Staff & Community Newsletter - Sept 7, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to start my day with our Transportation Team at 6 a.m. and visit five schools on opening day. It was fantastic to see the energy from staff and students as they started the school year. As an educator for 20+ years, there is little that competes with the excitement of the first day of school each year. I often think of it as our Super Bowl in some ways.
Superintendent Ryan Scallon is using his first months in the district to hear from staff, students, families and other community members about the great things happening at the Portland Public Schools that we should build on – and also about opportunities to do better. His “listen and learn” phase began this summer and is continuing into the fall. Ryan will hold focus groups with staff, families and students in September and October. Also, the district has just launched a Listen and Learn Community Survey on our website. Please participate in the survey, which closes Sept. 22!
It is very important that all parents and guardians fill out your family’s Household Income Data Form. The information from the form helps us maximize the state revenue our school district receives.
The information you provide enables the Portland Public Schools to have a correct count of the number of our families that qualify as economically disadvantaged. That data helps us receive accurate state education aid for our community.
Listen to the Reiche students as they share what they love about the new school improvements!
Portland Public Schools Custodial Supervisor Steve Reed has written a poem to send a welcome back message from custodians for the 2023-2024 school year. “I thought that it might give teachers and other staff some insight into how we feel about them and our students,” Reed said.
The Portland Public Schools is committed to the safety of all students not only at school, but also when they are being transported to and from school. As the school year begins, we want to be sure that students, families, schools, and bus drivers are all clear on the drop-off procedures for students in pre-K, kindergarten and those with specialized needs that get off at a bus stop. Learn more.
In recognition of Attendance Awareness Month, which is celebrated every September, students ages 4-17 are invited to create media celebrating why they go to school. Deadline to Submit is September 30, 2023.
PPS IN THE NEWS
During WGAN radio’s morning show on Labor Day, Superintendent Ryan Scallon called in to discuss the upcoming school year, challenges and opportunities. Listen to the interview at https://wgan.com/morning-news/portland-superintendent-ryan-scallon/
The Portland Public Schools is among districts included in this Portland Press Herald Aug. 30 editorial: Our View: To invest in immigrant pupils is to invest in the future
WMTW, Channel 8-TV featured (Deering High School senior Andrew Burke in this Aug. 28 story): We are thrilled to extend our warmest congratulations to Andrew Burke, our standout Scholar Athlete of the Week!
Check out this Sept. 5 Portland Press Herald article about the newly renovated Presumpscot Elementary School – "a space that is created with children in mind." A new year and a new school for Presumpscot teachers and students
Two athletes, one at Portland High School and one at Deering High School, were named by the Portland Press Herald on Aug. 30 as among girl soccer players to watch this coming season.
Amazing East End Community School teacher Bulina Ahmad is among teachers featured in Portland Press Herald story. “I’m here for the kids,” Bulina says. Read the Aug. 27 story: ‘This is where I’m meant to be’: Maine teachers prepare for school year with hope
Check out this video featuring Marwa Aslami, a standout 2023 graduate of Casco Bay High School. Marwa is the recipient of the Mainely Character Scholarship sponsored by Northern Light Health. You’ll understand why after hearing her story, which is filled with grit and determination! You can also read a Portland Press Herald article from January 2023 featuring what Marwa did to help her injured cousin: Caught in the crossfire: Mainers aid in medical rescue of Afghan boy
This Sept. 7 story in the Portland Press Herald notes that the Portland Public Schools is one of few districts starting the school year fully staffed with bus drivers and shows how dedicated bus drivers like Lisa Martel are so key to a positive school experience for our students. Thank you to our PPS bus drivers for doing your job with heart! Check out: Staffing shortages spotlight critical role and special skills of school bus drivers
EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
Volunteers play a significant role in the success of our students! PPS welcomes volunteers and community involvement and sincerely thanks you for your generosity and support. Last year parents and community members volunteered over 94,000 hours to our schools. Each volunteer made a real difference in the lives of students. We invite you to learn more about volunteering for our schools and how you can make an impact at Portland Public Schools: Click Here
Portland/Deering Field Hockey is hosting a fundraiser night at Bruno's Restaurant & Tavern, 33 Allen Avenue in Portland, on September 21 from 5-9 pm. Bruno's will generously donate a portion of the proceeds from that evening to the Portland/Deering field hockey team. Please come support the team and enjoy a night out with friends and family!
Register now! The Beyond Borders conference features a keynote address following a full day of breakout sessions led by experts on immigration, PreK-16 education, workforce development, and health and social services. Learn more on our website: https://www.portlandschools.org/get-involved/beyond-borders-2023-conference
This program is designed for foreign-trained professionals who have worked as a teacher or are interested in becoming an educator in Maine by working as an Educational Technician 3; substitute teacher; and, if qualified, work toward Maine teacher certification.