first_imgAlt rockers The Pixes have officially announced the details of their forthcoming studio album, ‘Indie Cindy,’ the band’s first release since 1991’s Trompe le Monde.Available via the band’s own independent label, Pixiesmusic, the new record is a compilation of recent EPs.Produced by Gil Norton (who was also behind Doolittle, Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde) the recording features Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering as well as bassist “Ding,” also known as Simon Archer. Not on the record are former bassists for the band Kim Deal and Kim Shattuck. Their current touring bassist—Pax Lenchantin—won’t be featured on the new release either.Indie Cindy will be released on April 29th in a variety of forms. A limited number—5,000 to be exact—of deluxe editions featuring a 13 live track album Live in the USA , recorded on the band’s recent tour, will also be available via their website.Along with the announcement of Indie Cindy came a video for “Snakes,” one of the tracks off the new album:-Sarah Compo (@sarahcompo)last_img read more

NDAA partners with schools

first_imgNotre Dame added two Catholic elementary schools in Florida to the Notre Dame ACE Academies (NDAA) program. The two schools — Sacred Heart of Pinellas Park and St. Joseph of Tampa — will be the program’s newest partners. Christian Dallavis, director of NDAA, said the program conducted a feasibility study to determine which schools in the Diocese of St Petersburg would have the greatest potential for growth. “We want to do two things: increase the number of kids that enjoy the benefits of the education offered at these two schools, and ensure that the schools are providing education of the highest possible quality,” Dallavis said. Dallavis said the program chose these two schools after focusing on areas with mechanisms like parental choice programs, vouchers and tax credits for low-income families to send their children to private schools. The relationship between Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and Notre Dame also played a factor. “Lynch has always been a great friend to the University and a big supporter of ACE,” Dallavis said. “He’s a great champion of Catholic schools.” Andy Shannon, principal of Sacred Heart, said despite recent efforts to combat low enrollment, the number of students at Sacred Heart remains far below its capacity. “In K-8, we have 140 students,” Shannon said. “I could easily put another 100 students into my school… and be under standards for accreditation.” Dallavis said the program would focus on bolstering enrollment, while increasing the quality of education. “We want to prepare kids for the economic and social mobility [that will] get them to a place where they can break the cycle of poverty,” Dallavis said. Dallavis said these schools will give students the skills they need to succeed by essentially being “college prep” elementary schools. “We want to make sure that … they get the message that we expect them to be prepared to go to college,” Dallavis said. “High school graduation and college attendance are critical to jobs in the current economy, and [this trend] is only going to become more pronounced.” Shannon said for his school, being offered the chance to partner win Notre Dame is like winning the lottery. “We realize how blessed we are by God to get this opportunity,” Shannon said. “It’s a game changer. It’s going to position us for future growth and development.” Both schools will be under the jurisdiction of a board dedicated to facilitating their advancement, Shannon said. The schools will also benefit from the advice of a learning specialist and an advancement director. “The learning specialist will work with both principals and teachers in both buildings … to make our education the best it can be,” Shannon said. “The advancement director will help to raise significant funds, especially to get more students and more families into our schools.” Though the will not be immediate, Shannon said the impact on the St. Joseph and Sacred Heart communities will undoubtedly be enormous. “I think what it’s going to do for our families is give them a lot of hope,” he said. “I just think that hope is what a follower of Christ has to give out.”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s President addresses freshmen

