May 17, 2023

The DPS Foundation’s A to Z Fund provides grants to individual schools for programs and activities that go beyond the limits of schools’ budgets, and also have a lasting impact on students. These grants are available to any DPS school to enhance classroom learning and help to provide equal opportunities for students district-wide to participate in enrichment opportunities. Since its inception in 2006, this initiative has awarded more than 1,500 classroom grants totaling more than $2.5 million.

One DPS educator who applied for an A to Z Fund grant is Elia Meza of Valdez Elementary School. Elia helps cover the ‘Specials’ department at Valdez and serves as an art teacher, library tech and computer lab supervisor. 

Valdez Elementary School serves students from throughout the district in a dual language setting. Valdez commits to equity through Dual Language Immersion and culturally relevant, individualized education for all learners. They achieve high academic success through high expectations. Students are provided authentic, personalized learning through intentional, collaborative, data-driven planning to create meaningful and lasting academic success. Half of their student population is native Spanish speaking. Valdez is committed to community and culture: creating a community together that works towards an equitable society by valuing the culture and identities of all community members.

Elia applied for an A to Z Fund grant to support the program, Raz-Kids, an instructional aid for teachers that provides a library of differentiated books in English and Spanish at 29 levels of difficulty that students can use to practice reading in school, at home, or on-the-go. Digital and mobile access means that students get the personalized reading practice they need, and with easy-to-use online controls, teachers can quickly manage and track their students’ reading progress in a matter of minutes.

This program will impact the learning experience of students and promote the whole child by helping students level up to high quality reading in a fun and interactive way. The program allows students to engage with their classmates and teachers in an interactive environment that promotes collaboration and fun while learning. It also promotes student engagement and community, which plays an increasingly important role in a student’s development.

This grant resulted in a major impact for Valdez students by helping them stay connected to their teachers, classmates and learning. Educator Elia Meza said, “It allowed students to stay engaged and promote continuous learning. It also had a major impact on the teachers, as this resource helped reading intervention and provided support to our students. Without the A to Z Fund’s support, we would not have been able to provide these services to our students in the capacity in which they were.”

This A to Z Fund grant has provided support for 14 educators at Valdez Elementary and a large number of students at the school. This grant aligns with the DPS Foundation’s core values of Students First, Equity and Fun. Our DPS teachers are putting the needs of all our students in the forefront by providing the tools they need to continue learning, while also providing fun activities that will encourage engagement. Initiatives such as A to Z Fund help to strengthen Valdez’s commitment to equity and student success. Thank you to all donors for making opportunities like these possible!

Samantha Rogan 
Events and Communications Specialist