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Custodians' 'Welcome Back' Is Poetical

Portland Public Schools Custodial Supervisor Steve Reed has written a poem to send a welcome back message from custodians for the 2023-2024 school year. “I thought that it might give teachers and other staff some insight into how we feel about them and our students,” Reed said.

Portland Board of Public Education Chair Sarah Lentz liked the poem so much she read it at the start of the Board’s Sept. 5 meeting as a way to herald the first day of school on Sept. 6. Superintendent Ryan Scallon praised custodians as among the dedicated PPS “employees behind the scenes” that ensure that schools run smoothly.

Here's Reed’s poem:

Welcome Back, Ode to the Custodian

It’s September now and the summer has gone,

The floors have been stripped and new wax was put on.

The students and teachers will soon reappear,

The halls will be busy with excitement and fear.


We all settle into our normal routines,

trying our best to keep our schools clean.

There will be spills and scratches, and plenty of scuffs,

But that won’t deter us, as we scrub and we buff.


Students are many, custodians are few,

But we have the advantage, as we know what to do

to keep our school safe and to make the floors shine,

They think the school’s theirs, but really, it’s mine!


We take pride in our work and we love what we do,

To make all their spaces, shiny as new.

Each student is mine, I care for them all,

The short, the large, the skinny and tall.


It’s smiles that we give, when it’s chatter we hear,

And the students find out just why we’re here.

Not for the work, it’s abundantly clear,

We are happy you’ve come, for another school year.




Steve Reed, PPS custodial supervisor, and custodial staff