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PHS Earns GreatSchools' 2022 College Success Award!

The Portland Public Schools is proud to announce that Portland High School (PHS) has been named one of the top schools in the state for “College Success,” according to GreatSchools, a nonprofit providing school information to parents and families across the nation. This recognition honors schools that excel at preparing students to enroll and succeed in college, as determined by available data in each state.

PHS is one of only 15 public schools In Maine to earn a College Success Award in 2022. The Maine schools are among 1,742 high schools from 25 states that have demonstrated a successful track record of graduating students who enroll in two- or four-year college, are ready for college-level coursework, and persist on to their second year.

“This accomplishment is clearly the result of the hard work and dedication on the part of PHS educators to ensure students are prepared and empowered for college success, and is exemplary of the high-quality education offered by the Portland Public Schools,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “We’re very proud of PHS and their work to ensure that our students go to college and persist in their post-secondary pursuits.”

PHS exceeded the state average in both the percentage of students who enrolled in college (75 percent at PHS versus the 61 percent state average) and who also showed persistence by returning for the second year (79 percent at PHS versus 78 percent at the state level). 

Portland’s other two high schools – Deering and Casco Bay – also focus on ensuring students achieve their post-secondary goals. Both Deering’s college enrollment rate (70 percent) and Casco Bay’s college enrollment rate (75 percent) exceeded the state average for students enrolled in college. At 76 percent, Deering just missed the state average in persistence and Casco Bay was close in the persistence category at 70 percent.

“We have been focused on the college success metric as a district for some time,” Superintendent Botana said.  “All three of our high schools – which have more students who traditionally are underrepresented in post-secondary education than most high schools in Maine – exceed the state average in students enrolling in post-secondary education and PHS also exceeded the persistence rate.”

PHS Principal Sheila Jepson said school counselors are especially key to students’ college success. “Our counselors work tirelessly for students and they are so deserving of this honor,” she said. “Our school counseling office has an organized and coordinated program serving our students in all grades. Preparing students for post-secondary success is key to their work and they have created a junior and senior seminar program where they work with students intensely during the spring of junior year and the fall of senior year.  This award validates all that they do with students and how it is integrated.” 

GreatSchools also praised PHS. “We applaud Portland High School for prioritizing a high-quality public education that puts students on the path to bright futures,” said Jon Deane, CEO of GreatSchools. “Congratulations to PHS for receiving the College Success Award as proof of their hard work and dedication.”

To learn more about the College Success Award and view the complete list of winners, visit

GreatSchools is a nonprofit providing high-quality information that supports parents pursuing a great education for their child, schools striving for excellence, and communities working to diminish inequities in education.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 51 percent of the district’s students are white and 49 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.