Portland Public Schools (Maine)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the school district in Portland, Oregon, see Portland Public Schools (Oregon).
Portland (Maine) Public Schools - logo.png

Portland Public Schools is the public school district in Portland, Maine, United States. The district operates eighteen primary and secondary schools. It is the largest and most ethnically diverse school district in Maine, with a student body made up of roughly 20% minorities. The district operates expeditionary learning schools, a vocational school, and elementary, middle, and three high schools (Casco Bay High School, Deering High School, and Portland High School).


History “The Neck,” as Portland was called in the early 1700s, hired a blacksmith named Robert Bayley as its first schoolmaster in 1733. Bayley taught six months of the year in The Neck, then moved on to surrounding communities. Portland’s first full-time teacher, Stephen Longfellow, began 11 years later. A Harvard graduate and great-grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, he was paid by the town and student’s parents. Longfellow’s school was a private one, though the city had public schools then, too. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, which included Maine, passed a law in 1789 requiring that all children receive instruction. (The law apparently did not apply to girls or African American children.) That spurred Portland to expand its school system. The new law also required that all schoolmasters have a college or university education. By 1832, the city had a high school for boys, four schools in which honor pupils assisted the teacher as instructors, six primary schools, one school for “colored children,” two island schools and one “infant charity school.” The city appropriated $150 per year to educate 1,074 students. Portland was one of the first cities in the country that spent public money educating African-Americans. A few African-American children attended classes with whites at North School in the early 1800s. As the population grew, a separate “colored” school was created in a room at the rear of the building. Later, the “colored” school moved to the nearby Abyssinian Church on Newbury Street, the only African-American church in the city. The church’s minister, Rev. Amos Freeman, served as teacher and principal. The school existed for about 30 years, until shortly before the Civil War. Portland’s first high school for girls opened in 1851. That school merged with the all-boys English high school in 1863 to become Portland High School. The school building on Cumberland Avenue originally had a wall separating the sexes. Calling it the “wall of prejudice,” the principal had doors installed on each floor a year later to connect the two sides of the building. Today, Portland High is believed to be the second-oldest continuously operating secondary school in the country. By 1851, Portland was providing evening classes for adults; many had missed out on attending school as children. The surge in immigration from Ireland, Armenia, Germany, Russia and Italy in the late 1800s and early 1900s resulted in growing demand for adult instruction in English and citizenship. Portland’s population growth led to major expansion of the school district in the first half of the 1900s. By 1938, there were 12,537 students attending 41 public schools, and $4.5 million invested in school buildings. The schools played a big role in health screening and health education. They offered classes in sight-saving, lip reading and something called “Open Window Room.” Special teachers instructed children at home if their health wouldn’t allow them to attend school. Parent Teacher Associations worked to support the schools, and they helped run a program that provided milk and clothes to children in need. The baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s spurred the building of new schools and consolidation of small ones. A vocational-technical school opened in 1976. The district’s enrollment peaked in 1969, at 14,188 students. Today, the district has about 7,000 children attending 10 elementary schools (two located on islands), three middle schools, four high schools and the West program. Portland Adult Education serves an additional 4,600 students, providing English language instruction, job skills classes, academics and enrichment courses. In recent years, the district has built two energy efficient, state-of-the-art elementary schools designed for 21st century learning - Ocean Avenue Elementary School and East End Community School. Plans are underway to rebuild or renovate the remaining mainland elementary buildings. The Portland Public Schools’ ethnic make-up has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. A major reason is the influx of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to Portland from countries around the world. Once overwhelmingly white, the district now has 24 percent of students who are black or African, 7 percent who are Asian, 6 percent who are Hispanic/Latino and 4 percent who identify themselves as multiracial. About 32 percent of students speak a primary language other than English at home. Of the 57 languages spoken, the largest language groups, in order, are Somali, Arabic, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Khmer, Acholi, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi and Portuguese. The district is known in Maine and nationally for being a leader in sustainability programs, Expeditionary Learning and instruction for English language learners. The highly trained staff includes Maine’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

"Our History | Portland Public Schools." Our History | Portland Public Schools. Portland Public Schools, Aug. 2014. Web. 06 Jan. 2015.



