Ocean Avenue School News

May/June 2021 ~ Volume 53, Issue 53

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The Final Countdown...


  • VIRTUAL INCOMING KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION ~ Wednesday, May 19 at 4 PM by Zoom (Link has been shared out will all incoming K families. Please call the Main Office if you need the link to be shared out again. Thanks!)

  • INCOMING KINDERGARTEN STUDENT SCREENINGS ~ Wednesday, May 26 and Wednesday, June 2 (Individual screening appointments are being booked through the Main Office at OAES.)

  • LAST DAY OF LEARNING WORKS ~ Thursday, May 27 (All LW students' laptops should be returned.)

  • NO SCHOOL ~ Monday, May 31 ~ Memorial Day

  • FIFTH GRADE TIE-DYE UNDER TENT BY BASKETBALL HOOPS ~ Tuesday, June 1, 8-10:30 AM (Rain Date: 6/3)

  • PTO MEETING ~ Wednesday, June 2, 6 PM (Zoom Link is in the PTO section at bottom of newsletter.)

  • STEP-UP DAY ~ Thursday, June 10, 11-11:30 AM (Students will stay in their current classrooms and teachers will move to each classroom.)

  • EGG DROP (Grades 3-5 only) ~ Friday, June 11 (This year, students will be doing the planning and building all at school. This is a student-only event.)

  • FIFTH GRADE PROMOTION CEREMONY ~ Monday, June 14, 10 AM (Zoom Only for Parents). More details to follow.

  • LAST DAY OF SCHOOL ~ Tuesday, June 15, 12:30 PM

  • FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (Grades 1-5) ~ Tuesday, August 31

  • FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL (Pre-K and Kindergarten) ~ Thursday, September 2

  • DISMISSAL REMINDERS ~ Thank you so much for helping us have a smooth dismissal, with all the changes to four-days of in-person learning. We have been having more parents parking on Walton or other side streets and walking onto campus. Families are connected with their students quickly in these two “walk up” lines. Parents driving up have been patient with us, again, thank you! It takes us all working together to have 325 students getting to the right place in 10-15 minutes. Great Teamwork!

Possip Parent Survey Results

Hi, Ocean Avenue Families,

Thank you for sharing ideas through the Possip parent survey. We’ve heard from 244 of you during the course of the year. We are seeing that 97% of you are happy or mostly happy with OAES!

Thank you for sharing your praise and feedback around the increased in-person time. We appreciate your input as we offer our students more in-person learning time.

This week we heard members in the school community share examples of praise, appreciation, and feedback or questions.

  • Praise for the welcoming drop-off, fun music and upbeat atmosphere.
  • Praise for our supportive teachers, who are supporting the whole child.
  • Questions about picture day and testing information. We will not have picture day this year, and families with grades 3-5 students will find testing information in your newsletter.
  • Questions about Wednesdays and connecting with teachers. Work is not assigned to students on Wednesdays as a whole. This day is reserved for students needing more. If a child is not on track for growing academically one grade level (or more if below level), then the teacher will be assigning work and meeting virtually with students individually or in small groups. Next week, we are holding parent conferences; this will allow parents to connect with teachers. Both teachers and parents enjoyed the conferences this winter. We are keeping the same Zoom format for next week.

We are taking all of your feedback and ideas into consideration for our future planning and follow-up. We hope to hear from you again on our next Possip Pulse Check!

Thanks again for sharing!

Beverly Stevens,


NWEA and MEA Science Assessments

This year, the Maine Department of Education is forgoing the longer set of Reading and Math testing and using the shorter NWEA assessment as the State Test. The good news is that our students are already used to this assessment, as we usually take it each fall and spring. Third, fourth and fifth grade students will be taking the NWEA Math and Reading assessments in the coming weeks (see schedule below).

The NWEA measures achievement and growth. Teachers use these results to tailor classroom lessons and set goals for students. The results provide a more complete picture of what your child knows and is ready to learn. Each test takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Fifth grade students will also be taking the new Maine science assessment based on the Maine science and engineering standards. This assessment measures the application of knowledge rather than rote recall. This assessment includes three sessions lasting about one hour each.

