Help Portsmouth students travel to DC for President's Environmental Award


Portsmouth, RI – A group of Portsmouth students have been awarded The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), a prestigious national award which recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects developed by K-12 youth. Their winning project is the establishment of the Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm, a student-driven, community farm program where kids learn about sustainable agriculture with hands-on problem-solving experiences. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation's air, water, land, and ecology.

The AgInnovation Farm program is a partnership with Portsmouth Middle School and ERICD and is located at Cloverbud Ranch. AgInnovation student, Anabella Barber, said, “AgInnovation is an amazing learning environment. What makes it appealing is that everyone has the option to choose what activity they want to take part in on the farm. Whether it’s helping with irrigation, building new tables for the schoolhouse, or just hanging out with the chickens, everyone is participating in something they truly enjoy.”

The students are trying to make their way to Washington D.C. for the EPA’s award ceremony on August 4 to accept the award. The Grand Hyatt has graciously offered a reduced lodging rate and the students have elected to take the train to DC to reduce costs. A fundraising goal of $5,000 has been set to cover transport and lodging. AgInnovation parent, Monica DeAngelis said, “Some of our student winners have never been to Washington, DC, so in addition to attending the award ceremony, they also hope to take in some of the sights and sounds of the city.” She added, “This award is a huge deal, not only for the kids, but for the area; we want the students to have the opportunity to represent our community at the ceremony.” 

The students being recognized are Tatum Brennan, Maggie Mullen, Brooke O’Brien, Noah Sidewand, Owen Sidewand, Anabella Barber, Rowen Willet, Stella McInerney, Aurelius Brockman, Elle McFadden, Elizabeth Lantz, Fiona Sarro, Olivia Purdy, Olivia Almilli, and Cameron Davis.

For more information and to support the students, please visit Company sponsorship opportunities are available, please contact Sara Churgin at or 401-934-0842.

02871, Localblogging, PSD

Letter to Portsmouth school administration about this morning's events at PHS

Subject: Fwd: Power Outage at PHS -- Request for follow-up
Date: October 30, 2017 8:23am

I think PHS parents -- and the citizens of Portsmouth -- deserve a comprehensive explanation for what happened this morning. This storm was no surprise, and yet PHS seems to have been totally unprepared, holding students for 45 minutes with no information. I have heard that it was known that power was out in the building as early as 5:45am, according to communication from an administrator to a student.

Why was there no communication with parents? Why was there no contingency plan in place, other than to hold students in the cafeteria and gym, without taking attendence. This strikes me as a huge safety and accountability issue. The same goes for the dismissal, which I can personally testify was haphazard, with students visibly wandering off campus only moments after their parents had been notified.

I ask that the administration and school committee conduct a post-mortem on this event, including next steps to address identified gaps, at the next school committee meeting. If I need to formally request this at the Admin office, just let me know.

Best regards.
-John McDaid

John McDaid

On October 30, 2017 at 7:57:22 AM, PORTSMOUTH HIGH SCHOOL ( wrote:

To PHS Families,

Due to a late power outage this moring we will have to dismiss student early from school. Buses will pick up students beginning at 9:00 a.m. All students who drive themselves will be able to leave immediately. Students who will be picked by their parents will be supervised by staff in the new gym which has power.

Thank you for your understanding.


J. Amaral

This e-mail has been sent to you by PORTSMOUTH HIGH SCHOOL. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you no longer wish to receive email notifications from PORTSMOUTH HIGH SCHOOL, please click here to unsubscribe.

02871, Localblogging, PSD, PHS

Portsmouth school leadership to meet residents

The Portsmouth school district's new leadership team — superintendent Anna Riley and assistant superintendent Thomas Kenworthy — will be holding two "meet and greet" sessions to provide residents an opportunity to meet and talk informally, according to an e-mail sent to parents by the district.

Riley and Kenworthy will be at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road, on Wednesday, November 12, from 10:00 – 11:00am and on Wednesday, November 19, from 4:00 – 5:30pm.

For more information, please call the district office at 401-683-1039.

Editorial note: Written from an e-mail.

02871, Localblogging, Schools, PSD

Portsmouth hires school Superintendent Ana Riley

On June 10th, the Portsmouth School Committee selected Ana C. Riley to be the next Superintendent of Schools in Portsmouth. Currently Ms. Riley is Superintendent of Schools in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Ana Riley began her career as a High School chemistry teacher in Fall River, Massachusetts and moved on to serve as principal of first an elementary and then middle school over the course of 16 years. Since 2008, she has served the Dartmouth School District first as the Assistant Superintendent and then Superintendent of Schools.

