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May 18, 2021
SPRING REOPENING UPDATE


Here's this week's update on the Spring Reopening for our elementary, middle, and high schools. Read more.
 SCHOOL BOARD NEWS 
SCHOOL BUDGET NEWS

The City Council voted on May 10 to approve the $125.2 million school budget proposal for the 2021-2022 school year, after voting down a controversial amendment to reduce the budget. The equity-based FY22 school budget now goes to city voters in a referendum on June 8. 
The Council's vote followed a public hearing on May 10 and also on May 3, during which the overwhelming majority of speakers supported the budget.


PROPOSED NEW SCHOOL START
AND END TIMES
FOR 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR
As we plan for the start of the 2021-2022 school year this fall, we are proposing adjustments in school start and end times that build off the schedule changes that we made this year and begin to move our secondary schools to later start times. Click here for more information.
NEWS FROM HUMAN RESOURCES 

2021 BENEFIT OPEN ENROLLMENT 

Portland Public Schools 2021 Benefit Open Enrollment will run from May 1st to May 22 

Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to update your benefits.  This is the perfect time to:

  • Assess your current benefit elections
  • Compare and evaluate other benefit options available to you
  • Assess your health care needs for the upcoming year
For more information, click here
EDUCATORS OF COLOR REFLECTION SESSIONS & STAFF SUPPORT SESSIONS 

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.

We are also continuing to offer staff reflection sessions for the Educators of Color Report. All staff are encouraged to participate in these sessions, organized by the research team to talk about the contents of the report. Please use this link to register for the Educators of Color Report reflection sessions. Additional sessions will be added by the team if there is an ongoing demand.

NOTICES

WEEKLY COVID-19 UPDATE
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 14th update.  
EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT 
Share with your networks! 

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. 

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application.

You can learn more here, or by calling 833-511-0311   

WELLNESS CORNER

JOIN A WELLNESS GROUP!

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:  carrob@portlandschools.org

⇒ 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
NEWS FROM ACADEMICS

NEW SKILL SHARE VIDEOS


Here are some final SKILL SHARE videos.  Looking for past Skill Shares?  You can find all past Skill Share videos in our Skill Share Archives

We may offer 1-2 more Skill Share videos before the end of the year.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed.  It has been a joy and inspiration to learn from so many of you across the district.
EDUCATORS NEW TO PPS MONTHLY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSION

Monday, May 24, 3:30-5:00 pm.  Session will explore Equity/Curriculum Connection with Melea Nalli, Jesse Robinson, Fiona Hopper, and Brooke Teller. 

INTERESTED IN RUNNING A GIRLS WHO CODE CLUB AT YOUR SCHOOL NEXT YEAR? 
 

PPS is excited to partner with Girls Who Code again this year to close the gender gap in tech by bringing free computer science resources to our community! We can’t do it without you, so we hope you’ll start or renew your Girls Who Code Club for this upcoming summer or school year.

The Clubs app for 2021-22 is now live with expanded summer options that give you the choice to start a 3-5th and 6-12th grade Club over the summer. Plus, you can now apply at any point to start a Club up to 10 months in the future, making it even easier to get a head start on a summer or fall Club today! For returning Facilitators, renewing is even easier this year, even if you haven’t run your Club since 2018, renewing is easy with the renewal button on HQ. Learn more about Girls Who Code Clubs here, with more updates coming soon.


Click here today to apply for a new Club or to renew your Club!

Make sure to list Portland Public Schools as your Community Partner on the app to be looped into additional supports, swag raffles, and other benefits!

SUMMER EARLY LEARNING PLAY GROUPS

We are still looking for interested K teachers and ed-techs to run groups for incoming K students, and for a K district coordinator.  Click HERE for the link to the descriptions of our current summer programming and to access the application.

OUTDOOR LEARNING SUMMER PD OPPORTUNITIES


If interested, reach out to Brooke Teller to discuss SCHs for these courses.

