big contributions to the evening's success, and the food served by Pacific Harvest came with high praise. "I applaud Pacific Harvest for an excellent meal," Malik said. "They did an amazing job." The 2015 installment of the CAPS Evening for Education was a resounding success, and the Atascadero school district will have more of what they need to deliver to Atascadero students. For more information on CAPS, or to get involved with the annual event, go to atascaderocaps .org.

CAPS holds successful 'Evening for Education' 


Congratulations to the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) for another successful "Evening for Education." I joined Greg and Jeannie Malik at their table, along with Grenda and William Ernst, Doug and Kathy Filipponi, and Donn Clickard. 
   Donn served as MC for the event, while Doug acted as auctioneer, helping to bring in thousands of dollars from the supporters in attendance. 
   The committee consisted of the following devoted members: co-chairmen Kathy Peterson and Lori Bickel, Jeannie Malik, Nicole Hider, Joanne Rogoff, Melanie Karp, Robyn Schmidt, and Angie Erb. Glenda Highland and Jerry Tanimoto were in charge of the casino area. Of course, there were many volunteers helping out to keep things running smoothly. 
   I was impressed with the report that last year CAPS was able to fund over $50,000 in grant requests from educators in the Atascadero schools. Since the first "Evening for Education" in 2007, the group has given away over $435,000 in grants. I haven't heard, but they were hoping to reach over $500,000 with the added income from last Saturday's event. 
   Pacific Harvest Catering, owned by Seth and Dawn White, and located at the Pavilion, provided a wonderful buffet dinner. I loved those au-gratin potatoes along with everything else that Seth prepares so well. The servers are always "on top" of everything and I appreciate how well they do their job! Thank you all! 
   Opolo Vineyards was the exclusive winery for the evening. I enjoy their "sparkling" wine and I suggest you try it if you haven't already. Music was provided by a great group of musicians called "The Usual Suspects." They were good and offered a variety for listening and dancing. 

CAPS raises funds, and the bar 
Nicholas Mattson/Atascadero News School board member and event emcee Donn Clickard shares the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools message during the 2015 Evening for Education at the Pavilion on the Lake on Saturday, Aug. 22. 


End of the year science project 

Students in Wendy McKeown's class at Atascadero Middle School finished the school year with a memorable assignment, dissecting sheep's eyeballs as part of their science curriculum. The project was made possible by a grant from the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) for $500, which paid for enough sheep's eyes and gloves for the entire 7th grade to take part. Pictured above are students Noah Meade, left, and Julia Smith. At left is James Singewald. 
   Photos by Luke Phillips/ 
   Atascadero News

CAPS Evening for Education raises $54K
Committee for Atascadero Public Schools co-chairs Melanie Karp, left, and Kathy Peterson, right, present AUSD Superintendent Deborah Bowers with a check for $54,275 ? the proceeds from this year?s Evening for Education event. Photo by Luke Phillips/ Atascadero News


ATASCADERO The generosity of the residents of Atascadero was more than evident at a meeting of the Atascadero Unified School District board of trustees last week, as the board accepted approximately $86,000 in donations from the public. 
   Committee for Atascadero Public Schools co-chair Melanie Karp presented the board with a check made out for $54,275, the amount raised at this year's CAPS Evening for Education event. The event included a variety of fundraising activities including live and silent auctions and a casino night. Karp said that the event was a "great success" and plans are already being put together for next year's event. 
   Funds raised at the CAPS event are distributed to AUSD teachers in the form of grants for specific items requested by the teachers. Karp says that AUSD Superintendent Deborah Bowers has been provided with a big binder full of grants that have been approved by CAPS. 
   "There are some phenomenal ideas," she said. "All the way from sheep eyes to microscopes to classroom-centered activities for kindergarteners. There are some very ingenious ideas from the teachers." 
   The Evening for Education event continues to become more successful each year and the donation last week constitutes a significant increase over last year's total of $43,000. 
   "That's impressive that every year it gets to be a little more," Bowers said. "We have an awesome community." 
   School board president Donn Clickard also praised the generosity of the community . 
   "When you think about all of the fundraisers that happen in this community for all of the various causes and lots of recipients, our kids are certainly the beneficiaries of a great community," he said. 
   The board also received a donation from the Atascadero Greyhound foundation in the amount of $23,000, partially raised through the recent Colony Band Festival, and another from the San Gabriel Elementary Parent Teacher Association for $11,000. Superintendent Bowers reiterated her point that Atascadero is an "awesome community" . 
   "The support for CAPS is one recent example," she said. "Colony Days and the band festival are another example . But it's beyond just the school district, it's the entire Atascadero Community. But within our school district we have a pretty awesome community too and I appreciate the positive relationships that we develop amongst ourselves with our staff, with each other, with our colleagues. It's always a feeling of 'we can do this together' . We do what's best for kids and that's always our main goal." 

Lee Perkins    Dec. 5, 2014  Atascadero News

There is always much written at the end of every year, happy and sad, important events, goals met, good and bad a year in review of what happens in our community. I've selected two outstanding events that highlights the spirit of Atascadero.

