Staff & Community Newsletter - Aug 24, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
We are truly in the countdown to the start of the school year. As of Friday, there will be 12 calendar days until most students return to school on Wednesday, September 6, (pre-K and kindergarten start on Thursday, September 7). It is hard to believe that we are almost there! As someone who has spent the majority of my time in Portland without most of our students in buildings, I am excited to see classrooms filled and students engaged.
At this time, everyone in the District is busy preparing to make sure that students have a great start to the school year. This includes sharing and updating bus routes, ordering food, professional development for leaders and teachers and a final cleaning of buildings. I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank all of our staff and especially our operational staff. These individuals are often the unsung heroes of the District. Without them, we would not be ready for our students.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
The Board of Public Education recently approved the appointments of the five assistant principals. In addition, the Portland Public Schools has filled four key leadership positions at Central Office. See the following articles to learn more:
The Portland Public Schools is committed to the safety and welfare of our students, our staff and visitors in our schools. To ensure that everyone is prepared in the event of an emergency, the district is enhancing its procedures, frameworks and training related to student and staff safety.
The first day of school for students in grades 1-12 is Wednesday, Sept. 6. That day will be a full day of school, not an early release day. Thursday, Sept. 7, is the start date for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.
In recognition of Attendance Awareness Month, which is celebrated every September, students ages 4-17 are invited to create media celebrating why they go to school.
Deadline to Submit is September 30, 2023
Complete Contest Details
This summer, approximately 100 Portland Public Schools students were busy with internships that helped them explore a variety of potential careers that ranged from lobstering to engineering.
In a concurrent enrollment partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta, students in the Portland Arts & Technology High School (PATHS) Cybersecurity Program are able to earn college credit and save money while in high school.
PPS IN THE NEWS
Superintendent Ryan Scallon writes a monthly column in The Forecaster newspaper. Check out his August column: “Attend school regularly to benefit from all PPS has to offer”
One of the last stories in the Portland Phoenix is about new Superintendent Ryan Scallon: "City of Portland, Maine Public Schools new school district leader on the job ahead" https://portlandphoenix.me/scallon-for-superintendent-portlands-new-school-district-leader-on-the-job-ahead/
The number of multilingual students in schools is growing in Maine and nationwide, including in Portland, which saw a large spike in the enrollment of multilingual students this past school year. The students are a tremendous asset to the Portland Public Schools, which is taking numerous steps to help students who have limited English learn and succeed.
Deering High School junior Sherlindary Berrios, who came to Maine about 10 months ago from Venezuela, debuted in “CarmXn,” this summer. “CarmXN” is a reinterpretation of the classic opera by Cape Elizabeth-based arts residency Hogfish, one of two young theater companies presenting works in Portland this summer that center on immigrant stories.Learn more in this Portland Press Herald story from July 26: “A city growing in diversity is attracting more diverse theater this summer.”
The annual Portland Kids Duathlon took place July 23 this year. More than 150 kids ran and biked along Back Cove, with the event raising more than $14,000 for the Portland Public Schools. Learn more in the WMTW-Channel 8 report:
This June 21 article in the Portland Phoenix details how the Portland Public Schools’ “Living Schoolyards” program “offers a new way to learn, inviting students to digest their curriculum through real experiences, bridging opportunity gaps and making outdoor space accessible to all students.” Read: “Portland’s outdoor-learning program levels the field.”
Check out these great community service projects by Portland Public Schools students who received Painting for a Purpose grant during the 2023-2023 school year: https://www.paintingforapurpose.net/grants-awarded-2223 Painting for a Purpose is a local nonprofit organization that brings creative people together to paint whimsical decorative items that they sell to raise money to fund service-learning projects led by PPS students who want to make a difference.
A Deering High School sophomore is featured in this story about the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, of which a number of PPS students are members, and the chorus’ efforts to use music to raise awareness about the challenges of war. Check out: Portland-based Pihcintu makes music video to encourage aid for Ukrainians
Julia Hazel, the district’s director of BIPOC career pathways and leadership development, is a recipient of the 2023 Maine Black Excellence Awards, presented by The Third Place on Aug. 13. Hazel received the Compass Career Award, which recognizes individuals who accomplish a standout achievement in their workplace or sector.
Shoshana Hoose, an ESOL teacher at Portland Adult Education, recently received the Maine Adult Education Association’s Outstanding Teacher Award.
First, Joshua Chard, a veteran teacher at East End Community School, became the 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year in May. Next, in July, Chard was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year honor. Now Chard has been selected as one of four finalists for 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year!
Deering High School Class of 2023 graduate Mae Carroll was recently named as a WMTW Scholar/Athlete for her accomplishments as a figure skater and academics. Learn more in this WMTW Channel 8-TV report: Celebrating Excellence:WMTV Scholar Athlete, Mae Carroll. A shining graduate of Deering, As we celebrate her accomplishments, we extend our heartfelt best wishes for her future pursuits.
The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC Maine) announced in June that Quinn Bolster, a Casco Bay High School junior (check) was the recipient of the Mathilda Schlossberger Outstanding Student of the Year Award, for their remarkable painting, titled “Agnes and Her Mother.”
Emily Paton, who’ll be a senior at Portland High School this fall, worked with world-class researchers on cutting-edge technologies this summer as part of the inaugural cohort of the Roux Institute’s Young Scholars’ Program.
EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
Register now! The Beyond Borders conference features a keynote address following a full day of breakout sessions led by experts on immigration, PreK-16 education, workforce development, and health and social services. Learn more on our website: https://www.portlandschools.org/get-involved/beyond-borders-2023-conference
Volunteers play a significant role in the success of our students! PPS welcomes volunteers and community involvement and sincerely thanks you for your generosity and support. Last year parents and community members volunteered over 94,000 hours to our schools. Each volunteer made a real difference in the lives of students. We invite you to learn more about volunteering for our schools and how you can make an impact at Portland Public Schools: Click Here
Beloved longtime Portland Public Schools custodian Jean Claude Phanor, 64, passed away on Aug. 16, following a brief illness. Jean Claude spent 30 years with the district, most recently working at Lyseth Elementary School, where Principal Sara Goodall shared this message: "Jean Claude was one of the kindest people; he loved his grandkids and his sons, and while the last year was hard for him, he was always a dedicated and hard worker for kids and staff and a member of the Portland Public Schools and our community for many, many years. He will be missed.
First Day of School
K-12: September 6
Pre-k & k: September 7
Back to School Fair
East End Community School
September 16, 2023
1:00 - 4:00PM
Beyond Borders Conference
University of Southern Maine
Wednesday, September 27
8:00AM - 3:30PM