Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lions Quest Making a Difference

By Karen Burns, District Governor

Lions of Alaska received a grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation for $100,000 in February.  Northrim Bank has partnered and is in support with your local Lions by providing a monetary support in the amount of $30,000.

For the past 30 years Lions have made a major commitment to children and youth through this specialized K-12 Curriculum Lions Quest (LQ). It is now being used in over 70 countries by 13 million children and youth. It has been translated in over 30 languages. This curriculum was completely revised in 2015 and was ranked in the top 9 among 380 programs that were reviewed by CASEL (the collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning). LQ deals with the specific themes of:
  1. A connection to school;
  2. Promote positive behavior; 
  3. Teach character education; 
  4. Teach anti-bullying techniques; 
  5. Teach drug and alcohol awareness; and 
  6. Teach service learning so children are taught at an early again about service to their community.
It is designed to be taught in a 30-45 minute session once each week.  Once in place LQ will be part of the ASD middle school curriculum for at least five years.

The Anchorage School District (ASD).  ASD has had a SEL curriculum in place for over 30 years. The State School Board mandates that a SEL curriculum be in place in each district. The current SEL curriculum in place is over a decade old and not as comprehensive as LQ. Our LQ team has built on the good work and contacts made by PDG Diana Cummings and other Lions in past years that opened doors for this effort. Supt. Dr. Deena Paramo and senior staff have reviewed LQ and asked for its placement starting in the 2017-18 academic year targeting the ten comprehensive middle schools (7th and 8th grade).

This will serve some 7,500 students. In the 2017-18 academic year the curriculum will be introduced to the students of Central, Clark, Golden View, Gruening, Henshew, Mears and Miirror Lake. In the 2018-19 the program will expand to include Begich, Romig and Wendler.  The program will also serve 6th grade students in the three schools where they are included in the Middle school design (Clark, Mirror Lake and Begich).  Dr. Paramo has agreed to make a number of public and media appearances to thank Lions and affirm the value of LQ.

The ASD research department indicates that 52 languages are spoken by the the youth of these ten schools that will participate in Lions Quest. 49% of these students are identified as low-income.  ASD leadership feel that this quality curriculum will have a positive and measurable impact in helping the District meet its 90% graduation rate by 2020.

The clubs of our district matched the LCIF grant with designated contributions of $33,333 and had these funds in hand by February 28, 2017.  So that $65,000 of the LCIF grant can be released for year one. The LQ leadership team proposed that the 49A Foundation meet one half of the district match from its funds.  That request was voted on at our local cabinet meeting. 

We will need to make a huge curriculum order this spring. The Northrim gift of $30,000 will be made in 2017 through the State of Alaska Education Tax credit program and used for curriculum.  LQ will further enhance our relationship to ASD and build on our work with Peace Posters vision screening, and direct support to a number of schools. Key Lions will attend the one day training session, clubs will adopt middle schools, observe LQ sessions and be involved in an aggressive PR campaign including new TV Spots and signage in schools.

49A Leadership Team for the LQ grant are: DG Karen Burns (grant administrator),  Lion Walt Hays (project Administrator), PCC Ev Burk (fiscal officer) and senior advisors ID Lewis Quinn, IVDG Jeannine Morse, 2VDG Hal V. Smalley and Lion Jim LaBau.

This is a first step in a long-term strategy; success with ASD will give us credibility and a template so that LQ can be expanded to other school districts in future years.

Your local Lions are committed to the education of our youth.  They hope youth,  the community will become as excited as we are about bringing this program to your children.

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