The School Committee was impressed with Ms. Riley’s focus on improving student achievement and her ability to work with district stake-holders to develop a strategic improvement plan guided by core values and multiple measures of student data. In Dartmouth, Ms. Riley worked with her staff to bring trust and transparency to the budget, publishing a detailed budget aligned to the strategic improvement plan and directed at improving student achievement. These were all core qualities the Portsmouth School Committee sought in its next Superintendent.

During her tenure in Dartmouth, Ms. Riley developed leading programs including: an “Every School, Every Week” program that had District Administrators at all levels visiting one school per week; an Academic Summer School for grades 1 through 8 which was integrated with the Dartmouth Recreation Department; an initiative for every High School Junior to take the PSAT; the utilization of the National Institute of School Leadership to support professional development; and the implementation of the STAR assessment program in the Dartmouth Schools, a less time consuming common assessment tool.

The Portsmouth School Committee has approved a three year contract. Ms. Riley will receive a base salary of $152,000 plus benefits, a package comparable with other Districts in Rhode Island that are Portsmouth’s size. Ms. Riley will be succeeding Rear Admiral Barbara E. McGann who has been serving as Portsmouth’s Interim Superintendent this past year. The Portsmouth School Committee has also established a Transition Subcommittee to act as the liaison with the new Superintendent. Its members include: Emily Copeland, Chair; Fred Faerber and Andrew Kelly.

Ms. Riley received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Regis College, a Master’s degree in School Administration from Fitchburg State College, and is presently enrolled in a Doctoral Program in Education Leadership. She resides in Fall River, Massachusetts with her husband Kyle, a Special Education Director in Dighton-Rehoboth Regional District, and their six children.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

02871, Localblogging, Schools, PSD

Portsmouth schools start conversation on substance use

Portsmouth Prevention Coalition newsletter.

In an e-mail sent to parents this afternoon, Portsmouth interim Supt. Barbara McGann highlighted the importance of "open, honest family conversations" around the use of drugs and alcohol, and shared the inaugural issue of a newsletter developed by the Portsmouth Prevention Coalition.

Said McGann, "I am providing the first issue of Reaching Out, developed by the Portsmouth Prevention Coalition, to you, our families, with a personal appeal that you join this conversation. I hope use of this and each subsequent issue become a ritual in your home for conversations about this important life changing issue. Together, we can make Portsmouth a safer and healthier place for every one of our students and their families."

The newsletter draws on research conducted earlier this year which assessed the prevalence of drug and alcohol use among Portsmouth students.

Full disclosure: Written primarily from the referenced materials.

02871, Localblogging, PSD

Supt. McGann greets Portsmouth Middle students

Supt. McGann and Principal Joseph Amaral greet students.

Portsmouth's new interim Superintendent, retired Rear Admiral Barbara McGann was at the Middle School on Jepson Lane this morning as busses arrived and parents dropped off kids, greeting the students with Principal Joseph Amaral. Amaral introduced the students to the Superintendent, not just by name, but also mentioning activities they were involved in, and McGann shook their hands and asked about their experience this year. In response to a reporter's question, McGann also expressed enthusiasm for the PMS robotics program, calling it "a centerpiece of STEAM," the acronym used for the curriculum areas of "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math." Look for a full interview here on harddeadlines soon.

02871, Localblogging, PSD, Schools

Portsmouth schools prep for Aug 27 start (with new tech!)


In an e-mail sent to parents this morning, the Portsmouth School Department provided info about the upcoming school year, recapped schedules, covered free and reduced price lunch, and offered a brief technology update. You can download the full pdf, and here's the tech info:

We are very fortunate to have our Portsmouth community who supports and values the use of technology in education. This summer, we made investments in our network infrastructure and in our systems to support the curriculum, improve efficiencies and to prepare for high stakes online testing. As the new school year begins, we plan to make investments in our valued employees to ensure that they are well trained and proficient in using the equipment, integrating it into the classroom and serving as technology role models to our students.

