A generous grant from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will assist the Portland Public Schools in creating a new staff training program to promote cultural competency, foster understanding and celebrate the district' s diversity.
Bangor Savings Bank Vice President Mike DelTergo presented a $3,500 check on March 20 to Superintendent Xavier Botana and PPS Director of Human Resources Barbara Stoddard. The Portland Education Foundation applied for the grant to help fund the development of a Cultural Competency Training Program for all PPS staff.
“We are most grateful to the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation for its generous support,” Botana said. “This funding will help enable us to develop annual programming for all our staff that prioritizes cultural responsiveness. As Maine’s largest and most diverse school district, we want to ensure that all Portland Public Schools staff members are aware of, and sensitive to, cultural differences.”
The Portland Public Schools recently adopted a new Comprehensive Plan, which focuses on four goals:
• Achievement: All Portland Public Schools students will be prepared for college and career and empowered to pursue a productive postsecondary path.
• Whole Student: All Portland Public Schools students will develop the skills, habits and mindsets they need to engage in and contribute to our diverse city and ever-changing world.
• Equity: The Portland Public Schools is vigilant in supporting each and every student's particular path to achieving high standards, rooting out systemic or ongoing inequities.
• People: The Portland Public Schools attracts, supports and retains talented and diverse people who use their strengths to achieve our shared goals.
The staff training work supports investment in the People and Equity goals, which in turn support the Achievement and Whole Student goals.
The plan is to begin the training this summer with the PPS Executive Team, schoolbased leadership teams and other lead staff, including leadership from the district's collective bargaining units. A rollout to all staff is planned to take place over the next two years. PPS also is working to increase the diversity of its staff to more closely reflect its student population.
The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation was created in 1997 to help fulfill the bank’s commitment to improving community life in Maine. The Foundation focuses its strategic philanthropy efforts on improving Maine's regional and statewide economy. The Foundation also lends support to compelling applications in other areas. Those areas include education, where the focus is on initiatives that raise student readiness, academic success, achievement and aspirations at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.
The Portland Education Foundation, PEF, is an independent nonprofit organization committed to raising philanthropic support to enhance education in the Portland Public schools.
(PHOTO CAPTION: (FROM LEFT) SUPERINTENDENT XAVIER BOTANA; BANGOR SAVINGS BANK VP MIKE DELTERGO; AND PPS DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES BARBARA STODDARD )