   For Atascadero, one of the extraordinary events was Atascadero's new Library "opening its doors" in June to the public.

   Another significant event happened in August and was put on by the resolute Committee for Atascadero Pubic Schools, CAPS. They raised an amazing $54,000 from their summer fundraiser in August, CAPS Evening for Education. One organizer voiced, "We have a pretty awesome community, positive relationships and a feeling of 'we can do this together.' CAPS and our community do what's best for kids and that's always their main goal."

   As The Atascadero Unified School District budget has tightened, CAPS grants have become more and more important in helping to educate the children of Atascadero. Over the last 8 years, CAPS has been able to give nearly $435,000 to AUSD teachers to fill the grant requests that they have written.

   Since its inception, CAPS has held seven fundraisers and has been the recipient of the "Organization of the Year" award from the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce 2012 and received the 2012 Gold Award from the California Teachers Association.

   CAPS is totally a volunteer organization made up of parents, teachers, retired teachers and community members. If you believe in education, are a parent and/ or grandparent, you know our schools need community support. CAPS is always in need of volunteers particularly for their annual CAPS Evening for Education (it rocks with dancing and a terrific silent auction!) the end of the summer. Their website is

Lee Perkins moved to Atascadero with her family in 1986 and is now retired. She has worked as a secretary, office administrator/public relations, and school counselor K-12 .

Local students head to SLO for library book- buying trip 

December 26, 2014 Atascadero News

Photo Courtesy of Kris Bell From left to right, Atascadero High School students Amanda C., Abbi W., Library Assistant Catherine Rawlings, Barnes & Noble store manager Nora Picucci, District Librarian Kris Bell, and AHS students Audrey R., Cera R. In the front row are AHS students Simone S., Owen S., and Brian C. 

Staff Report 

The Atascadero High School LIT (Librarians in Training) Club participated in its second annual book-buying trip at the San Luis Obispo Barnes & Nobles store on Saturday, Dec. 13. 

The LIT Club meets weekly during lunch to discuss books, ways to promote reading, create displays and learn about the inner workings of a library; especially book selection. For the past couple months they have been reading book reviews, soliciting suggestions from fellow students and brainstorming ideas of new books to purchase for the library. 

With the help of a grant from the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools 

and matched funding from the district, each student in the club received a budget and was able to select and purchase more than 200 books to help stock the shelves at their school library. 

"This project makes me feel like I am making a real difference at my school," said Audrey Roben, a sophomore. 

Kris Bell, the District Library Teacher, has partnered with the AHS English Department to solicit funding from CAPS the past two years. English teachers Carla Wingenbach and Emily Cherry have both helped support this project. 

"This is a great project, a way to empower students using real-world experiences," Bell said. "From reading journals to find the best book reviews , to talking with other students, to maintaining a budget, they really get a sense of the big picture and they are all such strong readers and book lovers that they get to apply their knowledge in a proactive way." 

Barnes & Nobles store manager Nora Picucci and Community Relations manager Jenn Healey assisted the students with locating items and also offered a "behind the scenes" tour. 

The students ended their day at the SLO City-County Public Library where Youth Services Coordinator Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer gave them a tour and talked about public librarianship. 

Fall CAPS Event Provides Much Needed Funding for

 StudentsNovember, 2014

Atascadero High School Hilltop News

by Star Kruger

             This year’s 8th Annual CAPS event was held on Aug. 23 at the Atascadero Elks Lodge. It was a huge success; they even sold out. The event featured live music by The Usual Suspects, and Kathy Stornetta catered the delicious food. Thanks to the hard working sponsors and the generous community participants and donors, the event was able to raise enough money to fund $55,000 in grants to AUSD teachers.          

            Once the money is raised, the grant team met to read and evaluate the 105 grants that were submitted. Only AUSD teachers were allowed to participate. The total amount requested by the teachers was $64,000.

            At the high school, 16 teachers who were awarded grants include: Glenda Highland, a bus trip and a museum entrance, Alan Pietsch, a ballet barre, Emy Bruzzo, a trip to competition, Nate Conrad, misc. items, Julie Steyer, various art supplies, Mike Melzer, two ipads, Irene McDaniel, two ipads, Emily Cherry, books, Jeff Spiller, two ipads, Kevin Jones three Chrome Books, Dawn Pimienta, software, Annie Turner, a trip to Getty Museum. As a whole they received $12,280 in grant money.

            The Show Choir provided some entertainment at the event and, for the first time ever; they had a Casino at their event. They also had a live and a silent auction.

CAPS event raises thousands for local schools

'Evening for Education' a big success


CAPS board member and B Loved owner Lori Bickel, right, receives a trophy after agreeing to donate $5,000 to local schools at the Committee For Atascadero Public School?s Evening for Education fundraiser at the Atascadero Elks Lodge Saturday. Photo by Luke Phillips/ Atascadero News point out that a whole team of people were involved.


ATASCADERO The 8th Annual Evening for Education event, hosted by the Committee For Atascadero Public Schools at the Atascadero Elks Lodge Saturday, was once again a huge success, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for local schools.

