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Staff & Community Newsletter - Sept 30, 2022

Superintendent Letter - September 30, 2022

Dear Portland Public Schools families, staff and community members,

Happy fall! It’s now officially autumn on the calendar, and exciting teaching and learning is fully underway at the Portland Public Schools.

As just one example, we inaugurated our new PPS Mobile Makerspace in a Sept. 14 ceremony at Rowe Elementary School, where the makerspace will be housed. This mobile STEM lab will travel around to our elementary schools for two-week visits so that  all students will have the opportunity to explore STEM learning using this amazing resource. I am grateful to our many funders who have helped to make this opportunity possible. Thank you to Assistant Superintendent Melea Nalli, Foundation for Portland Public Schools Executive Director Andi Weisman Summers and, especially our STEM Coordinator Brooke Teller for their vision, passion and drive in making this project become a reality. I am also thrilled that Karen Shibles, a seasoned and exceptional science educator,  has volunteered to lead our makerspace learning.

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School Board News


At its Sept. 20 meeting, the Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously to approve a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Portland Education Association, The new contract shows trust and collaboration on both sides, with educators and the district working towards a common goal of student success. The contract begins this school year and runs through the 2024-2025 school year.

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High School Choice

At its Sept. 20 meeting, the Portland Board of Public Education approved changing the district’s high school preference process, starting this fall.

Portland students traditionally are able to choose whether they want to attend Portland or Deering high schools. Casco Bay High School, which is smaller and enrolls only 100 students per grade, uses a lottery system if it has more than 95 applicants for its freshman class. Because Deering and Portland have no cap on the number of students admitted, this has led to fluctuations at those schools over time. Sometimes the fluctuations are very high, which has led to an unequal distribution of resources (such as staff and course offerings) between Portland and Deering and significant variance in the student composition, with PHS being less diverse than the district.

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District News

Welcome to the New PPS Website

When you visit our district and school websites, you’ll see a beautiful brand-new website that launched on Sept. 26. You’ll find informative and engaging content at your fingertips and a clear and well-organized navigation system so that our staff, families and community members can easily find the information they need. Unlike our previous outdated website, the design is mobile-first. Also, accurate translation into more than 50 different languages for our multilingual families is a snap – anyone can toggle from English to a different language at the top right corner of the site. In addition, our Staff & Community Newsletters, like this one, can now be found and read directly on the website. Just go to the District Homepage and you'll find our newsletters under the News & Calendars tab. Newsletters will be archived in that location.

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PHS Earns GreatSchools' 2022 College Success Award!

The Portland Public Schools is proud to announce that Portland High School (PHS) has been named one of the top schools in the state for “College Success,” according to GreatSchools, a nonprofit providing school information to parents and families across the nation. This recognition honors schools that excel at preparing students to enroll and succeed in college, as determined by available data in each state.

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PPS Community on the Path toward Equity

The Portland Promise, the district’s strategic plan adopted by the Portland Board of Public Education in 2017, has four goals: Achievement, Whole Student and People, which all center on the key fourth goal of Equity. Superintendent Xavier Botana, who joined the district in 2016, spearheaded the development of the Portland Promise and has led the district’s effort toward achieving all those goals.

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Donating to United Way helps our community thrive

Portland frequently makes national lists as one of the best places to live and work, but that’s not always true for everyone in our community. Opportunity gaps lead to some students struggling to succeed in school, hardworking families can’t afford housing and other basic necessities, and many of our fellow citizens suffer from preventable health problems. Fortunately, Thrive2027, an effort led by United Way of Southern Maine, is a way for us to work together as a community to address these problems.

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Upcoming Events

King MS Community Conversation 

October 6, 2022
5:30-7:30 pm
King Middle School 

This is a forum for King MS parents & caregivers.

Moore MS  Community Conversation

October 12, 2022
5:30-7:30 pm
Moore Middle

This is a forum for Moore MS parents & caregivers.

Coffee and Conversation with the Board

October 22, 2022 
Farmers Market 
Deering Oaks Park

Please stop by. We would love to hear from you.