Congratulations to our fourth graders, their teachers and our Arts Team for another exceptional performance last week! The fourth grade decided to highlight the work they did this year in the Peace First curriculum, sharing a message of self-awareness, belonging and hope for the future, with a touch of historical research thrown in. Great work, everyone!
Last Friday I shared an overview of the staffing plan with families at the PTA coffee. In many ways Buckman was very fortunate, because some of the services that were reduced or eliminated were things we already didn’t have. But the district raised class sizes at every grade-level, and the metric they used left us with just 17 classroom teacher positions for the 18 classrooms we expected to have. Blends challenge parents and teachers for many reasons, but would be especially impactful at Buckman where the entire performance model would be disrupted. So first and foremost we used some additional resources to maintain the current classroom structure of 3 classrooms per grade-level K-5.
One of the Arts team positions is fully funded through the Arts Tax (thank you, Portland!), but that means finding the additional resources for 2 more. Fortunately we had enough to cover 1.5 of those two positions, and with Foundation support we will be able to add another .3-the equivalent to a day and a half a week. Mr. Simmons’ art position is posted right now at .8, or 4 days per week, and we will be able to shift the Arts rotation model into a 4-day week, with a sustained integration/planning for 2/3 of the team on Fridays. It was the least impactful to students, but is by no means ideal.
The district is still supporting library for a halftime position. We plan to supplement that through the Foundation to reach .8 and maintain the library for 4 days per week. But there is an impact to students with this decision. Right now, every student has library every week. We can’t get 20 classrooms (with our Focus students) through the library every week and expect the awesome extras that Ms. Rudnick provides for teachers and students; the research pathways, technology integration, book competitions and authors’ visits. So students will have a full library class every other week with both instruction and check out. The library will be closed on Mondays, so teachers and students will have to plan ahead, and family volunteers will be critical.
And, we are losing our school secretary ½ time, so there will be a single staff person in the office in the afternoons. What that means for families is that our customer service around last minute pick-up/bus/SUN/schedule change calls is going to go down. There is no way a single person can answer phones and deliver 75 messages to classrooms between 2:45-3:00pm. Parents, you are going to have to plan and communicate ahead of time, too.
So you can see, we are depending on our Foundation pretty heavily just to maintain the services we consider essential at Buckman in a mostly intact form. If you believe in our arts-integrated model, we really and truly need you, our generous and supportive community, to invest in it. Thankfully, there is still time and opportunity to do so with our auction less than a month away, some delicious Dines Out coming up, and another fun movie night in June!
At the end of every school year, the
School-family Partnership program sponsors Student Recognition Award ceremonies
for successful students across the district. These award ceremonies are
essential to honor and reward students whose achievements represent the best of
PPS, and to inspire their fellow students in the coming school year. We’re
excited to celebrate these students and are looking forward to sharing their
stories with you.
Please congratulate all who participated. They all were fantastic and made Benson Tech proud!
Hello PPS families and staff,
On April 4 I presented my proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year to our School Board. I want to make sure you know what our spending priorities are, and what they will mean for you and your PPS student or students.
This is a budget of difficult choices. We made extra cuts to central administration to prioritize direct services for students, but we still must make some painful cuts to our schools. Although the cuts will affect each school differently, they will be noticeable. This proposed budget is the first step in a long process, and we will be seeking your input and engagement as we manage this difficult fiscal climate.
CORRECTION: 2nd budget listening session is Tuesday, April 25
We want to hear from you about the 2017-18 budget for PPS! The Portland School Board has scheduled three listening sessions to take your comments on how we should allocate our dollars in the coming year.