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Meet Chelsea- An Americorps VISTA member serving in the All-4-One Program in Springfield

April 10, 2014 in Community Development, Stories, Youth & Education by Jen

Chelsea All 4 OneHi, my name is Chelsea and I am a new Americorps VISTA member serving through Vermont Youth Tomorrow with the All-4-One program in Springfield, Vermont. I am passionate about providing a well-rounded education for students and am really excited about the work All-4-One is doing.


All-4-One provides before and after school programs, summer camp, and weekend trips for students in the Springfield school district. In addition to serving students healthy meals, the program engages students in creative, academic, enrichment, and recreational clubs and activities. Moreover, All-4-One incorporates literary and math skills into its programs so students can hone these skills through fun, hands on learning experiences.


While I am at All-4-One, I will focus on program development- strengthening All-4-One’s curriculum building capacities and incorporating students’ school time curriculum into All-4-One’s out of school time services. Additionally, I will work to further integrate All-4-One into the Springfield community through our volunteer program and by building partnerships with community organizations.


As winter comes to a close, we are looking forward to our summer program! Summer Daze is an 8-week, 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. camp that runs from June 30th to August 15th. All-4-One provides students with hot breakfast and lunch, as well as an afternoon snack. This year the program will be The Game of Life themed. Morning programming will include academic enrichment in Literacy and Math, while afternoons will focus on fun enrichment activities and social time for the students.


If you are interested in learning more about our program or in enrolling a student in All-4-One’s summer camp, and/or before and after school program, please give us a call at 802-885-2531, check out our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/All4OneProgram , or come down to 60 Park Street in Springfield. Thank you!

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Springfield Food Co-op Donates to SHS Varsity Dance Team Competition

February 18, 2014 in Community Development, Stories, Youth & Education by Jen

SHS dance team at a competitionA big shout- out and thank you to Springfield Food Co-op for generously donating $200 worth of snacks for the visiting teams at the first home competition of the Springfield High School Varsity Dance Team!

Pictured here during a competition, the varsity team is composed of 3 compass students, 2 green mountain students, and 11 Springfield students. Ashley Hensel-Browning is head coach, she’s been coaching for the last 4 years. Tia Horton is a former dance team member and a first time assistant coach.

The first home competition was on February 8th, and the team wanted to thank the co-op again, for being so generous.

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Springfield Wrestler Tim Bapp Brings Home the Belt

February 12, 2014 in Stories, Youth & Education by Jen

Springfield Wrestler Tim Bapp Brings Home the Belt

Tim Bapp wins belt- picutred with coachesThree of Springfield’s young grapplers recently competed at a wrestling tournament in Burnt Hills, NY: Eighth-grader Gillian Guy, brand-new to the sport this year, is throwing down with some fierce competitors this year and held nothing back in Burnt Hills.  She put out her best efforts against 5 very strong opponents; although she was not able to win this time, she is improving daily and has a “killer single” — a move intended to take one’s opponent down by tackling one of his legs — according to Coach Don Beebe.  Matt LaChapelle, also in 8th grade, has been battling an inner ear ailment and left Burnt Hills early, after putting out some serious effort on the mat.
Seventh-grader Tim Bapp squared off against all the boys in his 4-man bracket, and battled hard to bring home the title of “Champion,” plus the snazzy belt awarded to the first-place wrestlers at this tournament.  Tim has worked hard all season, through injury and illness, making himself the best he can be — with the combined wrestling know-how of coaches Don Beebe and Floyd Buck, Tim is well on his way to State Champion on Feb. 22.
This win qualifies Tim Bapp to wrestle in the Tournament of Champions, a national competition held in Columbus, Ohio in late April.  Others on the team are in the process of qualifying; the trip to Ohio will require a team investment of around $3,000.  Please come to the team’s annual fundraising event, the Schweitzer Memorial Take-Down Youth Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, March 8th at Riverside Middle School.  This year, the wrestling will include junior high as well; the action will kick off around 9:30AM in the gym at Riverside.  Admission is only $1 for adults, kids under 10 are free.  Concessions will be available all day in the cafeteria.
To make a donation to help the team, please contact Team Manager Kelly Stettner at k.stettner101@gmail.com or Springfield Parks & Rec at (802) 885-2727.

