first_imgThe Vermont Department of Education released 2009 school accountability determinations as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) today. The department determines whether schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Those that do not meet AYP enter School Improvement.Results show:One school exited School Improvement.Seventy-seven schools, or 25 percent, are now in School Improvement.Thirty-one of those schools are now in Corrective Action.Eighty-eight schools, or 29 percent, did not make AYP this year.Twelve of those schools did not make AYP for the first time. “Schools are targeting instruction to ensure all students make adequate yearly progress,” said Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “Challenges still remain, especially for students in poverty and English language learners. The department will continue to provide outreach to identified schools to ensure the needs of all our children are addressed.”A school makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) by meeting targets set by the state as required by NCLBA. These targets increase every three years with the goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014. A school that does not make AYP for two consecutive years enters School Improvement, which requires schools to take specific actions designed to improve student achievement in the area(s) designated as not making AYP. A school that does not make AYP for four consecutive years enters Corrective Action, and the commissioner recommends to the State Board of Education actions specific to that school. If an identified school makes AYP two years in a row, it exits School Improvement.A school must make adequate yearly progress for all students, as well as for students in several sub-groups. AYP determinations are made for sub-groups of students by race, socio-economic status, English language learners and students with disabilities. Schools must have at least 40 students in a given sub-group in order for a decision to be made for that group.“Over 200 schools met all requirements of the state’s accountability system for 2009,” said Director of Standards and Assessment Gail Taylor. “Of the 36 schools on the school improvement list, Colchester Middle School exited school improvement, and Burke School met all of the requirements this year. If it meets all the requirements next year, it too will exit school improvement.”More than one-third of the remaining schools in School Improvement increased either the number of content areas or the number of student groups for which they met the accountability requirement. Of the 42 schools entering school improvement this year, 11 (more than one-fourth) made similar progress since last year. AYP determinations are based on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) assessments and the Vermont Alternate Assessments given to Vermont public school students in grades three through eight and 11. The NECAP was given to students in grades three through eight and grade 11 in October 2008. This is the fourth year these exams have been given in the elementary and middle grades, and the second time they were given to students in grade 11.More information on school and district performance can be found on the department’s Web site at is external).View the entire press release packet here:…(link is external).###last_img read more

first_imgShip owners and operators are facing pressure and numerous challenges as the shipping industry sails further on its migration path to decarbonisation.Amid all of the uncertainty, one company has decided to go back to the roots of the shipbuilding industry in order to find the answers to carbon neutrality.Sailcargo, the emerging freight company, is moving toward achieving its mission through the construction of an emission-free cargo tall ship. To feature a length of 45 meters and a beam of 8 meters, Ceiba will have a 100% electric engine, which will be coupled with solar batteries, panels and wind turbines to make all auxiliary power 100% renewably sourced.“Shipping value-added products with a carbon-neutral vessel allows ethically-produced products to reach their destinations without causing harm to the environment along the way. Additionally, the idea is to ultimately raise awareness and show the world that there is an alternative to conventional shipping,” company representatives, Shani Meintjes and Danielle Doggett, said in an interview with World Maritime News.The ship’s entire propulsion system would run emission-free as its two variable-pitch propellers function both as a means of propulsion and a generator while sailing. Designed by Sigma Plus Associates, the engine would power the vessel during maneuvers or when there is no wind present.The engine would be charged by the actual employment of Ceiba under sail, meaning the wind itself, as well as through solar power from panels upon the deck, both powering the lithium ion battery, which stores the energy for when it is needed the most.“All auxiliary power is therefore renewably-sourced because the battery is powered when the ship is sailing and/or under sunlight, so never will it have to be charged at port or otherwise outside of the vessel itself,” Sailcargo explained.“This is the world’s largest drive system to do so, making it, not only completely self-sufficient, but also an effective cost-savings option, and furthermore, the ship will never have to wait in line or pay for bunker fuel.”Ceiba, which is expected to eliminate over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, would be deployed on the Pacific Coast. The vessel is under construction in Costa Rica and aligns with the country’s efforts to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021.“Furthermore, through our ongoing tree-planting scheme that intends to plant thousands of trees over the build-phase and beyond, we are helping to reforest the country to rebalance harmful atmospheric gas levels and simultaneously improve soil quality. The goal is to plant 12,000 trees by the time Ceiba is ready to set sail, 10% of which will be available to provide material for more carbon-negative vessels further down the line.”Such a large-scale reforestation scheme would also provide self-sufficient lumber for future ships, for future generations, Sailcargo explained. The keel of the vessel has already been laid, scarfed and lying ready in dry-fit as it is being prepared to be bolted down, while framing is scheduled to start in January 2019. The estimated build time start to finish is 3.5-4 years, meaning that Ceiba would be complete in 2021, “as long as funding stays consistent and goals are met.”Sailcargo further said that the wooden shipbuilding technique without steel makes the vessel even more environmentally-friendly when considering the final phase of the life of a ship, the shipbreaking. With the so-called “old-world” shipbuilding, the wooden vessels are more often than not taken back to where they were built to be disassembled, and the wooden planking and frames are simply left to rot as organic waste.“This is a significant difference in views on shipbuilding: having to account for the entire lifespan of the vessel,” Sailcargo added.Even though Sailcargo representatives think it might be impractical for all companies to come back to basics, they believe utilizing renewable energy to power larger merchant vessels is clearly the way to go in order to reduce environmental impacts and pollution of big shipping.“Implementing the use of renewable energy, such as wind power through sails or electric energy through solar power onboard are definitely going to be beneficial to power the big container ships in the industry and ensure the survival of the rapid flow of trade we’ve become so accustomed to today.”Speaking on the financial details related to Ceiba, Sailcargo made a comparison between Ceiba and the new Triple E ships, owned by Danish shipping giant Maersk. One Triple E ship costs USD 185 million and is capable of transporting 18,340 TEU, this works out to cost USD 10,087 per TEU. Ceiba will cost around USD 3.2 million and will be capable of carrying up to 10 TEU – resulting in a cost of USD 320,000 per container.“Though our ship will cost more initially, we are also able to charge a significantly higher price for our services, as they are value-added (emission-free),” the company added.While the Triple E ship will charge some USD 0.01 per ton/mile, Sailcargo will have a base price of USD 0.20 per ton/mile, resulting in a much higher gross income per TEU.“Uniquely, this project is entirely funded by people investing in shares of stock in the company. Every stage of progress to date has been funded by a variety of generous people who will see a return on their investment,” Sailcargo explained.Once Ceiba is complete and begins its working life in 2021, the company intends to expand to include the construction of more carbon-negative, wooden tall ships, as well as the so-called Gold Lines, which are proposed extensions to the established Pacific Exchange (PAX) Line that would take Ceiba as far north as Alaska and as far south as Peru or Ecuador.Interview by Erna Penjic; Rendering and Image Courtesy: Pepijn van Schaik/DVS Marine Design (NZ); Sailcargolast_img read more

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