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Staff & Community Newsletter - June 6, 2024


DISTRICT NEWS

Last Day of School Reminder

The last day of school for students this year will be Friday, June 14, 2024, and the last day for teachers will be Monday, June 17, 2024. 

Those end dates reflect an extension of the school year by two days due to the inclement weather "snow days" that the Portland Public Schools called on Monday, March 25, and Thursday, April 4, following storms and power outages.

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​​PPS Receives School of the Year Award for Environmental Learning

The Maine Environmental Education Association recognized the Portland Public Schools as “School of the Year” for helping students develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues. Because this work is district-wide, led by our Environmental Literacy Coordinator Katie West, the award went to the entire district instead of just one school.

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retirement

More than 40 Portland Public Schools employees have retired or will soon retire this school year. The retirees were honored by the Portland Board of Public Education and the district in a ceremony on Tuesday, June 4. Those recognized have served throughout the district and held a wide variety of roles in service of students and families. 

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PATHS Automotive Students Take First Place at Automotive Skills Competition!

Congratulations to Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) Automotive Program students William Cuttler and Harrison Behnke for recently placing first in the Ford ACE Student Automotive Skills Competition. As winners, they have been awarded room and board scholarships worth $5,500 each to Central Maine Community College. Additionally, they received over $2,500 in tool prizes, enhancing their future careers in automotive technology. The PATHS Automotive program also received a remarkable prize: a brand-new 2024 Mustang GT, generously donated by Ford Motor Company.

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  PATHS Student Gold Medal State Pin Design Winner

Julia Marquardt-Luesma, a Casco Bay High School senior in the Commercial Art Program at the Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS), recently won the Gold Medal in the State Pin Design Competition at the 2024 Maine SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference. SkillsUSA is a national career and technical education organization. The pin, featuring a lobster and buoy, will be proudly worn by the Maine student delegation at the SkillsUSA national conference in Atlanta later in June.

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PHS Latin Students Excel

Portland High School Latin students distinguished themselves in another successful year of national testing. This year, students of all levels participated in and received honors on the Maine Seal of Biliteracy Exam, National Latin Exam, Medusa Mythology Exam and National Classical Etymology Exam. In total, 43 PHS Latin students received national or state recognition for their accomplishments in the following areas:

  • Maine Seal of Biliteracy: Josh Gribbin, Caden Hemond, Max Kierstead, Ainsley McCrum, Ben Prestes, Nathan Blades, Kaitlin Harmon, Kyla Derrig, Meghan Crocker, Ash Saenz, Cooper Owens
  • National Latin Exam: Amelia Demoree, Adau Mawein, Sydney Dysinger, Charlie Ellis, Daniel Gallagher, Phoenix Wing, Maxwell Tarkinson, Logan Chadwick
  • Medusa Mythology Exam: Daniel Mesele, Ella Vinkemulder, Caden Hemond, Kieran Sullivan, Kyla Derrig, Libby Kane, Benjamin Prestes, Hunter Temple, Gabriel Winch, Ash Saenz, Cooper Owens, Kaitlin Harmon, Hannah Hawkes, Caitlin Rohde, Meghan Crocker, Louis Thurston, Ainsley McCrum, Maeleigh Raffety, Emelia Lehr, Ava Galli, Joshua Gribbin, Reegan Buck
  • National Classical Etymology Exam: Ella Vinkemulder
Read More about PHS Latin Students Excel
PHS Students Study Cancer in Clams

Two Portland High School juniors, Harriet Mishkin and William Guerin, are already contributing to real-world scientific data. Under Dr. José Fernandez Robledo of Bigelow Labs, the students participated this school year in an experiment to test for the presence of transmissible neoplasia (cancer) in Mya arenaria, soft-shell clams from the Scarborough marshes. So far, they have found polluted water as a potential catalyst.

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CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF 2024!

Graduation stock photo..students throwing caps in the air

Portland High School, one of the oldest operating public high schools in the United States, held its 203rd graduation exercises on Wednesday, June 5, at Merrill Auditorium. The late morning ceremony included remarks by Portland Superintendent Ryan Scallon and Portland High Principal Sheila Jepson, speeches and musical performances by students and the presentation of awards and diplomas.

Read More about PHS Holds 203rd Commencement Ceremony
CBHS graduation photo 2024 two graduates hugging

Casco Bay High School held its 16th graduation exercises on Thursday, June 6, at Merrill Auditorium. CBHS is the district's smallest and newest school and its commencement ceremonies are known for mixing traditional graduation pomp and circumstance with the unconventional, such as good-natured jokes and heartfelt personal testimonies. This year’s evening ceremony for the Class of 2024 was no exception.

