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 to help fund the Lions Quest program that brings specialized curriculum to teach youth about character, drug and alcohol awareness and other social issues.
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 more than 70 countries by 13 million children and youth. It has been translated into more than 30 languages. This curriculum was completely revised in 2015 and was ranked in the top nine among 380 programs that were reviewed by CASEL, which is the collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. Lions Quest deals with the specific themes of:
- connection to school
- promote positive behavior
- teach character education
- teach anti-bullying techniques
- teach drug and alcohol awareness
- teach service learning so children are taught at an early age about community service
It is designed to be taught in a 30-45 minute session once each week. Once in place, Lions Quest is slated to be part of the LQ will be part of the Anchorage School District middle school curriculum for at least five years.
The ASD has had a SEL curriculum in place for over 30 years. The State of Alaska 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 Lion Quest currently is. Our Lions Quest 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. Dr. Deena Paramo, ASD superintendent, and senior ASD staff have reviewed Lions Quest and asked for its placement starting in the 2017-18 academic year targeting the ten comprehensive middle schools in the Anchorage Bowl – specifically grades seven and eight.
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, Hanshew, Mears and Mirror Lake middle schools. In the 2018-19 school year, the program will expand to include Begich, Romig and Wendler middle schools. The program will also serve sixth-grade students in the three schools where they are included in the middle school design. These schools include Begich, Clark and Mirror Lake. Dr. Paramo has agreed to make a number of public and media appearances to thank Lions and affirm the value of Lions Quest.
The ASD research department indicates that 52 languages are spoken by the youth of these ten schools that will participate in Lions Quest. Within these schools, 49 percent 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 to meet its goal of a 90 percent 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. This means that $65,000 of the LCIF grant can be released for year one. The Lions Quest 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 to facilitate implementation this fall. The Northrim gift of $30,000 will be made in 2017 through the State of Alaska Education Tax credit program and used for curriculum. Lions Quest will further enhance our relationship to ASD as well as build on our work with Peace Posters vision screening and direct support to a number of schools. Key Lions members will attend the one-day training session, clubs will adopt middle schools, club members will observe Lions Quest sessions and be involved in an aggressive PR campaign including new television announcements and signage in schools.
The 49A Leadership Team for the Lions Quest 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 the ASD will give us credibility and a template so that Lions Quest can be expanded to other Alaska school districts in future years.
Your local Lions are committed to the education of our youth. They hope both youth and the community will become as excited as we are about bringing this program to your children.
If you want to learn more about Lions please visit www.lionsclubs.org, www.eagleriverlions.com or www.sleepingladylions.org. You can find out about the upcoming events on these pages or through our Facebook pages. Please call me for more information at 907-242-1129.