Staff & Community Newsletter - Jan 21, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
We hope this finds you warm and well after the beautiful snowy day. We understand that for many, yesterday morning’s wake-up call to inform you that we were having a snow day was welcome news (our own kids were quite thrilled!). But we want to also acknowledge that canceling school places a heavy burden on some families and students, and so we will always make these decisions carefully with as much information as possible. We want to use this opportunity to share transparently about how we make these decisions.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
Dear families, staff, students, friends and supporters of the Portland Public Schools,
We are excited to begin conversations with you about bringing in a new leader for the Portland Public Schools. As we have shared, the Portland Board of Public Education created a Superintendent Search Committee, made up of eight community members from a variety of stakeholder groups and four Board members, to spearhead the search for our new superintendent.
We are launching a brief survey accessible here in English, and also available in Arabic, French, Khmer, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese. You’ll have the opportunity to share what you love most about the Portland Public Schools, our top areas in need of improvement, the skills most important for the role, and what you consider to be the most important aspects of the superintendent’s job in order to successfully lead the district. The survey will be open for submissions until Friday, February 3, 2023.
Casco Bay High School seniors’ 10th annual “College March” – a public affirmation of students’ higher education goals – has been rescheduled from the previously planned date of Jan. 20, 2022, due to a snowstorm. The new date for the event will be Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. The Portland community is encouraged to come out and cheer the students on!
After more than five years of a highly collaborative process with Indigenous advisors from across the Dawnland – of which Maine is a part – the Portland Public Schools has officially launched a Wabanaki Studies curriculum across all elementary schools.
Media reports say a complaint has been filed by a national conservative group called Parents Defending Education with the U.S. Department of Education against our BIPOC Community Circle, an affinity group for our BIPOC staff members. We are aware of the reports about the complaint, but the district has not been contacted by any organization or government entity regarding any complaint. The district also has never received a complaint internally or externally about the existence of this or other PPS affinity groups. We are proud of our efforts to support staff through our affinity groups.
A scholarship fund has been formed to honor the legacy created by Xavier Botana's equity work and focus on the Portland Promise. Scholarship recipients will be students in the Make it Happen! Program, a college readiness program designed for high school multilingual students. The fund was unveiled during Xavier's farewell gathering with staff and community members on Wednesday, January 19, 2023. Your gift and support are much appreciated! Here's the link to the fund.
For nearly seven years, Superintendent Xavier Botana wrote a monthly “Superintendent’s Notebook” column in The Forecaster newspaper. He stepped down mid-January, so the January column is his last one for the paper. Going forward, Interim Co-Superintendents Melea Nalli and Aaron Townsend will write the monthly column until a superintendent is hired on a permanent basis by this June.
This Jan. 18 Portland Phoenix story focuses on Portland High School student Marlaco Bethune and also mentions Brian Dietzel, an educational technician at East End Community School
Pre-K Lottery Application
Open from January 9th to January 27th, 2023
ReImagining Family Engagement
Outreach & Partnerships with Multilingual Families
January 26, 2023
King Middle School
January 30, 2023
East End Community School
January 31, 2023
Casco Bay High School
February 2, 2023
Parent University Sessions
Parents as Partners for the Portland Promise
February 15, 2023 & March 28, 2023