Top Ten Reasons to Wrestle

October 16, 2013 in Health and Recreation, Youth & Education by 802eureka

Wrestling can be a great sport for all ages, strengths, and abilities. It offers tons of benefits for students- from the well trained athlete looking to increase strength and stamina between seasons, to the smallest Kindergartener looking to burn excess energy. Some even claim it is one of the best sports for kids struggling with ADHD.

As the Springfield Wrestling team is offering a few open practice sessions starting this week,  we thought it would be a good time to talk about the Top Ten Reasons to Wrestle.

wrestling tournament Springfield

Springfield tournament at Riverside

#10. It’s good for you!

Wrestling builds stamina and strength, utilizing all the body’s muscles during practice and competitions. Your brain and self-esteem benefit, as well.

Personal discipline is important- wrestling helps you find your limits and push them a little more every practice. You’ll get to know your body and be surprised at what it can do.

As you become stronger and faster, your self-respect increases.  As you learn that you aren’t infallible, that you can get taken down and get back up again, your humility will deepen.

Girls who wrestle hold their heads higher, walk a little taller, and tend to have very healthy self-images — they are comfortable in their own skins and like who they are and what they are capable of.

#9. It is highly regulated.

Every move is monitored. While wrestling is about physically dominating your opponent until his shoulders touch the mat, moves that could seriously injure a participant are banned and penalized. Referees and coaches watch matches closely for any violations.

Learning the holds, how to escape, maneuver, and even fall, in addition to stretching, makes you a better wrestler, and helps protect you. There is also special gear, such as nonslip shoes, headgear, and even hair coverings, that offer extra protection.

#8. It is strategic.
wrestling girls

Wrestling- Girls Can Rule!

It takes time to learn, much less master, all the moves. But even the most basic moves, executed well, can lead to a win.

Coaches help you learn the physics and sense behind every move and hold so you understand why your body needs to move in this or that fashion. The more you practice, the more each maneuver becomes second nature so your muscles will react more automatically during challenges. These are the elements to becoming a champion.

#7. It’s natural!

Kids love to wrestle. It feels great to stretch, exercise, and challenge yourself, even as you spar with a partner or step on a tournament mat. Trying to out-maneuver your opponents is a bit like a puzzle, in really fast-time. That mental stimulation is something people naturally crave.

#6. It’s great conditioning for other sports!

The planned stances and overall toning help with balance and to lessen awkwardness. Added arm strength can help baseball players, while runners benefit from the trim and pliable muscles developed. Wrestling helps develop reflexes and strength against opponents – a real advantage for football players.
The fact is, all athletes benefit from the increased stamina and mental discipline gained from wrestling.

 #5. It’s fair!

Kids are matched by age and weight. Even the smallest child has a chance to win because they are not expected to compete against significantly larger opponents. Also, matches are closely monitored and refereed. There is a ref on the mat and coaches in each corner for every match. All are intently watching only the two wrestlers. Although every call isn’t always agreeable, wrestling is one of the fairest sports around.  Unsportsmanlike conduct is frowned upon and even penalized at higher levels of competition.

#4. It is never boring!

There is constant movement at practice and at tournaments, on the mats and on the sidelines. Wrestling is fast-paced to watch, but even more exciting to DO!  Wrestler are always thinking through a dozen different maneuvers in response to every move made by his or her opponent. You must constantly adjust to the other wrestler’s position and momentum, planning three steps ahead to get into the right position for a win!

#3. It’s all about you

Wrestlers compete one on one. No one is left on the sidelines. Whatever happens is up to you — you control your movements and reactions. The people cheering in the bleachers? All for you. The coaches on the mat? There for you.  Win or lose, each wrestler earns the medal or learns the lessons on the mat. Wrestling breaks blame: there is no “losing because one player on my team didn’t try,” or “winning because one player on my team carried the rest.”  Each wrestler is accountable to him or herself for losses as well as for wins.

wrestling fundraiser

Team fundraiser

#2. Well, it’s all about you… and the team

Springfield has a strong base of participant, parent, and community support. Coaches and team managers volunteer a lot time to provide an excellent experience for every member of the team. Although competition is on an individual basis, wrestlers train together as a team. They travel to tournaments as a team. Wins are shared excitement and losses are shared opportunities for learning. Whether it’s rolling up the mats, raising funds, traveling to Ohio in a van for nationals, or just gathering a few times a week at the gym, it is all done as a team.

