Portland schools honored at White House event

PORTLAND — Eight Portland elementary schools will be honored at a White House reception on Oct. 17 hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama for earning the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthier U.S. School Challenge Bronze Award.

The award recognizes schools that provide nutritious meals, teach children about healthy eating and encourages students to exercise. The Portland schools that will be honored are East End, Hall, Longfellow, Nathan Clifford (now Ocean Avenue), Peaks Island, Presumscot, Reiche and Riverton. These schools were allowed to select one school representative and one district representative each to the event at the White House.

The Portland delegation to the White House reception includes Superintendent James Morse Sr., Food Services Director Ron Adams, School Health Coordinator Chanda Turner, Hall Principal Kelly Hasson, Longfellow Principal Dawn Carrigan, Ocean Avenue Elementary School Principal Beverly Coursey, Longfellow teacher Suzanne Corrado, Presumpscot teacher Rebecca Maiorano, Reiche teacher Laura Graves, Reiche parent Judy Watson, Riverton nurse Judy Blackwell Smith, and Riverton community coordinator Kathy Cole.

Nationwide less than 2 percent of schools have met the Healthier U.S. School Challenge. The award-winning schools recieve plaques, banners and $500 each to deposit into their food-service accounts.

Portland Public Schools joins “Grad Nation”

PORTLAND — Portland Public Schools has been named a “Grad Nation Community” for its commitment to boost high school graduation rates and to prepare all students for success in college and the 21st century workplace.

Grad Nation is a national campaign launched in 2010 by America’s Promise Alliance, an organization led by General Colin Powell and his wife, Alma.

The two goals of grad nation are to have a 90 percent graduation rate nationwide by 2020, with no school graduating less than 80 percent of its students, and to regain America’s standing as first in the world in college completion.

Last month, Grad Nation began recognizing communities for their work in support of its two goals. The Portland School district applied and was accepted as a “Grad Nation Community.” Their involvement in the program will include: working to increase local graduation rates; identifying priorities and focus areas for collaborative work; sharing best practices and strategies regarding school and community transformation; and providing annual updates on progress and challenges.

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