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Staff & Community Newsletter - Oct 5, 2023

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.

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DISTRICT NEWS

Beyond Borders Conference 2023

The Portland Public Schools' Multilingual and Multicultural Center hosted Beyond Borders: A Conference on Migration and Integration at the University of Southern Maine. The conference focused on the successful integration in the economic, social, cultural, and political life of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants to the United States, specifically in Maine. Keynote address and breakout sessions were led by experts on immigration, PreK-16 education, workforce development, and health and social services. We welcomed hundreds of attendees from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including educators, policymakers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and members of community-based organizations.

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Staff & Community Newsletter Update

Here’s the latest Portland Public Schools’ Staff & Community Newsletter! To better accommodate our busy families and staff, we’re making the newsletter more focused and streamlined and will be sending it out just once per month. The newsletter will be posted on our website and sent to families and staff on the first Thursday of each month. The PPS Communications Team welcomes your newsletter feedback at communications@portlandschools.org

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EECS Solar Array Celebrated

Students from Casco Bay High School and East End Community School and supporters celebrated the completion of the new SolaRISE Lean-To on the East End campus. The solar lean-to, which will not only help EECS save on electricity costs but will serve to help educate students about solar energy, is a project spearheaded by SolaRISE Portland, a collaboration of students, teachers, and residents advocating for solar energy to power Portland’s schools.

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Portland High School Students Named as National Merit Semifinalists

Portland High School seniors Adrian Darlington, Caden Hemond and Matan Schoenfeld were named as Semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors students who show exceptional academic ability. Also, Caden Hemond – who incidentally was the PHS Class of 2024’s valedictorian at commencement on June 5 – also was one of just six Maine students named a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

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Be Here All Year at PPS!

September was Attendance Awareness Month nationwide but here at the Portland Public Schools, the 2023-2024 school year is Attendance Awareness Year. We have so much to offer students at PPS, and we don’t want anyone to miss out!

Studies show that students with repeated absences risk falling behind in reading, failing middle school and dropping out of high school. By contrast, students who attend regularly are more likely to graduate. At PPS, that’s because they’re able to fully benefit from all we have to to help them succeed.

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Bus Contingency Letter

On Sept. 28, the district sent a letter to families and staff about plans for managing a potential shortage of bus drivers due to illness this school year, as COVID, the flu and RSV circulate in our community. If you missed the communication, it is shared here.

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PPS IN THE PRESS

Here’s a sampling of  recent media coverage of PPS staff, students and programs. View additional coverage:

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Maine Department of Education News:  "A Day With Maine Teacher of the Year Finalist Joshua Chard’s Class"

Mr. Chard is one of four finalists for 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year and the 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. He was nominated by his principal and assistant principal. Colleagues say he builds relationships with every student, meets every student where they’re at, and finds joy in the uniqueness of each human.

It’s easy to see why people say that about him. On a recent morning visiting Mr. Chard’s class, he and his Chardlings were happily seated on a colorful carpet, passing around a stuffed bear and telling their visitors what’s great about their school.

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WCSH NewsCenter Channel 6 TV: Portland schools implement Wabanaki studies curriculum in classrooms this school year

According to a report that came out last October, Maine school districts have been failing when it comes to teaching Wabanaki studies despite a 2001 law requiring schools to teach Wabanaki history and culture.

Now, Portland Public Schools is making significant strides to improve its curriculum, something it has been working on since 2018. The district has developed a curriculum being taught in classrooms this school year.

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Portland Press Herald: Staffing shortages spotlight critical role and special skills of school bus drivers

For Portland students heading back to Lyman Moore Middle School and Ocean Avenue Elementary School on Wednesday, it was exciting to be back on Ms. Lisa's bus.

Lisa Martel slowed to a stop in front of a cluster of parents and children standing on a street corner in Portland’s Back Cove and opened the door of her brand new school bus.

Martel enthusiastically welcomed each student as they flooded towards the bus and ascended the stairs, excited for the first day of school.

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WCSH NewsCenter Channel 6 TV: School orchards planting the seed for elementary education

The garden at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland now has a new element, thanks to a local nonprofit and the helping hands of third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. On Wednesday, ReTreeUS made a stop at the school, spending the morning teaching students about apple, peach, and pear trees and helping them plant their own orchard that may provide fruit for decades to come. The nonprofit has been planting educational orchards at schools and in communities across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts for 11 years.

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EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES

Upcoming Events

the Steering Committee
October 6, 2023
 
Left to Their Own Devices
October 11, 2023
6:00pm
There are no events to display