Ryan Scallon is superintendent of Portland Public Schools. He can be reached at superintendent@portlandschools.org.

I am honored to join the Portland Public Schools community as the new superintendent. As I transition into the district, I look forward to listening and learning from all members of our community.

Throughout the selection process, I had the opportunity to engage with students, families, staff and community members. While everyone answered the “What should I know about the Portland Public Schools?” question differently, they all expressed a faith in our school system that’s exciting.

As I begin my third week in the district, I have appreciated the opportunity to talk to community members at our June 26 Meet and Greet at East End Community School, and at our listen-and-learn with members of our multilingual communities at Deering High School July 13. These conversations have reinforced my belief that one of the best parts of Portland is the PPS community – the staff, students and families and the community partners that support them.

I plan to continue to focus on learning from each of you about the great things within PPS that we should build on and where we can do better. I call these first three months my “listen and learn phase.” Two additional sessions are currently scheduled for July: one from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 24, at PATHS/Casco Bay High School, and another from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, at Presumpscot Elementary School.

If your schedule permits, please stop by. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet and for your experiences with the district to inform our future strategic plan.

I will conduct additional listen-and-learn sessions with staff and community groups throughout the summer and into the new school year. We’ll share more information on the website about how you can engage in the project through town halls, focus groups and surveys, as well as in more informal conversations.


In October, I’ll share with the Board of Public Education and the community the trends that come from the listen-and-learn sessions as we then engage in a review of our strategic plan and the development of an aligned budget for 2024-25. It is my expectation that these three phases – one, listen and learn; two, strategic planning; and three, aligned budget – will serve to organize our larger systems work in the district this year.

This crucial work cannot be done alone and I look forward to partnering with the Portland community in this effort.

In the meantime, the exciting work of the district is continuing this summer, and I’d like to highlight a few examples.

We’ve partnered with nine community organizations this summer to provide leadership opportunities for middle schoolers and camp-like enrichment experiences for elementary-age students, prioritizing enrolling students experiencing homelessness.

The district is excited to be using “high dosage” tutoring to support rapid academic growth. There are 51 middle school students being tutored in math four days a week for eight weeks this summer. Such intensive tutoring “is a well-researched, effective strategy to close academic gaps,” says Jesse Robinson, our director of curriculum and assessment.

A lot of learning is going on at our high schools this summer. For example, Casco Bay High School students are participating in one-week Summer Intensive courses that include “Politics Through Art and Music,” “Origami-Geometry,” “Landscapes of Literature” and “Marine Ecology.”

Deering High School multilingual students are learning English while visiting landmarks such as a lighthouse, the Portland Museum of Art and the Portland Observatory and creating digital books detailing their experience. And at Portland High School, a number of multilingual students are participating in summer programming that includes math and literacy, intercultural programming and field trips throughout the city. Read more at portlandschools.org.

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer.

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