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August 31, 2021
SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE


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

Deadline for reporting COVID-19 vaccination rates for all PPS employees
We’re rapidly approaching the deadline for reporting vaccination rates for all district employees. Please share your vaccination status with your supervisor by Wednesday, September 1.  Staff members who confirm that they are fully-vaccinated by presenting their vaccination card (or a picture of their card) will receive a $100 payment from the Portland Public Schools. Currently, the Portland Public Schools does not require its staff to be vaccinated.  

As a reminder, PPS must report COVID-19 vaccination rates for all paid employees under a new DHHS Declaration of Public Health Emergency. We will not report individual names or other identifying information to DHHS.  Our first report is due no later than September 10. We’re required to report this information every month by the 10th of the month for data as of the last day of the previous month. A report of vaccination rates by school/location will be made publicly available on the DHHS website and linked to the DOE website in the middle of each month.
Staff Disclosure of Personal Vaccination Information
We have had a number of staff ask if they are obligated to share their vaccination status with colleagues, students and/or families.  Currently, the Portland Public Schools is not requiring staff to disclose their vaccination status nor is the district disclosing any individual staff vaccination information. We are also not prohibiting staff from disclosing their own vaccination status should they choose to do so.
Anthem’s Virgin Pulse Wellness Program
Get rewarded for building a better you!  Small steps lead to big changes.

Virgin Pulse is a platform offering tools and ideas to help you improve all areas of your life.  From physical health and activity, to mental wellness and stress reduction, Virgin Pulse will be your partner as you define your unique journey toward health and overall well-being.

Virgin Pulse is a way to help you make small, everyday changes that are focused on the areas you want to improve the most.  When you stick to the program, you will build healthy habits, have fun with co-workers, and experience the lifelong rewards of health and well-being.  Plus, you can earn up to $250 in additional incentives for participating! Who is eligible to participate?  Employees, retirees, spouses/domestic partners, and dependents age 18 to 26 who are covered under the district’s Anthem health insurance plan are invited to enroll in the Virgin Pulse platform.
Once you are logged into Virgin Pulse, you will be able to access a full range of tools and fun activities to help you be the best you, and to earn your incentives for the healthy choices you make along the way!
Employee Assistance Program Description
What is EAP?  EAP is a free, confidential service available to all Portland Public Schools employees and all members of your household, regardless of whether you’re enrolled in health insurance through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  EAP is designed to help you with everyday problems and questions, big or small.

Are you feeling anxious, isolated, or overwhelmed? Maybe you’re behind on bills and want to get back on track? Or you’re new to town and looking for a daycare center? No need to fill out paperwork or make an appointment to speak with an EAP staff member. Just call 855-686-5615 or visit AnthemEAP.com (enter “MEA Benefits Trust” to log into the website).  Be sure to identify yourself as an employee or household member of an employee of Portland Public Schools.
Whatever your concern, the Anthem Members Assistance Program can help you through it.  This help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
NEWS FROM ACADEMICS
Professional Development Dates
for Elementary Life Science Units
LIFE SCIENCE Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
  September 16 September 23 September 30 October 7
 
This PD will be a full release day by grade level.  The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance will be supporting us on those days.  We will have an overview of the Next Generation Science Standards and an introduction to storylining – a way of teaching science that allows students to drive their own learning through inquiry. The second half of the day will be an introduction to the life science unit that has been developed by teachers in the district. School-based teams will have time to go through the unit and the provided resources, ask questions and have time to plan. More information is here and you also can contact Brooke Teller at telleb@portlandschools.org
NOTICES

Requirement for Volunteers

Volunteers such as Foster Grandparents, Make It Happen Coaches, etc. will now be allowed in our schools but they will be required to provide proof of vaccination before they can begin their work in the school. For regular, consistent volunteers, the school's community coordinator will manage this and verify their vaccination status. For one-off volunteers (i.e., someone coming to speak to a class, etc.), the supervising staff should confirm their vaccination status. As with all outside visitors to our schools, volunteers also must follow masking and distancing protocols.
The Foundation for Portland Public Schools (FPPS) is happy to announce the upcoming application period for our annual Equity & Innovation Teacher Grants program. For those of you who are new, FPPS distributes $50,000 of grants (maximum amount $1,000 each) for teachers and other staff each fall. Grants are intended to support teacher-led classroom innovations which enhance learning experiences for students in Portland Public Schools. The updated guidelines are available now. 