first_imgOn Thursday, Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney addressed the Class of 2017 as a part of the Common Experience component of the Cross Currents Program to help young women understand the meaning and importance of their Saint Mary’s education, said Patricia Fleming, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. As a part of Cross Currents Program, the first year students are asking themselves “Why am I here?” and Dr. Mooney can help answer that question, Fleming said. Mooney arrived at Saint Mary’s College 44 years ago, as a first-year herself, and can remember those early days very vividly and how she was very intimidated, coming from a small town, Fleming said.  “Basically, I was a country kid, and when I got here, I thought everybody came from Chicago, Cleveland or New Jersey and they were all wiser and sophisticated and I was not.” Mooney said. Mooney spoke of her first mixer, what could possibly be considered a bit like Domerfest, she said, and had no idea what a mixer was. She was not prepared to meet other people, and did not know how. “I never had such an experience,” Mooney said. “I knew everybody in my town. If I went to a dance, it was the same old people I had known since kindergarten. There was no mixing.”  She said she eventually overcame her shyness, but not after crying out on the island, leaving the mixer three minutes after entering. A junior, who lived down the hall, helped her through her fear of meeting new people, she said. Mooney said her peer told her, “If you can talk to me, you can talk to other people.” She said French was an important part of her education.  She had a strong desire to study abroad in France and attended class five times a week in order to achieve that goal, she said. But after three years of disrupted French in high school, Mooney said she was placed in a class with girls who had taken five or six years of the language.  “I studied French every single night, for hours, convinced I was going to fail and never go to France,” Mooney said.  However, she said her hard work paid off and she spent an entire year in France. However, she said that did not mean she saw her experience in a positive light from the beginning.  With tough French classes and a struggle to adapt to life abroad, Mooney said she learned a lesson. She then shared this lesson with the first-year class: Give it a chance. “Immerse yourself in something.,” Mooney said. “For me it was classwork. I was excited about my classes. I really loved the fact that they challenged me.” Her second piece of advice was a bit simpler: sleep. Mooney said she got all the way through law school without staying up past 11 p.m. “You cannot feel good about anything if you’re so sleep deprived that you don’t know what’s going on,” she said.  Mooney continued her speech laying out three important lessons or experiences she hopes students in the class of 2017 will experience over the next four years at the College.  “I hope you grow in a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and the complexity of the created world,” Mooney said.  The second lesson Mooney said she hoped students would learn during their experience at Saint Mary’s was empathy for others. “I hope you deepen your understand of what it means to be human and really develop your empathy with other human beings,” Mooney said. “That you have a greater capacity to put yourself in the shoes of another and have empathy for her, for her situation.” Finally, Mooney said she hoped each individual would develop their spiritual life while at College. “Whether you are of a different Christian faith, or you’re Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu or of no faith tradition at all, I truly believe there will be a hole in your life, a sadness or an emptiness, a hollowness, if we don’t find some sense of purpose that calls you beyond yourself,” Mooney said.  Mooney said every Belle chose Saint Mary’s for a unique reason and she knows this institution will continue to have something to offer to everyone.  “I hope part of the ‘why’ is that we offer you things that are not available everywhere,” Mooney said. “I urge you to take advantage of what we have to offer … I urge you to please plunge into the rich life available here.” Contact Annemarie Loesberg at [email protected]last_img read more

McGlinn Hall named 2018-2019 ‘Hall of the Year’

