We got educated on what is happening with education.  Plus Rotarians are back to meeting in record numbers.
Notes from the Jan. 19 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
recorded by Tom McClellan
Combining inpersonators and zoomers, we had 24 of our 33 members present on Jan. 19, which is a new high attendance number post-Covid.  President Teresa Nye welcomed only some of us to the meeting, just the ones who were there in person, and then she was informed that her microphone was not turned on so she made that correction and then welcomed all of us.  
Jeannie Hill started things off with 4 inspirational thoughts, all related to the topic of education in honor of our guest speaker for the day:
1) The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. - - - Martin Luther King, Jr.
2) Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.  - - - Albert Einstein
3) It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.  - - - Frederick Douglass
4) Children need to be taught how to think, not what to think. - - - Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa
We welcomed guests Ron Banner, our guest speaker, and his sidekick Leanna Albrecht, both from the Clover Park School District.  Jeannie Hill stated that there was no sunshine to report, but to please let her know if you hear of any. 
Future Programs
Jan. 26    Josh Castle, Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI)
Feb. 2      Bill Lokey, Volcano Hazard Management in Washington State
Feb. 9      Judge Grant Blinn, Pierce Co. Superior Court
The Caring For Kids “Happy Hears Auction” and dinner is coming up on February 12 at 5 PM at the McGavick Center.  Teresa Nye would like to get a Rotary table.  Tickets are $40.  Please contact her to let her know you’d like to come. They are also looking for donations of live and silent auction items.
January is Rotary’s Vocational Service month.  And the District 5020 conference this year is May 13-14 in Victoria, BC.  The District public relations folks are looking for articles for the next District newsletter.
The membership challenge is still on.  Each member needs to propose at least one person who would make a great Rotarian.  Let’s get our numbers up.  And to help motivate everyone, Gretchen Allen will offer a drawing for a $100 dinner gift certificate to the current member who nominates new members in February, and another $100 to one of those new members.
The Jan. 18 City Council meeting saw them honoring us in a couple of ways.  Bill Harrison was honored with the Larry Saunders Service Award from the Lakewood Community Foundation, and Bill’s comments were read.  And also honored was Partners For Parks, an organization which grew out of an idea from our past president Charlie Maxwell in conjunction with then-president of the Lakewood Rotary Club, Ted Wier.
Sheri Hodson noted that at-home Covid tests are now available to receive by mail.  Get details at https://special.usps.com/testkits.
Cascade Regional Blood Services is desperately short of blood products because Covid has disrupted some of their standard blood drive efforts.  Demand is up 30%.  And there are some changes to donor eligibility due to recent revisions of FDA rules.  If you were previously ineligible to donate due to travel or other medical factors, you may now be able.  Get details and sign up for an appointment to donate at https://www.crbs.net/.
The club’s board will meet on Friday, Jan. 21, 0800 at Carr’s.  All members are welcome to attend, and the breakfast dishes are great!
Bob Lawrence noted that the Lakewood Playhouse’s performance of The Haunting of Hill House has had to be postponed due to Omicron.  It will be performed next year. 
Our club’s next Golf Tournament fundraiser will be on Saturday, August 6. 
Fun And Fines
Teresa Nye started off by confessing that she forgot to attend the City Council meeting honoring Bill Harrison.  And she brought a check to pay for that plus accumulated past debts.
Sydna Koontz is back from Hawai’i and is reportedly tanned “all over”.
Heidi Wachter was present in person, and finemaster Ed Trobaugh was shocked that Heidi somehow does not owe anything.
Ed called upon zoomer and new member Scott Adams, but Ed got no traction there.  
Joyce Loveday joined via Zoom as well, and is excited that the Clover Park Technical College has started its winter quarter.  They have new staff, including a new associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Joyce is also excited about getting the upcoming report from their accreditation agency.  She is expecting the college to pass.
Joyce Oubré says that the fundraising committee is meeting next week, and will discuss perhaps holding a Clover Park Rotary Invitational (CPRI) event sometime this spring.  Joyce is still scrubbing the revenue numbers from the Golf Tournament, and should have those ready for the board meeting on Jan. 21. 
This Week’s Program
Lakewood Rotarian and Clover Park School District Superintendent Ron Banner came to give an update on the District, but first he paid a $10 fine for failing to sign in as a visiting Rotarian. 
Tom McClellan introduced him, noting that he previously served as assistant principal at Woodbrook Middle School (which is closed down).  He then served for a year as principle of Southgate Elementary School (which is closed down), and then 8 years as principal of Mann Middle School (which is closed down).  He was assistant superintendent for elementary schools for 3 years, and deputy superintendent for a year before becoming superintendent in June 2019.  That was just in time for the entire school district to be closed down for a while due to Covid.
The District’s challenge is continuing in person education during a global pandemic.  This includes implementation of Covid related cleaning protocols and assigned seating, plus HVAC and filter upgrades.  Staff wear PPE all the time.  Positive cases are handled in accordance with protocols for the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. 
Banner is expecting an Omicron variant peak in 3-4 weeks. The District is prepared to temporarily shift classes to virtual if needed, but they are planning to keep the buildings open.
As an aside, here are the latest data for Washington State as of Jan. 19 from the NY Times’ web site:
Banner provided some stats on the District’s make up:
  • 31% military connected
  • 65.9% live in “poverty”
  • 568 students counted as “homeless” under the federal definition
  • 5.6% mobility rate (i.e. turnover)
  • 16.1% receive special education
  • 14.3% are English Language Learners (different language at home)
The biggest problem now is finding enough staff to fill positions.  District administrators including Mr. Banner are serving as substitute teachers.  The District is relaxing the requirement that substitutes be certificated teachers, so college educated members of the community are invited to apply.  There are even $3500 signing bonuses for bus drivers and school nurses.
A virtual education option is available for families who fear in-person education.  About 600 students are using this.  A free online tutoring service through an outside vendor is available to for middle and high school students, 24/7.
Graduation rate is 88%, versus about 83% for the whole State. 
Covid has exacerbated mental health problems.  In response, the District is partnering with Greater Lakes Mental Health clinic to put case managers into each school.  The District is also partnering with the Stephen A. Cohen Military Family Clinic.  And there is another partnership afoot through the City of Lakewood to put a mental health resource coordinator at high schools. 
The District currently offers free meals to all students, thanks to a federal waiver and special funding. 
Dropout statistics are better thanks to engagement teams who track down students who may have moved and registered elsewhere but did not tell the District.  They even use Facebook to track them down.  Dropout data are better on students in the district through all four years of high school, worse for transient students who come and go (e.g. military). 
Raffle: With $114 in the pot, David Cotant had the winning ticket, but drew a 10 of diamonds for a $5 consolation.
And Finally…
Inflation has had a big effect recently on driving up food prices.  But this price for a gallon of milk actually seems pretty fair, especially given how hard it is to milk a chicken.