I attended the presentation and extend my appreciation to Mr. Jones for bringing Deacon Miller to Portland. I was captivated by his recollections of living as an African American boy in the pre civil rights era both in Chicago and in the Deep South. I am hopeful that our students learned from Miller’s harrowing stories and his messages promoting peace, acceptance, and social justice.
This experience, along with my recent participation at an event at our Portland Library on racial bias, brought me back to my days as a student teacher on the Taos Indian Pueblo and caused me to reflect on the changes that we have made in public education in my nearly 4 decades (yes, that’s 40 years). We continue to grow in our understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures of people, and we continue to work hard in our efforts to promote safe and supportive learning communities for all students. While Deacon Miller reiterated Martin Luther King’s words that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” he also reminded our gathering of students and educators to defend what is right and to speak up for equality and justice for all.
To learn more about Deacon Miller’s presentation, please click -https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/Emmett-Till-s-classmate-brings-the-slain-13814665.php
As part of Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) outreach efforts for school-aged students, SOCT and the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) began a partnership in 1992 utilizing the Special Olympics Unified Sports® program. As you know, the school-based Unified Sports® program brings together students with and without disabilities and provides them with the opportunity to train and compete in a variety of different team sports fostering a greater understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of students with disabilities. This past week, we had two students honored at The Michaels Cup Unified Sports® Banquet. This banquet, held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, honors two teammates from every middle school and high school in the state that offers a Unified Sports program. Congratulations to Portland’s 2019 honorees, Ava Beeler and Jacob Hill!
In early April we began advertising all of the teaching positions that are available for the 2019-20 school year. These positions include:
- A Third Grade Teaching Position at Gildersleeve Elementary School
- A Fourth Grade Teaching Position at Gildersleeve Elementary School
- A Special Education Teaching Position at Brownstone Intermediate School
- A Reading Teaching Position at Brownstone Intermediate School
- A Spanish Teaching Position at Portland Middle School
- An English Teaching Position at Portland High School
- A Math Teaching Position at Portland High School
- A Career and Technical Education Teaching Position at Portland High School
- A Speech and Language Pathology Position for all Portland schools
As part of our efforts to recruit the best teachers available, Our Direction of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology, Dr. Britton, has attended several recruitment fairs, including his attendance at a minority teacher recruitment fair hosted by the Capitol Region Education Council. He (and others) also attended events hosted by Central Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut. To become a teacher in Portland, candidates are put through a rigorous screening process that includes a review of credentials and previous teaching experience, an interview with a hiring committee, teaching a model lesson for a second committee, comprehensive background checks, and a final interview with the superintendent of schools.
Interviews have begun, with parent and teacher participation on our teams, and we are moving to secure our new teachers within the next few weeks.
In Other News
Gildersleeve School recently received one of 30 Bridge Builders grants from The Martin Richard Foundation to enhance their existing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum. As you may recall, Martin Richard was the youngest of three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing In 2013. The Martin Richard Foundation looks to advance sportsmanship, inclusion, kindness and peace. The $500 grant money will be used to purchase the Toolbox Curriculum to help Gildersleeve students in grades 2 and 3 build resilience, self-mastery and empathy. Gildersleeve will also be piloting the Think Give curriculum in grades 3 and 4 to focus on tolerance and kindness.