Staff & Community Newsletter - May 12, 2023
Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,
May 12 is the final day of National Teacher Appreciation Week, and we want to again express our gratitude to our stellar Portland Public Schools teachers for all their hard work and dedication in support of students and families.
We also want to give a special shout out to teacher Joshua Chard at East End Community School, who on May 11 was named 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year! That puts him in the running to be the 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year.
SCHOOL BOARD NEWS
After a nationwide search, the Portland Board of Public Education has narrowed the pool of applicants for the position of superintendent of the Portland Public Schools down to two finalists. They are Eric Moore, currently senior advisor to the superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, and Dr. Ryan Scallon, who is an assistant superintendent in the School District of Philadelphia. Scallon holds a doctorate degree in education and Moore is on track to earn his doctorate in education later this year.
Now that the field has been narrowed down, key stakeholders, including members of the Portland Board of Public Education, staff, students, parents and other community members, will interview them on May 17 and 18. The interviews with students, parents and community members will be live-streamed and recorded for public viewing.
William Anton, a school superintendent from Vermont, will be the new principal of Rowe Elementary School, starting July 1. Anton was selected for the role by Interim Co-Superintendents Melea Nalli and Aaron Townsend, and his appointment was approved by the Portland Board of Public Education at its May 2 meeting.
East End Community School students recently enjoyed a multilingual storytime in which high school students read to them in a variety of languages. “The younger kids were starstruck by the teens, and the teens were charmed by them in turn,” said Shana Genre, EECS teacher librarian. “The teachers, too, were delighted and warmed to see kids of all ages connecting with each other over books.” She said the event also was a learning experience for both the older and younger students.
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.
On April 11, students in teacher Tom Talarico's ELL Foundations of Science Class at Portland High School shared their research projects on plants native to their heritage countries. Students from neighboring classes walked through the gallery presentations and asked the presenters questions geared to build on their English skills from class.
Check out this short film by members of the LMS Drama Club, and find out how you can support the performing arts at Lincoln!
On Saturday, April 22, Earth Day, a team of parent, student, and community member volunteers helped to revitalize the garden at Ocean Avenue Elementary School (OAES).
May 8-12 is National Teacher Appreciation Week so this is an opportune time to read this blog featuring Nabaa Alobaidi, a refugee from Iraq who is now an educational technician at Deering High School, where she teaches Arabic.
Please use this form if you have content you want to be featured in the Staff & Community Newsletter and/or Staff Bulletin, and potentially as a news item on the district website and/or shared on social media.
The selection of Joshua Chard, a teacher at East End Community School, as 2023 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, puts the veteran teacher in the running to be 2024 Maine Teacher of the Year. This is the second year in a row that a Portland Public Schools teacher has been chosen as Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.
In the course, students study the design process and use it to guide their actions. After learning the basics of such skills as vinyl cutting, 3D printing, engraving, basic circuitry and soldering, students use their creativity and newly developed skills to tackle real-world problems.
On April 27, students at PHS had the opportunity to speak with women working and studying in STEM fields. Dr. Catherine Miller, a biology professor at USM, Sarah Meyer Wlado, a software engineer at PTC, and a USM biology student shared their experiences working in science and engineering. Students asked questions about their research, their educational and career paths, and the challenges they've faced as women working in male-dominated fields.
As part of their unit on waves and sound, students in Rosalee Lamm's AP Physics classes at PHS visited the workshop of classical guitar maker Toby Rzepka. Toby talked about the physics he uses when choosing his materials, including stiffness measurements of soundboards, and demonstrated the Chladni patterns made by a vibrating soundboard, which showed the dominant frequencies that the guitar produced.
Amplify Science, a creator of a high quality K–8 science curriculum that blends hands-on investigations, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, read, write, and argue like real scientists and engineers, recently came to visit Talbot Elementary School. Amplify created this short clip of their visit.
