• High School Science and Mathematics

    High School Science

    Vision: All students realize that Science and Engineering aren't finished yet, and they see themselves as scientists for whom there are real problems to solve.

    Mission: To effect systemic and systematic change in Portland Public School’s science and engineering education through research-based, iterative, design-cycles focused on teaching students, supporting teachers, and engaging the community.

    Why is science education important?
    As children grow up in an increasingly technologically and scientifically advanced world, they need to be scientifically literate to succeed. We are surrounded by technology and the products of science every day. Public policy decisions that affect every aspect of our lives are based on scientific evidence. The immensely complex natural world surrounds us. Science is everywhere. Outside the window, trees turn sunlight into stored energy and create the oxygen we need to survive. Water from glaciers on top of Mt Hood melt and create rivers that flow to the sea. The smartphone in the student’s hand is a miracle of modern computer engineering and wave technology. PPS Science connects students to the science of the world around them by having students explain phenomena that they can see and observe. Science teaches children how to think, learn, solve problems and make informed decisions. These skills are integral to every aspect of a student’s education and life, from school to career. 

    Resource Website for PPS Science Teachers

    High School Mathematics

    Vision:  Supporting all students to increase belief in their innate mathematics ability and achievement at the highest levels in mathematics by providing opportunities to experience the beauty, joy and wonder of mathematics through engaging, culturally-sustaining instructional experiences and real-life contexts.

    Mission: It is the mission of the Portland Public Schools mathematics department to support all educators at all levels within the district through the provision and implementation of equitable and culturally sustaining practices. We do this in order to best meet the needs of our families, communities, and most importantly to serve our students so they are able to achieve the attributes of the Graduate Portrait.

    Why is mathematics education important?
    The ability to think and communicate mathematically is essential to becoming a successful and productive member of our dynamic global society. To prepare our students, they must develop the skills to:     

    • Use number sense fluently
    • Problem-solve
    • Attend to precision
    • Think creatively and flexibly
    • Build, support, and critique an argument
    • Communicate mathematical thinking orally, visually, and in writingMake connections between mathematical ideas, patterns and concepts in a variety of contexts.

    Each of these critical components of a rigorous and balanced K-12 mathematics program based on the Common Core Standards must include the use of the proper tools, including the most appropriate technology. If we are to meet this challenge, we must provide students with multiple opportunities to engage with a variety of problem solving tasks that reflect the diverse backgrounds, abilities, and experiences of each student. Students should explore and collaborate on rich problems with multiple entry points and multiple paths to a solution that challenges them. Students should be encouraged to work through their thinking and computations in order for them to recognize the patterns, significance, and relevance of the true nature of mathematics. Developing number sense, estimation, and computation skills will create students who are more efficient in their problem solving skills. 

    Resource Website for PPS Math Teachers



Portrait of Dr. Susan Holveck
Dr. Susan Holveck
Program Administrator for 9-12 Core Academics (Science and Math)
Dr. Andrea Leech
9-12 Science TOSA
Portrait of Doug Mella
Doug Mella
9-12 Mathematics TOSA
Portrait of Jaclyn Pfenning
Jaclyn Pfenning
9-12 Mathematics TOSA