CAPS in the News

Team Work in AUSD

Last week, hard working elementary students in AUSD were treated to a fun day celebrating reading and books. District Librarian Kris Bell wrote a CAPS grant for $1000. This grant provided the transportation for the students from all the elementary schools to come together at the Pavilion. The grant also covered the cost of the rental of the Pavilion.

For the last 20 years, the Kiwanians have provided a BBQd lunch for the students.

The pictures were taken by Lon Allan.

CAPS is a member of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation. What a team!

Get into the giving spirit — follow Atascadero’s lead to help schools


Special to The Tribune

Atascadero has always been a place where the people provide for themselves.

After World War II, volunteers built the stadium at the high school in honor of all those who served in the service. When the local chamber of commerce needed an office of its own, volunteers built one. Needing to raise millions of dollars for a public library, supporters came up with “Dancing With Our Stars.”

And knowing that local teachers routinely spend their own money to provide extras for their students, yet another set of volunteers formed CAPS, which stands for the Committee for Atascadero Public Schools. Most folks I know can’t remember what CAPS stands for, except, “that’s the group the helps the schools.

Indeed it does.

Last year, CAPS raised $105,000. At this year’s dinner (always held in August) CAPS brought in $89,000. Every dime earned is used to fund those “extras” that teachers want. Nothing for overhead. And all costs are sponsored or donated. Since CAPS formed 11 years ago it has awarded more than $800,000 for the schools.

I like the way CAPS works. It takes into account the number of children in the district, from kindergarten to senior high schoolers, and the money earned, and it comes up with a per-pupil figure. This year it was about $14 per pupil.

Teachers write grants.

Past grants have provided class projectors and cameras, field trips, sewing machines, microscopes, iPads, cordless tools for industrial arts, student planners, art supplies, a trip to the Estrella Warbirds Museum, stand-up desks, dance costumes and even books.

In fact, since 2007 school libraries have been given $17,000 for books. The marching band has received $7,000 towards new uniforms.

Committee members include parents, present and former school teachers, district administrators and more.

“We can always use more help,” says Kathy Peterson, who is now retired after teaching kindergarten in the district for 36 years. She explained that help is needed to read grants, provide the materials asked for by the teachers, putting on the annual dinner and more.

Peterson said the group’s goal is to make life a little easier for the teachers and provide more fun for the students.

More than 200 guests attend each year’s dinner. To supplement the costs of the dinner and other fixed expenses, CAPS offers a variety of “sponsorship opportunities.”

Those sponsorships go to make sure the event results in nothing but all profit for CAPS to be able to “strengthen the educational experience for all of our children,” according to information provided to me by Peterson.

What makes the program so good is that every school in the district benefits, even those tiny schools in Creston and the Carrisa Plains.

You can donate or get more information by writing to CAPS, P.O. Box 730, Atascadero, CA 93423, or

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every other week. Reach Allan at 805-466-8529 or .

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.