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Superintendent Letter - October 5, 2023

Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,

It is hard to believe that Friday marks one full month of school. In the past month, I have been able to visit all of our schools except for one (Cliff Island, I am coming!). In those visits, I have been able to see what everyone has told me about - the amazing people we have in the Portland Public Schools. From our elementary school students, who are excited to tell you about their day, to our teachers who come every day ready to support and challenge students, Portland is great because of the people in our district.

When I first transitioned into the District in July, I committed to spending the first three months listening and learning to the community. In that time, I have had the opportunity to meet with over 500 students, parents, staff and community partners face-to-face. To gather additional information, we had a survey that over 925 people completed, and we partnered with a national expert in school district strategic planning to visit classrooms, review student assessment and conduct a thorough organizational diagnostic of Portland Public Schools.

On Tuesday, I shared the trends and themes from that listen-and-learn process with the Board and public. The 10 themes are available on our website and I encourage you to read them and continue to provide feedback. At a high level, the themes were that there are a lot of great things going on in our schools and people feel fortunate to learn in or work at the Portland Public Schools. The themes also show that we continue to have opportunities to improve the outcomes for all students and the support we provide to students, families and staff through improved systems and communication.

Over the next several months, we will complete a strategic plan that will establish goals, guardrails, and priorities for the next five years. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with you in that process.