Kurn Hattin graduate Honored with CORE Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. >> Kurn Hattin alumna Lyssa Jackson was recently awarded the 2016 Catherine Hershey Alumni of the Year Award by the Coalition of Residential Excellence.

At the CORE Annual Residential Excellence Conference, Catherine Hershey Residential Education Awards were presented to honor outstanding staff, students and supporters whose steadfast contributions and dedication exemplified the essence of residential education. Jackson, who had not been able to attend the conference, later received the award from Kurn Hattin Homes Executive Director, Steve Harrison, at Kurn Hattin's Annual Alumni Association Meeting.

"Kurn Hattin helped me become the person that I am supposed to be," said Jackson.

Jackson, Class of 2008, excelled during her four years at Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, and went on to flourish academically and occupationally. After Kurn Hattin, Jackson attended The Putney School on a full scholarship. There, she served for two years as the youngest student to ever join the Board of Trustees. Jackson developed a passion for fundraising, and worked in development for The Putney School and Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities in Keene, N.H. In 2012, Jackson was named "Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy" by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northern New England for raising over $5,000 for Kurn Hattin. She was an Opportunity Program Scholarship Student at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Business.


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At Skidmore, Jackson served The Student Government Association as a senator and was president for Communications and Outreach. She founded and served as co-president of Skidmore Women in Business through which engaged a large network of students and alumni, hosted an acclaimed author on campus, and attended conferences at Wharton School of Business and Harvard Business School. In addition to her leadership roles, she worked as a Career Coach in Skidmore's Career Development Office and as a consultant for local business and nonprofits through The Saratoga Springs Consulting Partnership.

Community College of Vermont to hold 49th Commencement on June 4 in Northfield

NORTHFIELD >> The Community College of Vermont will hold its 49th commencement ceremony at Norwich University's Shapiro Field House on June 4. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.

This year, over 500 students from across the state will be awarded associate degrees. Students representing all 14 Vermont counties will be graduating along with students from 12 other states and 18 countries. Also among the graduates are 41 veterans and active duty military. The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest is 66.

Mark Redmond, executive director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, will deliver this year's commencement address. Since 2003, Redmond has led Spectrum, which works to empower teenagers, young adults, and their families to make and sustain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services. In addition to his work at Spectrum, Redmond is a storyteller, a writer for The Huffington Post, and the author of The Goodness Within: Reaching out to Troubled Teens with Love and Compassion.

The student speaker for the 2016 commencement is CCV-Upper Valley student Ashley M. Andreas. Andreas grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Milton Hershey School and Millersville University. After traveling and having her daughter Daliah, she returned to school at CCV in order to gain the tools necessary to become a leader. Andreas has become an active member of the Community of Student Representatives and a work-study, and earned the 2015 Leadership Scholarship for the Upper Valley center. Passionate about politics, she is on the executive committee of a political group that helps young people participate in local government and organizes voter registration drives for students. She is currently running for House of Representatives in White River Junction. Andreas is graduating with an A.S. in Business and plans to finish her second A.S. in Environmental Science at CCV in Spring 2017.

Tom Stearns of Wolcott will receive the 2016 Community Service Award. Stearns is passionate about Vermont's agricultural community. He is the founder and head seedsman of High Mowing Organic Seeds, and is also involved with the Center for an Agricultural Economy and Slow Money Vermont. Stearns recently won the Vermont Small Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Brad Houk of Bellows Falls will receive the 2016 Faculty Community Service Award. Brad has many fascinating experiences to his credit, including writing a thesis based on a bicycle journey through China, living in the Navajo nation, performing with a mime theater company, and founding a wrestling magazine. He currently teaches at Green Mountain Union High School, Riverside Middle School, and CCV, where he uses mapping to integrate place-based experiential learning with community engagement and service-learning to inspire students, improve student retention, and change public policy.

VSAC announces initiative to lower loan costs for Vermont parents and students

WINOOSKI >> Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and State Treasurer Beth Pearce today announced that $4 million in local investment financing will be directed to lower the fixed rates on Vermont Advantage loans for parents and students, starting at 4.8 percent, the lowest rates ever offered.

"Vermont parents and students are shouldering a bigger burden of college costs than anywhere else in the country," Pearce said. "I can't think of a better local financing opportunity to invest in than our own Vermonters as they pursue education and training after high school."

Nearly 70 percent of Vermonters pursuing a bachelor's degree have student loans; the average loan debt for a college senior is about $29,000. Education loans are used to fund the difference between the cost of education and the various kinds of financial aid students already may receive.

"For most families, student debt is a fact of life — but it is also an investment in the future," said Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO. "The Vermont Department of Labor predicts that by 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in Vermont will require some education or training after high school. That may be a certificate, a two-year degree, a four-year degree or more, depending on the chosen career path. So, pursuing higher education is not a luxury. It's a necessity."

Vermonters collectively will save as much as $520,000 over 15 years through the local investment financing, Giles said. "This is in addition to the $2.6 million in borrower benefits VSAC already refunds annually."

In addition to lower rates on education loans, VSAC's Vermont Advantage provides borrowers with free personalized counseling on managing loan debt with one of VSAC counselors.

