Staff & Community Newsletter - June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
June is a month when there’s a lot going on at the Portland Public Schools, and we’d like to take this opportunity to fill you in.
First, June is graduation month, and we’ve had the honor this past week to participate in commencement ceremonies at all three of our high schools.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
The Board of Public Education voted unanimously June 6 to appoint Dr. Ryan Scallon, currently an assistant superintendent in the School District of Philadelphia, as the next superintendent of the Portland Public Schools, beginning July 1. The Board selected Scallon, who holds a doctorate degree in education, following a six-month nationwide search.
The City Council unanimously approved the $143.8 million school budget for the 2023-2024 school year on May 15. The budget now goes to city voters for validation on Tuesday, June 13.
At its June 6 meeting, the Portland Board of Public Education approved the appointments of the following administrators: Jake Giessman as principal of Deering High School; Alyson Dame as Deering High School assistant principal; Priya Natarajan as assistant principal of Casco Bay High School; Amy Marx as principal of King Middle School; and Terry Young as principal of Talbot Community School. The appointments are effective July 1.
Due to the four snow days held this school year (on Jan. 20 and 23, Feb. 28 and March 14), the last day of school for students will now be Wednesday June 21. The last day for teachers will be Thursday, June 22. These dates have been updated on the live District calendar . You can also view and download a PDF version of the yearly calendar on that page.
Families from East End Community School held a special ceremony June 1 to honor beloved crossing guard Danny Lowe.. Learn the details in this Channel 6 NEWS CENTER Maine story: "Families honor long-time crossing guard with 2nd annual 'Danny Day' - News Center Maine"
We are excited to announce the launch of Portland Public Schools Alumni and Friends – a free way for alumni and community members to stay connected and engaged in activities that strengthen our schools, and celebrate alumni achievements and accomplishments.
Portland Adult Education, a leading provider of adult educational programs and workforce development initiatives, is pleased to announce the launch of its Renewable Energy Careers: Introduction to Solar Installation and Heat Pumps Program. This pre-apprenticeship program – developed in partnership with ReVision Energy, Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) and Portland Adult Education (PAE) – prepares multilingual adults to enter (or re-enter) the field of renewable energy as a viable and sustainable career path.
Congratulations to Portland High School junior Caden Hemond on being selected for the elite Maine State Math Team! The team competed at the American Regions Mathematics League contest on June 2 and 3, a national competition held at four universities across the country, with problems that are ultra-challenging. The Portland Public Schools is very proud of this outstanding student!
Three Portland Public Schools seniors are among the Portland Press Herald's 2023 "Graduates to Watch": Jayden Moore from Portland High School, Baqer Jalil from Casco Bay High School and Adele Weaver from Portland Arts and Technology High School!
The Portland Public Schools supports a Vision for an Equitable Maine, a collaborative response to growing community needs and rising inequality. A Vision of an Equitable Maine's goal is that together we can make Maine an equitable place for all our residents. This week the collaborative sent a letter – to which the Portland Public Schools added its signature – to state lawmakers urging them to support affordable housing, equitable access to health care, tribal sovereignty, effective racial impact statements as part of lawmaking, and paid family medical leave. Read the letter here.
The Portland Water District facilitates the TroutKids Program for schools within the Portland Water District service area and Sebago Lake Watershed to raise brook trout in their classrooms during the winter, and release the fry in a local stream in the late spring.
On June 1, Peaks Island Elementary School held its first annual STEAM Exploration Night. The event featured a wide range of hands-on experiences for PreK-5th grade students, their families and the island community. Great tools such as micro:bits, Little Bits, circuit boards, Ozobots, Legos, Bee-Bots, circuit sensor paper, recycled resources and various coding apps were provided in hopes of inspiring curiosity and discovery for all ages.
