I hope this Friday finds you ready for a restful weekend. Here are some items that may be of interest to you.
Special Education News
The Special Education Department has recently moved from the Portland High School to the Board offices on the third floor of the Town Hall.
Mr. William Knies has resigned as our Director of Student Services effective June 30 2015. He will remain on leave through the end of June. We thank him for his 8 years of service to our district and wish him well in his new endeavors.
I am in the process of hiring an interim Director for Portland and will have that person in place next week. Sometime during the month of March, I will host an “Open House” event at the Board Office at the Town Hall so that those who are interested can come by and meet the Interim Director of Student Services. I will outline my hiring steps for finding a permanent director at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening.
March 10 Budget Hearing
On Tuesday, March 10, 2015 @ 7:00 P.M. there will be a public hearing on the proposed Budget for 2015-2016. At this hearing, any resident or taxpayer may be heard concerning the proposed budgets. All proposed budgets will be available online at www.portlandct.org as of March 2.
Sports Achievements (Basketball and Wrestling)
I had the pleasure of attending Wednesday evening’s (Senior Night) boy’s basketball game against Old Saybrook. It was another thrilling victory for our boys and was evidence of their grit and their growth as a team this year under the skilled leadership of Mr. Serra. For the first time in many years, our boys’ team is advancing to post season competition. Congratulations to Coach Serra and his team.
Congratulations also to the wrestling team for their continued success this year. Numerous wrestlers placed well in the recent Class S State Championship event, including Rodric Grant who is the Class S State Champion for his weight class. Also, two-time State Champ, Mason Rambarose placed 2nd in his weight class.
Our Portland team placed 10th overall and four of our wrestlers are going to the state open today and tomorrow.
Last night, our grade 5 through12 instrumentalists performed another thrilling Band Extravaganza. I happened to be in a class watching our Brownstone Instrumentalist prepare on Wednesday and was astounded by their musical ability. (Their rendition of the Star Wars theme was spectacular!) In addition, last week’s Choral Extravaganza was another wonderful performance. Our students’ voices were top notch. Each ensemble performed exceptionally. Congratulations to all our musicians and their music teachers for another successful set of “Extravaganza” events! (Thanks also to our Music Boosters for their support.)
Board of Education Meeting
Our Board of Education will be holding a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening (3/3/15) at 7:00 P.M. in the Portland High School Library. Please see the agenda (website) for more information. The BOE will be engaged in several meaningful discussions, including a proposal for a co-op football team and a transition program for students with special needs. They will also be reviewing a Connecticut State Department of Education grant that we are seeking and one that has recently been awarded to our district.
The Portland Secondary School Robotics team has just completed a successful qualifying meet this weekend at the Greenwich Academy Gator Bowl. We finished 15th out of 24 teams, and are pleased with our play in each of our 5 matches. Each match was close and our robot performed the required tasks. We earned enough points to qualify for the state championship meet on March 7th at Green Farms Academy in Westport, CT. We will spend the next two weeks making final adjustments to improve our robot and its performance. Our talented students have built and programmed their robot from scratch and are having a successful run in this, their first year of competition.
Parent Survey Data
After compiling the recent parent survey data regarding the use of our automated notification system, an overwhelming majority of parents (99%) indicated they think our messaging system is a “valuable tool for communication.” Furthermore, 97% of parents responding indicated that it was a “valuable tool for announcing school delays and closings.” There was a bit more varied opinion on the question regarding the method we use. However, more than half (nearly 55%) preferred our present system of both phone calls and email. (See below.)
At this time, I will continue to use both calls and emails for announcing school delays and closings. However, I will modify my morning timing a bit. Emails will go out to all parents as soon as I make the decision. Phone calls will go out no earlier than 5:45 when we announce in the morning. (Evening calls will only occur when I am certain of the need to close or delay.)
Some of you indicated failures in the system. Due to the anonymous nature of the survey, we do not know who you are. Therefore, if you are having failures in the system, please email Holly Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org.