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Governor Visits EECS' Innovative Before-School Program

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Governor Visits EECS' Innovative Before-School Program
Posted on 05/25/2017
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Every day, students at East End Community School in Portland get their minds working and their bodies moving before school even starts, as they participate in the school’s Rise and Shine program. On Thursday, May 25, Gov. Paul LePage visited the school to get a firsthand look at the program, which is designed to combat absenteeism by getting students excited about coming to school.

The governor was joined by Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Manager Jon Jennings.

 "This school gets it. Rise and Shine is connecting students with mentors and inspiring them to want to learn. I am so impressed with these students and with the adults who lead the programs,” said Gov. LePage.

 Rise and Shine was started in 2010 at East End Community School, which serves about 400 students from the Munjoy Hill neighborhood of Portland. Rise and Shine’s extended-learning engagement model brings community groups and volunteers to the school to offer high-energy activities in STEM, literacy, health and wellness, citizenship, and the visual and performing arts. Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 get to choose from more than 75 options ranging from lessons in playing the violin and guitar to basketball and book groups.

 “Attendance is a key factor in student success, and Rise and Shine is a great way to motivate kids to come to school,” said Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana. “We are grateful to Gov. LePage for taking time to learn about some of the positive, innovative programs that encourage student achievement in the Portland Public Schools.”

 The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest and most diverse school district, serving about 6,800 students, more than half of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunch, based on family income.  About 30 percent of the district’s students speak a primary language other than English at home. Of the approximately 60 languages spoken, the 10 most common are Somali, Arabic, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Kirundi, Vietnamese, Khmer, Kinyarwanda and Acholi.