first_imgThe Hall Presidents Council (HPC) awarded the overall “Hall of the Year” title to McGlinn Hall during the Notre Dame Student Leadership Awards Banquet in Duncan Student Center on Tuesday. Duncan Hall and Welsh Family Hall were named Men’s and Women’s Hall of the Year, respectively. Outgoing co-chairs of HPC seniors Joe Trzaska and Brendan Watts said encouraging community between dorms contributes to a better experience for Notre Dame students.“We try and foster collaboration and communication between the halls because we think the halls are stronger together than on their own,” Trzaska said. Charlotte Edmonds | The Observer Representatives from hall government of McGlinn Hall, Duncan Hall and Welsh Family Hall gather at the awards banquet Tuesday. McGlinn Hall won Hall of the Year, while Duncan and Welsh Family Hall won Men and Women’s Hall of the Year, respectively.Editor’s note: Evelyn Stein, third from left, is the Viewpoint Editor of The Observer.Trazka said HPC tried to promote this inter-hall partnership in many ways, but considered getting more students GreeNDot trained their greatest success.“Each hall has its own goals, we try to facilitate their reaching of those goals,” he said. “Our goals as chairs of the Hall Presidents Council were more meta-goals about the function of the council — like trying to improve collaboration and communication between the halls — but we did also aim to really boost those GreeNDot critical mass numbers, which [we] were happy that so many halls were so successful in doing.”Watts said Hall of the Year scores are based on four categories — Rocknes, final hall presentation, HPC’s visit to the dorm’s hall council and GreeNDot participation. “Rocknes are our monthly slideshow, videos [and] presentations of the events that went on in the hall that month in addition to a description of the events — a description of the challenges that they faced and goals for the upcoming months,” Watts said. “So each hall fills these out each month and the scores on those Rocknes comprise 50% of the Hall of the Year score. Another 40% comes from their final presentation at the end of the year. Each hall gives a 15-minute final presentation to the executive board and various other members of the student union essentially outlining how they improved throughout the year and accomplished the goals they set out at the beginning of the year. So that’s 40% of the score. Another 5% comes from the hall council visit. Each member of the executive board goes in to multiple hall councils to kind of evaluate how presidents and vice presidents were engaging their dorm communities through the hall councils. And the final 5%, which we instituted this year, was from GreeNDot participation.”Junior Clare Pierret, McGlinn Hall’s vice president, said the dorm community’s support of their rector, Sr. Mary Lynch, in light of her cancer diagnosis, was one of hall’s most transformative moments this year.“I think one of our most important things that we did was our entire community kind of came around, came together to support Sr. Mary when she was diagnosed with colon cancer over the summer … different people that usually don’t get involved in our dorm started to get involved. We kind of realized this is an entire community of women who are interested and excited and want to participate and want to lend a hand in creating a better community, not only in McGlinn but also in all of Notre Dame.”Pierret said the dorm’s focus on sustainability as well as welcoming all residents of the dorm — regardless of participation record — also contributed to the win.“We also did a lot with our sustainability, and we were the first group on campus to do Terracycling, which was a big initiative for us, and our sustainability commissioner was really excited when we went through with that,’ she said. “We also really tried to focus on trying to make every McGlinn resident feel like they were welcome even if they didn’t want to participate in our events. So we kind of tried to do small little things that reminded everybody that in McGlinn, everyone is welcome, everyone is loved and even though they might not participate in everything — all the events we do — we still obviously appreciate them and care for them.”Duncan Hall president junior Kyle Tomshack said he was excited for the hall to be recognized.“I think it’s definitely gratifying and Duncan Hall is ecstatic to get it,” he said. “Our main goal for the whole year was to serve the community and try to build that community in any way we can, and we’re happy that our efforts in doing that were recognized.”Tomshack said towards the end of the year, the Duncan community started to realize Hall of the Year was a possibility and worked towards earning the title.“We knew that we definitely had a shot, because we really had a push at the end of the year,” Tomshack said. “We knew that we had gotten the percent for GreeNDot, which was huge for us. We made a really big push at the end of the year for it … we knew we had some pretty good scores for Rocknes and we thought we gave a really good Hall of the Year presentation, helped out with some great testimonials from some of our residents here.” Welsh Family Hall president junior Abby Smith said one of the priorities of the hall government was to engage residents of the dorm who are not as involved with the hall community.“We really tried at the beginning of the year to focus on building the identity and the community and belonging within every girl in Welsh Fam, so that’s something that we focused on as a hall government and I think for us, it really means that we set goals that were not only accomplishable, but very meaningful to our hall too,” she said. “So we saw that reflected in the events we put on, but also people showing interest in the hall community and really getting … that 7% of people that don’t necessarily always go to events, really trying to reach out to them and making sure that they feel comfortable and welcome in the community.”Smith said even though winning Hall of the Year wasn’t a priority for the hall, the dorm is still excited and proud to have received the award.“It wasn’t a complete shocker, but we were excited to win for sure. I think it’s something that it wasn’t necessarily a goal of ours at the beginning,” she said. “I think our main goal was really to do something to help the residents, but as the year progressed, we saw that we were inching closer and closer to being a qualified candidate and being one of the top candidates for that award, so that was exciting for us to know that we had actually made it to that stage.”Watts said despite the fact these three halls stood out, every dorm at Notre Dame contributed to building community this past year. “They were many deserving halls this year, these three stood out amongst their peers as exemplary at building and fostering community, overcoming challenges within their halls and greatly improving upon past years within their halls,” Watts said. “And again, each and every hall and hall president has a lot to be proud of.”  Tags: Duncan Hall, Hall of the year, McGlinn Hall, Welsh Family Halllast_img read more

