Vermont statewide science assessment shows marginal improvement

first_imgSource: VT DOE. 9.22.2009 Statewide science assessment results for Spring 2009 were released by the Vermont Department of Education today. Fifty-two percent of Vermont fourth graders tested were proficient or higher in science, up four points from last year. In grade eight, 25 percent were proficient or higher, down one point. In grade 11, 27 percent were proficient or higher, up 2 points. The results are from the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science exams, given to Vermont public school students for the second time in grades 4, 8 and 11 in May 2009.“There is an obvious need for improvement in how our students are learning science,” said Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “The wide range of results by individual school, from zero percent to 96 percent proficient, shows me that students are capable of achieving the standard, but they are not all receiving the standards-based science curriculum that we expect due to the varied delivery of curriculum in our school districts.”As seen in previous years statewide and nationally, an achievement gap persists between students from low-income families and their peers. In grade four, only 33 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 61 percent of their peers. In grade eight, only 10 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 30 percent of their peers. In grade 11, only 13 percent of those students were proficient or higher, compared to 30 percent of their peers.“These results represent an early snapshot of science understanding by Vermont students, and indicate that alignment of instruction with science grade expectations in elementary classrooms is beginning to make a difference,” said Science Assessment Coordinator Gail Hall. “However, all school programs need to continue to give standards-based science content greater emphasis within classrooms, as well as problem solving, critical thinking, and reading and writing skills in science.”The NECAP exams were created in collaboration with Rhode Island and New Hampshire. These exams are designed to specifically assess how well Vermont students have learned the skills and content contained in the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities. This is the second year of results on the NECAP science exams.For school reports, visit http://www.education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/data.html#html(link is external).  For more information, contact Jill Remick at (802) 828-3154 or Michael Hock at (802) 828-3115.last_img read more

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports receives $1,000 from Chittenden Bank

first_imgSource: KILLINGTON, WARREN and BOLTON, Vt. (Oct. 20, 2009) –### Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports recently received a donation from Chittenden Bank in the amount of $1,000 to support year round recreational programming for adults with disabilities.”We believe sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual,” said Erin Fernandez, executive director. “We extend an enormous thanks to Chittenden for this donation that will help us to underwrite some of the costs of our adaptive programs and allow more people with disabilities to participate.”The cost of an outing with Vermont Adaptive for the consumer can range from a $15 for a two hour canoeing session to $90 for a full day ski lesson, including instructors, ticket and adaptive equipment. All of the school and advocacy groups that the organization works with are also subsidized by Vermont Adaptive; school groups are charged a reduced rate starting at 50% off, and participants receive the same one on one experience as any individual who participates.The average true expense of a lesson or outing to the organization is approximately $120.00 per individual per outing per activity. Yet, it receives only $60,000 in program fees each year. This year Vermont Adaptive has set a goal of raising an additional $60,000 in underwriting support on an annual basis. Chittenbank is just one example of local businesses giving back to their community.”We are proud to provide funding to bring sports and recreation activities to more individuals with disabilities,” said Kathy Schirling, director of marketing and community services.Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport works with individuals who have a wide range of physical, mental and developmental disabilities. Both volunteers and staff provide instruction and assistance to these individuals to ensure maximum enjoyment and satisfaction from their experience. About Chittenden BankChittenden Bank, which has proudly served individuals and businesses statewide since 1906 is a division of People’s United Bank, a federally-chartered savings bank with $20 billion in assets. People’s United Bank provides consumer and commercial banking services through a network of more than 300 branches in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. Through additional subsidiaries, People’s United Bank provides equipment financing, asset management, brokerage and financial advisory services, and insurance services.  For more information please call 800-545-2236 or visit www.chittenden.com(link is external).Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is the only year-round disabled sports program with daily programming in the state, which is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. The organization promotes independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational opportunities including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports; kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more. More than 400 volunteers serve clients from all over the world in three locations in Vermont – Pico Mountain at Killington; Sugarbush Resort in Warren; and Bolton Valley Resort in Bolton. For more information, visit www.vermontadaptive.org(link is external).last_img read more

