Portland school chief 'impressed' by community feedback

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PORTLAND — The new school chief said he was impressed by public involvement in the first of several listening-and-learning sessions, held Sept. 5 at the Reiche Community School.

“I really listened to the richness of the conversation, the richness of the ideas, the richness of the feedback and insight provided by our community members,” Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said. “I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness and what was shared in terms of what we’re doing well and our Portland points of pride, and areas that we need to strengthen.”

Six other listening and learning sessions will be held throughout the city this fall.

“One of my core beliefs is that it takes the entire community to ensure the success of its public schools and the entire community are stakeholders in our public schools,” Caulk said. “Getting their perspective on what we’re doing well and areas for improvement is critical to the work, in terms of really delineating a clear path forward.”

He said it is too early to clearly see what the common theme will be for all of these sessions, and that he wants to evaluate the input before making significant moves.

In addition to the listening-and-learning sessions, Caulk has held several discussions and said he plans to host a town hall-style meeting with focused topics.

“If this first session is any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be a really wonderful experience and a wonderful learning opportunity for me,” he said.

There are seven more opportunities for community members to attend listening-and-learning sessions with Caulk:

Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m., Peaks Island Elementary School; Sept. 13, 7 p.m., Lyseth Elementary School; Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m., Portland High School; Sept. 27, 7 p.m., Riverton Elementary School; Oct. 17, 7 p.m., East End Community School, and Oct. 18, 2-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m., Deering High School.

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.