Emeritus Deacon Howard Kirk

first_img Left to cherish his memory one son Rickey Kirk; three sisters Laura Kegler, Louise Kirk of Nacogdoches, TX and Bernice Kirk of Port Arthur, TX; 8 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends.Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, December 31, 2016 at Holy Tabernacle Church of God In Christ, 211 W. 17th Street, Port Arthur, TX with visitation from 9 a.m. until service time under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home. Emeritus Deacon Howard Kirk, 98, of Port Arthur passed away December 24, 2016 at the Medical Center. He was a native of Nacogdoches, TX and served in the US Army.last_img


first_imgHuntsville International Airport — Carl T. Jones Field1000 Glenn Hearn Blvd.Huntsville, AL 35824 256-772-9395www.flyhuntsville.comHuntsville International Airport is about 11 miles from Redstone Arsenal and is the largest commercial airport in northern Alabama, serving more than 1.2 million passengers annually. It provides nonstop service to Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Denver; and Washington, D.C. The airport’s major passenger carriers include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United.Ground transportation includes bus, taxi, shuttle, limo and rental car service. Rental car counters and other ground transportation options are on the first floor in the baggage claim area. The airport is served by six rental car companies.Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport5900 Messer Airport HighwayBirmingham, AL 35212 205-595-0533www.flybirmingham.comBirmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is about 78 miles from Redstone Arsenal, serving just under 2.7 million passengers annually. The airport is served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United.Ground transportation includes bus, taxi, shuttle, limo and rental car services on the ground level of the parking deck. There are nine rental car companies.Nashville International AirportOne Terminal Drive, Suite 501Nashville, TN 37214 615-275-1675www.flynashville.comNashville International Airport is 121 miles from Redstone Arsenal. Serving more than 11.6 million passengers annually, Nashville International is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. It is served by Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, Alaska Airlines, Contour Airlines, JetBlue and WestJet.Ground transportation includes bus, taxi, shuttle, limo and rental car services. The airport is served by 10 rental car companies.Memphis International Airport2491 Winchester Road, No. 113Memphis, TN 38116 901-922-8000www.mscaa.comMemphis International Airport is 190 miles from Redstone Arsenal. Major airlines include American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United, Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines.Ground transportation includes bus, taxi, shuttle, limo and rental car services. The airport is served by nine rental car companies. To get to the Ground Transportation Center, where rental car services are located, start in Terminal B and go one level below baggage claim to the lowest level, using an escalator or elevator. Follow signs that read Economy Parking/Rental Cars.last_img read more

The Great Society, Sequel to Tony-Winning All the Way, Will Arrive on Broadway This Fall; Brian Cox to Star as LBJ

first_img Richard Thomas Related Shows View Comments Brian Cox(Photo provided by Polk & Co.) Brian Cox Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 30, 2019 Star Filescenter_img Pulitzer-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, who earned a 2014 Tony Award for his epic play All the Way, will return to Broadway this fall with a sequel to that acclaimed work titled The Great Society. Bill Rauch, who helmed All the Way, will also direct the new play, slated to begin performances on September 6 for a 12-week limited run through November 30 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Emmy and Olivier winner Brian Cox (Nuremberg, Titus Andronicus) will headline the production as President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the role originated in All the Way to Tony-winning effect by Bryan Cranston.Capturing Johnson’s passionate and aggressive attempts to build a great society for all, the new play follows his epic triumph in a landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election just three years later. It was an era that would define history forever: the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the destruction of Vietnam and the creation of some of the greatest social programs America has ever known—with one man at the center of it all: LBJ.Joining Cox in the cast will be three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch (Girl From the North Country) as Richard J. Daley, Tony nominee Richard Thomas (The Little Foxes) as Hubert Humphrey and Grantham Coleman (Much Ado About Nothing) in his Broadway debut as Martin Luther King Jr. Additional casting will be announced soon.The production will feature scenic design by three-time Tony nominee David Korins, costume design by Tony winner Linda Cho, lighting design by David Weiner, projection design by Victoria Sagady and sound design/original music by Paul James Prendergast.The play’s producing team is headed by Jeffrey Richards and Louise Gund. They are joined by Rebecca Gold, Stephanie P. McClelland, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jacob Soroken Porter and Lincoln Center Theater.The Great Society made its world premiere with Seattle Rep and Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2014; the play received another production at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2018. Marc Kudisch Grantham Coleman The Great Society View All (4)last_img read more