Event organizer Kathy Peterson says that 300 tickets for the event sold out a week ahead of time and the Evening for Education had more sponsors this year than ever before, a fact that Peterson attributes to "the generous people of Atascadero" .

Peterson was recognized with a bouquet of flowers for the hard work she put into planning the event along with fellow event chair Melanie Karp, but the two were quick to

"It really wasn't Kathy and I, it was our team," Karp said. "Because we are a team that put this together and we're just so happy that you're all here supporting our schools. This community is amazing."

Karp recognized each member of the event planning team, which included CAPS members Jeannie Malik , Nicole Hider, Lori Bickel , Jeanne Anderson, Brook Black, Karina Haskell, Angie Erb, Robyn Schmidt and Paige Rutherford. The event consisted of silent and live auctions featuring items donated by local businesses and individuals and presided over by auctioneer Douglas Filipponi and Master of Ceremonies Donn Clickard. The event also featured a Casino Night element for the first time this year with numerous games available including roulette, craps and blackjack.

All of the proceeds from the event will be used to fund grants requested by teachers in the Atascadero Unified School District. Over the past eight years, CAPS has raised more than $380,000 for Atascadero's schools, which has funded grants for everything from field trips and learning materials to iPads and classroom projectors.

During the "Stack the Deck" portion of the event, Filiponi asked the audience if they would be willing to donate certain amounts of money , starting with $10,000 and then dividing by half. While nobody agreed to donate $10,000, CAPS board member Lori Bickel agreed to donate $5,000 and was the only member of the audience willing to do so. Dozens of audience members agreed to make smaller donations.

Long-time Atascadero teacher Mark Glenesk spoke at the event, sharing a story about how he received a phone call from a parent thanking him for teaching a student who had graduated years 

 AUSD accepts $86K in donations from public

CAPS Evening for Education raises $54K


Committee for Atascadero Public Schools co-chairs Melanie Karp, left, and Kathy Peterson, right, present AUSD Superintendent Deborah Bowers with a check for $54,275 ? the proceeds from this year?s Evening for Education event. Photo by Luke Phillips/ Atascadero News




ATASCADERO The generosity of the residents of Atascadero was more than evident at a meeting of the Atascadero Unified School District board of trustees last week, as the board accepted approximately $86,000 in donations from the public.

   Committee for Atascadero Public Schools co-chair Melanie Karp presented the board with a check made out for $54,275, the amount raised at this year's CAPS Evening for Education event. The event included a variety of fundraising activities including live and silent auctions and a casino night. Karp said that the event was a "great success" and plans are already being put together for next year's event.

   Funds raised at the CAPS event are distributed to AUSD teachers in the form of grants for specific items requested by the teachers. Karp says that AUSD Superintendent Deborah Bowers has been provided with a big binder full of grants that have been approved by CAPS.

   "There are some phenomenal ideas," she said. "All the way from sheep eyes to microscopes to classroom-centered activities for kindergarteners. There are some very ingenious ideas from the teachers."

   The Evening for Education event continues to become more successful each year and the donation last week constitutes a significant increase over last year's total of $43,000.

   "That's impressive that every year it gets to be a little more," Bowers said. "We have an awesome community."

   School board president Donn Clickard also praised the generosity of the community .

   "When you think about all of the fundraisers that happen in this community for all of the various causes and lots of recipients, our kids are certainly the beneficiaries of a great community," he said.

   The board also received a donation from the Atascadero Greyhound foundation in the amount of $23,000, partially raised through the recent Colony Band Festival, and another from the San Gabriel Elementary Parent Teacher Association for $11,000. Superintendent Bowers reiterated her point that Atascadero is an "awesome community" .

   "The support for CAPS is one recent example," she said. "Colony Days and the band festival are another example . But it's beyond just the school district, it's the entire Atascadero Community. But within our school district we have a pretty awesome community too and I appreciate the positive relationships that we develop amongst ourselves with our staff, with each other, with our colleagues. It's always a feeling of 'we can do this together' . We do what's best for kids and that's always our main goal."

