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Eighth-Graders Invited to Learn About Becoming a ‘Bulldog’

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Eighth-Graders Invited to Learn About Becoming a ‘Bulldog’
Posted on 01/02/2015

(Posted Jan. 8, 2015: The date of the PHS Annual 8th Grade Open House event has been moved to Jan. 12 for weather-related reasons.)

Portland High School, home of the Bulldogs, will hold its Annual 8th Grade Open House on Monday, Jan. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The open house will allow families of eighth-graders to learn all about PHS as those students 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 its three high schools, each with a distinctive personality and offerings. Events such as open houses aid eighth-grade families in choosing a school by a Jan. 30, 2015 commitment deadline.

Portland students may attend any of the city’s three public high schools – Portland, Deering or Casco Bay – regardless of where they live in the city.

Deering High School held its open house on Dec. 4 and Casco Bay High School held its event on Dec. 11.

At Portland High School’s open house on Jan. 12 families will learn what makes PHS – located right in the heart of Portland with the city as its campus – a unique high school, according to Principal Deborah Migneault.

“We invite our eighth graders to come, hear and see what it means to be a ‘Bulldog,’” Migneault said. “Parents and students will be introduced to a general overview of their four-year experience beginning with a strong and successful Freshman Academy. Our developing pathways are meant to personalize the academic journey for each student.”

Migneault said that the PHS Freshman Seminar course is one of the features that makes the school stand out.

“While the Freshman Academy provides for a smooth transition to high school, the Seminar course offers the content and skills students need to possess in order to achieve success through high school and beyond,” she explained.

Also, Migneault said, PHS provides the opportunity for students to focus on career pathways.

“Pathways are meant to provide students the opportunity to explore personal or potential career interests and postsecondary pursuits,” she said. “Pathways include Law and Public Policy, Creative and Performing Arts, Health and Natural Sciences, and Engineering and Trades. Each pathway combines a sequence of courses, job shadows, internships, and other extended learning opportunities. We have developed very strong relationships with community and business organizations, making the city our campus.”

Whichever of the three public high schools eighth-graders choose, Portland Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk stressed that families can’t go wrong.

“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.

For example, every eighth grader in the district will have the chance 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.