List of Schools[edit]

Superintendent of Schools: Emmanuel Caulk

Elementary Schools (K-5)[edit]

A Portland school bus

Middle Schools (6-8)[edit]

High Schools (9-12)[edit]

Former schools[edit]

Awards and Honors[edit]

•School Nutrition Association Outstanding Director of the Year Award for the state of Maine (Ron Adams, 2014) •2014 Russell Award for excellence in teaching (Larry Nichols, Deering High School) •Class A state boys' basketball tournament winner (Portland High School, 2014) •Western Maine Class A wrestling sportsmanship award (Portland High School, 2014) •One of 20 schools nationwide cited for promoting “deeper learning,” according to the website GettingSmart.com (Casco Bay High School, 2013) •One of 35 high schools across the country and abroad worth visiting, according to "Education Week" (Casco Bay High School, 2013) •American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Leadership Award (King Middle School seventh grade class and teacher Ruth MacLean, 2013) •Maine Teacher of the Year 2014 (Karen MacDonald, King Middle School) •U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lifetime Achievement Award (Kevin Mallory, district transportation director, 2013) •Maine Special Education Support Person of the Year (Patti Dyer, Student Support Services, 2013) •Recycling Program of the Year 2013 (Given by the Maine Resource Recovery Association to the Portland Public Schools for its cafeteria recycling and composting program) •Klingenstein Teacher Award (Susan McCray, Casco Bay High School, 2013) •First place winner in Maine’s Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition (Portland Arts and Technology High School team, 2013) •First place winner in marine troubleshooting contest at the Maine Boatbuilders Show (Portland Arts and Technology High School team, 2013) •First place winner of Maine State Odyssey of the Mind Tournament (Lyseth Elementary School team, 2013) •State winner of Verizon Innovative App Challenge (Deering High School computer science team, 2013) •Ecomaine Eco-Excellence Award (Olga “Teddy” Valencia and the Riverton Elementary School Cultures Helping Everyone’s Environment club, 2013) •Leadership award from the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (Christine Bearce, Longfellow Elementary School, 2012) •National "Student Ownership of Learning" award from the Stupski Foundation (Casco Bay High School, 2012) •“U.S. News & World Report” ranking as one of the 10 best high schools in Maine (Casco Bay High School, 2012) •Maine Environmental Education Association School of the Year (Lincoln Middle School, 2012) •Maine Association of Basketball Coaches' Coach of the Year (Daniel LeGage, Deering High School, 2012) •Class A Boys' Basketball State Championship and Sportsmanship Award (Deering High School, 2012) •Class A Western Maine boys' basketball championship (Deering High School, 2012) •Class A girls' swimming state Sportsmanship Award (Deering High School, 2012) •NAACP Portland Branch award presented to Lyman Moore Middle School at Portland's Martin Luther King Day breakfast (2012) •HealthierUS School Challenge Bronze Award ( East End, Hall, Longfellow, Ocean Avenue, Peaks Island, Presumpscot, Reiche and Riverton elementary schools, 2011) •Maine Teacher of the Year 2012 semifinalist (Paige Fournier, Lyman Moore Middle School) •Western Maine Class A boys' basketball sportsmanship award (Deering High School, 2011) •Western Maine Class A girls' hockey sportsmanship award (Portland High, 2011) •"I Love My Librarian" 2010 national award winner (Kelley McDaniel, King Middle School) •Western Maine Class A boys' high school soccer championship (Portland High School, 2010) •Teacher of the Year award from the Kids in Need Foundation (Sally Reagan, Portland High teacher, 2010) •Finalist in the 2011 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year award program (King Middle School Principal Michael McCarthy) •Named by the International Center for Leadership in Education as one of 25 "model schools" nationwide (Casco Bay High School, 2010) •Maine first place award in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition (Portland Arts and Technology High School, 2010) •Best overall portfolio award at the Project Citizen State Showcase for a project by a team of students on "Greening our Schools" (Moore Middle School, 2010) •Third place (King Middle School) and fifth place (Lincoln Middle School), Maine MATHCOUNTS state competition (2010) •eco-Excellence award for preserving local ecology, Portland Arts and Technology High School carpentry program (2010) •Maine 2010 Middle Level Principal of the Year (King Middle School Principal Michael McCarthy) •Maine Teacher of the Year 2010 Finalist (Jayne Quinn Sawtelle, Hall Elementary School) •Maine Teacher of the Year 2010 Semi-Finalist (Thomas Fournier, Lincoln Middle School)


External links[edit]

Portland Public Schools official website