Samuel Bailey’s Shook Will Move to London’s West End

first_img On the heels of a debut run at Southwark Playhouse, Samuel Bailey’s new drama Shook will open in London’s West End this spring. George Turvey will repeat his work as director for the transfer, set to begin previews on April 8 and open on April 14 at Trafalgar Studios.Shook centers on Cain, Riyad and Jonjo, who are locked up in a young offenders institution. They trade sweets, chat, kill time—and await fatherhood.The Southwark cast will reprise their performances in the West End, including Josh Finan as Cain, Ivan Oyik as Riyad, Josef Davies as Jonjo and Andrea Hall as Grace.The design team will also repeat their work for the transfer. That includes scenic/costume designer Jasmine Swan, lighting designer Johanna Town and sound designer Richard Hammarton.Shook will play a limited West End engagement through May 9. Andrea Hall & Ivan Oyik in “Shook” at Southwark Playhouse(Photo: The Other Richard) View Commentslast_img read more

GMP’s heat pump piliot program exceeds expectations

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,Due to an extraordinary customer response, Green Mountain Power is expanding plans for what is believed to be the first utility-sponsored heat pump rental program in the country, but has closed the pilot to new customers effective today.‘The pilot clearly tapped into something, because the response has been flabbergasting,’said Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation.  ‘We had hoped to get 200 customers to participate in the pilot, and thought it might take a few months to develop that much interest.  More than 500 customers have expressed interest in just a few days, dramatically exceeding our expectations.‘As a result, with support from the Department of Public Service, we have expanded the pilot to include all customers who have responded to this point, but we are closing the pilot to additional customers for now,’Costello said.  ‘We hope to be able to expand the pilot to a larger program after we have more experience with heat pumps and customers’experiences with them.’The pilot effort, centered in Rutland, is intended to save customers money and demonstrate the comfort air-source heat pumps can provide in a cold-weather climate.The rental program includes installation of air-source heat pumps in homes and businesses with no up-front costs for the customer, and is expected to save participants hundreds of gallons of heating fuel and thousands of dollars each year.Employees in GMP’s Energy Innovation Center will contact all customers who voiced interest by noon today.  Given the demand, follow-up calls will be spread over several weeks.  Once a customer decides to go ahead, a contractor will be scheduled to do the installation.‘We have been amazed by the customer interest,’Costello said.  ‘Customers we’ve spoken with are focused on reducing their reliance on foreign oil, cutting their carbon emissions and reducing high heating bills.  We believe air-source heat pumps can do all that, while improving customer comfort year round.’Cold climate heat pumps, also known as mini-split heat pumps, are ductless heating systems that also provide air conditioning during hot weather.  Installed in less than a day, a heat pump includes an outdoor unit that works as a heat exchanger, like the compressor in a refrigerator, and is connected with copper tubing to a small interior unit.In cold weather, gas within the copper tubing extracts heat from outdoor air down to temperatures of about 13 below zero, and the warmth is brought inside.  In hot weather, the process reverses to cool the building.  GMP plans to heat its Energy Innovation Center largely with air-source heat pumps.Under the pilot program, GMP will pay to install heat pumps in customers’homes and small businesses, and rent them to the property owners for about $45 to $50 per month.Through a heat pump summit last fall and a program with Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont to package weatherization with heat pump incentives, GMP has developed relationships with numerous installers in the HVAC, plumbing and home performance industries.  Six models are available through two manufacturers, Mitsubishi and Daikin.About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external)) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, has set its vision to be the best small utility in America.last_img read more

