Unum gift funds new middle school summer program

A gift of nearly $25,000 from employee benefits company Unum to Portland Education Foundation will help fund the Portland Public Schools’ new Middle School Summer Program. The pilot program is designed to help prevent the “summer slide” while exposing students to learning opportunities at Portland’s cultural and scientific institutions.

The district is collaborating with the Gulf of Maine Research Center and the Telling Room to offer a two-week experiential summer camp that also targets academic skills. Portland Public Schools teachers have worked with staff from those community partners to design curriculum that engages youth in authentic explorations, while focusing on the standards in science, math, and English/language arts that are expected of middle-level students.

The summer program provides students with an opportunity to connect with caring adults, familiarizes them with careers in the city, inspires them to learn about interesting topics, and supports them on their path towards achieving graduation standards.

Rising seventh- and eighth-graders who would most benefit from the experience are invited to attend the summer camp. It is structured to ensure that students who complete the program improve their proficiency on targeted standards and are more prepared to meet the expectations of challenging grade-level standards when they return to school in the fall.

“We are very grateful to Unum for recognizing the value of this work and investing in this student experience,” said Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana. “Unum’s partnership will ensure that more of our students will be able to achieve academic goals while enjoying the amazing institutions that make Portland a great place to learn.”

City student awarded by Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of Maine announced that a Portland girl was among six high school senior Girl Scouts awarded Girl Scouts of Maine Future Leaders Scholarships. The scholarships were awarded at GSME’s inaugural Passion to Action event last month at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

The 2018 Girl Scouts of Maine Future Leaders Scholarship awardees included  Jessica Brown of Portland, along with Gabrielle Begos of Westbrook

“Girl Scouts of Maine is dedicated to preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership – in their own life and in the world,” said Joanne Crepeau, CEO, Girl Scouts of Maine. “These young women demonstrated that Girl Scouts is a place where a girl’s choice is not ignored, her voice is heard and her leadership skills will carry her into her adult life. We are very proud to award each of them with the council’s very first Future Leaders Scholarship.”

Brown graduated from Portland High School and plans on attending The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in business. Brown says she wants to create an alliance of women who will support each other, who help instead of compete, and bring the change that we all want to see.

Begos graduated from Maine Girls Academy and plans to attend the University of Maine for chemical engineering. Begos says she wants to inspire other girls to go into STEM fields, for more equal gender representation in the science world.