As of Friday, August 27, 2021, the application went live and you can find it at: https://www.foundationforpps.org/fpps-teacher-grants-program-2021/ The deadline to apply is October 7th, 2021. Decisions will be made by late October and money distributed by early November, 2021.
 
Many of Portland’s teachers have applied in past years, and we’re hoping you’ll help spread the word by announcing the application window in your schools. Thanks for your help, and feel free to email us with questions at Grants@foundationforpps.org.
YOU ARE INVITED!
NEWS FOM TECH DEPARTMENT
District Supported Communication Method - Reach My Teach 
- From Gavin Goodall and Courtney Graffius
Have questions about Reach My Teach? Join a Virtual Office Time (https://meet.google.com/ube-nkea-ogk). 
  • September 1, 3:40-4:10pm
  • September 7, 7:20-9:00am
  • September 8, 3:00-4:00pm
As a reminder, this year we will be introducing a new program -  ReachMyTeach (reachmyteach.com) for schools to use to communicate with students and families. It comes preloaded with student/family contact information, including language preferences so that school staff are able to communicate with students and families of one student or many (i.e. the whole class) via text messages, email or phone with automatic translation for text and email. Please know that it does not translate phone calls so you will still need Multilingual Services for that. Staff will now be able to make calls home from the program directly on the browser (no more searching IC for numbers), and this call will come from the school’s phone number (not the teacher’s cell phone). We are all hoping that this tool will make life easier for teachers and improve family engagement. To login to Reach My Teach, go to: reachmyteach.com and sign in with your PPS Google credentials. The first time you login you will be able to follow a tutorial which can subsequently be found in the top right next to your user profile icon. This information will be on the Self Serve Portal soon.
You may have seen an email message from YouTube regarding PPS users who are under 18 years old now having access only to a limited version of YouTube when using their school accounts. The IT Department has adjusted these settings so all staff are recognized as being over 18 – so staff will not be affected by this change. Students have been marked as under 18 and will be affected by the experience. You do not need to change anything on your end.
OPPORTUNITIES
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching: (PAEMST) Nominations & Applications Open
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is currently accepting nominations and applications for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). PAEMST is the highest recognition that a kindergarten-through-12th-grade science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science educator may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.This current cycle will recognize K-6 educators. Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate a teacher by completing the nomination form. Teachers may also initiate the application process themselves at www.paemst.org.
For ELEMENTARY K-6, the nomination deadline is January 7, 2022, and the application deadline is February 6, 2022. Learn more & nominate/apply.
The NEA Foundation – which serves as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges – is inviting applications for the Student Success Grant Program. Grants of either $2,000 or $5,000 will be awarded in support of educator-led initiatives that engage students in project-based and deeper learning to support the development of skills and dispositions contributing to success and fulfillment in a changing world. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15, 2021. Learn more.
 
PARENT UNIVERSITY
PUBLIC FORUM ON POOLED TESTING

September 1, 2021
7:00 PM
English Flyer

Click here for the translated versions of this flyer

Learn about pooled testing and how it will help keep your child and our community safe and healthy as we start the 2021-22 school year.

Join us on zoom!
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89347573792
BACK TO SCHOOL FAIR 
RESCHEDULED FROM SEPT 11th TO SEPT 18th
*Saturday, September 18, 2021
9:00pm-1:00 pm 
East End Community School
195 North St. Portland, ME

*Rain Date:
Saturday, September 25, 2021
1:00-4:00 pm

 
We will be outside.
Please wear your mask.
Join us for an afternoon of important activities! 
  1. Activate your online parent login & complete important school forms to access free & reduced lunch, & more.
  2. Learn about health & safety protocols at your schools.
  3. Access community resources & information about the Child Tax Credit, EBT Cards, & more.
  4. Vaccination Clinic, 2:00pm-4:00pm: Free Pfizer COVID vaccinations
ENGLISH Flyer for this Event.
CLICK HERE FOR TRANSLATED VERSIONS

Acholi, Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese

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

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