Portland School Notebook: Oct. 9
New shady spaces grace Presumpscot
Landscapers and nursery owners from all over Maine came to Presumpscot Elementary School in last month to help with a service project organized by the Maine Landscapers and Nursery Association. Trees and shrubs were planted to create a shaded area near the school playing fields, and volunteers built a patio to be used as an outdoor learning space. Every year, MELNA chooses a nonprofit organization that would benefit from its landscaping efforts. The donations from all over Maine of more than 20 trees, plus shrubs, gravel and loam and labor for the project totaled about $20,000. Presumpscot Principal Cynthia Loring said that the project has made the schoolyard safer and more enjoyable for children. Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk stopped by the work site to thank the landscapers and nursery owners.
Schools seek Race to the Top grant
The Portland Public Schools has submitted an application for a federal Race to the Top grant to fund a Math Transformation Project. The district is competing for a multi-year grant of $10 million to $20 million under the program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The application is the only one submitted in Maine from an urban district. Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk described it as the largest and most substantive grant that the district has ever sought. The Math Transformation Project would align the district’s math curriculum, assessments and professional development with Common Core standards. Learning would extend beyond the traditional school day and school buildings. The staff would work with parents and other community members to tailor instruction to students’ needs and interests. “Math is a critical skill at a time of rapid technological change, and we need to do more to prepare our students,” said Caulk. “This grant would give us the resources to implement practices that have proven successful in boosting student achievement.” The district’s application includes 24 letters of support from school and community organizations, post-secondary partners and political leaders, including U.S. Senators Angus King and Susan Collins and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. A decision about the grant is expected in December.
McAuley announces Commended Students
Catherine McAuley High School Head of School Deborah Kost, announced seniors Joan Fasulo, Brianna Heisler and Carolyn Liziewski have been named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2014 competition by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.