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Academic Programs

​​The Academics department encompasses curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology integration, social emotional learning, mental and behavioral health services, language development, special education, public pre-kindergarten, outdoor learning, ESEA grants and programming, summer school, and professional development for educators.  

The current priorities across the departments are in alignment with our Portland Promise goals. They are to strengthen core instruction (achievement & equity), ensure safe and equitable schools (whole student & equity), and to promote a strong professional learning culture (people & equity).  

Each of the strategies we implement are based on our district learning beliefs.

Our Learning Beliefs

  • All learners can rise to high expectations. 
  • Learners have different strengths, needs and starting points​, based on who they are and what they’ve experienced. They learn in different ways and timeframes.
  • Belonging, engagement, and joy​ helps a learner achieve.
  • Academics, work habits, and social-emotional skills are equally important​ in school and in life.
  • Practicing and learning from mistakes are natural and necessary​ parts of the learning process.
  • Students learn better when they are empowered and feel capable.
  • Learning in diverse groups prepares students to thrive​ in an increasingly diverse, complex and connected world.

In the 2022-2023 school year the department is supporting all of the Portland Public Schools on the following strategies:

  • Implementing a problem-based math curriculum.

  • Implementing foundational reading skills programs and strategies aligned with the science of reading.

  • Beginning the implementation of our Wabanaki Studies curriculum.

  • Designing a Local Black History curriculum.

  • Beginning the implementation of a phenomena-based science curriculum in our elementary schools

  • Deepening the integration of outdoor, experiential learning throughout the curriculum.

  • Building the foundation for restorative practices.


  • Implementing a positive behavioral intervention system with tiered levels of support.
  • Evaluating our social emotional learning curriculum.

  • Strengthening our use of meaningful data to drive ongoing reflection and decision making.

You can read more about these initiatives and the frameworks that underlie them in the content area webpages within Academics. If you have questions about the priorities or services within the Academics department, please reach out to the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning and/or the Executive Assistant to the Academics team.