#1. It’s fun!

As with most recreational sports, wrestling is fun- all that rolling and twisting; trying to outmaneuver and outsmart your opponent.

Plus, absolutely ANYONE can do it: boys and girls of any size, age, shape, and physical condition.  Wrestling is demanding but flexible — speed and agility, coupled with determination and stamina, are more important than brute force or sheer strength.This diversity of ability & personalities- individualism in a team environment, make for an exciting and good time.

wrestling coach floyd

Coach Floyd

Check out the Springfield Wrestling Team Facebook page for more information. Join one (or all) of the 5 open practices on Wednesdays and Fridays starting October 16th. Meet at Park Street gym at 5:30 for an hour of low-key informal practice- meet some of the coaches and team members and have fun! (Oct 16, 18, 23, 24, 30)

 

Contributed by Kelly Stettner and Jennifer Austin

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Recognizing Teachers ~ Locally and Worldwide

October 5, 2013 in Community Development, Inspiration, Youth & Education by Jen

Today, October 5th, 2013, is ‘World Teachers Day‘ and ‘Thank a Teacher Day’.  Our society is rooted on the foundations of great teachers. Good teachers provide much more than book-learning. They provide support and care that nurtures a love of learning- that inspires a life-long quest for knowledge. Good teachers help build their students, their peers, and their communities.

Every day, teachers are working with our students- the leaders of tomorrow. Having good teachers is imperative, not just for the sake of individual students, but for society.

Springfield Teacher, Valerie Gasco, Finalist for Vermont Teacher of the Year VT Teacher of the Year logo

We are fortunate to have many dedicated teachers in Springfield and the surrounding area. Just yesterday it was announced that Riverside Middle School teacher Valerie Gasco is one of three finalists for Vermont Teacher of the Year. Ms. Gasco is a special education teacher for 6th – 8th grade students. Most who know her agree that her contributions are indeed quite special. She takes the time to understand individual students needs and works tirelessly to ensure they receive the best education possible. She is a passionate advocate for students and families.

Although the winner of the Vermont Teacher of the Year won’t be announced until October 15th, in our book Ms. Gasco, her students, peers, and Springfield are already the winners here.

Springfield High School Instructional Coach and Counselor receive high praise and recognition

Liz Mirra, Instructional Coach for math and science, was recognized by the Massachusetts Society of Medical Research for Outstanding Science Teacher representing all of Vermont.

Liz Mirra, Instructional Coach for math and science, recognized by the Massachusetts Society of Medical Research for Outstanding Science Teacher

Liz Mirra

Jade Dunn Costello, with her new award - Vermont School Counselors' Association, New Counselor of the Year for 2013

Jade Dunn Costello

 

Also bringing in a win for to kick off the 2013/ 2014 school year was Springfield High School counselor Jade Dunn Costello. She won the New Counselor of the Year Award from the Vermont School Counselor’s Association for 2013.

Springfield School’s David Cohn honored by Tony Danza at AFT

In July, David Cohn, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Springfield School District, was honored for “Making a Difference” by Tony Danza and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). At AFT’s Annual TEACH conference in D.C., over 3000 educators gathered for three days of training and inspiration. Mr. Cohn joined Tony Danza on stage. Tony recounted his first day of teaching and the important role Mr. Cohn played in supporting and coaching him as a teacher.  Mr. Cohn also served as an instructional coach for three years at Springfield High School before being appointed the School District Director of C.I.A.

Alison Sylvester, Springfield teacher, elected Vice President Vermont NEA

Another Springfield teacher recognized in2013 was Alison Sylvester of Union Street Elementary. She was elected to serve as Vice President of the Vermont NEA (National Education Association). This recognition of Ms. Sylvester’s leadership and commitment to her profession is a strong testament by her peers.

Greater Springfield Area Teachers

Although we’ve focused on just a few of the most recent recognitions of Springfield teachers, there are so many in the surrounding area who are also doing outstanding work. Kurn Hattin, which serves some Springfield children,  has provided some of the most caring, supportive teachers in an alternative setting.

Just a few weeks ago, music director, Lisa Bionconi, was notified she is a semifinalist in the 1st-ever music educator Grammy! With 29 years of teaching students at Kurn Hattin, her dedication shines through when she talks about her love for music and her students.