 CAPS asking for support in contest


ATASCADERO Over the past five years, the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools has given nearly $380,000 to the Atascadero Unified School District to fulfill grant requests made by the teachers of Atascadero, and is now in competition for thousands of dollars as a part of a KSBY and PG&E giveaway to "Your Favorite Charity on the Central Coast." 
   CAPS is one of more than 150 nonprofit organizations that entered into the contest, and after the first cut, the winner will be determined by a public vote. 
   The community of Atascadero has an opportunity to help CAPS earn a prize between $2,000 and $10,000 by voting for the organization on 
   One of the original CAPS chairpersons, Jeannie Malik, wrote a 100-word entry to earn advancement in the contest, and after the first cut, they are one of 22 left in the running for the prize money. 
   "It would be another source of funding," Peterson said. "The more money we make, the more money we can give away." 
   CAPS supplements the needs of the AUSD with donations of grant money based on the student population of each school, so every child receives equal attention . "We fill about about 100 grants per year," Peterson said. "One of the rules is that we will not buy anything that the school district is supposed to buy, but as the money gets tighter, we overstep that rule at times." 
   Beginning on Monday, July 21, through Friday, August 1, those with internet access can register and vote once per day for CAPS to win. According to the press release however, the voting is regulated by a voter's IP address , and if an IP address is used more than once per day, all the votes from that IP address are erased. 
   The technical guidelines of the voting process gives a big advantage to the organization whose supporters understand and follow the rules of the voting process. Winning the grand prize will provide a monetary gift to CAPS, but will also provide a great advertising opportunity for the organization. 
   CAPS has held several successful fundraisers that help keep the funding for AUSD programs going, and will hold its 2014 event at the Atascadero Elks Lodge on Saturday, August 23. The dinner will be catered by Kathy Stornetta Catering, and music will be played by The Usual Suspects. Tickets to the event are $50 and can be purchased on the CAPS website or by mail at P.O. Box 730, Atascadero . 
   Fundraising and sponsorships fuel the grant support that CAPS delivers to AUSD, and the sponsors have given about $20,000 to the organization so far this year. 
   The local sponsors include K-Jons , Opolo, Greg Malik Real Estate Group, Mid American Solar, Pambrun Bracing, ADTA, K-Man , Debbie Arnold, Kathy Peterson , Heritage Oaks Bank, Wysong Construction, BLoved , Rabobank, Diana and Wayne Cooper, Office Practicum , Leavitt Family Dental, Melanie and Tim Karp, Vineyard Industry Products Kitchell, Mike Obayashi, SolarPonics Energy Systems, The Sign Place, Atascadero Elks Lodge, Dr. Chalker and Peterson, RSH Construction, Atascadero Police Association , and Davis Body Shop. 
   The CAPS mission is provide grants to support educational programs for all Atascadero public schools. During the 2013-14 school year, CAPS gave $43,000 to AUSD teachers, and the money goes a long way in the classrooms around Atascadero . A list of grant recipients can be found at the CAPS website. 
   More information about CAPS can be found at www., or by email at atascaderocaps@ 
   To vote for CAPS in the KSBY contest, go to www.

March 12, 2014

CAPS Evening for Education raises money for classroom grants

Aubree Middleton  - AHS Hilltop News


The Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) holds an annual “Evening for Education” to raise money for programs to help students and teachers be successful in the classroom. Since the budget cuts that have occurred over the past several years have decimated the amount of money available for projects, field trips, and supplies, CAPS has come to the rescue by offering grants to teachers. Next year’s event will be held August 23, 2014 at the Taft Barn in south Atascadero. Organizers are looking for volunteers to keep the program alive and well.

            Last year’s event raised enough money for the organization to award $43,000 to Atascadero teachers for projects that directly benefit students. There are both live and silent auctions at the event, along with gourmet food and music. CAPS is hoping to get even more donations for this year’s event. Last year some of the donors included $20,500 of goods and services to CAPS. Those donors include: K-Jons Jewelry, Opolo Winery, Greg Malik Real Estate Group, Dr. Jason Pambrun, Mid-American Solar, Wysong Construction, Mike Obayashi Architect, Atascadero District Teachers Association, Mission Bank, K-Man Cycle and Run, Solarponics, Debbie Arnold, First Solar, Madrone Landcapes, Rabobank, Diana and Wayne Cooper, Heritage Oaks Bank, Vineyard Industry Products, Wine Country Pack and Ship, Aaron Sherer, San Luis Sports Therapy, Atascadero Police Association, Atascadero Trail Riders, M.E. Avila Construction Corp., and Big Al’s Shave Ice. Some of the donated items included a weekend in a vacation home, dinners, artwork, and baskets that have multiple items that go with a theme. Many people just give monetary donations.

            Many Atascadero High School teachers wrote grant applications and were awarded last year, including the following:

Mr. Pascolla, who was awarded funds for a color printer.

Ms. Wingenbach received a grant to purchase new books.

Mr. Pietsch got the funding for a dance show.

Ms. McDaniel was able to purchase 25 solar calculators.

Ms. Williams was able to purchase an iPad and an Apple TV software.

Ms. Highland was able to fund a trip to the Warbirds Museum.

Mr. Muff was funded for field trip to see Hamlet at PCPA.

Ms. Harback and Ms. Steyer were able to purchase miscellaneous art supplies.

Ms. Gulassa was able to purchase new magazines for her class to read.

Mr. Conrad received enough money to get new recording equipment.

Ms. Tingley will be able to fund a trip to the Special Olympics for her students.

Ms. Bray was awarded funding to take student trips to Cal Poly.

Ms. Lombard was awarded funding to purchase an iPad.

Ms. Bruzzo was awarded funding for a trip to Musical Theater Competitions of America.

Ms. Turner was awarded funding to take students on a trip to the deYoung Museum.

Ms. DeLuca was funded for an iPad with case purchase.

Mr. Miron was funded for an iPad 4 and router. 