Burlington to invest $500,000 for Early Learning Initiative

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The City of Burlington will be funding a new Early Learning Initiative (ELI) focused on Burlington children from birth to age 3. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, the City will invest $500,000 annually in capacity grants to Burlington childcare programs that provide high-quality care to low income children and commit to increasing the number of slots available for children ages 0–3. Mayor Miro Weinberger made the announcement Thursday afternoon, along with Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, City Councilor Dave Hartnett, Vermont Business Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss, Dr Steve Leffler, Chief Medical Officer at UVM Medical Center and Chief Population Health and Quality Officer at UVM Health Network, Permanent Fund CEO Aly Richards, and YMCA President and CEO Kyle Dodson.“We are a nation founded on the belief that all people are created equal,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “To do our part to make good on that principle, we must strive to be a city in which every child has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of the means of their parents. The Early Learning Initiative is a step toward this vision of Burlington. By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier, and more just tomorrow.”“We want all our Vermont children—no matter who they are or where they live or where they were born—to grow up strong, smart, kind, and healthy,” said Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe. “Making this happen is something we do together. Not all parents and no one agency or municipality can do it alone. However, when we work together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to push for our goals, our combined and cumulative efforts make the difference we want for our communities. This Burlington initiative is an inspiring step forward for the state.”Initiative to include evaluation, leverage of non-City funds, and goal of expanded opportunityBurlington’s new ELI is part of a national and state movement to expand investment in children before they enter kindergarten. New early childhood investment is a major priority of Governor Phil Scott, as it was for Governor Peter Shumlin, President Barack Obama, and mayors across the country.Features of Burlington’s ELI include:The program will seek to address the fact that low-income Burlington children are disproportionately likely to be unready for school, experience a widening achievement gap as they age in the public school system, and are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes later in life, including reduced educational achievements, higher rates of chronic health problems, higher rates of incarceration and drug misuse, and lower lifetime earnings.ELI will support the good work that many childcare programs are already doing by providing a stable funding source that can be drawn on to increase the total number of high-quality child care slots available within Burlington. The City’s research in prior years documented less than 200 slots available for children ages 0-3, with about 350 Burlington babies born every year.The City will fund this effort on an ongoing basis using PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds.  These funds have long been targeted for youth education efforts, but under Vermont’s statewide education funding laws can no longer be paid directly to the Burlington schools. A recent study released by the Vermont Business Roundtable found that every dollar invested to expand Vermont’s high-quality early care and learning programs will yield a return of $3.08 (STORY HERE; view the full report at vtroundtable.org/vbr-foundation-releases-report-vermonts-early-care-learning-dividend-2-6-17/(link is external)). Other studies across the country put the return even higher per dollar invested. These returns are generated by healthier children and healthier families better able to learn and contribute to our community.Following City Council approval of the Mayor’s proposal, the City will create a working group that will include key community partners to refine the program’s grant guidelines.The ELI will be rigorously evaluated over time. The program aspires to become a model for investments in early learning that result in measurable economic, health-related, social, and educational benefits that convince other funders to participate in affecting long-lasting changes. The City intends to work with the University of Vermont Medical Center, the nationally-recognized Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah, and other community partners to design and implement the evaluation effort.In future years the City will attempt to leverage significant additional funding from other private, institutional, and public sources to provide scholarships for high quality early care to young children living in poverty to expand the impact and public returns of the ELI effort.The long-term goal of the program is to ensure that all Burlington children have the opportunity to succeed regardless of family income level.Broad coalition of community partners supports the Burlington ELI  “Investing in early childhood is one of the smartest investments we can choose to make as a society,” said Vermont Business Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss. “High-quality, affordable early care and learning programs serve as an economic driver, by ensuring that parents can continue to work.””Early childhood and family support was one of the most pressing needs identified by the community in our most recent Community Health Needs Assessment,” said Dr. Stephen Leffler, Chief Medical Officer at UVM Medical Center and recently named Chief Population Health and Quality Officer at UVM Health Network. “We view this early learning initiative spearheaded by the City of Burlington as an excellent opportunity for us to come together with our community partners to invest in the future health of our most vulnerable children by giving them a boost early in their lives.”