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Riverton Social Worker Recipient of First ‘Essence of PPS’ Award

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Riverton Social Worker Recipient of First ‘Essence of PPS’ Award
Posted on 11/16/2016
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Riverton Elementary School social worker Amanda Atkinson-Lewis is the first recipient of the Portland Public Schools’ new “Essence of PPS” award.

The award recognizes an individual who embodies the good work that is happening at a school that is hosting a Portland Board of Public Education meeting. Atkinson-Lewis was recognized by the board and Superintendent Xavier Botana at the board’s Nov. 15 meeting at Riverton.

Principal Jeanne Malia, who nominated her, said Atkinson-Lewis is so “fabulous” that she “needs to be cloned.”

Malia added these details about Atkinson-Lewis: Amanda has been with the Portland Public Schools since 2011. She started at our Bayside Learning Community and transitioned to Riverton. As the social worker, Amanda interfaces with students, staff, parents, community agencies and Central Office personnel on a daily basis. Amanda is tireless in finding supports for students and families. She provides direct services to students and has also facilitated groups to address areas of need.  Riverton is among the first elementary schools in Maine to have developed a Civil Rights Team with support from the Maine Department of Education.  The team has done incredible work in recognizing and celebrating diversity and developing activities to promote working together, such as Buddy Benches, a project at the school designed to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Amanda is the point person for Riverton’s Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) Committee. Under her leadership, Riverton has developed additional procedures and supports for students during transition times. She interfaces with community agencies, such as the Center for Grieving Children and Hardy Girls Healthy Women, to bring positive experiences to students. Amanda has outreached to agencies such as Opportunity Alliance to bring additional social work to the school. Riverton has five special education programs. Amanda is an integral member of the school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) teams, helping staff identify proactive strategies to address social-emotional needs.  She compiles data for the development of Functional Behavior Analysis plans. And Amanda also assists parents with outside resources. She has been a great support for Riverton’s immigrant families, helping them navigate their entry into our community.Amanda represents the "essence" of PPS and Riverton because she is a problem-solver always looking for ways to make students successful, both academically and emotionally. She models the characteristics we want in our students – commitment, stamina, cooperation and kindness. She works successfully with parents in getting them to reinforce our school values at home. She works non-stop for Riverton, demonstrating a "can-do, will-do" attitude.

Botana told Atkinson-Lewis: “Congratulations, Amanda, on this well-deserved recognition! We at the Portland Public Schools are deeply grateful to you for your dedication and service.”