LAPS Foundation Gives Aspen Elementary School Educators Tools To Teach Empathy

Aspen teacher Shelley Morey-Sloan poses in front of the ‘Empathy Tool Box for Teachers’. Courtesy/LAPSF



Shelley Morey-Sloan, a teacher at Aspen Elementary School, is well aware that students these days need not only learn the basic subjects like reading and math … it is also crucial to their happiness for them to develop empathy, which is something that can be learned.

Last fall, Morey-Sloan applied for a Great Ideas Grant from the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation to build an “Empathy Tool Box for Teachers”. So far it has been a great success.

In her application to the LAPS Foundation Morey-Sloan stated, “Lately, it seems like every year we have a few very challenging students who seem to be lacking in empathy…You may be surprised to learn that empathy isn’t an inborn trait, but rather one that must be learned – preferably during early childhood… There are many ways to instill empathy. One way to do this – beyond demonstrating empathy – is to read books that touch on the subject and spark a conversation about what it means to be empathetic.”

Morey-Sloan was awarded the grant, and subsequently got to work filling the toolbox with two professional books on the importance of teaching empathy, as well as 18 children’s books that have a focus on empathetic themes. The books arrived after the winter break, and Morey-Sloan put them into an eye-catching box. Now Aspen teachers can check out books from the toolbox to be read out loud to their classes, or for their own learning in the case of the professional books.

Every fall and spring, the LAPS Foundation accepts applications from teachers for three types of grants: Professional Development, Professional Book Groups, and Great Ideas. It’s the latter type of grants that really showcases the innovative ideas that teachers have for their students, such as the “Empathy Tool Box for Teachers”.

The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is an independent organization that supports, challenges, and invests in a successful future for all Los Alamos public school students. Since its inception in 2005, the LAPS Foundation has infused more than $1 million into Los Alamos public schools. The Foundation raises money through generous contributions from individuals and organizations who share the Foundation’s core values for education. To learn more about the LAPS Foundation and how to get involved and/or make a donation, visit or call 505.500.6501.

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