Please take note of the days and times your student will be assessed and try to avoid medical appointments or anything that takes your child out of school. If your child misses an assessment, they will need to take it another time and miss out on instructional time. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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Fifth Grade Exhibition

In this extraordinary year of pandemic-careful cohort learning, Ocean Avenue Elementary School is SO PROUD to present the work of our Fifth Graders in their virtual EXHIBITION INQUIRIES.

The students explored issues that reflected what they value and what they want to take action on.

The CENTRAL IDEA for Exhibition 2021 is:

People express their ideas, feelings, beliefs, and values when
they align themselves with issues, movements,
and causes.

Here is the 5th Grade Exhibition Google Site. You are invited to “enter” the classrooms of Ms. Gurney, Ms. Lantos and Ms. Guillaume Chimenti, and join the student teams as they offer their presentations. ENJOY!

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Summer Programming

We have several summer programs at school this year. While many students made a year's worth (or more) of academic growth this year, we have about a third of our students needing more time. We will be inviting a little over 100 students to a summer program. Classroom teachers will be talking to families about our fun summer learning experiences during conferences the week of May 17.

Nurse Notes

Health and Safety Update

TRAVEL: Beginning May 1st, the state will lift restrictions on travel to most states. Individuals should monitor themselves after travel for signs or symptoms of illness. If any symptoms develop, stay home and follow protocol for testing and medical follow up. PPS will follow state guidelines on travel and will continue to monitor cases at school related to travel.

MASKS AND DISTANCING: The CDC has eased requirements on wearing masks outdoors. PPS will continue to require individuals to wear masks when on school grounds. When eating or drinking, individuals must maintain 6 foot distancing.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: Pfizer COVID vaccine is approved for people 12 and older!!!!

  • Northern Light: Wednesday 5/12/21 and Friday 5/14/21 from 9 AM - 3 PM at the Portland Expo has vaccine available for people 12 and up. Ages 12-15 MUST have a parent present for the vaccine.

  • MaineHealth is pre-registering people 12 and up for vaccine appointments: https://vaccine.mainehealth.org/

  • Intermed has a public vaccine sign up for people 12 and up: https://www.intermed.com/publicvaccine/

  • Stay tuned for more places to get people 12 and older vaccinated!

COVID vaccine clinics with walk in options this week (week of May 10, 2021):

  • Wednesday and Friday 9 AM - 3 PM at the Portland Expo

    • Northern Light Health

    • Anyone 16 and over

    • If you are 16 or 17 years old, bring a parent/guardian OR make sure they are available by phone to give consent

    • If you have insurance card, bring that with you. If you don't have insurance, no worries, you can still get the vaccine

    • Bring something with your name and address on it (ID)

  • Monday - Friday 9 AM to 6 PM and Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM at the Northern Light Pharmacy on Fore River Campus

    • Anyone 18 and over

    • If you have insurance card, bring that with you. If you don't have insurance, no worries, you can still get the vaccine

    • Bring something with your name and address on it (ID)

  • Thursday 5/13, 4 - 7 PM at Guild Hall, 313 Congress St, Portland (Next to Portland Adult Education)

    • Anyone 18 and over

    • Moderna Vaccine

  • Monday 5/10-Thursday 5/20, 8 AM - 5 PM at Scarborough Downs in Scarborough

    • MaineHealth

    • Anyone 18 and over

    • Johnson and Johnson vaccine (1 shot)

Where to get the COVID vaccine:

Look at the following sites for COVID vaccine appointments:

MANA and Maine DHHS are offering free transportation services for COVID-related needs such as testing, vaccine, and quarantine/isolation shelters. Please share with your networks.

Flyers and translations: English, French, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili

TESTING: At-home Covid-19 tests are available for purchase. While these tests are useful to self- monitor, please be aware these tests are not accepted at school if testing is required for travel, exposure, or symptoms. If you or your student needs a COVID test, check out: https://get-tested-covid19.org or ask your school nurse about our PPS testing clinic for students and staff.

Notice to Fifth Grade Parents about Sports Physicals

While it is difficult to know if sports will be in full swing in the Fall because of covid, in order to participate, your child will need to have had a physical exam within the past two years. I would encourage you to take advantage of the summer months to schedule your child for their check-up so that he/she will be ready to play if they have the opportunity! FYI--The middle school will need a note from your child's doctor saying that your child has been seen, is healthy and able to participate in sports.

