Supporting Children Learning

Area of Focus: Basic Education & Literacy

Lead Club Name: Brentwood

Lead Rotarian: Brown, Marsha Ed.D.

Year: 2020-21

Project Budget: $12,437.39

DDF Grant Amount: $8,140.00

Supporting Children with their Education The Rotary Club of Brentwood (TRCB) has supported a Place of Learning (APOL) in Brentwood, CA throughout the years with small grants and volunteers. A Place of Learning began in 2007. One of its founders was a long-time Rotarian. He was a champion of APOL for many years, and recruited a number of Rotarian as volunteer mentors while his health permitted him to attend our meetings. It currently operates as a 501( c) 3 organization, making it a non-profit with donations being tax deductible based on current law. It is governed by a Board of Directors, all of whom are volunteers. The Board meets regularly, at least once a month. It is comprised of a balance of educators, business people, donors and others active in church and community. It provides free after-school tutoring for approximately 35-45 students in grades 1 – 6 who need academic assistance. It is unique in that it is the only extra-curricular tutoring help available in Brentwood outside of what is offered by the school district. 95% of the students served are considered low income (50% extremely low income, 32% very low income, 13% low income). While it serves mostly Hispanic students, all are welcome. The center is open from 2:30 – 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. APOL recruits volunteer mentors/tutors who wish to improve the life of one person at a time. The students served include those at risk, those struggling to learn English as their second language, those with learning disabilities as well as those who just need to believe in themselves. Our Past President Fran Bowman has volunteered for APOL for many years and it has been very meaningful to her. She is still close with a student that she mentored there for years. Many other Rotarians have volunteered at APOL over the years, and our plan is that even more will moving forward, especially because of this project. Our club will be instrumental in the installation and launch of the new learning platform. Our hope is that our bond and collaboration with this impactful, local non-profit will grow in the coming years so that we can better support our youth in the most need. APOL keeps track of student progress via their report cards. They compare the students’ reports from the beginning of the school year with the reports at the end of the school year. They usually see an 80% increase in their grades. The students served by APOL usually have a 1 or 2 (which are considered below grade level) at the beginning of the year and most are able to bring their grades up to a 3 or 4 (average and above grade level). These grade levels are for the elementary school-based children. As a result of the current public health crisis, distance learning has created more educational and budgetary challenges than have ever been experienced before. Because of this, our youth will need all of the supplemental and auxiliary support to help them overcome the setbacks that are currently being experienced, especially to the underserved community that APOL servers. The goal of this technology upgrade to the APOL environment is not simply to provide additional technology, but more importantly to empower, support and assist volunteers in their efforts to help tutor and educate APOL youth. To provide an enhanced program that is more effective than ever, and that the APOL tutors and students can take pride in. Furthermore, most of the students do not have printers at home, so being able to print assignments at APOL is an important benefit of this upgrade. The Rotary Club of Brentwood is proposing to purchase 30 Chromebook 3100 series at a cost of $299 each. This would equip APOL to support student learning through the use of technology similar to that being used in the Brentwood Union School District. Included in the Chromebook cost is a 3 year complete care (unlimited accidental damage protection) as well as a Google ChromeOS Management Service (perpetual license for Google). California charges an additional $5 per unit for recycling. A Chromebook charging station would also be purchased to house the Chromebooks when not in use (and to charge them). Headphones will allow more than one student to use the equipment without interfering with another student’s learning. A printer and ink will allow student work to be printed out for submission to the student’s teacher or for additional practice at home. Finally a subscription to FunBrain will provide academic support for the tutor and the student. Given COVID-19, Chromebooks and headphones will be sanitized after each use, by the tutors and/or APOL staff. The sanitizing supplies will be provided through other funds available to APOL. APOL tutors will receive training on the use of Chromebooks and FunBrain. They will provide learning support to each student. By having Chromebooks available at APOL, the tutors will be able to support each student’s learning in a similar way to how they are learning at school (and at home during the pandemic). The Chromebooks will remain at APOL. FunBrain is an educational website aimed at children created in 1998. The website features a number of educational games. It was on this site that Diary of a Wimpy Kid was first published before being turned into a successful book series and movie franchise. It is owned by Pearson, an educational publishing house. Disclaimer regarding proposed budget: quotes have been obtained for all equipment proposed for purchase in the grant proposal. However, several vendors indicated that the quote is only good for the month, and will have to be requoted the next month, or when the grant is approved for funding. So the quotes and the budgets are a best estimate.

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