Juniper Hill School,  4-day educator workshop June 21-24, 2021 Teaching with Nature II: Social-Emotional Learning and Nature Connection 

Juniper Hill School, 4-day educator workshop August 11-14, 2021 Teaching with Nature I: An Introduction to Nature Connection and Outdoor Learning.

Pre-K for ME and K for ME Program Overview Sessions and Training Opportunities


Since 2018, the Maine Department of Education has adapted and piloted open-source Pre-k and Kindergarten programs based on the Boston Public School’s evidence-based Focus on K1 and Focus on K2 curricula.  Pre-K for ME was launched in 2019.  K for ME will be launched in August of 2021.  These programs focus on the whole child and are interdisciplinary and developmentally appropriate.  They are also aligned to Maine’s learning standards.  While Maine schools are responsible for the purchase of the materials that support the programs, the programs can be accessed at no cost via the Maine DOE’s website.  Informational sessions for each of the programs are planned to provide an overview and opportunity for Q & A.  Dates, times, and registration for the overview sessions are:

Pre-K for ME Informational Session Registration (May 19, 3:00-4:00)

K for ME Informational Session Registration (May 25, 3:00-4:00)

SEAL OF BILITERACY AWARDS CEREMONY 

Join us on Thursday, May 20 from 4-5pm as we recognize our 46 seniors who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy in 8 different languages with the additions of Afrikaans, German, and Turkish this year. Speakers will include Micky Bondo and three Seal recipients. This is an opportunity to celebrate and elevate multilingualism. Contact ortha@portlandschools.org with questions. Digital invitation includes zoom link.

Heads Up: Illustrative Mathematics Teacher Survey Is Coming Your Way!

Did you teach the IM Math curriculum this year?  If so, we want to hear about your experience. Please look out for an email from your math coach in the next week with a link to the survey, which should only take 10 minutes. Deadline is May 28th.  We really appreciate your time in advance to give us your authentic feedback so that we can better support you in the future. Thank you!

RECOGNITION
EL TEACHERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Superintendent Xavier Botana is devoting his monthly column in The Forecaster this school year to writing about outstanding Portland Public Schools staff. Previously, he's written about a nurse, a Central Office curriculum leader, a bus driver, a custodian, a parent community specialist, an ed-tech and an assistant principal. May's column focused on EL teacher Rohan Henry. Learn more about this exemplary educator here.
You can also read about Rohan and the other staff in the superintendent's blog here.
PORTRAITS OF STUDENTS WHO "GOT THE SHOT"

Portland Public Schools students are among the young people featured in "Teens who got vaccines," a great photo essay in the Portland Press Herald. Thank you to our high school nurses for all their work to encourage students to get vaccinated and for getting the word out to students about participating in this project. Check it out here.
OPPORTUNITIES

ABBE MUSEUM - FIRST LOOK with Portland Ovations

Don’t miss the wonderful opportunity to hear Wabanaki storytellers Tuesday, May 25th at 4pm! Portland Ovations, in partnership with the Abbe Musuem is creating a staging of Wabanaki Stories and Storytellers for school and family audiences. The ‘First Look’ event will bring together our colleagues at Abbe along with respected Wabanaki storytellers for a sharing and discussion on the important role storytelling and storytellers play for the Indigenous nations and peoples in Maine. See here for more information and to register for the event. 

2021 VIRTUAL SUMMER TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE AT UNIVERSITY OF MAINE 

Join University of Maine for this dynamic community event on August 3-5, 2021.

There will be workshops, hands-on activities, networking, reflection and so much more. More information and registration here
EVENING FOR EDUCATORS AT PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART:  Collaborative Partnerships

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
5:00PM - 6:00PM
Collaboration and connection are key to helping many of us continue to move forward in educational settings like museums and schools. 

Join Meghan Quigley Graham, Learning & Teaching Specialist, and Louis-Pierre Lachapelle, Art Teacher at Portland High School, for an open conversation about partnerships, this past school year, and looking forward to next school year and beyond.  This will be a participatory session, so please come ready to reflect, share and listen! This is a free, virtual event. Learn more and register here.
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 communications@portlandschools.org.
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