Deering High School, one of the most diverse high schools north of Boston, held the school's 149th graduation exercises for the Class of 2023 on Thursday, June 8, at Merrill Auditorium. The morning ceremony included remarks by Interim Co-Superintendents Melea Nalli and Aaron Townsend and Deering Co-Principal Alyson Dame, as well as speeches by students and the presentation of awards and diplomas.
Portland High School, one of the oldest operating public high schools in the United States, held its 202nd graduation exercises on Wednesday, June 7, at Merrill Auditorium. The late morning ceremony included remarks by Portland Interim Co-Superintendents Aaron Townsend and Melea Nalli and Portland High Principal Sheila Jepson, speeches and musical performances by students and the presentation of awards and diplomas.
Casco Bay High School held its 15th graduation exercises on Thursday, June 8, at Merrill Auditorium. CBHS commencement ceremonies stand out each year in combining the unconventional with traditional graduation pomp and circumstance. This year’s evening event for the 92 members of the Class of 2023 was no exception.
The ceremony included multiple good-natured jokes about beloved Principal Derek Pierce and class speaker Lionel Celestino interrupting his remarks, doffing his cap and gown and performing an acrobatic street dance demonstration across the stage. It also included remarks by Interim Co-Superintendents Melea Nalli and Aaron Townsend and as well as speeches by school staff and graduates, student musical performances and the presentation of diplomas.
On June 1, the Portland Fire Department visited Rowe Elementary school to recognize Liam Drake, a third-grader, who has had to call 911 multiple times over the past few years for support for his mother, who suffers from serious seizures. The Fire Department came to Rowe school with a big fire truck to present the student with a certificate recognizing their bravery and responsibility. Thanks to the Fire Department for this recognition!
Congratulations to Deering High School for achieving Best in Show at the University of Southern Maine's third annual CubeSat Design Competition held at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. The event saw enthusiastic participation from six middle school teams and six high school teams, who launched their microsatellites on balloons to experience the space environment at an altitude of approximately 120,000 ft. The competition, aimed at promoting hands-on STEM education opportunities, showcased the hard work and dedication of students from various schools.
We are excited to announce the upcoming High School Summer School offerings for Portland Public Schools. We have designed these programs to provide various opportunities for students to enhance their academic experience during the summer break. We encourage you to take advantage of these programs to support your student's educational journey.
More than 40 Portland Public Schools retiring employees were honored by the Portland Board of Public Education and the district in a ceremony on Tuesday, June 6. Those recognized have served throughout the district and held a wide variety of roles in service of our students and families. The 2022-2023 school year retirees include administrators, teachers, educational technicians, administrative assistants and secretaries, transportation employees, custodians, a guidance counselor, a speech therapist, a payroll manager, an academic enrichment specialist and the district’s facilities director. The retirees have collectively given nearly 1,000 years of dedicated service to the Portland Public Schools.
On the morning of June 9, volunteers of Make It Happen! (MIH) were celebrated for their service and dedication to the program.
We are writing to inform you about the progress of the high school design work that stemmed from a resolution passed by the Portland Board of Public Education last fall. The goal of this work is to develop more consistent programming and opportunities for students across all three high schools in our district. To achieve this goal, a design team was formed, consisting of various stakeholders, including staff, parents, students, community members, high school principals, the director of the Portland Arts and Technology High School, the executive director of Portland Adult Education, and district leaders.
Since 2015, the Portland Public Schools has had a "float" in the Pride Portland events - a yellow PPS bus! As a welcoming, inclusive school district, we proudly affirm and stand with our LGBTQ+ students, staff and families.
This year Pride events are on Saturday, June 17. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. and the entire PPS community is welcome to participate! Students, staff, Board of Public Education members and families can all come march with PPS in the parade, and either walk in front of the bus or ride the bus! Wear your PPS gear if you have some – from any school – to represent PPS.
School Budget Vote
Municipal School Budget Referendum
Tuesday, June 13
Beyond Borders Conference
University of Southern Maine
Wednesday, September 27
Join PPS in Pride Parade
Saturday, June 17