President Edeth James’ Quote of the Week:  “The Rotary way is to light a candle.  I light one, you light one, 1.2 million Rotarians light one.  Together we light up the world.” - RI President-Elect Gary C.K. Huang.
Check your email for important Rotary dates or, if you prefer, you can download them here.
- April 6, 2021 (Tuesday Club Meeting) Club Meeting/CPY LUNCHEON
- April 15, 2021 (7:00 – 8:30 PM) END HUMAN TRAFFICKING A COMMUNITY FORUM FOR ALL LEARN. UNITE. ACT. PREVENT - Human trafficking is not a new problem, but caring about it is. Join us for    this free, virtual forum for students, parents, teachers, & residents. Learn about human trafficking in our community, how our students are most vulnerable, online safety, and how to spot the signs.
  Sponsored by: Rotary Clubs of Arden Hills-Shoreview and New Brighton-Mounds View.
Nyle Zikmund introduced our speaker, District 621 Superintendant Chris Lennox.  Chris grew up in Fridley and Columbia Heights and graduated from Spring Lake Park HS.  After multiple administrative roles in Bloomington and Stillwater schools, Chris was hired as the Superintendant of the Mounds View Public Schools.  Chris presented a timeline of events during this past year’s Covid 19 pandemic.
Almost exactly one year ago the Governor’s executive order closed our schools to help curb the rapid spread of the Corona Virus.  District 621, like other districts around the state, was not set up for distance learning and didn’t have a 1 to 1 student/tablet computer system in place.  Our district was fortunate to have a high percentage of students with internet availability but there were still many students who had either slow or no internet at home.  Chris praised the Mounds View Education Foundation for their help in getting kids connected for distance learning.  Chris said that there were still challenges due to varying abilities of students to work digitally and independently; but teachers, parents and students worked together to solve many of these problems.  The District also stepped up to provide childcare for children of front-line workers and lunch and breakfast for children of free and reduced lunch program families.  Chris noted that one benefit of the Covid crisis has been increased communication between Superintendants and the commissioner of Education due to weekly meetings.
Mounds View schools reopened in the fall with a blended model but an exponential rise in Covid cases led to closing schools again in November.  The new year brought the elementary grades back to in-person learning and secondary grades should be back to full in-person learning by the end of March.  Still in doubt are end of year events like graduation, but plans are in place for full in-person learning for all students who want it by fall.  Chris said that Covid has been extremely stressful for teachers and staff, but he has not seen a significant rise in retirements so far.  He thinks that many teachers are waiting to see how the return to in person learning goes this fall.  He said that the vaccination plan for teachers is much improved after a rocky start and that all teachers should have an opportunity for vaccination soon.  Teachers report that Zoom meetings with parents are being well accepted and that they will probably remain popular even after the pandemic is over.  Plans are also in place for summer programs to help those students who have fallen behind due pandemic challenges.
Geoff Hollimon reported that the Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition has recently made grants of $5,000 to Keystone and Every Meal and $3,000 to Abiding Savior Lutheran’s food program.  Watch this space for information about the upcoming Spring Virtual Run/Walk fundraiser.  A thank you note for our club's Coalition contribution is shown below.
Geoff also reminded us of the CPY Virtual Spring Luncheon on Tuesday, April 6th at noon.  Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page will be the keynote speaker! The luncheon will feature a virtual silent auction and speakers.  The meeting will be held via the District 5960 Zoom account, which can accommodate up to 500 participants.  Pre-registration will be necessary and you may invite any interested parties to join us.  Stay tuned for more information.  This meeting will serve as the Rotary club meeting for that week.
President Edeth reported that our Harvest Pack donation will be divided between CPY and Ralph Reeder Food Shelf.
Jed Hamoud provided a report on the Beirut relief effort which is shown below.