Portsmouth High School launches "Bring Your Own Device"

In an e-mail this morning, Portsmouth High School principal Robert Littlefield formally announced the new "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) program which will enable students to use their own internet-enabled devices, starting in January.

To all Portsmouth High School families,

We are gearing up for rolling out a significant development at Portsmouth High School shortly after New Year’s Day in January 2014. Soon we will be opening up our school to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) practice where students, teachers, and visitors will have Internet access through our own Wi-Fi on campus.

It seems like each week I become aware of a new learning opportunity being offered by teachers that is dependent on students having access to the Internet. We have invested a great deal of resources toward modern computer labs and laptop carts and our Information Technology department does a tremendous job maintaining our network, implementing software, and keeping our hardware up and running. Yet, there are times when a trip to the computer lab is not necessary if quick access to the Internet is available.

Opening Wi-Fi
Starting in January, students will be invited to bring smartphones, laptops, tablets, netbooks, etc. to school in order to employ the devices for educational purposes only. In addition to opening Wi-Fi, each student will have an account for storing assignments on “the cloud” for easy access and sharing.

If we had our wishes, we would be issuing computers to every student. However, that is not possible at this time. However, we feel students run the risk of losing out on learning opportunities by limiting access to the Internet to only those students sitting in computer labs. We hope to allow those students with devices to use them while at the same time offering the opportunity without devices to borrow them from the school.

Obviously, this presents some challenges. We have a faculty committee working on guidelines for the proper use of devices while in school. For instance, students must only access the Internet through our properly filtered Wi-Fi and not through the 3G networks supplied by their telephone service.

More information and opportunities to purchase
Much more information is available on the Portsmouth School District website, including offers by vendors for purchasing devices at an educational discount. I invite all parents to explore these opportunities.


This is an exciting time for our school. I will continue to keep you posted on developments as the roll-out date approaches.

As always, if you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to reply to this email.

Robert Littlefield

Editorial note: Written from a PHS e-mail.

02871, Localblogging, Schools, edtech, PHS

Portsmouth High to host Newtown soccer fundraiser

Portsmouth high school's women's soccer will host the team from Newtown, Connecticut this weekend in a fundraiser for the Newtown International Center for Education, in memory of the students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary. Here's the e-mail sent this morning by PHS coach Jim Blaess:

Dear Friends,

My name is Jim Blaess and I am the Head Girls Soccer Coach at Portsmouth High School. This year, as our team’s charitable effort, the Lady Patriots have decided to help fundraise in the Memory of the Students and Teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut.

There are many facets to this effort, which are fundraising, good will between communities, hospitality, and a friendly competitive soccer game between the Portsmouth High School Girls’ Team and the Newtown High School Girls’ Team.

The Newtown team will be graciously hosted by the Inn at Newport Harbor Hotel for the weekend. They will also enjoy sightseeing events in Newport. On Saturday, October 5th at 6pm Portsmouth will play Newtown in a friendly competitive game hosted by Roger Williams University. We would love to have you attend and see some very competitive and well played soccer!

One major part of this event is a monetary donation towards the Newtown International Center for Education, a Parent and Community Organization. This organization supports teacher scholarships and professional development to bring resources to their classrooms.

This is where we need your help with this endeavor. We are hoping you can make a contribution now to help us with this effort. This is a tax exempt donation; the tax ID number is 46-0578959.

If you have the ability to donate please make checks out to the PHS Athletic Boosters Club and in the Memo line please write Newtown Soccer. The mailing address for your donation is:
PHS Athletic Boosters Club
PO Box 438
Portsmouth, RI 02871

We are working hard to make this event as memorable for the Newtown Team. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Jim Blaess and the PHS Girls Varsity Soccer Team

Editorial note: Written from a PHS e-mail

Localblogging, 02871, PHS

Portsmouth senior runs anti-bullying fundraiser; Cicilline helps collect names for Obama

Anti-bullying benefit tournament at Ernie's Karate
PHS senior Amanda McCabe kicks off anti-bullying fundraiser

This morning, Ernie's Karate in Portsmouth hosted PHS student Amanda McCabe's senior project, a benefit martial arts tournament which raised more than $500 for the RI Parent Information Network 2012 Anti-Bully Walk.

More than 100 students, parents, and friends packed the East Main Road studio as McCabe kicked off the event. "Close your eyes," she said. "Now raise your hand if you've been bullied, witnessed bullying, or even been involved in bullying yourself." She waited a moment. "Now open your eyes and look around," she said. A majority of those in the room had their hands up. "That's why we're here."

Participants donated $5 to compete in each event (forms, weapons, synchronized forms) and parents and friends stuffed a jar on the counter on the way in to support RIPIN's efforts. It was a a fun morning of wonderful karate demonstrations for a good cause.

Rep. David Cicilline talks with Len Katzman
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) talks with Portsmouth's Len Katzman

This afternoon, Rep. David Cicilline was on hand at the People's Cafe on Thames Street in Newport to help volunteers collect the 1,000 signatures needed to get President Barack Obama's name on the April 24 primary ballot.

Local political figures who stopped by to help included State Sen. Lou DiPalma (D-12), RI Rep. Peter Martin (D-75), and Portsmouth's former Sen. Chuck Levesque and Democratic Party chair Len Katzman.

And, just a reminder. If you're a Democrat, and want to throw your hat in the ring as a delegate to the national convention in Charlotte, the RI Democratic Party will be hosting a workshop on running for delegate next Tuesday night in Bristol.

Full disclosure: Our son is a student at Ernie's (which is an awesome school) and I am an officer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee who signed President Obama's nomination papers.

Localblogging, 02871, Schools, PHS, 2012

PHS musicians make semifinals of US band competition

According to an e-mail sent out on the PHS listserv, an alternative rock band, "Scarlet," featuring four PHS seniors — Christopher Cooney, Donald Larson, Jacob Telford and Zack Rego — has made it to the regional semifinals of the National Association for Music Education "SchoolJam" battle of the bands, and they need everyone in Portsmouth to vote them up. From the e-mail:

They are currently one of twelve semifinalists in the Northeast region and to make it to the finals they need to receive the top two highest votes in the region. Becoming finalists would send them to Anaheim, California in January to compete for prizes and gain valuable exposure.

Here's what's at stake for them and for Portsmouth High if they make it:

  • For 1st Place: A trip to Europe to perform at SchoolJam Germany in the Spring of 2011, $5,000 for PHS's music program and $1,000 towards the purchase musical gear for Scarlet
  • For 2nd Place: $3,000 for PHS's music program and $750 towards the purchase musical gear
  • For 3rd Place: $1,500 for PHS's music program and $500 towards the purchase of musical gear
  • For 4th-10th Place: $1,000 for PHS's school music programs and $250 towards the purchase of musical gear

All you have to do to vote is:

  1. Visit and register with your email
  2. Once you register and receive a confirmation email go to the northeast category and cast your vote for Scarlet (SchoolJam will not send you any spam so don't worry about providing your email)
  3. Vote once per day now through November 30, 2010 so once you get registered don't forget to keep up with it, Scarlet needs all of your support
  4. Additionally you will automatically be entered to win $1000 each time you vote.

Tell everyone you know to sign up and vote every day, as the finalists are determined solely on number of votes. The finalists will be announced on Dec 1, 2010 and we would be so proud to see Portsmouth's own Scarlet on the list!

If you haven't already checked out Scarlet, you can download their 5-track EP for FREE at and keep up with them on

Hey all you Patriots, vote early, vote often!

Disclaimer: Written substantially from a listserv message.

Localblogging, 02871, PHS, band, Music