Great article in the Portland Phoenix details the amazingly successful accomplishments of Rowe Elementary School's fledgling Odyssey of the Mind Team, which is fundraising to attend the OM World Finals in Michigan May 24-27. Check out: Portland elementary students prepare for national Odyssey of the Mind tournament
On June 12-13, 2023, Kai will be a part of the student delegation representing the state of Maine at the 2023 National History Day Competition, which will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park. The theme this year is Frontiers in History: People, Places and Ideas. Kai will be competing in the performance category, The impact of Jazz on Civil Rights during the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond.
High school seniors in the Portland Public Schools’ Make It Happen! (MIH) program were honored for their accomplishments at a ceremony May 10 at the University of Southern Maine. High school graduation is just weeks away and many of the 105 students recognized at this year’s MIH Senior Celebration are headed to college. The special ceremony each year honors the students and their families, acknowledging that their educational journey has not been easy and that their achievement is something very much to be celebrated.
Students from Portland and Deering high school got a sense of what it would be like to be a doctor in a “Doc 4 a Day” extended learning opportunity at Maine Medical Center. Students loved the simulations, the suturing and meeting with the medical students.
Join METRO staff for public meetings, in person or virtually via Zoom, for presentations on proposed bus route and schedule changes that could begin later this year. These recommendations are part of the Transit Together Plan, to improve the transit network and make it more seamless across the region.
Students from Deering High School got an in-person lesson about the legal profession on Law Day , May 3. Sydney Wiliams, Deering ELO coordinator, took eight students that day on an extended learning opportunities field trip to the Edward T. Gignoux U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland to hear from a panel of judges and attorneys working in Maine. The group spent an hour listening to the panel speak about their day-to-day experiences.
During National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12, Deering High School produced this video of students expressing their heartfelt thanks to teachers:
Portland Public Library’s Lewis Gallery is featuring an exhibit May 5-July 15, exploring the theme of sustenance. It includes an installation of sculptures by Talbot Elementary School third graders who participated in a Side x Side program, integrating their science curriculum on river ecology and migratory salmon this winter/spring.The students’ sculptures are exhibited alongside the nationally recognized artists.
Emily Serway, an art teacher at Deering High School, is this year’s winner of the Russell Award. Serway was recognized for her achievement by Deering Principal Alyson Dame and fellow teachers at a special event at the school on April 13.
A May 4 story in the Portland Phoenix story features Matt Bernstein, teacher at Casco Bay High School and the 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year. Learn why Matt describes teaching as “the best job in world” by reading: "Making Portland Work: Maine’s Teacher of the Year promotes the profession"
The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) has announced a major, collaborative, and community-driven reinstallation envisioned by museum curators, educators, and an Advisory Committee (which included the Portland Public Schools). Passages in American Art is a fundamental reinterpretation of the museum’s collection, platforming multiple voices, revealing new ways of looking at some of the museum’s most beloved works of art, and inviting community members to drive the conversation. Opening May 27, 2023, the project examines the existing collection, and along with recent acquisitions, commissions, and select long-term loans, integrates Atlantic narratives and Indigenous perspectives to expand the story of American art.
Cumberland County Federal Credit Union (CCFCU) is very excited to offer free tickets to ALL school employees for CCFCU's 20th Annual CCFCU Teacher Appreciation Night at the Sea Dogs on May 23 for a 6 p.m. game against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats!
Lincoln Middle School and the Lincoln PTFO are excited to host the School's Out 5K on Saturday, June 10th! The event is a positive way for students, staff and the community to come together before summer break.
The annual Portland Public Schools Student Art Show opened May 5, at City Hall. After being held virtually since the pandemic, the event is back in person. The artwork of hundreds of talented students in kindergarten through grade 12 is on display in City Hall hallways until May 19.
Superintendent Finalist Interviews
Wednesday, May 17
4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Parent & community Interviews:
6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Seal of Biliteracy
Wednesday, May 17
Deering High School Auditorium