PPS in the Press
Below is a sampling of media coverage highlighting the great students, staff, schools and programs of the Portland Public Schools:
BELFAST — Frank Myatt, coach of the Portland boys’ cross country team, waited patiently outside the scoring tent Saturday afternoon in a grassy field outside of Troy Howard Middle School, unwilling to assume anything about the outcome of the Class A state championship meet.
The race had been over for 10 minutes, but runners arrived at the finish line so closely bunched that it was hard to determine whether the Bulldogs, whose last title had come in 1978, had been able to withstand an impressive effort from a Scarborough squad primed for an upset.
Finally, the verdict arrive. Portland by 10 points. Myatt exhaled and allowed himself a smile.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “These guys worked so hard for it. They love the sport and dedicated their high school lives to it. They deserve this payoff.”
Photo: Portland senior Nathan Blades shown competing in an earlier contest: the recent Class A South boys’ cross country championship race over a Twin Brook course in Cumberland.
On Monday morning, across much of the state of Maine, teachers and school administrators huddled, preparing for what was sure to be a day unlike any other — the return to school following the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. But as they worked out a plan for how to welcome their students back following the trauma and fear of recent days, it quickly became clear it wasn’t just the students who were reeling.
”I don’t think I can give the message anymore that they’re going to be safe,” said Cindy Cormier, a teacher at the Elm Street School, an elementary in Mechanic Falls, just 10 miles from Lewiston, where a gunman killed 18 people last Wednesday. “You’re not safe anywhere anymore.”
Every year at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine, teachers stage a model car race as the culminating event for an integrated math and physics project that helps students connect to content in a hands-on way. Teams of students design, test, and tinker with several car designs before the big day in an attempt to build the fastest—and the slowest—model cars. And on race day, an atmosphere of competition and celebration builds excitement for their demonstrations of learning. Only one team wins, but everyone walks away with a better grasp on higher-level STEM concepts.
Voters will only decide the winner of one of three Portland school board seats on the Nov. 7 city ballot; the other two are uncontested.
Two candidates are vying for an at-large seat while the District 3 and 4 seats have only one registered candidate each.
Usira Ali, 23, and Austin Sims, 37, are competing for the at-large seat currently held by Yusuf Yusuf, who has been on the board since 2021 and is not running for another term.
Portland city soccer is a force heading into the post-season.
The first episode of a new Maine Department of Education podcast features two Portland public school district teachers.
The debut episode released Thursday of “What Holds us Together,” hosted by Maine DOE Commissioner Pender Makin, starred the state’s 2023 and 2024 teachers of the year. The 2023 teacher of the year, Matt Bernstein, is a ninth grade humanities and social studies teacher at Portland’s Casco Bay High School. Joshua Chard, the 2024 teacher of the year, is a looping second and third grade teacher at the city’s East End Community School.
By day they work as teachers. By night they’re crafting characters and stories to engage readers of all ages as published authors.
Nick Fuller Googins, a fourth grade teacher at CK Burns School in Saco, and Rebecca Turkewitz , a 10th grade English teacher at Casco Bay High School in Portland, are inspiring students to think outside of the four walls of their schools and investigate a world only they can create through writing.
Maine Educator sat down with the authors to learn more about how they incorporate their expertise as writers into their world as educators, sharing ideas on how all educators can help support their students in the classroom.
When I first transitioned into the district in July, I committed to spending the first three months listening and learning in the community. In that time, I’ve met with more than 500 students, parents, staff, business leaders and community partners face to face, and we’ve gathered additional information through a survey that over 925 people completed. We also partnered with a national expert in school district strategic planning to visit classrooms, review student assessment and conduct a thorough organizational diagnostic of Portland Public Schools.
On Oct. 3, I shared the trends and themes from that listen-and-learn process with the board and public. I identified 10 themes highlighting that we have both amazing strengths as a school system to build on and opportunities to improve outcomes and experiences for students and support for staff. Like many organizations, we have made progress and we still have areas for continued improvement.
It’s a milestone year for Deering High School in Portland. The school is using its homecoming weekend to celebrate its 150th birthday.
Portland Public Schools says this isn't just any ordinary homecoming; it's a historic occasion to bring together generations of “Ramilies” (Deering students and families), alumni and Deering neighbors for celebratory events.
A man who, as a young student, struggled in school until he was helped by his fifth grade teacher, has now himself been honored as Maine’s 2024 Teacher of the Year.
“School was hard for me,” Joshua Chard, a third grade teacher at East End Community School in Portland, said upon accepting the honor at a surprise assembly at the school Wednesday. “There were days where everyone understood what was happening but me.” He described those days as confusing, where he would get in trouble and, no matter how hard he tried, he felt he couldn’t do enough.
His teacher changed him, and he learned that “my world was only as small as my imagination.”
“Those are things I carried to this day,” Chard said. “That I deserved to be loved just for being me.”