As summer draws to an end and school is gearing up to start again we all begin to look forward to the CAPS Annual “Evening for Education” that brings us together to support the needs and ideas of the amazing teachers we have in the Atascadero Unified School District.
The Committee for Atascadero Public Schools (CAPS) was founded in 2007 when a small group of individuals pulled together to fill the need of extra financial support in order to offer important educational resources that were not available due to budget reductions at the school district.
After some research and insight from committees that helped nearby school districts, an “Evening for Education” was conceived. This event has become an annual fundraiser that gives back 100 percent of the proceeds after expenses and is coordinated entirely by a group of volunteers who work throughout the year to pull it all together.
CAPS volunteers include teachers, retired teachers, administrators, parents, coaches, and community members who all give their time, talents and efforts to put on this incredible event every year in August. Over the last 11 years, CAPS has granted over $800,000 for various items including field trips, musical instruments, marching band uniforms, photo book projects, battle of the books, iPads, a pottery wheel, science equipment, cameras, dance costumes, microscopes and more, all with the loyal support of donors and sponsors.
This year, after several years as co-chairs of the committee, Lori Bickel and Kathy Peterson handed over the reins to Hayley Mattson and Nicole Hider, yet they continue to stay actively involved within the committee.

“We are extremely grateful to Lori and Kathy for their mentorship and all they have done,” Hayley Mattson said, “along with all the other advisors and past chairs that have stayed on to help mentor the next generation to be sure the committee is able to stay strong and continue for years to come.”

“This year we are thrilled to add a new spin to the evening by going back to choosing a theme for the event,” Hayley continued “the theme for 2018 CAPS ‘Evening for Education’ is ‘Under the Big Top!’”
The evening at SpringHill Suites on Saturday, Aug. 25 promises to transport attendees to a vintage-inspired circus-themed night, full of thrills and excitement, silent and live auction, passed hors d’oeuvres, lovely buffet dinner, complimentary wine from Platinum Sponsor OPOLO, dessert, coffee and a no host bar. The magical evening will be emceed by the one-and-only Donn Clickard, executive director of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, and include performances by the Atascadero High School Drama Department. A full list of live auction items will include a shopping spree experience at Platinum Sponsor K. Jons Diamonds and Gems, bon Vöyage wine tours + photography package for 10, a baseball themed getaway provided by BLoved, coastal vacations and more, presented by new auctioneer duo Doug Filipponi and Tyson Maulhardt, and ending with a full casino of games that include Texas Hold ‘Em, craps, roulette, and black jack.
“This incredible fun filled evening directly benefits the kids of Atascadero Public Schools,” Hayley stated. “It is set for 220 guests and sells out every year. It is definitely an evening you will not want to miss. We encourage you to purchase your tickets today.”
All the proceeds from CAPS “Evening for Education” are awarded to each school through a grant writing process that every teacher is encouraged to participate in. The committee evaluates the funds after the event and determines the amount available per student which defines how much is awarded to each school site based on number of students enrolled. The theory behind this is an attempt to spread the grant funds equally throughout AUSD and impact each and every student. This method does affect the smaller schools like Creston and Carissa Plains, however, that fact is taken into consideration when reading and approving the teachers grant requests. The grants written are not to be requests for supplies or projects that would normally be funded by school or district budgets.
“Our focus is to fund grants to the most creative and interesting projects that will have a direct impact on the students and enhance their educational experience” Nicole Hider said.
The grants are reviewed by a committee of readers who only know the grade level and school of the grant so that each request is considered as impartially and fairly as possible.
“Our grant readers are retired AUSD teachers from the elementary grades, middle school, and high school” Nicole stated.
Once the grantees are chosen, the CAPS committee works diligently to fulfill the grant requests immediately.
As a non-profit organization CAPS has many ways that you can get involved and help support this incredible fundraiser event; you can volunteer your time, become a donor or a sponsor, donate an auction item, or attend the event. Every option gives something back to the kids of the Atascadero Unified School District. Every option allows a teacher the resources to directly impact their students to enhance their educational experience and help them stay engaged and present. The CAPS organization began as a thought and a dream for our district’s teachers who wanted just that, to allow children the opportunity to learn hands on without the burden of funding their needs personally. CAPS provides a way for us as a community to pull together and continue to support that to need for years to come.

CAPS Evening for Education
August 25, 5 to 11 p.m.
SpringHill Suites Marriott
For tickets & info visit
CAPS is in partnership with the
Atascadero Greyhound Foundation a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.