This group of happy teachers received generous CAPS grants for classroom projects, field trips, and educational supplies and equipment. Photo contributed

Happy feet: CAPS gives ballet shoes to AJH students
Luke Phillips/Atascadero News Atascadero Junior High drama instructor Donna Kehl holds a pair of ballet slippers that were donated through the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools. The school received 47 pairs of slippers that will be used by both the drama department and the school choir.


ATASCADERO Drama and choir students at Atascadero Junior High School will be looking much more spiffy on stage thanks to generous donations from the community through the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools. 
   AJH drama teacher Donna Kehl wrote a grant asking CAPS for 47 pairs of ballet shoes for her drama class and says she was surprised when her request was granted. 
   "I didn't think it would be approved because it was kind of an off-the-wall request," Kehl said. "But they loved it." 
   The slippers arrived just in time for AJH students to use them in their production of Disney's Aladdin Junior this past November and Kehl says they'll be using them for years to come. "We'll have these shoes for years so it will help our program save money in the future," she said. "We won't have to be scrounging around for shoes for every play we do. So to have long term, high quality shoes that we can just pull out year after year and not have to worry about matching shoes for costumes is very cool." 
   Before receiving the slippers , Kehl says students had to wear their own personal shoes and were often left scrambling to find shoes appropriate for each play. She says she's even lent students her own wedding shoes and her husband's Navy shoes or borrowed them from friends or members of the community . 
   "We just kind of scrounged together whatever we had," she said. "So it was nice that I didn't have to do that this time." 
   The slippers cost about $20 per pair $990 total and came from the Web site as requested by Kehl. They're all black, all leather and range in size from size 5 to size 10. 
   "They're high-quality ballet shoes," Kehl said. "I thought that they'd last for a number of years for our drama and choir departments." 
   Kehl says she chose black shoes because of they match with most costumes and also because it allowed them to be utilized by the school choir as well. Kehl says the choir got marked down for appearance during recent competitions for not having matching shoes. 
   "I found that in my drama productions having black works the best most of the time, especially since a lot of our plays are period pieces," she said. "And the choir can use them and they'll all have the same color shoes. It's worked out well for both drama and choir." 
   Kehl says the AJH choir will wear the slippers at three more scheduled performances before the end of the school year and the drama students will be wearing them during their production of Disney's Peter Pan Jr. on June 5, 6, and 7. 
"We're going to have pirates and fairies and mermaids and lost boys and I think that we'll be able to have all the kids in our play wear the ballet flats," she said. 

   In addition to providing a uniform look, Kehl says the slippers also give dancers a better grip on the slippery wood floors of the AJH stage and will lead to less falls and injuries during performances and rehearsals. 
   Kehl says the slippers will help the drama and choir departments tremendously and sent her thanks to the CAPS organization and all of the community members who donated to the cause.

CAPS grants bring success to Santa Rosa classrooms
Dedicated teachers reduce behavioral challenges, increase learning
Nov. 6, 2013 


ATASCADERO A group of teachers at Santa Rosa Elementary say that items they received through grants from the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools are already being put to good use and are making a big difference in the learning habits of students. 
   Several teachers at the school have used funds from the grants to buy teaching materials that align with the new Common Core Standards, which are being implemented throughout the state in place of the STAR assessment system. 
   Santa Rosa kindergarten teachers Teresa Jenkins, Robin Randall and Lynn Hendrixson, along with first-grade teacher Diane Bacon all say they used CAPS grant funding to buy items known as math manipulatives , which provides a more tactile, visual and hands-on tool for learning mathematics that they say are already helping to keep students more engaged . 
   "Our kids used to just have to be able to read a number and write a number and maybe count now they're supposed to, in kindergarten, start knowing math facts to five," Jenkins said. "So they need to know that one and four go together to make five , two and three, five and zero" so these (math manipulatives ) are things you can use to help to visualize it and see it." 
   Two types of math manipulatives purchased by the teachers include Rekenreks, an item similar to an abacus with lines of colored beads students can use to keep track of numbers as they perform calculations, and Ten Frames, which involve a grid of ten squares with markers to keep count. Giant magnetic versions, know as "demo" models, are also available, allowing teachers to demonstrate math concepts to the entire classroom. Bacon says that the new teaching tools are already making a big difference and are speeding up the learning process for students. 
   "They're learning that 'one' is not just a line on the paper," she said. "They're getting a broader, deeper number sense. My kids are at the end of October where they would normally be at the end of January . We're actually doing expanded notation to 100 now. They were doing that the other day and they were blowing me away." 
   Randall says that the manipulative objects provide a visual aspect that can help kids understand abstract mathematic concepts. 
   "It just means so much more to a child they can visualize things so much better when they're able to manipulate ," she said. Jenkins agreed, saying "We're not just confined to saying 'write that number, point out that number, count that number' . Now they can really represent it in a deeper way. It's been really exciting. I absolutely love teaching math this way." 
   The teachers reported that the new teaching methods are also having an effect on student behavior, keeping students more engaged with learning and leaving them less time for goofing off. 
   "They're busy," Bacon said. "They're not sitting listening to me they're telling me and exploring and figuring it out and I'm just sort of a facilitator now. It's doing what's natural for them to do at that age instead of us shoving something down their throats that are kind of alien to them at that point. My kids are so much more engaged in everything that we're doing. They're not just listening to us talking about it." 
   Bacon says she didn't even order textbooks for math this year and has been given permission to fully implement the more hands-on Common Core approach. 
   "Common Core gave us permission to not just teach from that book and old standards ," she said. "It gave us permission to look at things in all these different ways and take more time in our teaching ." 