You can read more about this Grammy award and Lisa here:  http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_24109292/top-25-kurn-hattin-rsquo-s-music-director

More Teacher Recognition

Most of the time, teacher recognition, when it happens, is much more low-key and localized. Every year, students dedicate the SHS Yearbook to a special teacher. In Spring 2013, Mrs. Susan Fog received that honor. Those who know her could easily understand that choice as her passion for teaching and her fondness for her students is clear in every interaction.

There are plenty of other good teachers who don’t get publicly recognized but whose contributions are just as strong as those who are recognized.  Take a moment to thank those teachers that have made a difference to you, your child, or your neighbor’s child.  Because sooner than you realize, those children will be the teachers, and the leaders, of tomorrow.

What Teachers Make

If you aren’t sure about taking a moment to thank a teacher, maybe you should think about what it is that teacher’s actually make:

This is a heartfelt “Thank You!” to teachers  everywhere who have seen past defiant attitudes, blank stares, half-baked efforts and stories you’ve heard and reached deep to  challenge the most challenging students to become more than they ever thought possible.

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Monarchs and other Winged Creatures in Vermont

September 10, 2013 in Farm & Agriculture, Youth & Education by Jen

With reports of the monarch population being down as much as 90% this year, what is going on?

This report from WCAX gives a brief overview of what is being seen in the state. For more detailed information about butterflies and other winged creatures in Vermont come to the “Wings of Wonder“, presented at the Springfield Town Library, Thursday 9/12.

Monarch tagging and report WCAX

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Tech Students Become Adobe Certified

July 11, 2013 in Community Development, Makers, Youth & Education by Jen

Multi-media and visual communication skills are important for web applications and technology development. Visual communication is a multi-disciplinary field encompassing graphic design, illustration, fine arts (like drawing and painting), and photography.

A global leader in multi-media development is Adobe, offering some of the most used tools for digital marketing and digital media services. With $4.4 billion in sales in 2012, their place in the evolution of online and digital services is almost certain. If you look, you are likely to see their products in websites, smartphones, tablets, televisions, and more.

As such, it’s probably safe to say that having skills and experience using Adobe products could prove valuable to those seeking careers in related fields. Having certification, along with a well-rounded portfolio, is even better, especially as you begin a new career.

This month, three RVTC students have taken steps to ensure they stand out from the crowd by becoming Adobe Certified Associates.

  • Alex DeWitt earned certification in Photoshop CS6
  • Wayna Zhang Manning earned certification in Adobe Dreamweaver CS6
  • Jordan D. Plaisted earned certification in Photoshop CS6 and Dreamweaver CS6
RVTC Tech Essential Students earn Adobe Certifications

RVTC students Alex DeWitt, Wayna Zhang Manning, Jordan Plaisted

About Adobe Certified Associate certification

The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification indicates proficiency in Adobe digital communications tools.  Having  Nationally Recognized Industry Credentials can help students stand out in the job market, providing a clear way to demonstrate proficiency.

Adobe conducted research to identify the foundational skills students need to effectively communicate using digital media tools. Based on feedback from educators, design professionals, businesses, and educational institutions around the world, the objectives cover entry-level skill expectations for visual communication.

Following are the specific objectives and skills required to pass the certifications, from the adobe.com website:

Adobe Visual Communication using Photoshop CS6 objectives

Setting Project Requirements
  1. Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for preparing image(s).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of standard copyright rules for images and image use.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of project management tasks and responsibilities.
  4. Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.
Identifying Design Elements When Preparing Images
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of image resolution, image size, and image file format for web, video, and print.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of design principles, elements, and image composition.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of typography.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of color correction using Photoshop CS6.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of image-generating devices, their resulting image types, and how to access resulting images in Photoshop.
  6. Understand key terminology of digital images.
Understanding Adobe Photoshop CS6
  1. Identify elements of the Photoshop CS6 user interface and demonstrate knowledge of their functions.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of layers and masks.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of importing, exporting, organizing, and saving.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of producing and reusing images.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of and select the appropriate features and options required to implement a color management workflow.
Manipulating Images by Using Adobe Photoshop CS6
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of working with selections.
  2. Use Photoshop guides and rulers.
  3. Transform images.
  4. Adjust or correct the tonal range, color, or distortions of an image.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of retouching and blending images.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of type.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of filters.
Publishing Digital Images by Using Adobe Photoshop CS6
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of preparing images for web, print, and video.

