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Families Invited to Get To Know CBHS

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Families Invited to Get To Know CBHS
Posted on 12/10/2014

Casco Bay High School will hold an 8th Grade Family Night on Thursday, Dec. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event is designed to allow families to learn about CBHS as their eighth-graders decide which of Portland’s three high schools they want to attend next year.

The Portland Public Schools offers eighth-graders a unique opportunity to choose between three high schools, each with its own distinctive personality  and offerings. Open houses at each school and other upcoming events have been scheduled to aid eighth-grade families in choosing a school by a Jan. 30, 2015 commitment deadline.

Portland students may attend any of the three public high schools – Portland High, Deering and Casco Bay High School – regardless of where they live in the city.

An open house for eighth-graders and their families at Deering High School took place Dec. 4 and Portland High School will hold its open house on Jan. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date of Jan. 12).

At Casco Bay High School’s open house on Dec. 11, Principal Derek Pierce said families will learn what makes CBHS stand out.

CBHS is a Mentor school within the Expeditionary Learning network and is recognized as a national leader in project-based and "deeper" learning, he said. Also, Pierce said, “We are intentionally smaller (97 students per grade level) so we can strive to get to know each student deeply.”

In addition, Pierce said, “We support each student to be college-ready, and so far 97 percent of our graduates have been accepted to college.”

However, Pierce and Portland Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk stressed that families can’t go wrong whichever school they choose.

“Portland stands out in Maine as a district with three public high schools students can choose from,” Caulk said. “And while each school is unique, what all three offer in common is a quality education that prepares students for college, careers and citizenship. Whichever one of our three high schools they decide on, we want the Portland Public Schools to be parents’ first choice.”

Caulk said the offerings all three high schools share include a student-centered approach to learning; a full roster of courses in mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, world languages and fine arts; extended learning opportunities such as job shadowing and internships; Advanced Placement courses and opportunities for earning college credit while still in high school; co-curricular activities ranging from sports to music; and a student body that reflects Portland’s rich diversity.

Students at each high school also have access to vocational and technical programs – in such important 21st century fields as health care and robotics – at the Portland Public Schools’ Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS).

In addition to the open houses at the three high schools, other upcoming events also assist eighth-graders and their families in making an informed choice.

Staff and students from each of the high schools will visit all three of Portland’s middle schools in December and January to provide an overview presentation and to answer questions.  In addition, every eighth grader in the district will have the choice to participate in a shadow experience at each of the three high schools in January.

Families will be asked to turn in a “Letter of Commitment” ranking their top two high school choices by Jan. 30.  This form will be distributed to students by middle school guidance counselors and should be returned to them.

If applications for next year’s ninth-grade class at Casco Bay High School exceed 97 students per grade level, a lottery will be held by Feb. 13. There is no enrollment cap at Portland High or Deering. Busing is provided for high school students who live more than two miles from their home school.

For more information about each high school, visit the High School Choices link on the district’s website.

For more information about Casco Bay High School (874-8160), please contact Michael Hale or Principal Derek Pierce.

For more information about Deering High School (874-8260), please contact Libby Heselton or Marissa Polk.

For more information about Portland High School (874-8250), please contact Sarah Obare or Assistant Principal Kathleen Marquis-Girard.