June 8, 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 June 4th 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. 
‘End of Year Message’ from the Maine 2021 County Teachers of the Year

The 2021 County Teachers of the Year have put together a special “End of Year Message” to their colleagues, students and their communities who all worked together for the greater good of education across Maine this year.  These outstanding teachers share a message of gratitude for coming together to ensure our children had every opportunity to continue learning and growing this year. Learn more and view message here. 

Videos are now available of the Deering, Portland and Casco Bay high school commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021. Enjoy!


You can also read about the graduations and see photos on our website at this link.

As a reminder, on the final day of school for students this year, Tuesday, June 15, all schools will follow their current bell schedule. In other words, Tuesday will NOT be a half day. Wednesday, June 16, is the last day for teachers. That day will be a normal teacher workday.

If you haven’t done so already, please remind your students that hotspots must be returned to the school by the last day of school, Tuesday, June 15. Service to hotspots will be disabled on June 16. We will not be collecting the devices from students in grades 9-11. If students who have demonstrated financial need (i.e., they qualify for free-or-reduced price lunch) require a hotspot for summer learning, they may request one using this form.

Also, temporary (one-year-only) employees need to turn in their computers and any other PPS property, such as peripherals, at the end of this school year. They can return them to Central Office or they can leave them with the front office of their school (if that’s a viable option) and IT technicians will collect them.
Op-Ed by Our Own Maine TOY Assesses Past School Year

Cindy Soule, 2021 Maine Teacher of the Year and a fourth-grade teacher at Talbot Community School, wrote this inspirational op-ed, published in the Portland Press Herald: “This past school year was not lost, it was lived. Beautifully.” 

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?  

⇒ Sign up for Mindfulness Yoga sessions:  CLICK HERE 

⇒ Sign up for Cardio HIIT Yoga sessions:  CLICK HERE


The second meeting of the LGBTQ+ affinity group is on Thursday 6/10 at 4pm. Click here for the calendar link or email Barrett WIlkinson


PreK for ME and K for ME PD sessions will be held virtually in August.  School teams are encouraged to attend together. Register as teams ASAP, and alert PreK Director Sue Chevalier by the end of the school year if you or a team from your school will be attending. Sue's email is

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:

Waynflete Summer Camp Opportunities for Children of Staff Attending Portland Public Schools

Interested? Please send an email directly to Nicole Bradeen at braden@portlandschoolsorg.

Waynflete Sports : Explore sports at Waynflete! Campers will have the opportunity to both build on personal athletic skills and play as part of a team.

Soccer Camp - Rising 2nd-5th graders
June 21 - 25, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM 
Location: 283 Osgood St, Portland, ME 04102 

Soccer Camp - Rising 5th-8th graders 
June 28 - July 2, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM 
Location: 283 Osgood St, Portland, ME 04102 

Baseball and Field Games - Rising 2nd-3rd graders  
July 6 - 9, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM 
Location: 283 Osgood St, Portland, ME 04102 


The Maine Department of Education’s Early Learning Team is excited to offer a summer professional learning series focused around the newly released PreK Guidebook. This resource was designed to support expansion of high-quality and inclusive public PreK in Maine. The Public Pre-K Guidebook describes high quality PreK programming, provides guidance for developing and implementing inclusive public PreK programs that align with state requirements, and offers links to a wide variety of useful tools.  Beginning June 16th, this learning series will meet weekly from 9-10 am over the course of seven weeks. Each virtual meeting will focus on specific sections of the Guidebook and is designed for administrators and educators. Register and learn more 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!

We’re looking for a Coordinator for the PE and Health teachers that will lead our collective work to coordinate the Vertical Health Team to develop a PK-12 Health Vision.  We hope you’ll apply!  If interested, please email Jesse Robinson with a statement of purpose. See more information here. Thanks!


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 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.

Folks can also email


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


The New England Arab American Organization wants to introduce you to a new program called SOAR, in case you know any young people who would like to participate.  The commitment will be once a week from June to October—and maybe beyond if they would like to continue. 

SOAR—Students for Opportunity, Advocacy and Respect—offers a safe space for students to discuss issues impacting BIPOC youth and support one another while learning new skills (like filmmaking) and experiencing new activities (like kayaking, ziplining).  Their primary interest is inviting BIPOC and New Mainer youth.

They are looking for students in grades 9-12 and will pay a small stipend for participation.  Also part of the program is performing a major needs assessment of area youth attitudes. They are getting help from the National Center for Arab American Philanthropy to lead SOAR participants through the process—which will be a good addition to any applications for work, college, or vocational school. If you know any students who might be interested, please send your email at or call Zoe at 347-0249. Please spread to your networks! 
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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