Schools notebook: High school learning models considered in Portland, Greely frosh takes top science prize

A lot going on in Portland area schools these days — as there are most days — and this is a little bit of catch-up and look-forward.

First, belated kudos go out to Greely High School freshman Meagan Currie, the grand prize winner at the 2012 Maine State Science Fair at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor over the weekend.

According to a story posted on the Jackson Labs website, Currie’s winning project was titled: Oxygen production of brown and green seaweeds ascopyllum nodosum and fucus vesiculosus under different colored lights.

And that, my friend, is why Meagan Currie will be out-earning me by the time she’s legally an adult.

Currie told the Jackson Labs in-house writer she was surprised to have won the title, and graciously thanked her father and teachers for helping her along the way. As an aside, I’m now thankful I’m not a radio or television reporter, who would have to successfully pronounce “ascopyllum nodosum” in reporting this story.

Good work, Meagan, and a nod as well to Mt. Ararat High School’s runner-up Sam Wood, who joins Currie as Maine’s first two teens qualified to participate in the INTEL International  Science Fair coming up in Pittsburgh in May.

Portland holds public input sessions for new high school learning models

Portland Public Schools are scheduling a number of public presentations by groups promoting high school learning models, which the district must sort through and decide on in the months ahead as it continues its move toward a more “student centered” approach funded in the recent $5.1 million Nellie Mae Education Association grant awarded indirectly to the Portland schools.

The itinerary of presentations seems to be set up in such a way that it would allow attendance by folks with a wide range of working schedules.

The public is invited to learn more about the models under
consideration at informational sessions on April 4 and May 2.   Here is
the schedule for the sessions, with links and accompanying information provided by the district:

Presentations will take place both days from 1:30 to 3:20 p.m., 5 to 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.  Students, parents and community members may participate in the session that is most convenient for them. Translators will be available. For more detailed information, please visit

While we’re on the subject, the district is also taking applications from parents and students who want to sit on the Pathways to Success Advisory Council, which will presumably review and recommend (based in part on public input) one of the models listed above to the Portland school board.

The council will include, among others, one parent and one student from each of the city’s four public high schools.

More from the district on this:

Candidates should submit a paragraph about their interest and experience, along with their e-mail address and phone number, to Kim Lipp, executive vice president, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, 45 Commerce Dr., Suite 9, Augusta, ME 04330. The information may be e-mailed to The deadline is April 25.

Candidates will be notified by May 18. All candidates and other community members will have opportunities to stay involved in Pathways to Success. Community forums about the initiative will be held at least twice a year.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.