Posted by Dann Mead Smith

President Beth opened the Zoom meeting with Joel Paget inspiring us on the importance of “redemption” and how we “cannot sit in silence and let future generations pay the price” for us not taking action now. He asked “for the courage for us to do what is right”.

President Beth then announced that an offer has been extended to Mary Goldie to be our new Club Director! There were lots of nice comments in the chat congratulating her on this new position!

Ken Grant introduced our member Stephen Morse, the current commodore of our Seattle Rotary Mariners. Stephen provided an interesting history of The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians which is the oldest and largest of the Rotary Fellowships. It began in England in 1947 and has grown to 126 fleets, with over 3600 members in 44 countries!

He gave an overview of our club’s fellowship chapter:

· They hold several fellowship activities on/off the water each year

· Work with Univ of Washington Navy ROTC and support Maritime High School

· You don’t need to own a boat to participate, just a Rotarian and a love of water

He concluded with, “They would love you to join us.” Learn more at their Facebook group: Seattle Rotary Mariners and visit

President Beth introduced the chair of our Rotary Education Committee, Lori Walker who provided an overview of the committee, its key programs which include college application prep, scholarships and partnerships with groups such as the United Negro College Fund. She showed a video from the UNCF that highlighted how they “alleviate some of the inequities and help students be ready for college, beyond scholarships” that showcased the “next generation of leaders” that they support. She encouraged us to “get involved, mentor a student, participate in the UNCF Career Fair, join the Rotary Education Committee; and to please give to the Seattle Rotary Service Foundation if you have not already,” as she reminded us that our annual contribution supports these programs.

Lori introduced Linda Thompson Black who is the Pacific Northwest Area Development Director for United Negro College Fund who introduced our guest speaker, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Brent Jones.

Superintendent Jones gave us an overview of the District and provided insight into their new “success-focused” strategic plan

· They currently have 50,000 students enrolled who are from over 151 countries, with 147 language spoken with 30% of their students on free/reduced lunch

Their new strategic plan acknowledges the district’s failure to educate all students. He told us that they are creating conditions so students can “thrive, disrupt legacies of racism, and provide premier outcomes for students.”

He shared some good news: they have increased the graduation rates of black male students and doubled the number in advanced learning. He has a “fantastic relationship” with the school board, which has not always been the case with previous superintendents/school board, and works well with “their labor partners and the mayor’s office.”

Some challenges he mentioned:

· Their goals is to “teach a learning mission” but they also have to focus on other issues such as serving public health needs and being a social safety net

· The district has a structural budget deficit with declining enrollment and rising expenditures so he said that they “need to lower spending and recoup the enrollment loss. And he committed that they would not reduce the district’s safety budget

He concluded that they are “creating a climate where all students can thrive and providing accountability for outcomes as they design a program that Involves families, community, partners and philanthropy.” He answered questions on: their budget deficit, his thoughts on standardized testing/student assessments, the plans for Memorial Stadium, and providing special education needs.

Thanks to meeting reporter Dann Mead Smith for this week's report! 


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