Portsmouth High School has two more wings (four in total) of classrooms that have interactive projectors and document cameras. The Art Department and the TV Studio has refreshed MacBooks and the Modern World Language and Science Department’s mobile carts have been refreshed. At Portsmouth Middle School, the 4th and 5th grade now join the Math, Science and Computer classes in being outfitted with Interactive White Boards. The 7th grade Math curriculum highlights rigorous digital content. A mobile cart of thirty laptops has been configured and deployed to support this initiative. The Music lab has been upgraded. We are very proud to have the opportunity to improve the elementary schools. Each school has mobile cart refreshes and we are in the preparation stages of building a stationery classroom computer lab. Each teacher will supplement their classroom set of document camera, projector and netbook with the mimeo device. This device will enhance teaching and learning by turning the projector into an interactive classroom device. The 8-year-old thin clients have been removed in each classroom and replaced with three Mac mini devices dedicated to student use.

This new equipment and our initiatives would be useless without the dedication of our Administration, Teachers and Staff who embrace the use of technology in their classrooms and in their daily work. They are eager to learn and practice while they integrate technology into lessons to improve student performance. We are very privileged to have our technology team who is dedicated to supporting all users in the district to use the technology and to improve technology skills. Our team has been very busy during the summer, and look forward to a very exciting school year, 2014!

Full disclosure: I'm a volunteer member of the District technology committee and and appointed member of the School Committee technology subcommittee. Without speaking for either group, have to say that I'm delighted to see the thin clients replaced with actual workstations.

And for all the work that's been underway to enhance our kids learning environment, a big thank you to the IT staff, teachers, and volunteers who have been working behind the scenes to make this happen. You all rock.

02871, Localblogging, Schools, PSD

Portsmouth seeks tech wizards for school subcommittee

Portsmouth Supt. Lynn Krizic sent a note on Friday seeking volunteers for a newly constituted technology subcommittee, and I'd like to encourage any regular geek readers to consider submitting an application before January 6. I've been a parent volunteer on the district tech committee for several years, and there are both big challenges and real opportunities for impact. Hope you'll read Dr. Krizic's note, below, and consider sharing your expertise.

The Portsmouth School Committee has created a Technology Subcommittee for the purpose of researching, developing, analyzing, and making recommendations to the Superintendent and School Committee on all matters related to information technology, networking, communication equipment, audio/visual equipment, and digital security systems. The Technology Subcommittee will recommend policies and standards for technology throughout the Portsmouth School District.

The Technology Subcommittee will be comprised of* two appointed School Committee members, the Director of Technology, four (4) members of the community at-large with demonstrated knowledge of modern technology systems, applications, and networking, and two (2) auxiliary members with demonstrated knowledge of modern technology systems, applications, and networking. The Portsmouth School Committee is actively seeking Portsmouth and Little Compton resident involvement in this newly formed subcommittee.

Individuals from the Portsmouth and Little Compton communities wishing to serve on the Technology Subcommittee in the capacity as one of the four at-large committee members and/or one of the two auxiliary members from Portsmouth and/or Little Compton should send a brief letter of interest to: Dr. Lynn Krizic at either Portsmouth School Department, 29 Middle Road, Portsmouth, RI, 02871, or All appointments will be made by the Portsmouth School Committee.

Interested individuals should send letters of interest containing the following information: (1) Name, (2) Home address, (3) Phone numbers, (4) Email address, (5) a brief statement describing knowledge and/or experience in modern technology systems, applications, and networking, (6) a brief statement explaining your interest in serving on the Technology Subcommittee, and (7) your desire to be considered for either an at-large or auxiliary subcommittee member. All letters of interest should be sent by Friday, January 6, 2012.

*I know, I know. It's in the original.

Editorial note: I've already sent my application.

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, PSD, tech committee

New Portsmouth Supe owns message with meeting recap memos

SC Highlights
School Committee meeting highlights!

Continuing the tone of transparency set at last night's school committee meeting, new Portsmouth Supt. Lynn Krizic established a new communication approach today, sending out school committee meeting highlights through the district listserv.

The 1,100-word update contained all the major action items, specific details like names of appointees and dates of meetings for the 2011-12 year, and a precis of the discussion on each item.

While clearly not meant as a replacement for official minutes, this offers valuable — and timely — information, and I personally want to commend Supt. Krizic for taking this initiative. Now when Cheshire Kathy misses a meeting, she doesn't have to rely on me blogging it. We'll all be much happier.

If you'd like to sign up for the district listserv — and anyone can, you don't need to be a parent or guardian — just send an e-mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.RI.NET, leaving the subject line blank and including the following line in the body:

SUBSCRIBE PSD-L FirstName LastName

If you have a sig line, remember to delete it, since nothing else can be in the body of the e-mail. I got these instructions from the PSD web site here.

Editorial note: I'm a sucker for transparency.

Localblogging, 02871, School Committee, superintendent, PSD