The February 1, 2016 meeting of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club was the designated business meeting for the month and they got down to it with a will.

• Treasurer Amy Crawford reported that checks supporting Power of the Pen and the Rotary Foundation had gone out and some dues had come in.  ClubRunner is simplifying the process.

• The centennial of the Rotary Foundation will be celebrated in the district with a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall on October 23; tickets are available.

• District conference is coming up; baskets are invited, tickets will be available.

• The Portage Cluster in the district (6630) will be joining with the United Way in supporting the Big Red Bookshelf Program.  Local Rotary clubs will be collecting new or gently-used books for children from infancy to third grade.  The United Way will then distribute them to the thirty Big Red Bookshelves throughout the county.  Business Works, McCumbers-Brady Realty, Middlefield Bank and the James A. Garfield High School will be the local collection centers.  Childhood literacy is a critical element in student success across the board. Will be  possible involvement of the Boy Scouts (Eagle projects?  Building bookshelves?) and the InterAct students at Garfield.  Posters will be out, collection points are open.

• President Tom Collins noted that at a recent Sierra Club meeting, Rep Marcie Kaptur mentioned that in the current efforts to clean up Lake Erie, the Rotary clubs had been invaluable partners.

• Discussion on the Fit-N-Fun activities for this year revolved around setting  a date (to book Ronald McDonald), obtaining sponsors, as was done last year (Thank you Charles Auto Family) for items given to participants, and possibly involving rewards for walking on the Headwaters Trail.

• The 4-Way Speech Contest will be held in Aurora on April 2.  Local contestants should be vetted some time in March.

• Local exchange student, Art, will be needing transportation to and from Columbus for a district-wide exchange student trip in March.  Volunteers?

• Possible tie-in with the Headwaters Trail at both ends during the DMRC Art on the Hill in July?

Damon Bahr, member of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club, was the featured speaker at the meeting on February 8, 2016 at Cal’s II, Sky Plaza, Garrettsville.  Dr. Bahr is with Brigham Young University in Utah and is spending mission  time at the Historic Johnson Home on Pioneer Trail, Hiram.  His field is mathematics education—teaching teachers how to teach math, a sorely-needed skill set in today’s education education, since a large proportion of America’s population tends to avoid math at all costs, even as the need for understanding of the subject grows.  Nearly all advanced mathematics classes    in universities tend to be populated by students from other countries.

He is part of the thirty-six-year-old movement for math education reform.  No, it’s not the “new math”, it’s “every kid’s math”, utilizing the inborn understanding of mathematical concepts and natural number sense that can be found in nearly all kids, recognition of patterns and the application of discovery-style teaching methods.  This reform is aimed at improving instruction from pre-school to university level; it is reflected in improved test scores and less test-anxiety for students almost across-the-board.  Teachers who have adopted this reform in classrooms find it lightens their load and improves progress in their classes.

In regular business, President Tom Collins reported a meeting with the Portage Park District personnel and Village of Garrettsville officials on the Headwaters Trail–needed improvements, promotion of, possible grants, etc.   The DMRC is already active on the facility’s behalf; can a group be formed in Garrettsville? The Fit-n-Fun program for the Garfield Elementary School is back on the drawing board for scheduling and planning and sponsorships.  The high school InterAct group is working on the Book Project.    The 4-Way Speech Contest is coming up quickly; participants are being sought.  The annual district meeting looms; attendance is encouraged.