Portland schools notebook: Angus King fields questions from high schoolers in video conference

Even though my lede piece in this notebook entry deals with Portland High School, I’d like to dedicate the post to Mr. Fenlason, the music teacher at Lyseth Elementary School, who told me when I visited the school last week that he’s a regular reader of this blog.

He and his excellent fourth grade class on that occasion also successfully planted Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” so firmly in my brain I still find myself singing “I’ve been happy lately…” 10 days now after sitting in on some of their rehearsals.

I’ll try not to inadvertently write the lyrics in strange places in this post, but I’m making no promises.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, takes part from Washington, D.C., in a video conference with Portland High School students Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of King’s office)

On to the latest: Yesterday, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, sat down for a video conference with about 100 Portland High School students as part of his “Capitol Class with Angus” series. Maine’s junior senator and former governor hopes the program will serve as an educational tool for teenagers in his home state and plug him in with another generation of voters.

But the Portland students didn’t take it easy on him. They asked him about many difficult subjects of importance to Americans of their ages, including minimum wage rates (which Democrats in both the state and federal governments have proposed increasing), student loan debt burdens and U.S. foreign policy.

Said King in a subsequent statement:

They asked substantive questions and we had a meaningful dialogue.

Watch the interaction for yourself:

Reiche’s weather station

Reiche Community School has installed a Vantage Pro 2, wireless, solar-powered weather station “several feet above the school’s roof” according to a Portland Public Schools announcement, and will measure temperatures, wind direction and speed, and rainfall.

That data will be posted on the popular weather website Weather Underground. Click here for the school’s latest data.

Here’s some more on the project as provided in a school announcement:

Weather Underground offers a five-day forecast, the current moon phase, times of the sunrise/sunset, barometric pressure and a satellite image of Portland and Maine.

Reiche’s Vantage Pro 2 weather station, in conjunction with the Weather Underground website, stores all of its historical information in a database.  That allows Reiche students to compare and contrast temperatures, graph and observe the effects of rainfall and study the concepts of mean, median and mode over the course of the school year. The teaching staff will use the weather station data to complement math and science lessons.

Reiche students were given a hands-on demonstration of how the weather station works before it was installed. Parent representatives of the Reiche Green Team talked about how each component collected its data. Students responded with great enthusiasm to the spinning of the anemometer arm and the rain collection cups housed inside the unit. The
Reiche Parent Teacher Organization provided funding for the project.

Adult Ed panel discussion on writing

Four prominent Maine authors will be taking part in a panel discussion held by Portland Adult Education and aimed at showing adult ed students how writing can play a role in their lives.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at 57 Douglass St., and will feature “When We Were the Kennedys” author Monica Wood, “White Dog Fell From the Sky” author Eleanor Morse, “Brothers of Morning” author Martin Steingesser and “The New York Times Magazine” contributing writer Sara Corbett.

Panelists will discuss where they get inspiration from, how they go about revising and editing, and when they know they’ve finished writing, according to an event announcement.

Said Portland Adult Education language teacher Heather Wood in a statement:

The evening is primarily aimed at our students — 100 or so adults, some from outside the U.S., some native-born — to give them a chance to meet people who write for a living. We hope that by meeting the authors and hearing their words, our students will see writing take on new possibilities.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

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