Program Puts Students On Path to Success
Parents and teachers at Lexington Elementary School in Monroe, La., feared their school was slipping into mediocrity or worse. Attendance rates and standardized test scores were dipping. Suspensions were rising. So school administrators implemented Lions Quest, a life-skills program. After taking part in workshops, teachers worked with students on relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
They set high academic expectations and coordinated service learning projects in the community. After five years, a remarkable turnabout took place. The test scores were the highest in the district, as were the attendance rates. "We can see and feel the difference," said principal Lynn Hodge. "Our students are more responsible.
They can listen and work together." Teachers from across the nation report similarly positive results with Lions Quest. The program trains those teaching kindergarten through 12th grade to teach responsibility, conflict resolution, communication skills and the dangers of drug and alcohol use. Participating schools also receive books and materials. Lions Quest is sponsored by Lions Clubs International, the world's largest service club organization. To date, more than 11 million youths have taken part in a Lions Quest classroom and more than 333,000 educators and other adults have been trained by Lions Quest. Government agencies and educational groups have given Lions Quest high ratings. Lions Quest students show improved achievement test scores; positive changes in attitudes toward substance abuse and violence; lower rates of disciplinary problems and dropping out; and decreased use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, according to studies done over the last 20 years. Two years ago, Westside High School in Memphis, Tenn., was stunned by the death of a 15-year-old student in a gang initiation fight in a school bathroom.
Westside students involved in Lions Quest organized an assembly decrying the violence, set up peer support groups and performed community service activities. Westside quickly rebounded. "The students at Westside don't have a lot of choices in terms of student leadership," said teacher Nancy Byrd. "Lions Quest gave them the opportunity to step forward and participate.
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