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Graduation stock photo..students throwing caps in the air

Deering High School held its 150th graduation exercises for the Class of 2024 on Thursday, June 6, at Merrill Auditorium. The morning ceremony included remarks by Superintendent Ryan Scallon and Deering Principal Jake Giessman, as well as speeches by students, musical performances and the presentation of awards and diplomas.

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RECOGNITIONS

Liana Littig, DHS adminstrative secretary, receives RISE award from Maine Deputy Education Commissioner Dan Chuhta

In May, Deering High School Administrative Secretary Liana Littig won a Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award for the extraordinary contributions she has made to students, her school, and community. The RISE Award, which was passed by Congress in 2019, honors classified employees in the education workforce who provide exemplary service. Littig, who is proficient in Portuguese and Spanish, is particularly helpful in supporting Deering’s multilingual families. She will be one of two Maine 2024 RISE Award State Honorees to represent Maine for consideration for the national RISE Award

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DHS Russell Award Ceremony 2024 Heather Sawyer, Principal Jake Giessman and fellow nominees

Heather Sawyer, a science teacher at Deering High School, is this year’s winner of the Russell Award. Sawyer was recognized for her achievement by Deering Principal Jake Giessman and fellow teachers at a recent special event at the school. The Russell Award is an honor bestowed upon one teacher each year who exemplifies a firm commitment to the teaching profession, shares a love for learning with students, demonstrates intimate involvement in the ongoing life and activities of Deering High School, and displays creative self-renewal in their teaching practices.

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PPS Custodian Winner of Annual Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest

Recent accomplishments of PPS staff include that of Michael Loring, lead custodian at Presumpscot Elementary School, who won Maine’s 2024 Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest. Loring’s painting of a harlequin duck was chosen in April from among 13 entries. This is his second win in the annual contest. Duck stamps are collector’s items that raise funds to manage and conserve waterfowl in Maine.

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CBHS Students Win 2024 Maine Literary Awards and their Teacher is Finalist!

Two Casco Bay High School students are winners in the youth competition of the 2024 Maine Literary Awards administered by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Ninth-grader Avery Olson won the youth Fiction category with “Memories.” Sophie Kilbrith, an 11th-grader, won the youth Nonfiction award for “Nobody’s Perfect, But Some Like It That Way.” Also, their English teacher, Rebecca Turkewitz, was a finalist in the adult Fiction category for her book titled “Here in the Night.” There were approximately 400 submissions this year to this highly competitive contest.

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DHS Co-Curricular/Athletic Director Michael Daly Recognized as Exemplary

Congratulations to Deering High School Co-Curricular/Athletic Director Michael Daly, for being recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) as a Certified Master Athletic Administrator! 

The NIAAA announced Daly's accomplishment on May 21. "To earn this distinction, Michael L. Daly has demonstrated exemplary knowledge, contributions and on-going professional development in the field of interscholastic athletic administration," the NIAAA said. "The voluntary certification process included a thorough evaluation of the candidate's educational background, experience, NIAAA Leadership Courses and professional contributions.” The process culminates with a practical written or oral presentation project.

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PPS Wins Gold ‘District of Distinction’ for PBIS Work

The Portland Public Schools in May received a District of Distinction Gold Level award at the Northeast Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Leadership Forum for the district’s PBIS implementation efforts. PBIS is an evidence-based framework for supporting students’ behavioral, academic, social, emotional, and mental health. Joanna Frankel and Chris Reiger, our elementary and secondary directors of culture and climate, respectively, and Jessie McCallum, SEL Coach at Reiche Community School, presented our district’s PBIS work at the forum.

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PPS Ed Tech Wins Outstanding Support Professional Award from MEA

Portland Public Schools educational technician Jennifer Cooper is the winner of the Maine Education Association's 2024 Joan McGovern Education Support Professional Award. Cooper, who is president of thPPS educational technician Jennifer Cooper in May won the Maine Education Association's 2024 Joan McGovern Education Support Professional Award. Cooper, president of the union representing our ed techs, was recognized for her outstanding accomplishments and significant contributions to public education. Cooper now is Maine’s nominee for the National Education Support Professional.

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IN MEMORIAM


EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES

Pride Parade 2024

Mark your calendars! The Pride Portland! Parade is on Saturday, June 15, starting at 1 p.m. from Monument Square in Portland. Come out and celebrate with the Portland Public Schools as we join the parade to march for acceptance, equality, and inclusivity.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR EDUCATORS

TEACHING HARD HISTORY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Date: Thursday, June 13, 2024 from 5:30 - 8:00 pm

Location: Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, Freeport

An educator workshop and teacher-appreciation dinner with Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries of The Ohio State University, Dr. Kate Shuster of the Hard History Project, and longtime education leader Maureen Costello, who works at the intersection of history, civics, and social justice education. 

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Upcoming Events

School Budget Vote
June 11, 2024

Last Day of School for Students
June 14, 2024
(half day)
 
Pride Parade 
June 15, 2024