Superintendent Smith and PAT President Sullivan are excited to welcome 400 new teachers to PPS – filling 180 new positions and also accepting the baton from retirees, a landmark year of hiring as state funding for schools improves.

Celebrating a new school year, new employees and shared progress

September 3, 2014

I am happy to welcome you to the 2014-15 school year and hope your first day went smoothly.

This week, thanks to state funding for schools, we start the school year with hundreds of new staff members. After years of cutting staff and programs, so far this year PPS has hired more than 500 employees, such as teachers, media specialists, school counselors and psychologists. Included in that total are 180 new teaching positions. [More]


Sharing the excitement of a new school year

September 2, 2014

A new school year brings a sense of excitement. Most of us remember the anticipation of entering a new school or a new grade and reconnecting with friends and teachers. [More]


Excited to welcome teachers back to school

August 21, 2014

While our students enjoy the final days of summer, our teachers are returning to their classrooms to get ready for them. I am excited to welcome our teachers back this year. Joining our many experienced PPS educators are 400 teachers new to the district. Some are new to the profession. I am grateful for better budget times and our ability to hire at a level not seen in many years. [More]


Getting ready to welcome you back

August 13, 2014

Portland Public Schools is looking forward to welcoming you to the 2014-15 school year on Sept. 2, with kindergarteners starting Sept. 5. [More]


Much to recognize and celebrate

June 13, 2014

As we wrap up another school year, many of us are filled with mixed emotions. Our hearts go out to the Reynolds High School community as they struggle to make sense of the events that recently took place. We are also very mindful of the losses suffered in a number of our own schools in recent weeks. I have been moved by the way our school communities have come together during these tragedies with both care and compassion, and a desire to support one another. [More]


Recognizing an historic moment

May 20, 2014

Yesterday was a truly historic day for Oregon. Federal District Judge Michael McShane issued his opinion that Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. [More]


Appreciating the dedication of our teachers

April 30, 2014

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge our teachers and professional educators in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, which begins today, May 5th, and runs through Friday, May 9thth. We are very fortunate to have so many talented, dedicated and committed teachers and professional educators serving our students and families every day. [More]


Praising outstanding students, teachers

April 28, 2014

As we move into the remaining weeks of the school year, I am pleased to acknowledge exceptional students who have been recognized for their accomplishments. From our Gates Scholars, to our daVinci School students winning Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, to the Grant High School magazine staff who won the Gold Crown Award from the Columbia (University) Scholastic Press Association, I am proud of our students. [More]


Historic moment for PPS: Budget strategically reinvests after many lean years

March 31, 2014

Tonight, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Portland School Board my seventh budget message as Superintendent. The $534 million general fund budget I proposed for the 2014-2015 school year represents a significant reinvestment in our schools and is my first budget message where we are able to strategically invest without simultaneously cutting programs. This is really exciting news for our students, our staff, and our community. [More]


Together we can help all students read well

March 21, 2014

As we all look forward to Spring Break, I want to wish you a relaxing time away from school. While you are enjoying your downtime, I hope you will make reading a big part of your week. [More]


Best contract in decades forged through tough, collaborative process

Feb. 28, 2014

Today, as this lengthy and challenging bargaining process draws to a close, I want to express my gratitude to you, the Portland Public Schools community. Your engagement, input and support was invaluable in helping the Portland Public Schools Bargaining team navigate the process of reaching a negotiated settlement with the Portland Association of Teachers. It buoyed us and kept our focus on the critical task of crafting an agreement that provides for the best possible educational outcomes for our students. [More]


Message to families regarding PAT bargaining

Feb. 13, 2014

I send you this personal message today to let you know we are working diligently to avoid a strike by teachers. I understand how extremely disruptive a strike would be to your student and your family. I have listened to your voice mail messages and read your emails and social media posts. Please know I am aware of your concerns, and they are important to me. [More]


Recognizing your dedication to more students graduating

Feb. 12, 2014

The Oregon Department of Education reported Feb. 6 that our four year graduate rate has risen another four percentage points, part of a significant four-year trend from 53 to 67 percent. State data also show outstanding gains at Franklin (7 percentage points), Jefferson (9 percentage points) and Roosevelt (7 percentage points). [More]


Supporting students in the event of a strike

Feb. 12, 2014

The labor union representing PPS teachers has authorized a strike. The school district continues working with the teachers union to reach an agreement on their labor contract. If agreement is not reached, the date that the union would call for teachers not to report to work is Thursday, Feb. 20. [More]


Update on Negotiations with the Teachers Union

January 30, 2014

Last night, the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) announced that they will hold a strike vote next Wednesday. While PAT has chosen to take a step toward a strike, bargaining teams are meeting with a state mediator tomorrow in continuing negotiations. [More]


A Turning Point?

January 21, 2014

Each year at this time, I have shared PPS’ budget forecast as we look ahead to the next school year. Each year for the past six years, that forecast has been grim. Every year we have faced a deficit that would lead to cuts because of inadequate state funding. [More]


Seeking a contract settlement

January 5, 2014

I hope the winter break was restful and restorative for you and your family. As we return to school and start the new calendar year, I know that many families have been concerned about the status of teacher contract talks. Here is a brief update. [More]