Jenkins says that she, along with many other teachers, find the new methods refreshing as well. "That was my biggest happy moment," Jenkins said. "Just being given permission to do what we know is right. Just using experience and what we've used working with children all these years." 
   All four teachers along with speech therapist Cherie Hovey who received an iPad full of apps to help children with speech issues say that the progress made this year would not have been possible without the support of the CAPS organization, which raised the funds, selected the grants, bought the requested items and had them delivered directly to teachers at the schools. 
   "We don't have a rich PTA, so this is our only way of getting new things into this school," said Jenkins. "We appreciate all the work they do to get the money together and help us out this way."

Sept. 20, 2013 
CAPS to accept grant proposals


ATASCADERO After a very successful fundraising event at the Taft Barn on Aug. 24, the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools is preparing to begin accepting grant proposals from AUSD teachers. 
   "It went really well," CAPS board member told the Atascadero Unified School District board of trustees at its meeting Tuesday. "We still don't know exactly how much money we have to give away, but we know we did better than last year." 
   CAPS hosts a fundraising event at the beginning of each school year which includes a dinner along with silent and live auctions that bring in tens of thousands of dollars for Atascadero schools. The money is handed out to teachers who request grants for a wide variety of different purposes. 
   Last year the CAPS fundraiser brought in $38,000 and grants awarded from those funds went to pay for a variety of things requested by teachers including books, projectors, equipment for the Physical Education program, software for iPads, pottery classes and field trips to a science lab in Avila Beach and the mission at San Miguel. 
   "It's just a whole variety of different things," Peterson said. 
   This year, Peterson says the organization did even better and is expected to offer more than $40,000 in grant funds. 
   Beginning today, teachers will be able to apply for grants of up to $1,000 by visiting the CAPS Web site at www.atascaderocaps .org. Peterson says the grants a read by CAPS board members and considered for approval based on how interesting they are, how viable they are and how well the teacher writing the grant followed the rules such as following the $1,000 limit. Peterson says the board also looks for grants that can be partially funded so the money can be spread as far as possible. She says that CAPS usually gets around 100 grant requests and is usually able to fill almost all of them to one degree or another . 
   "Almost everybody ends up getting something," she said. 
   Teachers will have two weeks to prepare their grants, which are due on Oct. 3. CAPS hopes to announce which grants will be funded by Oct. 12. 
   "We hope it goes really smoothly and I hope we can bring you some really big figures later on," Peterson told the school board. 
   AUSD Superintendent Deborah Bowers thanked Peterson for the update and said all of the teachers in the district are looking forward to the grant applications being released. 
   "I'm glad that so many people are interested in going for those grants because it really does contribute to our classrooms and to our students," Bowers said.
August 28, 2013
CAPS fundraiser brings in $50,000
Dancers perform at the CAPS Evening for Education at the Taft Barn Saturday.


ATASCADERO This past Saturday, parents, teachers, administrators and Atascadero Unified School District supporters gathered at the Taft Barn on the southern outskirts of town for the seventh annual CAPS Evening for Education fundraiser dinner and auction. 
   Over the past seven years, the annual CAPS fundraiser has brought in more than $300,000 dollars for the Atascadero Unified School District, allowing teachers to apply for grants for things like teaching materials, field trips and new technologies , according to CAPS committee members Tonya DeRose and Julie Davis. This year, the organization broke a record by bringing in nearly $50,000 during the one event. 
   "All of the funds go directly back into the district for the teachers and students to use," Davis said. 
   The event Saturday consisted of a silent aution, tri-tip dinner catered by Colby Jacks, and a live auction of packages including goods and services donated by local businesses, along with entertainment provided by local band The Usual Suspects and the Atascadero High School Choir. 
   K-Jon's Fine Jewelers Assistant Manager Preston Wallace says his company is happy to help and has donated the same package for the past few years, consisting of an all-inclusive jewelry shopping spree including a limo ride to lunch at the Guest House Grill and $3,500 to spend on jewelry at K-Jon's . 
   "We love to be involved in the community," Wallace said. "I have a two-year-old who will be in the school system soon, so this is important to me. As a store, we're not just doing this to get an ad, we're giving back to the community. You can feel good about spending this money." 
   The package donated by KJon's went for one of the highest prices in the live auction, selling for $3,750. 
   Event host Don Clickard introduced auctioneer Doug Filipponi by saying "he's been the auctioneer at 100 things you've done in the past 20 years," and giving an estimate that Filipponi has used his talents to bring in close to 5 million dollars for Atascadero schools throughout his career. 
   District Superintendent Deborah Bowers attended the event and personally donated $500 during the 'Last Man Standing' portion of the auction when attendees where asked to remain standing only if they were willing to donate a certain amount. 
   "It's a wonderful event and it's great to see the community come together to be generous for our students," Bowers said.

