Highlights from this week…
Add Girls Soccer to our string of Class S championships. I thoroughly enjoyed the game last Saturday and want to congratulate our team for their play both on and off the field.
For almost 40 years, Portland High School has competed in the Greater Middlesex County Math League. Once a month, our strongest math students travel to a nearby school where they compete against nine other area school in solving thought-provoking math problems. There are 7 Varsity meets and 4 Junior Varsity meets during the year with all grades competing. I happened to be in the high school yesterday during one of these events. Our Portland team placed third out of the ten schools participating. According to Mr. Varas it was a well-balanced team effort.
Our professional learning continued this week with work both at Valley View and Brownstone Intermediate. Teachers worked with our writing consultant in creating a “curriculum map” for all three genres of writing. As many of you know, the Connecticut Core Standards require all students to show proficiency in narrative, informative/explanatory and opinion/argumentative writing genres. Mapping our curriculum at each grade level helps us create a continuum of instruction from grade to grade.
Highlights from Board of Education Meeting on November 18, 2014
Board members heard a presentation from Devin Schleidt, a representative from Lantern Energy on a small business energy savings audit. Members agreed to this free audit at each of our schools, which will begin in the new year.
Congratulations to two teachers who have recently announced their intent to retire at the conclusion this school year. Grade 6 teacher, Shirley Coulombe at Brownstone and Special Education teacher, Olenka Castelli at Valley View join Grade 4 teacher Jan Robitaille at Gildersleeve, who announced her intent earlier this year.
School Business Manager, Laura Webb, presented on Excess Special Education Costs and how Connecticut school districts receive some state reimbursement for students requiring intensive support.
I presented a new job description for a proposed Data Specialist that will be included in the upcoming budget
Board members also approved:
· the 2015-2016 school calendar. http://www.portlandctschools.org/2015-2016.html
· 2015 Board of Education meeting dates
· a revised School Business Manager job description and agreement
Smart Start Grant
This summer, the Senate and House of Representatives approved the Connecticut Smart Start competitive grant program to reimburse local and regional boards of education for capital and operating expenses related to establishing or expanding a preschool program under the jurisdiction of the board of education for towns. At Tuesday’s meeting, I discussed both the need and the merits for us pursuing that grant. In the coming weeks, I will be applying for the grant in an effort to expand our preschool services for additional children to attend preschool at Valley View.
The Policy Sub Committee met also to discuss our substitute policy. They are forwarding recommendations to the full Board for an updated pay scale and simplification of the existing policy language.
Thanks to the efforts of Portland Middle School teacher Corey Toussaint, Portland was recently awarded a new (free) EKOCYCLE™ Cube® Printer that will be used by our students and members of our Robotics team. This will also enhance the students; ability to create some very creative and personalized products for their Entrepreneur’s course.
I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!
Philip B. O’Reilly, Ed.