Staff & Community Newsletter - Dec 16, 2022
The Portland Board of Public Education voted on Friday, Dec.16, to accept the resignation of Superintendent Xavier Botana, effective January 31, 2023, or the starting date of an interim superintendent, whichever is first. Botana had planned to retire in June 2023, but he cited the district’s continuing payroll issues as the reason for his stepping aside now to let new leadership bring closure to the payroll challenges.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
The Superintendent Search Committee was created by the Portland Board of Public Education this fall to spearhead the search for a new superintendent to lead the district after Superintendent Xavier Botana steps down. The Search Committee unanimously recommended on Nov. 22 that Alma Advisory Group was the best firm to aid in the superintendent search. The Board voted on Dec. 6 to contract with that professional search firm, whose work aligns with the central equity goal of the Portland Promise, for the superintendent search.
One new member, two returning members and five student representatives were sworn in at the Portland Board of Public Education’s Dec. 5 Inauguration ceremony. The Board also voted for Sarah Lentz to be the Board’s new chair for the coming year and for Abusana “Micky” Bondo to be vice chair.
The Forecaster has selected four Portland Public Schools students as 2022 Fall Athletes of the Year. Congratulations to PHS Bulldogs Kennedy Charles and Samantha Moore and to Deering Rams Adilson Vidal and Lara Gin!
Here’s a Portland Press Herald article on Portland High School alum Nathan Kapongo. He was a standout football player as a Bulldog and now is having an impact playing for the University of New Hampshire team: Portland High grad becomes force on UNH defensive line
PHS Bulldog Kennedy Charles has been named one of 10 high school football players who are semifinalists for the annual Fitzpatrick Trophy. The winner will be announced on Jan. 15. Learn more about this outstanding student and athlete in this Portland Press Herald story: "10 Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalists announced."
Kindergarteners at Ocean Avenue Elementary School have enjoyed using their new interactive learning tool, Bee-Bots. A set of Bee-Bots has been distributed to each of the 10 elementary schools in the district to help facilitate learning about robotics, sequencing, programming, and overall problem-solving skills for PreK-2nd grade students. Bee-Bots are just one element of a range of new curriculum, programming, and support that Portland Public Schools has rolled out to increase engagement in STEM learning. Learn more about Bee-Bots at the Portland Public Schools.
On December 14, Casco Bay High School hosted a National Honor Society Winter Induction Ceremony to welcome new members. Congratulations to the twelve new inductees: Delainey Black, James Chau, Jasper Ellis, Margaret Ellis, Owen Lynch, Venice Melcher, Walter Niehoff, Aria Pines, Jacqueline Rodas, Sara Sullivan, Liam Sommer and Jack Taylor.
On Dec. 12, Maine Congresswoman Shellie Pingree made an intern appreciation post on Twitter about legislative intern and Portland High School alum Will Bourque. "My office has been fortunate to have some excellent interns this Congress," Pingree tweeted. "Portland native and Portland Public Schools grad Will Bourque has been with us this fall in my DC office, and my staff and I are so grateful for his hard work!"
Portland Public School’s HR generalist Erin Tosi has been featured in a recent WGME-TV Channel 13 story as a beloved member of the Deering High School community. Students and staff have come to know ‘Mama Tosi’ as someone who cultivates a safe space for them to check-in and receive support. Click the link to see how Tosi’s active presence over the last 20 years has truly endeared her to the PPS community: https://wgme.com/sports/content/high-school-basketball-season-officially-begins-across-maine-portland-lewiston-deering-bonny-eagle
The public is invited to a Dec. 19 Parent University community forum on the district’s World Language program. The location of the 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in-person event will now be at East End Community School. Come learn about our World Language program and vision, help us explore how to meet students’ World Language needs by giving input and feedback about current and future programming.
Student writers are encouraged to participate in the inaugural Maine MCSTOYA/MCELA Student Writing Contest. The contest, sponsored by Maine County and State Teachers of the Year Association (MCSTOYA) and the Maine Council for English Language Arts (MCELA), invites students to describe a teacher who has made a difference in their day, week, year, or life, in the writing style of their choice. Each grade section winner will win a $100 gift card and an honorable mention in each section will win a $50 gift card. If you or a student you know would like to enter the contest, please click here to learn more about this creative writing opportunity. All digital submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm EST on Friday, January 13th.
“The Portland Public Schools community is invited to Care Local with MaineShare! At MaineShare, we believe that Maine isn’t just a place to live and work. It’s a place to become invested in. Over the last year, our nearly 40 member groups have worked tirelessly to make sustainable change for better, more just communities. Examples of the work our members have done include: advocating for paid family leave; supporting farmers impacted by PFAS contamination; speaking out in support of reproductive rights; providing linguistically appropriate vaccine information for new Mainer communities– and so much more. But the only way we can mobilize resources for our member groups doing this amazing work is with supporters like YOU!"
Community Forum on World Language
December 19, 2022
East End School
PreK Information Night
January 4, 2023 6:00-7:30 PM