Getting ready for universal preschool

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Pictured here is the Central Orleans Family Education Center, which is run by the Orleans Central Supervisory Union. About 100 children attend preschool there.

Pictured here is the Barton location of the Central Orleans Family Education Center, which is run by the Orleans Central Supervisory Union. About 100 children attend preschool there.

copyright the Chronicle October 7, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ALBANY — Kelly Peters of Albany has two young children. One is in preschool after a year-long wait, and the other is on the waiting list to get in.

According to Ms. Peters, there aren’t many preschool options, whether they’re private or public, and daycare is also in short supply.

The universal preschool law that goes into effect on July 1 next year, Act 166, says that school districts are required to provide access to ten hours of preschool per week for all children aged three to five. Children don’t have to go to preschool, but the service must be available. How the districts choose to implement that is different throughout the state.

It’s an onion type issue, said Diane Nichols-Fleming, the North Country Supervisory Union (NCSU) early childhood program coordinator. Keep peeling back layers and you’ll definitely be crying by the end, she said.

NCSU, which used to operate… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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