2011-2012 Superintendent's message archive

Cheers for our graduates and partnersJune 1, 2012

This is a special time to celebrate our graduating seniors and the efforts essential to student success. More than 2,400 students are receiving their high school diplomas this year. To our graduates, as you move onto the next stage in your lives ready for college and career, we wish you all the best. Please come back to share your successes with us in the years to come. [Read more]

Collaboration is the key to strong schoolsMay 15, 2012

Seeing hundreds of students, parents, teachers, school board representatives and community members march to Pioneer Courthouse Square on May 11 in support of adequate state school funding was an affirming example of how our community can come together for our students and our future. [Read more]

Agreement restores school cuts and protects school yearMay 3, 2012

I am pleased to tell you that we have reached a tentative agreement that would restore all budget-related staffing cuts in schools next year and maintain a full school year for students.

I want to personally thank Mayor Sam Adams and Portland Association of Teachers President Gwen Sullivan who spent long hours with me in recent days working on this proposed agreement. (The agreement remains tentative pending ratification by the teachers association and approval by the school board and the City Council.) [Read more]

Building a better future for studentsApril 27, 2012

This week I met with PTA leaders from schools across PPS. Once again, I was moved by the commitment so many parents show to their schools, in so many ways. I was also heartened by their energy for change. All around Portland, I'm hearing a growing sense of urgency to create a better educational future for our students and improve school funding. [Read more]

Aspiring to a better future for our studentsApril 3, 2012

On April 2, I proposed a budget for the 2012-13 school year that prioritizes support for schools above all else. We also prioritized focusing resources on our highest-needs learners and schools, maximizing use of community partners and making strategic choices. [Read more]

Budget Listening Session SummaryMarch 20, 2012

On March 6 and March 8, 2012, Superintendent Carole Smith held two budget listening sessions to consult students, parents and community members about Portland Public Schools’ 2012-2013 budget. [Read Summary]

Pulling together in tough timesMarch 1, 2012

Once again our funding will fall short of what we need to deliver current programs and services next year. At the same time, there are hopeful developments: [Read More]

Building a culture of excellenceFebruary 13, 2012

Recognizing improvement is one way to reward good work and encourage a culture of excellence that benefits all students.

Principal Joe Galati has captured the power of recognition with his Knighting of the Ties at North Portland’s Chief Joseph Elementary School. The idea came from Dooley Riordan, a first-grader who has worn neckties since preschool. What if, Galati asked himself, he gave a tie to each student who has shown growth or who consistently strives for excellence? [Read More]

Rise in graduation rate shows resolveJanuary 27, 2012

The Oregon Department of Education announced that Portland Public Schools' on-time graduation rate rose 5 points to 59 percent last year, and the achievement gap narrowed by the same amount.

The results call out that we have work to do. Yet they also affirm that the focused efforts of our schools and community are gaining traction — for all students. [Read More]

Funding outlook for next school yearJanuary 17, 2012

I want to let you know that next year is going to be another difficult budget year for Portland Public Schools, as it will be for nearly every school district in Oregon.

Tonight our school board heard the first general fund budget forecast for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. At this early stage of our budget process, we estimate that we will be facing a gap of $27.5 million next year. [Read More]

Best wishes for the new yearJanuary 3, 2012

To the families and community of Portland Public Schools: I hope your winter break was a chance to relax and recharge. Welcome back!

Happy Holidays!December 14, 2011

A busy season is upon us, but winter break and the new year bring a chance for rest and reflection.

Visits to schools this fall have heightened my optimism for our students. I see new waves of parents and grandparents investing in their schools, and schools creating a welcoming environment where families can contribute to their children's success. And I see increasing collaboration among teachers and a willingness to reflect on and refine their teaching to improve learning.

I hope the season brings a chance for you to celebrate your student's efforts and to recharge together for the remainder of the school year.

Best to you in the new year!

Focus on facilitiesNovember 30, 2011

Our school buildings are the focus on two fronts in December.

First, we are beginning work on an update to our long-range facilities plan. We’re also offering an evening information session about our buildings and soliciting  your opinions on last May’s bond measure.

Both efforts rely on the insights and expertise of our families, neighbors, business leaders and staff. Thank you in advance for your involvement.

Conferences: Your presence requested!November 21, 2011

This week is a busy one, with both parent-teacher conferences and the Thanksgiving holiday.

Conferences are a valuable time for families and teachers to share information, solve problems and find ways to work together to support students' progress. I encourage you to look at these helpful tips to get the most out of your conversation.

Thank you, families, for your investment in your children's success, and thanks to our teachers for preparing and sharing a snapshot of students' work. I hope you have good discussions and a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Marysville will rise againNovember 10, 2011

Two years ago today, Marysville Principal Lana Penley and her staff deftly guided their students to safety as fire engulfed a portion of their beloved school.[Read More]

Sharing more of our school news and trendsOctober 24, 2011

I’m expanding my monthly Superintendent’s Report to the school board to highlight more of the exciting things going on in and around our schools as well as the trends shaping our school district. My goal is to recognize the many factors and efforts involved in student success.

Growing enrollment, nearly universal full-day kindergarten classes, gains in diversifying our work force, student achievement progress, energy savings, bond listening sessions and the great support of partners from Nike School Innovation Fund to Multnomah County Public Library are among items that may interest you. [Read the full report]

Teacher of the year embodies our aspirationsOctober 19, 2011

As Elena Garcia-Velasco made her way to the Roosevelt High School stage to accept the Oregon Teacher of the Year award from state leaders Oct. 13, hundreds of students leaped to their feet in applause. [Read More]

Student gains honor work of manyOctober 12, 2011

This week I gave the school board an update on our annual Milestones student achievement results. I'm pleased that our schools hit or exceeded five of six targets to improve student learning and narrow the achievement gap. [Read More]

Committed to improvement September 26, 2011

Recently, Portland School Board auditor Richard Tracy checked back on the extent to which Portland Public Schools has followed through on previous audit recommendations. These audits addressed key issues such as instructional time, charter schools, performance management and serving English Language Learners.[Read More]

Welcome back to school September 5, 2011

Welcome to a new academic year at Portland Public Schools! Thanks to the work of more than 6,000 volunteers on Project Community Care Day, our school grounds look great for students' return.[Read More]

Carole Smith's previous messages are archived by school year.
To view past messaages, click here.