Portland School Notebook: Sept. 14

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Parent Partnership Policy Committee appointees announced

The names of Superintendent Xavier Botana’s appointees to the new Parent Partnership Policy Ad Hoc Committee were announced at the school board’s Sept. 6 meeting:

• Chairwoman: Angela Atkinson-Douina, Title 1 school improvement coordinator

• Boyd Marley, assistant principal of East End Community School

• Gail Cressey, NCLB/ESEA coordinator

• Jessica Hathaway, Hall Elementary School parent

• Lisa Whited, Lyseth Elementary School and Portland High School parent and a member of Portland Empowered

• Maureen Clancy, language access coordinator

• Nolasque Isirbahenda, Casco Bay High School parent and member of Portland Empowered

• Stephanie Hatzenbuehler, Portland School Board member and a Longfellow Elementary School parent

• Susan Wiggin, district clinical social worker and homeless liaison

The Portland School Board created the committee on Aug. 16 to help enhance the district’s engagement with families. The board charged the new committee with reviewing and revising the district’s Parent Involvement Policy and recommending a new Parent Partnership Policy to the board by Nov. 30.

The new committee will also integrate elements of the Parent & Family Engagement Manifesto into the revised policy. The manifesto, developed by Portland Empowered and endorsed by the school board, outlines how Portland Public Schools can better engage with parents and families. Portland Empowered is a project of the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service that champions parent involvement to improve outcomes for students.

New program will train medical students to treat underserved populations

An inaugural class of 13 second year medical students at UNE is focusing on the  needs of vulnerable patients and underserved locations in rural and urban Maine and beyond.

The University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and Center for Excellence in Health Innovation launched the Care for the Underserved Pathway on Aug. 31. 

Katie Saunders, a CUP Scholar and graduate of Cheverus High School, said volunteer trips she took to the Dominican Republic while she was in high school inspired her to be a physician for the underserved. As a pilot who has traveled widely across her home state of Maine and seen the need here, she said, “I want to both see patients and help Maine communities be healthier.”

In her remarks to the students, Dora Anne Mills, director of the Center for Health Innovation, said the variety of service learning activities offered to students  include flu vaccine clinics in homeless shelters and veterans clinics, one-week rural immersions, nutrition education among low-income Mainers, and clerk ships in a variety of underserved urban, rural, and international locations. “All of these and other activities are provided interprofessionally, meaning alongside students from other professions such as dental medicine, pharmacy, social work, nursing, and physician assistant,” Mills said, “as well as with the patient as a member of the team, since that is how health care is most effectively delivered – as a team.”

The inaugural CUP Scholars, from the UNE COM Class of 2019 are: Nancy Bobrysh, Sara Capobianco, Jenny (Chen Chun) Chiang, Marissa Guzzardo, Tyler Haddad, Jessica Harnisch, Sarah Horton, Frank Jackson, Annie Liu, Katherine Saunders, Eleanor Teoh, Tahlia Wolfgang and Samuel Wood.

CUP Scholars from the COM Class of 2020 are expected to be selected in January.

FAMe announces changes to FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid process is changing, according to Finance Authority of Maine. Instead of waiting until the new year to file the FASFA, families can now file it beginning on Oct. 1. In addition, students will be able to file using an earlier year’s tax information.

The FAFSA is the form that families must use to apply for federal grants, loans, and work study funds for college students that is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

In the past, students had to wait until Jan. 1 for the FAFSA to become available so they could begin the financial aid application process. The financial aid process now aligns more closely with the college admissions process.

There’s no longer a need to estimate income. Based on the old time line, families were required to use the prior year’s tax information.  For the 2017-18 academic year, students and their families will report 2015 tax information.

To help navigate the financial aid process, FAME hosts free FAFSA help sessions annually around the state.  For the complete list of local FAFSA Help Sessions, see http://bit.ly/1n86w7E. FAME also offers families ongoing support online at FAMEmaine.com/FAFSA.