Adobe Web Communication using Dreamweaver CS6 objectives

Setting Project Requirements
  1. Identify the purpose, audience, and audience needs for a website.
  2. Identify web page content that is relevant to the website purpose and appropriate for the target audience.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of standard copyright rules (related terms, obtaining permission, and citing copyrighted material).
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of website accessibility standards that address the needs of people with visual and motor impairments.
  5. Make website development decisions based on your analysis and interpretation of design specifications.
  6. Understand project management tasks and responsibilities.
Planning Site Design and Page Layout
  1. Demonstrate general and Dreamweaver-specific knowledge of best practices for designing a website, such as maintaining consistency, separating content from design, using standard fonts, and utilizing visual hierarchy.
  2. Produce website designs that work equally well on various operating systems, browser versions/configurations, and devices.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of page layout design concepts and principles.
  4. Identify basic principles of website usability, readability, and accessibility.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of flowcharts, storyboards, and wireframes to create web pages and a site map (site index) that maintain the planned website hierarchy.
  6. Communicate with others (such as peers and clients) about design plans.
Understanding the Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Interface
  1. Identify elements of the Dreamweaver interface.
  2. Use the Insert bar.
  3. Use the Property inspector.
  4. Use the Assets panel.
  5. Use the Files panel.
  6. Customize the workspace.
Adding Content by Using Dreamweaver CS6
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of Hypertext Markup Language.
  2. Define a Dreamweaver site.
  3. Create, title, name, and save a web page.
  4. Add text to a web page.
  5. Insert images and apply alternative text on a web page.
  6. Link web content, using hyperlinks, e-mail links, and named anchors.
  7. Include video and sound in a web page.
  8. Add animation and interactivity to content.
  9. Insert navigation bars, rollover images, and buttons created in a drawing program on a web page.
  10. Build image maps.
  11. Import tabular data to a web page.
  12. Import and display a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel document to a web page.
  13. Create forms.
Organizing Content by Using Dreamweaver CS6
  1. Set and modify document properties.
  2. Organize web page layout with relative and absolutely positioned div tags and CSS styles.
  3. Modify text and text properties.
  4. Modify images and image properties.
  5. Create web page templates.
  6. Use basic HTML tags to set up an HTML document, format text, add links, create tables, and build ordered and unordered lists.
  7. Add head content to make a web page visible to search engines.
  8. Use CSS to implement a reusable design.
Evaluating and Maintaining a Site by Using Dreamweaver CS6
  • Conduct technical tests.
  • Identify techniques for basic usability tests.
  • Identify methods for collecting site feedback.
  • Manage assets, links, and files for a site.
  • Publish and update site files to a remove server.

There is still space available to  local students entering 10th – 12th grade who want to learn skills in Website Development, Photoshop, Animation, and Game Development. Contact RVTC to learn more.

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SolarFest: 3 days of family-friendly entertainment, workshops, and inspiration!

July 7, 2013 in Community Development, Inspiration, Makers, Youth & Education by Jen

SolarFest- The Power of Positive Energy is a three-day festival of world-class entertainment and workshops in renewable energy, sustainability, and community engagement.

Maker Faire exhibit

Maker Faire exhibit

Mini Maker Faire

New this year is the SolarFest Mini Maker Faire. Maker Faires are a family-friendly showcase of innovation, invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. It’s an exciting way to see what people are making and share in their learning. It’s a perfect fit for anyone who appreciates Yankee ingenuity, enjoys taking things apart, or putting things together!

Live Entertainment

With a Main Stage, a Family Stage, and Off-Stage entertainment, there is something for everyone. Performers include local and regional favorites and award-winning artists, such as:

There are even more workshops to fill out the festivities. And, if that’s still not enough, the Keynote Speaker is Ben Cohen, founding partner of Ben & Jerry’s. Cohen is now President of the Stamp Stampede campaign whose goal is to get money out of politics.

About SolarFest

The SolarFest was started nineteen years ago as a festival showcasing the power and possibility of Solar Energy. It continues today as a non-profit organization with a simple mission: SolarFest blends art, education, and outreach to inspire conservation, promote renewable energy, and support sustainable communities. Through our steadfast commitment to education, arts and community outreach, SolarFest, Inc. teaches and demonstrates the power and sensibilities of renewable energy and sustainable living at conferences, performances and venues throughout the year.

