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Anchorage School District partners with Lions Club International for dedicated social and emotional learning curriculum for middle school students


April 24, 2017, Anchorage, Alaska - Anchorage School District middle school teachers are receiving new tools to support their social and emotional learning efforts next year. The new program, called Lions Quest, includes curriculum and staff training resources which are funded by a $100,000 grant from the Lions Club International Foundation. The unprecedented grant was established and matched by gifts of more than $40,000 from 12 Lions Clubs and many individual Lions from District 49A in Alaska.

The Anchorage School Board recognized the Lions Club for this gift during its April 24 meeting.

Lions Quest is designed to teach youth important life skills, including self-discipline, responsibility, good judgment, conflict resolution and the ability to get along with others. The research-based, middle school curriculum has a strong emphasis on connection to school, service learning, and drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness. Lions Quest will replace ASD's Aggressors, Victims and Bystanders curriculum materials.

"For a century Lions have reached out to serve children and youth here in the USA and around the world. We are proud to make this investment in ASD's work which serves one of the most diverse student populations in our nation," said Karen Burns, Governor of Lions Club District 49A.

The Lions Quest curriculum will serve more than 4,900 students in grades 6-8 at Central, Clark, Goldenview, Gruening, Hanshew, Mears and Mirror Lake middle schools for the 2017-18 school year. The program will expanded the following year to an additional 2,100 students at Begich, Romig and Wendler middle schools.

"This is a great partnership which will support not only our students but it also will benefit the broader community," said Dr. Deena Bishop, ASD Superintendent. "The investment of time and money to support students' social and emotional learning will translate into workforce employability skills to create successful futures for both students and organizations."

Lions Quest places a special emphasis on service-learning; students learn important leadership skills by organizing and carrying out school and community service projects. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, students who are involved in helping out in the community are happier at home, less likely to use alcohol or drugs and are more successful in and committed to school.

"We are pleased ASD leadership sees the value of Lions Quest for use in its middle schools - a key area of concern for student performance," said Lewis Quinn, an International Director of Lions in Alaska. "We also are indebted to Northrim Bank for making a generous corporate gift to underwrite the 7,000 student journals needed for the two-year pilot program. Northrim's support is the largest corporate gift made to Lions Quest in the USA to date."

The Lions Quest programs, offered by Lions Club International Foundation, are among the most widely used positive youth development and prevention programs in the world. Lions Quest programs have received the "SELECT" Program designation from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) for outstanding life skills education, rigorous evaluation and high quality professional development. In addition, the grade 6-8 skills for adolescence curricula has received the "Model" program from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services.

LCIS is in its centennial year and recently announced it will spotlight the Lions District 49 partnership with ASD to its worldwide membership through a special series, LCIF Stories.


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