Together we make a profound difference

Public school support

Meaningful ways to contribute to public education

Your March checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on freemason.org

Question of the month

 

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Public school support

For many lodges, public education in their community is a cause that’s close to heart. Here are four examples, from Gold Country to the Inland Empire. Each lodge has found an individualized way to support local schools, building trust between Masons and students, teachers, and administrators.

Charter champion
The total population in the town of Hornitos is 75, and the total number of schools is zero. Yet public school support is a priority for Hornitos Lodge No. 98. For several years the lodge worked with nearby Mariposa Lodge No. 24 to cohost an annual student scholarship and teacher recognition night for county schools. More recently, it’s focused on a community called Catheys Valley just a few miles away. When the main elementary school closed in 2011 due to budget cuts, locals rallied to create a K-8 public school – a free, nonprofit charter school – to replace it. The lodge has been part of the community’s success story, from organizing volunteers to weed and mow school grounds (while dodging rattlesnakes) to writing letters of support to the school district. They’ve also made regular financial donations, which recently helped open a branch library at the school.

Adopt a school
Penrhyn-Gold Hill Lodge No. 32 adopted a school for special needs students in its Gold Country town several years ago, and has worked closely with teachers to identify and meet their greatest needs since, including the donation of science activity materials, books, backpacks, and even iPads for classroom use. The partnership has proven so vital to the school – and so rewarding for the lodge – that Penrhyn-Gold Hill brothers decided to adopt a second school last year: a free preschool for low-income families. To cement the relationship, the lodge donated a bookshelf to the school, filled with books that brothers had personally selected and donated. Every brother participated. When lodge leaders presented the gift to the school, they spent time reading aloud to the children.

Patriotic essays
For the last 13 years Olive Branch Lodge No. 269 in Tulare has inspired patriotism in its school district. With the help of administrators and teachers from the city’s 11 elementary schools, the lodge sponsors an annual patriotic essay contest for fifth graders. The process kicks off each year with a lodge letter to the schools, introducing Masonry’s commitment to public education and explaining the contest. This year, about a thousand students submitted essays. First, second, and third place ribbons are awarded in each classroom, selected by their teachers. Of these, each school picks one school-wide winner, who is invited with parents and educators to an April dinner at the lodge. There, the students read their essays aloud and two city-wide winners are chosen, each receiving a trophy and a new bike and bike helmet.

Students of the month
Every month for the past five years, brothers from Barstow Boron Lodge No. 682 have visited local schools to congratulate outstanding students face-to-face. The lodge got involved with the district’s Student of the Month program six years ago, and presently four schools participate. Each month, one student per grade level is chosen, and brothers visit the schools to hand out a certificate of recognition and small prizes from local businesses. In the course of a year, the brothers present about 500 of these awards. It’s created a culture of friendship between the schools and the lodge, which has led to another notable partnership: Last month the lodge had the honor of judging the district-wide science fair.

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Meaningful ways to contribute to public education

A priority of the 2020 Fraternity Plan is to make a positive impact on society. When public schools get the support they need, that impact is made not only in classrooms, but in the future of each student.

Here are some ways you and your lodge can make a difference.

Donate to the California Masonic Foundation

  • Your tax-deductible donation gives vulnerable children the gift of literacy and connects deserving students with a college education. Together with brothers statewide, your gift makes a lasting impact. Give now.

Adopt a school

  • Ask district administrators to identify a school that needs support
  • Talk with the principal about short-term and long-term needs
  • Ask for wish lists from teachers and the school librarian, and donate or raise money to fulfill them
  • Donate school supplies and student backpacks
  • Provide lodge space and/or funding for an after-school program

Volunteer

  • Offer to paint a playground, renovate a teacher break room, or plant a garden
  • Lend a hand with administrative tasks, like stuffing envelopes
  • Assist in classrooms: tutor students, read to young children, or correct papers
  • Ask coaches and leaders of enrichment programs and after-school activities if they need help
  • If you or your brothers have a connection that might make an interesting field trip, talk to the school
  • If you have special expertise, offer to present an in-classroom lecture for students
Contests and awards
Work with administrators to sponsor public school programs such as:
  • Science fair
  • Spelling bee
  • U.S. Constitution tournament
  • Awards for students, for example most improved, good citizenship, perfect attendance, outstanding achievement
  • Teacher of the year
  • College scholarships
Connect with the public
  • Keep local media informed of school achievements and your lodge’s support. For help with press releases, log into the Member Center, then navigate to "Resources and Publications" and find "Communications Tools."
  • When the school community wants to know more about Masonry, the first place they’ll look is your website. Make sure it’s welcoming and current with a free website template from Grand Lodge.
Keep brothers in the loop
  • Once you’ve chosen a project to support local public schools, make sure all lodge members are notified and updated! Designate a few brothers to act as a communications team, keeping everyone in the loop through a phone tree, Trestleboard article, emails, or frequent posts on the lodge app and social media pages.

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Your March checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your March checklist:

Executive Committee

  • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of the month
  • Attend, or make plans to attend, the Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Continue preparing 2018 program plan
  • Continue preparing 2018 budget. Remember to include retreat attendance in your lodge budget.
  • Continue preparing 2018 officer appointments
  • Continue preparing 2018 installation of officers
  • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement

Secretary

  • Begin tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund
  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due by January 1)
  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee
  • Send any suspension notices
  • Charity Committee considers remissions
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything)

Treasurer

  • If your lodge has employees, file W-3 with IRS along with copies of all W-2 forms
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything)

Audit Committee

  • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of April

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 292-9180.

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For your Trestleboard

For as long as Masons have been in California, we’ve stood up for public schools and equality in education. Use these ads to remind your members about Public Schools Month in April, and other news from the fraternity.

This month:
Public Schools Month
Acacia Creek
Symposium

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

If your lodge is holding a Public Schools Month event in April, you may find yourself fielding questions from students and parents who are curious about Masonry.

Prepare with this list of 17 frequently asked questions and answers, including:

  • What is Freemasonry?
  • Is Masonry a secret organization?
  • What happens at a lodge meeting?
  • Can women join Masonry?

To access the complete resource of Masonry FAQs, select Q & A from the Discover Masonry dropdown menu.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked which your lodge most identifies with: fellowship, ritual, education, or service. Of those that responded:

65% - Fellowship
25% - Ritual
10% - Service

About 73 percent say their identity is reflected in lodge events and programming. More than half say it’s reflected in relationships with other lodges and Masonic groups.

Here's your next question.

 

 



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