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Portland Superintendent of Schools Praises EL in His Last Column

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    Ben Smith

It’s time to say farewell.

As I prepare to leave the Portland Public Schools next month, I am thankful that this former Portland High School dropout had the opportunity to give back to the city of my birth, and thankful to the staff that helped me along the way.

My first speech three years ago told how we would make a difference by focusing our work on the needs of students, and how we would right the educational mission of this great city.

Did we accomplish all that we hoped?  Certainly not. But what we did accomplish will outlive my tenure as superintendent...

I remember my first visits to King Middle School and Casco Bay High School, because I had never heard of expeditionary learning. King Principal Michael McCarthy and CBHS Principal Derek Pierce, along with their staffs and students, taught me about this model approach.

I became an enthusiastic supporter of expeditionary learning because students are challenged academically while pursuing authentic learning. Regardless of poverty, gender or the country of origin, students can perform at the highest levels. Lesson learned:  using a model to theme a building creates cohesion and common purpose that improves student engagement and performance.

Read the full article here.