Oct. 26, 2012

AUSD is $38,000 richer
CAPS donates money for programs, equipment
Creig P. Sherburne/Atascadero News Outgoing CAPS chairwoman Lori Mello presents AUSD Superintendent Dr. Deborah Bowers with a check for $38,000. That money will be used to fund field trips and special classes and to buy equipment and supplies.

Creig P. Sherburne ATASCADERO NEWS 

ATASCADERO In a time when Atascadero Unified School District has had to cut literally millions of dollars from its budget, a $38,000 windfall represents a lot of good in the form of field trips, extra activities and materials. And that's exactly what the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools bestowed to the district on Tuesday, Oct. 16. 
   "I love following students who have expressed enthusiasm over programs that AUSD offers and can continue to offer, and that is exactly what CAPS wants to be able to do," outgoing CAPS Chair Lori Mello said. "Not only help provide extra funds for these extras, but keep up that enthusiasm." 
   CAPS is an organization that was created specifically to help fill some of AUSD's financial holes left by constantly dwindling revenues from the state of California. It does that by raising money via a yearly fundraising dinner, soliciting grants and then writing checks to fulfill some of those grants. 
   This year, the total raised and distributed was $38,000, which brings the amount CAPS has donated since its inception to more than $300,000. The way the money will be used will vary widely. 
   "It was really fun reading the grants because it was such a huge variety of stuff that people asked for," Kathy Peterson. "We gave away 15 trips and those ranged from going to Hearst Castle to Emy Bruzzo's team going off some place. " We had 11 people ask for iPads, so we're buying 11 iPads. We're buying 12 netbooks for the junior high. And 11 different sets of books are going out to various places." 
   This year's donation of $38,000 is down from last year's $72,000, but Mello pointed out something very positive: "In an age of less and less and less money and having to ask teachers to do more and more with less and less " We are happy to report that we are able to present $38,000," she said. 

   For more information about CAPS or to participate, go to 

May 4, 2012

The Channel Islands Service Center Council of the California Teachers Association selected CAPS to receive the Gold Award for Outstanding Citizen. CAPS was nominated by the Atascadero district Teachers'Association. The award was presented to CAPS representatives Melanie Karp and Kathy Peterson by ADTA president Tracy Ellis-Weit. 


 From the Atascadero News on Jan. 25, 2012:

 You can't cap CAPS

Posted: Friday, Jan 25th, 2012
BY: Creig P. Sherburne

The Committee for Atascadero Public Schools was formed with one simple but far-reaching goal: present grants to all Atascadero public schools so those schools can buy equipment and field trips and other similar educational tools. 

It's had quite a bit of success, too. Kathy Peterson, a retired kindergarten teacher, is in charge of registrations, maintaining CAPS' website and does a plethora of other technical and general volunteer work. She said that since its inception , CAPS has bestowed just shy of $300,000 worth of grants through the district. 

That money, she said, is raised through local sponsors and at an annual dinner and auction. Last year, Peterson said, CAPS received approximately $12,000 from sponsors, $12,000 from ticket sales, $38,000 from the live and silent auctions and $10,000 from miscellaneous donations. 

In case you weren't counting , that's a total of approximately $72,000, the vast majority of which was put directly into Atascadero Unified School District schools. 

"We have a very generous community ," Peterson said. 

The dinner event is a big deal for CAPS. This year, it will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Atascadero Pavilion on the Lake. CAPS chairwoman Lori Mello said that last year, the event included dinner, live and silent auctions and dancing, and that's the plan for 2012, as well. 

"Managing the event, securing a location, catering, a band, if we have a band, coordinating the volunteers , it's kind of like planning a wedding," Mello said. 

She went on to say that all of the auction items are donated and that each school site builds a gift basket to be auctioned off. In the past, she said, auction items have included everything from dinners at local restaurants and products from local shops to trips to Hawaii and everything in between. 

Another big deal for CAPS is processing grants. 

Peterson said that the grant process isn't complex, but there are a few steps. 

First, an educator writes his or her grant request. The paperwork is available on CAPS' website, www. There's a limit of $1,000 per request. All grants get mailed to CAPS' post office box. 
Once received, CAPS volunteers sort the grants by school site. Then, a panel of three readers read each and every grant. The panel, Peterson said, usually includes a retired educator from each significant grade grouping: elementary , junior high and high school. 

Then comes the hard part: choosing which and how much of the grants will be granted. 

"Reading the grants is ecult because we have to turn things down," Peterson said. 

Peterson also said that CAPS tries very hard to distribute grant money based on the number of students. For instance, if CAPS had $100,000 to distribute and there were 10,000 students in AUSD, CAPS would distribute grants to reflect approximately $10 per student. That means that Carrisa Plains Elementary gets less grant money than Atascadero High School, but it receives the same amount per student . 