"Managing repayment and understanding the many programs available is daunting to most students and families," Giles said. "We believe our borrowers will welcome this additional service. VSAC's customer and financial support team is among the best in the industry. They are well-trained, thorough and set the standard in borrower relations."

This is the first time VSAC has offered the Advantage Loan to parents.

"Affordability is a big concern for Vermonters and the federal government is over-charging parents on its PLUS loan," Giles said.

The funding of local investments is part of an ongoing process managed through the State Treasurer's Office. In 2014, the Vermont Legislature passed a law that established a Local Investment Advisory Committee to provide input to the State Treasurer.

The local investments initiative aims to invest a portion of Vermont's operating funds in Vermont communities, while earning a competitive rate of return. The initiative redirects funds that were invested primarily in out-of-state government agency securities and money market accounts at large financial institutions to local investments.

The Treasurer's office has committed approximately $30 million since 2014 in energy improvements in residential housing, commercial energy projects and in the rehabilitation of state office buildings for energy efficiencies.

VSAC offers the Vermont Advantage loan for both undergraduate and graduate students and parents, who need additional financing for postsecondary education or training. Vermont students attending college in the U.S. or abroad, or parents and students from out of state attending a Vermont institution, are eligible for this financing.

For more information on education financing, visit www.vsac.org/Advantage or call 800-226-1029.

Certificate in non-profit management program is open for registration

MARLBORO >> The Marlboro College Center for New Leadership has opened registration for the Fall 2016 class of the highly regarded Certificate in Nonprofit Management which will take place in Waterbury. This 80-hour series helps nonprofit leaders develop the essential skills needed to strengthen their organizations and achieve their missions.

"The NPM Certificate Program was a great fast track option for busy working nonprofit leaders," said Julia van Ranson, a 2011 Certificate graduate from Brattleboro. "The information was practical, the connections helpful and the faculty very experienced. I have a much more complete skill set to bring back to my work place along with a renewed confidence for tackling tough issues in the nonprofit world. I would highly recommend this program to all who want a fast education in leadership, management and planning for nonprofits."

Classes meet for ten consecutive Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Hannah Grimes Center in downtown Keene, N.H., beginning Sept. 16. Various sources of financial aid are available to support non-profit participation in this program. To find out more about the Certificate in Nonprofit Management, please email Program Coordinator Kim Lier at klier@gradschool.marlboro.edu, or reach her at 802-251-7690.

Registration is open at www.marlboro.edu/admissions/graduate/application/npm/NPM.

Professional development workshops for area educators.

BELLOWS FALLS >> "Transforming with Technology" will meet June 14, 15 and 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Central Elementary School in Bellows Falls.

This workshop is designed for teachers to take a unit of study and transform it so your students will participate as creative designers, producers and developers of their own learning. The transformed units will provide engaging opportunities for your students to explore and experience learning on a higher level and give them a variety of ways to show their proficiency.

Topics will include pedagogy related to Backwards Design SAMR model as a way for teachers to evaluate how they are incorporating technology into their instructional practice; constructivist and constructionist theories of learning as they apply to emerging technology to foster creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication; project based learning; makerspace learning; flipped classrooms; incorporating flexible pathways to proficiency; using Google Apps for Education; video, and other current creation tech tools.

Leading the workshop will be Christina Smith. She was among the first southern Vermonters to receive the Educational Technology Specialist Endorsement in 2006. She holds a Masters of Teaching with Technology from Marlboro College and is the regional coordinator for VITA-Learn South East.

The second offering, "Cracking the Code of Proficiency," will meet at Bellows Falls Union High School June 20, 21 and 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In this hands-on course, you will learn how to integrate a variety of current technology to provide flexible pathways toward mastery. The tech tools will focus on fostering student innovation through use of project based learning, maker-spaces, Google apps for education, social media tools, and digital media tools.

Workshop leader Michael Norkun is a veteran science teacher at Bellows Falls Union High School and science department coordinator. He holds a master's degree in educational technology from Southern New Hampshire University.

The cost for each workshop is $800. In addition, each can be taken for three graduate credits; additional costs and class meetings will apply. For full details and to register, visit Marlboro.edu/pdi or call Julie van der Horst Jansen at 802-258-9204.

CCV to host 49th commencement

MONTPELIER >> The Community College of Vermont will hold its 49th commencement ceremony at Norwich University's Shapiro Field House on June 4, at 2 p.m.

This year, over 500 students from across the state will be awarded associate degrees. Students representing all 14 Vermont counties will be graduating along with students from 12 other states and 18 countries. Also among the graduates are 41 veterans and active duty military. The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest is 66.

Mark Redmond, executive director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, will deliver this year's commencement address. Since 2003, Redmond has led Spectrum, which works to empower teenagers, young adults, and their families to make and sustain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services.

Brad Houk, of Bellows Falls, will receive the 2016 Faculty Community Service Award. Houk has many fascinating experiences to his credit, including writing a thesis based on a bicycle journey through China, living in the Navajo nation, performing with a mime theater company, and founding a wrestling magazine. He currently teaches at Green Mountain Union High School, Riverside Middle School, and CCV, where he uses mapping to integrate place-based experiential learning with community engagement and service-learning to inspire students, improve student retention, and change public policy.