Pathways to Success
Pathways to Success is the Portland Public Schools’ leading strategy to remodel the educational system for the needs and demands of 21st century life. The district is harnessing national and local expertise and customizing the learning experience for every student. This work is being supported by a multi-year grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
Portland Public Schools Student Work Showcased at May Art Walk
Students from the Portland Public Schools presented dances, an orchestral performance, art, sculpture and photography exhibits at Portland’s First Friday Art Walk on May 3. The art walk also featured a middle school photography exhibit about peace and a project on hunger. Read more.
High School Juniors Learn about Maine Career Opportunities at Expo
"There are a ton of Maine employers I never knew existed!" said Sadie, a Portland High student, after attending the district's first College and Career Expo on April 26, 2013.
"I used to think that I wouldn’t find something I’d be interested in doing in the future," said Ruby, a Deering student. "But now I know that there are many possible ties out there and it makes me hopeful."
Sadie, Ruby and all of the other juniors at Portland and Deering high schools attended the day-long expo at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center to learn about career opportunities at Maine companies and the training needed to prepare for those jobs.
The theme for the expo was “Live, Learn and Earn…right here in Maine!” Students learned about local companies working in three fields: health care, hospitality and tourism and technology and manufacturing. The expo also provided information about college programs that prepare students for jobs in those fields.
The Portland Public Schools partnered with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, USM and the Greater Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan the expo. Students used an interactive Blog website to prepare for the event.
The expo kicked off with short talks by USM President Theo Kalikow, Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk and Chris Hall, the Chamber’s chief executive officer. Then, students attended two presentations, one by L.L. Bean and one by Molnlycke. They learned about career opportunities at the featured companies and postsecondary educational programs that will prepare them for those jobs.
Students had time to talk one-on-one with representatives from 17 businesses and colleges, including Idexx, Sappi, Maine Medical Center, the University of New England, Southern Maine Community College and Unum.
The expo is part of the district’s Pathways to Success initiative, which aims to give every student at least one opportunity to explore a career during high school. The career focus helps motivate students by connecting their academic work to future goals.
High Schools Offer Opportunities for Career Exploration
The Portland Public Schools is providing new opportunities for high school students to explore careers ranging from conservation law to medical research, journalism, international affairs, information technology and crime investigation by participating in job shadows, internships and professional seminars. As Maine leaders discuss ways to better prepare students for jobs of the future, Portland’s public high schools are taking the lead by encouraging students to learn about careers that interest them and the training that is required. Read more.
Deering Students Explore Careers through Job Shadows
Sixteen students at Deering High School fanned out across Portland in December to visit workplaces and explore professions such as law, journalism and health care. Read more.
Teachers, Administrators Prepare for High School Improvements
Sarah Obare (left), the teacher-leader at Portland High School, joined Deering High School's teacher-leaders, Carlos Gomez and Polly Wilson, in leading a workshop on student-centered learning at a Nellie Mae Education Foundation conference in New Hamphire in November 2012.
Staff members at Portland High School and Deering High School are working this year to plan new learning opportunities for students beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
Deering is partnering with the International Studies School Network, a network of more than 30 schools in eight states, to ensure that students will be well equipped for the increasingly globalized world when they graduate from high school. Deering faculty are planning curriculum that will involve students in investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas and taking action. Students will participate in a freshman seminar course. For more information, please contact teacher-leaders wilsopportlandschools [dot] org (Polly Wilson) and gomezcportlandschools [dot] org (Carlos Gómez).
Portland High’s staff is working with Johns Hopkins Talent Development Secondary. This model creates interdisciplinary teams of teachers that work with the same students, share a planning time and use data consistently to determine student and school needs. Portland High will develop a freshmen academy that supports all ninth graders with a rigorous curriculum, high expectations and a targeted freshman seminar course. In the higher grades, students will attend academies that integrate a career focus into core subjects. For more information, please contact obaresportlandschools [dot] org (Sarah Obare), Portland High’s teacher-leader.
Casco Bay High School (CBHS) is part of the Expeditionary Learning network. CBHS has hired social worker babcoeportlandschools [dot] org (Beth Babcock) as a graduation coach to work with students and help them complete their degrees.
All three high schools will continue to offer Advanced Placement courses. They also are expanding extended learning opportunities such as college dual enrollment courses, job shadows, career exploration and internships.
Jobs for Maine's Graduates has hired two Pathway coordinators, emoynihanjmg [dot] org (Eric Moynihan )and pbesseyjmg [dot] org (Pam Bessey), to build relationships in the private sector and to help expand the role of local businesses and professional associations throughout the district. They are working on plans to get students out into the community and to connect teachers with community resources and industry-related guest speakers. The goal is to provide all high school students in the Portland Public Schools with extended learning opportunities such as job shadows, career coaching and internships by the 2013-2014 school year.
Grant Funds Summer Learning for High School Teachers
High school teachers in the Portland Public Schools are attending national conferences and other learning activities during the summer as part of Pathways to Success, a district-wide initiative to improve options for students. A $5 million grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation is paying for the professional development. Read more.