June 1, 2021

Here's this week's update from the superintendent on current information regarding our schools. Read more.

UPDATED PPS Staff COVID-19 Vaccination Survey

Please help the district gather updated information about the status of staff COVID-19 vaccinations by completing our voluntary survey prior to the close of the 2020-21 school year.  Follow this link to complete the short Portland Public Schools COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Survey. Thank you, in advance, for helping the district gather this important information.

As a reminder, the district is offering a series of support and healing sessions for BIPOC staff that are being hosted by Blanca Santiago, LCSW.  There are sessions scheduled for both May and June. These sessions are intended to provide our BIPOC staff a safe space for connection and support. Use this link to register for the BIPOC staff support sessions.


The Portland Public Schools puts out a weekly COVID advisory each Friday. It includes the number of positive cases associated with our schools during the past week and any outbreak declarations or building closures as a result. Staff, families and staff at impacted schools are immediately notified of positive cases and closings, but the weekly advisory is an effort to keep the broader PPS community informed. The advisory is posted at the end of the day on Fridays in the District Spotlight section of the district's homepage. Here’s the link to the May 28th update.

Happy Pride Month PPS!

Despite a pandemic, June is still Pride month! Pride is a time for reflection and remembrance for the advocates and activists who came before us and fought for the dignity and rights of LGBTQ+ people. Pride is also when we can CELEBRATE. We celebrate diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, we celebrate the LGBGQ+ students and PPS staff who make our community a richer place. 
Graduation Update

Portland, Deering and Casco Bay high school will hold in-person commencement ceremonies on June 2 and 3 for the approximately 500 graduating seniors in the Class of 2021. However, now that the capacity limits at Merrill Auditorium have been increased, Portland High School has moved its graduation ceremony to that indoor venue. Deering and Casco Bay high schools’ plans remain unchanged. The graduation ceremony schedule is as follows:
  • 147th  Deering High School Graduation: Wednesday, June 2, 11 a.m., Memorial Field (Rain date, Friday, June 4, 11 a.m., Memorial Field)
  • 200th Portland High School Graduation: Thursday, June 3, 11 a.m., Merrill Auditorium. Livestreamed here
  • 13th Casco Bay High School Graduation: Thursday, June 3, 6 p.m., Merrill Auditorium. Livestreamed here
In addition, Portland Adult Education (PAE) will hold its graduation ceremony on June 24 at 6 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium for PAE graduates who have attained a high school diploma or passed the HiSET test (formerly GED). Learn more about PPS graduations this year here.
The City of Portland is holding a special municipal election on Tuesday, June 8th for Portland voters to vote on our equity-based FY22 school budget and on City Charter Commissioners. Get voting information here. Learn details about the school budget here. There are additional resources and a social media tool kit to spread the word here.
We are looking for more teachers for our High School Credit Recovery Program. The program runs from July 6-July 28, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 1pm. You will be paid $40/hour for the program and additional pay for planning. If you are interested in this opportunity, please apply here. If you have questions about this program, please reach out to Farausi Cherry at We hope you will join us this summer!
In the wake of this challenging year, a group of PPS school counselors and social workers have compiled resources, tips, and tricks into a document to support high school students with social emotional health as they leave for the summer. The document can be found here. Please share with your students. 


Add some socializing, learning, and fun to your day by joining a free Portland Public Schools wellness group:

Read more about each of these activities below.

Pickleball with Bob

Come join the fun of pickleball!  Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country and has become very popular in Portland.  A cross between tennis, badminton, and ping pong, pickleball is a blast, and once you play, you’ll be hooked. 

Come join the fun on Fridays at 4:00 at the Lyman Moore Middle School courts.  Nets and paddles will be available.

Contact group leader Bob Carroll with any questions at:

⇒ Sign up for Pickleball with Bob:  CLICK HERE

Friday Walking Group with Melissa

Welcome to the district’s Friday walking group!  I’m Melissa Blanchard, and I’m excited to be leading this group.  I’ve been working for Portland Public Schools for 28 years and am looking forward to meeting all of you.

We will meet every Friday at 6:00 PM at the Back Bay (a.k.a. Back Cove) in the parking lot across Preble Street from the big Hannaford Supermarket.  Look for my Hyundai Tucson mid-size SUV, silver/grey color with animal adopt license plates.

I’ve created signup slots for 100 people, but if we need more, I can add more.  Wishful thinking!  Looking forward to walking with you after work, starting on Friday, May 14.