And, she added, CAPS doesn't give grants for things such as pencils or paper. CAPS grants funds for more substantial things that the district isn't required or able to provide. For instance, last year CAPS provided four Casio keyboards to Atascadero Junior High School, a touch-screen monitor to San Gabriel Elementary, funding for six field trips at Monterey Road Elementary, calculators and rechargeable batteries to AHS and lots of document projectors to a lot of schools. 

"The projectors are really popular," Peterson said. 

So popular, she added, that CAPS has granted a total of 72 of them throughout the district to date. In addition, Peterson said, in previous years, CAPS has had an extra auction called "fund a need." Fund a need, she said, is a little different from the normal auction, in that CAPS will select a need elementary school libraries needing to buy books or funding new AHS marching band uniforms, for instance and will solicit donations for that cause at the auction. It's not a standard auction in that buyers do not receive anything for their money. 

"You don't get anything for it," Peterson said, "except to have done it." 

Peterson said she is not yet sure what the fund a need item will be this year. 

One thing she is sure about is the need for volunteers. 

"It's just a bunch of volunteers raising money and giving it to teachers in what we hope is a fair way," Peterson said. 

"We'll take as little or as much help as a person can provide," Mello agreed. "We try to encourage community members in general aunts and uncles and grandparents, but anyone who feels the need to [get involved]." 

Mello gave the example of a volunteer doing nothing more than visiting a single local business to pitch a sponsorship. One such person is volunteer-at-large Jeannie Malik. She works with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, among others, and said the chamber has been involved since CAPS' inception . 
"They're one of my favorite organizations," Malik said, "and our teachers depend on [CAPS] now." 

For more information on CAPS, go to, call 952-5443 or go to its first meeting of 2012 tonight at the AUSD district office , 5601 West Mall in Atascadero, at 6:30 p.m. 

The meeting is open to the public and free of charge. 

CAPS received the "Organization of the Year" award at the annual installation dinner January 28th at the Pavilion on the Lake from the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce! Great job everyone!




 From the Tribune on  September 13, 2009 
"A committee of parents and community members recently raised more than $100,000 for Atascadero schools — a contribution welcomed after large cuts in state funding.
A $15,000 anonymous donation will be given directly to the district’s elementary school libraries. The remaining money will be distributed to teachers in the form of grants.
The Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools formed in 2007 to raise grant money for educational programs, and a dinner and auction in late August raised $107,000 — making it the largest single fundraiser for the Atascadero Unified School District.
“The level of attendance and participation in this fundraiser, especially in the context of the current economic climate we all live in, was nothing short of inspirational,” Superintendent John Rogers said. “It is amazing to see evidence of the commitment to our children and our schools demonstrated by the volunteers, donors and contributors to this event.”
The committee selected the elementary libraries as a “specific fund-in-need” project because it helps all students, Chairwoman Jeannie Malik said.
State funding for elementary school libraries has declined to $4 per student this year; a decade ago, it was $33 per student — $43 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation.
Many districts have used money that would otherwise go to libraries to help balance their budgets. That happened in Atascadero, Rogers said.
The donated money would likely be used to purchase books, support a reading incentive program called “Battle of the Books” and update computer equipment.
In addition, each year the committee uses donated funds to award small grants to teachers who request the scholarships. Teachers can apply for up to $1,500.
In the past, the money has been used for a kindergarten math workshop, college field trips for youngsters in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, lab equipment, classroom supplies, exercise bicycles and current-event magazines.
The next round of grants is scheduled to be awarded in October.
School officials say this kind of funding is key to keeping elective programs available to students. Each year, PTA organizations raise tens of thousands of dollars for various schools for field trips, science camps, materials and activities for students.
“It is through these private fundraising efforts that, despite the state’s decreasing support of education, our students are still able to enjoy new library books, new materials, and are able to participate in a variety of activities that assist educational and intellectual growth, provide leadership experiences and provide opportunities to build strong relationships,” Rogers said."

From the Tribune on July 25, 2008

C.A.P.S. (Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools), is excited to announce a generous donation of $2,000 from OptiSolar Inc. Hayward-based OptiSolar manufactures photovoltaic (PV) modules and produces power from its own solar farms. Since OptiSolar is in the process of building a solar farm in the Creston area, they are committed to helping the schools their employees’ children attend.

With an additional private donation of $500 from the Lawrie family of Atascadero, CAPS will be able to purchase school memberships to the Paso Robles Children’s Museum for all of Atascadero’s elementary schools, including Creston / Carissa Plains. Classes that take field trips to the museum will receive standards-based instruction in the sciences, math, and/or visual and performing arts. Its purpose is to develop and maintain an interactive educational facility for the children, families, and educators in our community

From the Tribune, 9/18/09

Good work in raising school funds! 

"We’re delivering an apple-a-day bouquet to the Committee in Support of Atascadero Public Schools for raising $107,000 for public education.
The contributions will help fund elementary school libraries and will pay for small grants for individual teachers to help them with special projects, field trips, classroom equipment and other “extras” that have been in short supply on account of state budget cuts.
It’s unfortunate that public schools have to struggle to maintain programs that used to be taken for granted — including bus transportation, libraries, art and athletics — but it’s inspiring when a community like Atascadero steps up in such a big way."