Posted by John Gillis
January 17, 2019
Chiefs RED Thursday
Our Greeters were the "Pinny Lane" and "Old Farts" Bowling Teams. After President Elect Joe Privitera (filing in for President Kara Bennett) called the meeting to order, we were led patriotic song by Charlie Huffman with Carl Bolte on the piano, followed by President Elect Joe Privitera leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance. John Coil provided a thoughtful invocation. Mandy Sheldon welcomed and introduced our guests. ANNOUNCEMENTS: We were reminded  that we have two  upcoming  Firesides  at  the homes of Denny Bolte on February 5th and Linn Mills on February 7th
David King [Scribe Committee] deftly described both responsibilities & benefits of being a fellow Scribe Committee member as well as the pressing need for more Scribes. The Scribe's handiwork shows up weekly in the Buzz Saw in the area entitled "Last Week's Meeting" with your own byline "posted by ... ". There are currently only four of us, to rotate responsibilities every 4th meeting. Dave pointed out that it may be easier than you think with an Agenda sheet (sort of an outline cheat sheet) given to the meeting's Scribe to assist in organizing notes. Additional volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
PROGRAM: Joe Privitera introduced our speaker, our own Ms. Leslie Gasser of the Gordon Parks Elementary School, a Charter School.
What is a Charter School? A differently organized public school, governed by an Independent School Board, operated under a contract or "charter", requiring them to meet specific standards, as an alternative option to traditional public and private schools
How are Charter School Accountable? A Charter School must have a sponsor (it is the University of Central Missouri for Gordon Parks) and are accountable to the Missouri Department of Elementary Secondary Education (DESE), as well as to the students and their families.
How are Charter Schools Started ? Groups - teachers, parents & community members submit applications to DESE for approval to open and must have contract (or charter) with a sponsoring organization.
Public Charter Schools are Public Schools MYTH or FACT ? > FACT
They are tuition-free, publicly funded and open to all students (within the particular school district, such the Kansas City, MO School District or the Independence School District etc). They must meet all the academic standards of a public school. Their Missouri state funding is based upon their student enrollment.
Public Charter School Students are Excelling Academically  MYTH or FACT? FACT The public charter school students do in fact better academically than their traditional public school peers.
Gordon Parks Elementary School, is a Charter School in KCMO (37th & Wyoming) for grades K through 4th grade (and may be adding pre-K). Currently the student body comes from 17 different zip codes within Kansas City! Gordon Parks provides door-to-door transportation and uniform for every child.
Who We Serve: 100% ofG.P. students qualify for free/reduced lunch. The majority have experienced severe trauma including domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, hunger, poor health, and the death or incarceration of a parent or close family member. Many have significant challenges academically, and struggle with English and math.
What makes us different than other Charter Schools? Responsive Classroom emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth and creation of safe and joyful classrooms. Our CARE Team consists of a licensed Mental Health Therapist, two Behavioral Interventionists, a Family Advocate, a School Nurse, all who work with students, teachers and our administration to support students and improve academic outcomes.
2017 Kansas City Area Charter Schools - Annual Performance Report (APR) Scores (Gordon Parks students earning a 93% score; ranking 4th out of21 schools, only Ewing Marion Kauffman School; University Academy and Academie Lafayette ranked higher)
Volunteering at Gordon ParksVolunteering offers an opportunity to make a big impact on the lives our children. Volunteers can be for one-time project or ongoing projects.
Mentor a Child - a Volunteer can mentor a child for 1 (one) hour a week
The Big Picture: The Financial - Economics sources of school revenue:
State of MO Funding
Federal and State funding underwrite teacher salaries,
$ 329,000
Federal Funds
the curriculum and student meals.
Private Donations
All other expenses, such as fixed costs and special
programs are covered through private donations.
How the funds are spent(90% goes to teacher salaries & instructional materials)
How Community Support Helps our Kids Therapeutic counseling services (the CareTeam), reading and math specialist, classroom materials, field trips, and uniforms are just some of the ways donor dollars directly help G.P. students. (i.e. without the help of G.P. donors, these programs and services could not be provided)
President Elect Joe Privitera wrapped up the meeting (before a group picture of Chiefs colors-wearing Rotarians - yeah!) with Kara's quote from a homeless man helping folks with car troubles: "If l can lend a helping hand maybe other people will do the same." Joe's quote was GO CHIEFS!
**You can watch weekly meetings via Facebook Live at Downtown Kansas City Rotary Club 13.**