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Time for Eighth-Graders to Make High School Choice

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Time for Eighth-Graders to Make High School Choice
Posted on 12/02/2014

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, being held this month and next, and other upcoming events will help eighth grade families decide which school to choose 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.

Open houses the schools holds every year are extremely useful in helping students and their families decide which school best meets their needs.

Open houses for eighth graders and their families will take place at these times: Deering High School – Dec. 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Casco Bay High School – December 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (snow date Dec. 18); and Portland High School – Jan. 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (snow date Jan. 12).

“Portland stands out in Maine as a district with three public high schools students can choose from,” said Portland Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. “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.

Casco Bay High School is intentionally small, with only 97 students per grade level. If applications for next year’s ninth-grade class exceed that number, 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.

BELOW ARE FLIERS WITH INFORMATION ABOUT DEERING HIGH SCHOOL'S OPEN HOUSE ON THURSDAY, DEC. 4 AND ABOUT CASCO BAY HIGH SCHOOL'S OPEN HOUSE ON THURSDAY, DEC. 11. INFORMATION ABOUT PORTLAND HIGH SCHOOL'S JAN. 8 OPEN HOUSE WILL BE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE CLOSER TO THAT DATE.

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