Dandelion Run was in memory of Terri Weed

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The Bag Ladies of Newfane and Townsend warmed up for their race.  They are:  Sandy Stark, Melanie Keiser, Penelope Monaney, Kimberly McCormack, and Kim Colligan.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

The Bag Ladies of Newfane and Townsend warmed up for their race. They are: Sandy Stark, Melanie Keiser, Penelope Monaney, Kimberly McCormack, and Kim Colligan. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 5-21-2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

DERBY — Pouring rain early Saturday morning let off in time for a few hundred runners to take to the roadsides at 9 a.m. in the sixth annual Dandelion Run.

One relay team was ready for the rain with a kind of team uniform — garbage bags with holes for heads and arms. The ladies called themselves the Bag Ladies of Newfane and did a dry dance to scare the rain away.  Valerie Dillon manned the staff parking area fully equipped with head-to-toe rain gear, a fisherman-type hat, and an umbrella.

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War on Poverty: Fifty years later schools are the battleground

Lisa Grout is a social studies teacher at North Country Union High School in Newport.  She has a perspective on both poverty and how poverty affects student outcomes.  Photo by Richard Creaser

Lisa Grout is a social studies teacher at North Country Union High School in Newport. She has a perspective on both poverty and how poverty affects student outcomes. Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle January 22, 2014

Editor’s note:  The following story is the first in a two-part series on the link between poverty and success in school.

by Richard Creaser

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared in his State of the Union Address an “all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States.”

Fifty years later, the war rages on with the nation’s public schools as the battleground in this epic struggle.

“As a history teacher, I just can’t help but see that this isn’t anything new,” said Lisa Grout, a social studies teacher at North Country Union High School.  “At times, it has been described as a racial divide, but really it’s something else — it isn’t a war on poverty, it’s a war on the poor.  We need to rid ourselves of this myth that anyone can do whatever they want to do if they really want it.  Our system just isn’t balanced evenly that way.”

In fact, the system appears to be heavily weighted against students from poor families.

A direct link between low household income and student achievement is known in the educational system as the achievement gap.  The evidence is most readily appreciated by examining student performance on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores as tabulated by the Vermont Agency of Education.  Agency data for the reporting period of 2011-2012 for North Country is especially telling, although it’s important to consider that NECAP tests are only administered to juniors at the high school level.

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