Staff & Community Newsletter - Feb 4, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
Happy February! We’ve gotten through January, often the coldest and snowiest month of the year. The frigid temperatures at the end of this week remind us that it’s still winter, but the days are slowly but surely growing longer. We hope everyone stays safe and warm this weekend.
We are inspired by all of the incredible things that are happening in schools and classrooms across PPS. This week we chose to highlight some of the meaningful STEM teaching and learning taking place in our schools.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
Portland Public Schools educators at the high school, middle school and elementary level recently shared some examples of awesome science and math learning happening at their schools this year. Read on to learn more details:
The Deering Debate Team won numerous awards at the Maine State Speech and Debate Championships at Bangor High School on January 21. The team also won the 2023 MPA Sportsmanship Award at the event. Following states, Deering debaters went to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Qualifying tournament for Congressional Debate, held at the Maine State House on January 28, where two Deering freshmen qualified for nationals as alternates.
Ocean Avenue Elementary School 4th-graders are now the authors and illustrators of their own storybooks. Through this creative school project, the students were able to learn about the story writing process from beginning to end. Once they achieved a finished product, it led to a great opportunity for collaborative learning. The 4th graders dropped by kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms, eager for the opportunity to read their creations with some of the younger students.
It was rescheduled three times due to bad weather, but Casco Bay High School seniors on Jan. 27 were finally able to successfully complete the school’s 10th annual “College March” – a public affirmation of students’ higher education goals.
Painting for a Purpose, a local nonprofit organization founded by teachers, brings creative people together to paint whimsical decorative items that they sell to raise money to fund service-learning projects led by Portland Public Schools students who want to make a difference. Students receive up to $500 to put their idea into action. So far this school year, Painting for a Purpose has funded a wide variety of PPS students' amazing service-learning projects.
For example, a King Middle School sixth-grader won a grant to help her share Ethiopian cuisine and traditions with the school community. She conducted independent research on Ethiopia and fed her classmates injera flatbread and other Ethiopian food. She had a meal catered from Asmara Restaurant, and shared a presentation that celebrated her culture and educated others on her mother’s home country. Click HERE to learn about this and the seven other projects that Painting for a Purpose helped make a reality this year.
Portland Adult Education (PAE) is excited to announce a new partnership between PAE, PATHS and Revision Energy: a heat pump and solar installation training program for non-native English speaking adults. The program, which will be free to accepted students, will be co-taught by PATHS, PAE and Revision instructors. The program will run March 20-May 19 and classes will be in person and held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:45-4:15 pm at PATHS. The deadline to apply is Feb. 27.
Sloane O’Donnell Fox, a Portland High School junior defender on the Portland/Deering High School girls hockey team, is featured in this inspiring Portland Phoenix story titled: "Game On: O’Donnell Fox finds purpose and comfort in ice hockey"
The role of a student at Casco Bay High School is featured in this Portland Press Herald story, due to her efforts providing transformational and inspirational support for an injured Afghan boy and his family: "Caught in the crossfire: Mainers aid in medical rescue of Afghan boy"
With the passage of LD 153 (An Act to Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water), the Maine Legislature mandated that all K-12 schools in Maine test their drinking water for the presence of lead. In compliance with the law, the Portland Public Schools has been testing all its facilities and remediating as needed. Go to the Water Lead Testing page on our website to view the latest results for Deering and Portland high schools and King and Lyman Moore middle schools.
Do you have a child who will be 5 years old by October 15, 2023? If so, your child will be eligible for Kindergarten. Registration for School Year 2023-24 for this age group starts February 27 and ends on March 17. More information can be found on our website under Kindergarten Enrollment.
A new roof has been installed on the Deering High School Concessions/Team Building at Memorial Stadium. This project was completed on Jan. 20 through a partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation and Facilities Department and made possible by a generous $12,850 donation from the Roper family and Superior Roofing. DHS Football parents helped facilitate the donation.
Khmer dancing is making a comeback in Maine! Did you know? Over a decade ago, there was a thriving Khmer dance community spearheaded by Pirun Sen, Portland Public Schools family and community engagement specialist, and Tania Sturtevant. Cambodian youth and families were able to take dance classes from experts and perform all over Maine. Join Khmer dancer Sokheun Sok for a series of introductory Khmer social dance classes. Learn the basics of movement, rhythm, and interaction in Khmer dances often seen in social and celebratory settings… just in time for Khmer New Year in April!
Registration is FREE! Sign up here to participate.
Superintendent Search Survey
February 6th new deadline
Here's the link for the Survey:
New Date TBD
February 27-March 17
Application is accessible on the PPS website. Link will be live on February 27th.