$1 million from NSF to connect UVM and Vermont State Colleges

first_imgIncreasingly, scientific research depends upon huge pools of data ‘ like gene sequences or weather models ‘ shared between scientists at numerous institutions. And this sharing depends upon fast fiber-optic networks and other so-called cyber-infrastructure ‘ far faster than a conventional internet hook-up.In Vermont, that information pipeline has been not been as big as necessary or entirely missing in places.But that’s changing.The Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT EPSCoR) at the University of Vermont has received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the next two years to connect the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) and the University of Vermont with high-speed fiber optic cables and other information-sharing technologies.The new service between UVM and the VSC data hub will allow all twenty-nine VSC locations to participate more fully in collaborative research with UVM scientists and educators ‘ including all 12 Community College of Vermont (CCV) centers; both campuses and two nursing education centers of Vermont Technical College (VTC); and the Castleton State College, Johnson State College, and Lyndon State College campuses.The current connection is 300 megabytes per second. The new system will be 10 gigabytes per second ‘ thirty-three times faster.”Our proposal was designed as part of a larger effort to improve teaching and research initiatives across Vermont in so-called STEM fields ‘ science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Judith Van Houten, professor of biology and state director of VT EPSCoR, “U.S. and state leaders increasingly see improvement in these areas as a key to future economic success and job development.”The new in-state system will also be connected to a larger “Fiber Ring” that links UVM to a hub through Albany, N.Y., and Hanover, N.H. This fiber ring system allows researchers around the region to share information at 60 gigabytes per second. This link helps connect Vermont with “Internet2,” an expanding advanced networking consortium involving hundreds of U.S. research universities and corporations. Vermont businesses will also be able to access the fiber ring.The new funding comes through an arm of the National Science Foundation’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Program that seeks to make better cyber connections on campuses and between colleges.”This increased cyber-capacity will better connect researchers and partner institutions within the Vermont State Colleges — especially the new engagement with the Community College of Vermont,” said Timothy Donovan, chancellor of the Vermont State College system, “new courses and opportunities for students seeking careers in science and technology will be offered as a result.”The new award will also provide funding to connect a network of K-12 schools, libraries, museums, art galleries and hospitals in Vermont, through an initiative of Internet2, making many new resources available to Vermont community institutions”We aim to improve collaboration among diverse participants and campuses and communities in Vermont and throughout the region,” said Kelvin Chu, associate professor of physics at UVM and VT EPSCoR associate project director. “Videoconferencing capability, visualization and new curriculum options across the state and region are also part of this project.”Additional plans for the grant include:â ¢ A new bioinformatics course, organized at Johnson State College, to be offered across the whole Vermont State College system in spring 2012 and taught by faculty at UVM and across the Northeast.â ¢At Lyndon State College, the award will enable faculty studying weather forecasting within Vermont to improve their ability to analyze and collaborate with fellow researchers around the region.â ¢ Policy studies at UVM will involve students from several state colleges in their survey work.The award complements recent funding to support the Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC) initiative that enabled a high-speed connection between UVM and the Internet2 network.UVM. 9.27.2011last_img read more

Sanders announces funds for Vermont-grown food

first_imgSenator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today announced two grants totaling $165,555 for the Green Mountain Farm Direct and the Northeast Organic Farming Association to expand access to locally-produced food for Vermont seniors, low-income families and others.‘These worthwhile projects will increase Vermonters’ access to fresh, healthy, locally-produced foods,’ Sanders said.Green Mountain Farm Direct in Newport, Vt., is slated to receive $97,029 to build a mobile farmers market that will deliver fresh foods to senior meal sites, low-income housing sites, and community centers throughout Essex and Orleans Counties. The mobile market ‘ a big bus equipped with refrigeration and a prep kitchen ‘ will travel to local farms to buy food and make deliveries to senior meal sites, low-income housing facilities, and community centers throughout the region.The Northeast Organic Farming Association based in Richmond, Vt., will receive $68,526 to expand the use of debit cards and electronic benefit cards at Vermont farmers markets. The project already has helped 37 farmers markets throughout the state. The additional funding will expand the project to eight more markets. Roadside farm stands also could be added to the project.Sanders’ strong backing helped Vermont win the funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion program. WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 ‘ Senator Bernie Sanderslast_img read more