NEXT MEETING: October 2, 2015 (BACK AT RICHMOND COUNTRY CLUB)
ESCAPE Club at DeJean Middle School
John Iwawaki, a science teacher and curriculum coach in WCCUSD, will be presenting on the ESCAPE Club at Lovonya DeJean Middle School. The ESCAPE (Environmental Science Conservation And Photographic Excursions) Club is an extra curricular, outdoor education program. Students are given the opportunity to play in the snow, camp in Yosemite, splash on the beach, hike to a waterfall, and many more new experiences in monthly field trips around California. Students are prepped in weekly after school meetings about the ecology, history, and geography of their next destination, and then write about their experiences following the trip.
Since its inception in 1999, the ESCAPE Club has gone on 130 field trips, all free for the students. It is run completely by volunteers, and funded by corporate and private donation, and an occasional grant. For over 10 years, Richmond Rotary has contributed a significant percentage to its annual budget. For more information, visit the ESCAPE Club web site.
MEETING OF September 25, 2015
Club President Alan Blavins called the meeting to order at Cafe Soleil in El Sobrante and asked David Brown to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Alan asked for a silent prayer.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Dan Tanita, DDS, introduced 6 dentists, who are visiting from various cities in Russia as part of the 14th annual visiting-dentists program hosted by Rotary. They kindly made a donation to Richmond Rotary. In Russian, “Спасибо”!
- Jim Young brought his wonderful wife Linda Young.
- David Brown bought his neighbor and boat partner David Moss.
- Stacey Street introduced Tyra Worthy and Jorge Lopez.
- Other guests were Meg Saechou, Gladys Dodds, Winifred Toms, Karen Fenton, Hillary Crosby, and Kate Burkhart.
- Note that, beginning October 2, Richmond Rotary Club meetings will resume at the regular location, the Richmond Country Club.
- Although not announced at the meeting, quite a few cellphones rang during the meeting and presentation. Please remember to turn off your ringer and to not take calls inside the meeting room. We do like your funky ring tone, Club Director Dan Tanita, DDS. Get down!
- Treasurer David Brown, Esq., announced that he is still accepting donations for Peres Elementary classroom/teacher supplies. We need about $1,000 more to meet our goal.
- Asst. Governor (Area-8) Alan Baer mentioned that sign-ups might still be possible for the Rotary Foundation Fun Day taking place at Six Flags Vallejo on Saturday, October 3. Check out the District 5160 home page.
- For those who missed the last-Friday-of-the-month BARSHEEP social on September 25 at Nong Than Restaurant in El Cerrito, make a note for next month’s get-together. Alan Baer will be letting us know about location.
- Alan Baer also reminded us that October 1 is the last day to sign up for the April 1-3, 2016, District Conference for the reduced price of $79 (increases to $99 thereafter). Sign-up/log-in at this web site.
- Bill Koziol circulated a card to Sgt-at-Arms Sid Chauvin for everyone to sign.
Happy and Sad Dollars
West County Schools
Jim Young introduced Steve Chamberlin and Elliot Haskell of the Chamberlin Family Foundation (CFF) who gave a detailed and informative presentation on “Smart Philanthropy” (phrase coined by Club Director Jerry Feagley).
CFF is a private foundation that is currently focusing on K-12 public education in West Contra Costa County (where the Chamberlins have lived for the last 20 years) and Hawaii (where they grew up). This topic hit home for many people – which is the likely reason for the many parent and teacher guests in today’s audience.
CFF’s goal is to give every child in the district the opportunity to have a great education, regardless of economic background. CFF has invested over $6M in West County K-12 education and has also developed properties to attract top-notch public charter schools that must meet stringent performance/demographic criteria and operate on the same per-student State funding as schools that are part of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).
CFF claims they are completing their new-construction property projects faster and cheaper (per student seat) than WCCUSD (for example, ~$24,000 for the CFF Hilltop project versus ~$200,000 estimated for WCCUSD’s Pinole Valley High School). To date, CFF properties are leased by Windrush, Aspire, and Summit Tamalpais charter schools.
Public charter schools are increasing in popularity and in performance compared to WCCUSD schools, giving parents and students more/better educational choices. The students are selected by lottery and the waiting lists are hundreds of students long. CFF doesn’t run the charter schools; instead, it builds facilities to attract the very best charter schools. CFF founder Susan Chamberlin’s dream is that people will lie about where they live so that they can attend school in West County. To learn more about the Chamberlin Family Foundation, please see their website.
*** On October 7, 2015, from 4:00-7:00pm, CFF is holding an open house at their newest location (Aspire and Summit shared campus) at 3040 Hilltop Mall Road, Richmond. For more information and to RSVP, go to this web site.
Although Sid Chauvin (we miss you Sid!) was not present to give a quote for the day, Steve Chamberlin gave us one to hang our hats on: “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48, also used by Bill Gates).
Shana Bagley Howe, Rotating Scribe