As the Northeast’s premier energy and music festival, SolarFest blends art, education, and community outreach to inspire the conservation of Earth’s limited resources, to promote renewable energy, and to support the creation of sustainable communities.

Living what they believe, the entire weekend festival, including sound and lights, runs on renewable energy: mostly solar with a little wind.

SolarFest combines superb family entertainment with presentations by some of the region’s most knowledgeable Renewable Energy experts. Workshops on green building and sustainable agriculture are balanced with a series designed especially for young people called The Solar Generation. There is also a special children’s activity area (Kids Korner).

Tickets remain affordable and include all the workshops and entertainment: Children under 14 are FREE; one day passes are $15, and full weekend passes are $39. On-site camping is available.

Plenty of space is provided throughout the weekend for serendipitous encounters, conversation, dancing, hiking, camping, relaxation, and an overall celebration of our planet’s beauty.

Learn more at their website- and perhaps we’ll see you there.

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Vt. summer camp offers fun on the farm and more

July 6, 2013 in Community Development, Inspiration, News Feeds, Youth & Education by Jen

Unbound Grace camp photo

Unbound Grace- a camp with a mission

This camp looks like a typical camp, but it is on a mission, a mission to keep kids on the right track in their young lives, to prepare them for the turbulent high school years.

Kerry Kurt runs the camp, Sentinel Farms-Unbound Grace. She is a registered nurse and has her master’s in divinity. She grew up in Vermont and in the 1990s even served in the Legislature.

They offer alternatives to “… sitting around just playing video games and eating potato chips and hanging around with other kids who are not necessarily well directed” Kurt says. “We try and get them focused; it’s their passion that brings them here and the work and move forward.”

See the video and read more…

By Judy Simpson . …read more

From: WCAX Local

Kids Count ranks Vermont second in child well-being

June 25, 2013 in Youth & Education by 802eureka

kidscount2013By Alicia Freese

Vermont children are better off than their counterparts in every state except New Hampshire, according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey rounded out the top five. Southern and Southwestern states were overrepresented in the lower rungs of the ratings — South Carolina, Louisiana, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico had the worst scores.

“Clearly, we are better off than a lot of places in the country,” said Sarah Teele, a research associate for Voices for Vermont’s Children. But Teele also pointed to the importance of looking beyond the rankings to the raw numbers.

The Kids Count Data Book, an annual publication released Monday, breaks the ratings down into four categories — economic well being, education, health, family and community — each of which are judged based on four indicators. Vermont ranked lowest in the economic category, where it came in at ninth place. It finished in the top five in the other three categories.

The report shows 15 percent of the state’s children were living in poverty in 2011 (the most recent year for which data was available) — that amounts to about 18,000 kids. That’s below the national average of 23 percent, but when it comes to child poverty, “there is no acceptable level,” Teele said.

The child poverty rate in Vermont peaked at 17 percent in 2010 (up from 13 percent in 2007). Whereas Vermont saw a slight improvement from 2010 to 2011, the national child poverty rate ticked up another percentage point during the same time frame.

The report only looks at cash income and does not take into account forms of state or federal assistance, such as tax credits, child care or food stamps.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement that Vermont shouldn’t be content with its second place. “I am extremely proud that Vermont has improved its childhood wellness ranking for three straight years. … But we can’t be satisfied; Vermont should lead the nation in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.”

Shumlin also pointed to several of his legislative endeavors, which, he said, will further boost child well-being in the state. Among them was legislation that provides free school lunch for low-income children who previously only received a discount, a slight increase in state funding for pre-kindergarten (a bill that would have expanded pre-K access to a much greater degree did not pass last session), and investments in heating fuel assistance for low-income Vermonters.

Teele said the state needs to commit to making sure all qualified families are receiving 3SquaresVT, the state’s food assistance program, and expanding health insurance to the small number of children that aren’t covered currently. According to the report, only 2 percent, or 3,000, of the state’s children don’t have health insurance. That’s down from 5,000 in 2008.

In a statement released in response to the report, Carlen Finn, the executive director for Voices for Vermont’s Children, noted that while Vermont ranks high in the U.S., the nation trails other developed countries.

“It’s important to contextualize …read more

From: Life in Vermont