Staff & Community Newsletter - Oct 14, 2022
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
I’ll begin with an update about our recent decision to limit attendance at high school athletic events to students from the host school, as we announced in a letter to families on Sept. 30. I apologize that the decision appeared sudden and was not effectively communicated.
School Board News
At its Oct. 11 meeting, the Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously to pass a high school alignment resolution, which commits the district to taking a closer look at ensuring consistent programming and opportunities for students across all three high schools. The Board also voted to appoint seven community members to the Superintendent Search Committee and agreed to consider at its Oct. 18 meeting the appointment of an eighth member representing Portland Adult Education.
Matt Bernstein, a social studies teacher at Casco Bay High School and the 2022 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, has been chosen as the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the school on Oct. 11, where Bernstein was honored by state education officials, educator colleagues and students.
The Pihcintu Chorus is performing at the Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. This free event is a great opportunity for the Portland Public Schools community to show up and support the girls chorus, which welcomes immigrant children from around the globe and helps restart young lives through music.
Talbot is among four Maine schools to each receive a $50,000 grant to support their work as community schools. The funding will enable Talbot to better support its after-school enrichment opportunities for students, including a homework diner program, and its Walking School Bus program.
On Oct. 6, four seniors from Deering High School went on a field trip to West Bath for the first Maine Construction Career Day, hosted by Mid-Coast Excavation, Inc. “All four students operated those big machines and we also got to spend lots of time talking to local construction, paving, electrical, ceiling and tile companies,” said Sydney Williams, Deering’s extended learning opportunities coordinator. She added, “We got to keep the hard hats."
A new report finds most Maine schools are not teaching Wabanaki studies 21 years after the passage of a landmark 2001 state law requiring schools to teach Maine K–12 students about Wabanaki territories, economic systems, cultural systems, governments, and political systems, as well as the Wabanaki tribes’ relationships with local, state, national, and international governments. However, the new report, published Oct. 10 to mark Indigenous Peoples Day, noted that “there are some successes, including Portland Public Schools, which have collaborated with Wabanaki tribes and experts to reconfigure their curriculum with Wabanaki Studies at the core.”
One of the ways in which our schools succeed in creating that culture of postsecondary aspiration is by helping students to understand their postsecondary options. One important aspect of that is helping students to understand how to pay for that education. To that end, we are partnering with The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to host two FAFSA Nights for students and families. FAFSA is an application that the federal government uses to gather the financial information it needs to determine what loans and grants students qualify for. Here are the dates and times students and families can get help filling out FAFSA.
This story in The New York Times includes information about King Middle School's "crew" approach to learning (which also is used by Casco Bay High School, another EL Education school): "To Improve Students’ Mental Health, Schools Take a Team Approach"
The Portland Public School extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Otis C. Thompson, a former Portland Public Schools administrator and Portland Board of Public Education member and chair. In his role as chair, Mr. Thompson was influential in the creation of Casco Bay High School. Mr. Thompson, 76, died Oct. 2, 2022. To view Mr. Thompson’s obituary and memorial page and to share a condolence, visit https://conroytullywalker.com/obituaries/
Unity Day, which is Wednesday, Oct. 19, is an important part of this month. Everyone is encouraged to wear orange to unite for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion to prevent bullying in school.
The Portland Public Schools has new substitute pay rates! As of Oct. 3, the rates in this document are now being paid to our subs. These interim rates will remain in effect for this school year. Apply to be a sub at: https://www.portlandschools.org/department/human-resources/employment
Deering High School
October 18, 2022
Portland High School
October 20, 222
Finance Authority of Maine is a co-sponsor with PPS.
Coffee and Conversation with School Board Members
October 22, 2022
October 26, 2022 6:30-7:30 PM Zoom link: tinyurl.com/5du8vv8j
Shared Space Cafe
Forum for Lincoln Middle School Families
November 1, 2022
Lincoln Middle School