⇒ Sign up for Friday Walking Group with Melissa:  CLICK HERE

Monday Walking Group with Mary

 Do you need to get healthier, but don’t like to exercise?  Are you looking for a gradual start that builds to greater physical strength, stamina, and a healthy habit?  This group may be right for you.  I started exercising recently after a (20 year!) break (from anything consistent) and used the Mayo Clinic 12-week walking program as my guide. 
To investigate, please go to this link:  Mayo Clinic 12-Week Walking Program.  At last, an exercise plan has worked and has helped me to make very necessary changes.  It has inspired me to offer this option to others.  I will be walking about 40 minutes on Mondays from about 3:30 to 4:30, but you can set your own time.  Please meet me in front of Deering High School at 3:30, starting on Monday, May 17.  Any questions or concerns, please call or text me at 207-321-1355.  Let's support each other!

⇒ Sign up for Monday Walking Group with Mary:  CLICK HERE

Book Group with Isabelle

The book I have selected to share is Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue.  It’s an Oprah's Book Selection, the Penn Faulkner Award Winner, and a New York Times notable book of the year.

A compulsively listenable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American dream - the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.  Named one of BuzzFeed's "Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer."

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son.  In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers.  Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty - and Jende is eager to please.  Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons.  With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' façades.  When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende's job - even as their marriage threatens to fall apart.  As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

⇒ Sign up for Book Group with Isabelle:  CLICK HERE

Mindfulness and Meditation with Jake

Join Jake Kulaw to learn about how you can incorporate mindfulness / meditation into your classroom or use for yourself.  We will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 4:00.

⇒ Sign up for Mindfulness / Meditation sessions:  CLICK HERE

Yoga with Kay

Who wouldn’t want to make new connections with colleagues across the school district while starting to feel better and healthier at the same time?  

Meet your yoga instructor, Kaylin Kerina, coming to us from Deering High School!

⇒ Sign up for Mindfulness Yoga sessions:  CLICK HERE 

⇒ Sign up for Cardio HIIT Yoga sessions:  CLICK HERE
REOPENING WORKSHOPS - Final Session Update

Per our district-wide PD and Collaboration calendar, we have rescheduled our final Reopening Work Group session. As a reminder, we held a few reflection sessions throughout the year for the teams who convened last spring and over the summer to reconnect around the implementation of our plans from this fall.  We have moved the date for the final reflection session to a new date/time: Thursday, June 10th, from 3:30-5:00pm. 

This is an optional session for members of the reopening work groups and calendar invites will be sent out to you.  We plan to convene in person outdoors at one of our school sites (details forthcoming in the calendar invites).  The purpose of this final meeting of the year is to reflect on lessons learned and to celebrate all that was accomplished by these teams.  We hope to see members of these teams on the 10th!  Please reach out to Melea Nalli with questions:


The Maine Department of Education is delighted to invite educators statewide to our June 12 recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the signing of LD 291 which requires the teaching of Wabanaki History and Culture in Maine classrooms.

Please join us and a variety of educational leaders from 9-12:30 on Saturday, June 12. We will begin the morning with greetings from Governor Mills, Commissioner Makin and a keynote by legislation sponsor, Hon. Donna Loring. Register here

For more information about the Wabinaki Seminar contact Joe Schmidt at
Maine Environmental Education Association is organizing the first statewide Climate Education Summit! On the leading edge of aligning state climate education with upcoming national guidelines, MEEA, our Changemakers Network, JustME for JustUS, the Nature Based Education Consortium, and Maine Climate Action Now identified the need for a convening event where organizations working on intersectional climate and climate justice education can learn about the work of one another, build a shared vision about climate education and literacy in Maine, and start to identify strategies that will support the advancement of critical climate and climate justice education statewide.
The summit takes place June 7th-10th and 15th-17th and is free of charge. Learn more and register here
Educating in our Reality: Building Community
Educating in our Reality: Building Community is a space for educators to build a supportive community of fellow educators to learn from, connect with, practice dialogue, share tools, build community, and support youth voices in an inclusive and welcoming environment (& learn more about Seeds)! In addition, it's an opportunity to have fun and take an outbreath from the intensity of this year of teaching – by spending 2 weeks on a lake, while others cook! You can learn more and register here.


University of Maine is waiving the graduate school application fee for degree and certificate applications submitted now through June 15. With most programs still accepting students for fall 2021, now is the perfect time to continue your education and apply today!

If you have any questions about the application process or a program, please contact Amanda Cupps, Graduate Enrollment Services, at

Please share this flyer and this document containing more information and the application to your networks! 

Send us your feedback, suggestions, questions, and contributions to the PPS Staff Resources page. Contact us at
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