When Emmanuel Caulk came to Portland for a series of public forums as a finalist for the city’s open superintendent of schools position, he asked as many questions of the attendees as they asked of him.
Caulk wanted to know what the teachers, parents and community members on-hand for the three late May discussions liked about their school system, and where they saw opportunities for improvement.
He took a lot of notes. The message was that, as superintendent, he wasn’t planning to parachute into Portland and start telling everybody what to do and how to do it. He wants the teachers and principals to tell him what they need to better reach the students, he said, and he wants parents and community members to know their input and help is welcome.
Caulk told attendees in May his philosophy is to set high standards for students at all performance levels, and then to give teachers and staff members the tools and training they need to reach those standards. And he’s aware that teachers and staff members will know perhaps better than anyone what tools and training they’ll need, and he’s also aware that tools and resources may be out there and available in the community, but that somebody needs to ask for them.
Today, he was scheduled to hold the first in a series of what he called his “Listening & Learning” sessions at Reiche Community School. Any member of the public is invited to come by and say how they feel the school system is doing well and how it can do better.
Translators will be provided at the sessions, according to a district announcement.
Future Listening & Learning sessions will be held on the following dates at the following places:
- Peaks Island Elementary School — September 12, 5 to 7:30 p.m.
- Lyseth Elementary School — September 13, 7 p.m., gym.
- Portland High School — September 26, 7:30 p.m., Alumni Hall.
- Riverton Elementary School — September 27, 7 p.m., media center.
- East End Community School — October 17, 7 p.m., community room.
- Deering High School — October 18, 2 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m., cafeteria.