“The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children believes the wellbeing of our families, communities, and economy depends upon giving all of our children a strong start,” said Permanent Fund CEO Aly Richards. “For most of Vermont’s young children, high-quality, affordable child care plays a critical role in early development. Mayor Weinberger’s focus on helping children 0-3 from low-income families’ access high-quality early care and learning experiences will help alleviate Chittenden County’s child care challenge.  Almost 80 percent of infants likely to need care in Chittenden County don’t have access to high-quality early care and learning programs, and statewide 85 percent of infants don’t have access to high-quality programs. Meanwhile, families lucky enough to find a program are spending up to 40 percent of their income on child care.”“The benefits of investing in enriching environments for young children and their families are well known,” said Burlington City Council President Jane Knodell. “I am hopeful that this program will allow us to sustain programs located in low- and moderate-income communities, where they can be most easily accessed by families and children who have very limited options.”“This new Early Learning Initiative is an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is and to be proactive in helping our community’s children,” said Kyle Dodson, President and CEO of the Greater Burlington YMCA. “The Y is committed to this collaborative approach, and we’re excited to work with the City and our Early Childhood colleagues to use this new program to reach and serve more children. As a former Principal of an early childhood / elementary school in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, I’ve seen evidence of how ELI will help our children become healthier and better educated, and will provide them greater access to opportunity.”“We have to close the achievement gap among our children, and this is an important step in that direction that does not require any new taxpayer dollars,” said City Councilor Dave Hartnett. “I am pleased to see the community come together in this way, and urge my fellow Councilors to support this effort.” BackgroundThe creation of a new Burlington ELI has been years in the making, following the goal announced by Mayor Weinberger in February of 2015. At that time, the Mayor announced an effort to design an ELI pilot in partnership with the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, the State Department of Health, the Burlington School District (BSD), and the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). The support of the Permanent Fund, in the form of a $122,000 grant, was crucial to allow for extensive work on the program design and to define a program that could be implemented effectively within Burlington.  This effort was captured in the “Burlington Early Learning Initiative Draft Action Plan” written by Jessica Nordhaus of Gear Shift Consulting (attached).That work, building on the success of other communities like Minneapolis, MN, developed a scholarship model that would provide scholarships to specific students to help defray the cost of high-quality child care. Such a model remains the ultimate goal of the Burlington ELI – but in order to demonstrate the value of such investments, the City is first seeking to expand the available high-quality child care slots by providing grants to Burlington early care and learning programs and rigorously tracking the results of this investment.The Mayor has also been heavily influenced in his understanding of the cognitive and social skill challenges faced by low-income children by the writings of Paul Tough, a journalist who has written extensively on early childhood education.  In 2015, the Mayors Book Group hosted a community discussion of Tough’s book “Whatever It Takes.” Research in recent years, including in a White Paper on “Burlington Beginnings” (attached) has documented clearly that the “achievement gap” faced by low-income children nationwide is a serious problem in Burlington that is visible when kids enter the school system and grows over time. By third grade, only about 50 percent of children eligible for free or reduced lunch are able to read at grade level, while more than 70 percent of their peers not on similar lunch programs have reached that benchmark. By eighth grade, while only 60 percent of the children eligible for free or reduced lunch are reading at grade level, more than 90 percent of their peers not on similar lunch programs have met or surpassed that threshold. These poorer children then graduate at an unusually low rate, earn less as adults, suffer higher rates of incarceration and drug use, and experience a lower life expectancy.Source: Mayor 5.18.2017last_img read more