Immunization Requirements to Attend School

All children attending elementary school in Maine MUST have the following immunizations:

  • 5 DtaP (4 if the 4th dose was given on or after 4th birthday)
  • 4 Polio (3 if the 3rd dose was given on or after 4th birthday)
  • 2 MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • 1 Varicella (chicken pox) or reliable history of disease

Beginning in September 2021, due to the passage of LD 798, ONLY medical exemptions (documented by your child's primary care provider) will be accepted. This means ALL children must be vaccinated in order to attend school.

The purpose of this change is to protect children from preventable communicable diseases. Exposure to communicable diseases can be life-threatening to anyone with a weakened immune system. This includes children who have autoimmune disease, organ transplants or are fighting cancer. Our goal is to make our school environment safe and healthy for all of our students.

If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you.

~ Nurse Laurie

News from Our Classrooms

Beach Classroom News

Beach students spent this week designing and decorating a picture frame for Mother's Day. Then they each wrote a poem describing what they like best about their mom.

They have also been "thinking spring" by making flowers for our windows, planting seeds, making sure they get enough water and sunlight, and watching them grow!

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Third Grade Classroom News

Check out the learning targets for the 3rd grade unit that they read with Because of Winn-Dixie. Nice work, 3rd grade!
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News for Our Specialists

Art Room News

  • Kindergarten (Ms. Shaffer and Ms. Hodgkins) students finished their landscapes with torn paper sheep after April break, and then tackled landscapes and seascapes with lines and shapes inspired by Heather Galler. Students also made miniature versions of landscapes and seascapes with cardboard and model magic. Students are finishing up their 6 weeks in Art with Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist famous for her dots and installations of pumpkins!

  • 2nd Grade (Ms. McGhie) students are finishing up their 6 weeks with fish! They showed off their knowledge of warm and cool colors with a trout painting using oil pastels and watercolor. Tackling their IB unit of Sharing the Planet, students had to think about environmental components (living vs. non-living) and relationships. Paintings of a pet fish will be sent home soon! Ask your students about the differences of their two paintings.

  • 3rd Grade (Pike and Vaznis) students discovered the differences between organic and geometric shapes by creating cranes with forms (cubes, triangular prisms, etc.) and symmetrical organic bugs (butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies). Make sure to ask your 3rd grader what shapes they like better (organic vs. geometric), and what type of symmetry they used: bilateral, radial, or even asymmetrical.

On May 17th, specials will be rotating again! Lantos, Peterson, Rounds, Moran, and Bakutis will have art until summer break.

  • Ms. Lantos' class will be making the 5th grade graffiti display to be hung inside the school! The message: Welcome (in many languages). Their focus: Who We Are - in terms of relationships, identity, and interdependence. They will be learning about artists Andrea Pippins while learning about graphic empowerment, Lkhagvadorj Enkhbat for "confronting the uncomfortable," and Bee Harris, Amy Sherald, and Kehinde Wiley for their final self portraits.

  • Ms. Peterson's class will be focusing on IB units: Sharing the Planet and How We Express Ourselves, with an emphasis on Patterns. We'll be exploring Alma Thomas for recycled collage, Heather Galler for shape and line in pattern, Tarsila do Amoral for landscape, and William Johnson for self portraits.

  • Fourth Grade (Ms. Bakutis, Ms. Moran, Mr. Rounds) will be tackling the IB unit: How the World Works concerning systems, patterns, technology, and energy. Students will start off with an Adia Millet study for eco-homes, pattern landscapes, and abstract design. Ma Paisui will follow to show landscapes in a warm vs. cool colors setting. Lastly, Freddy Rodriquez will inspire pouch weavings with his geometric lines and technology inclusion.
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PTO Virtual Talent Show ~ Grades 3-5

Check out the amazing talent of some of Ocean Avenue's 3rd through 5th grade students. Thank you to the PTO for putting together this fun event, and thank you to our students who participated. Great work!

Monthly Breakfast, Snack, and Lunch Menus

Please CLICK HERE for the monthly breakfast, snack and lunch menus for Portland Public Schools.

The PPS' Food Service department has signed up for the Maine Harvest of the Month (HOM) program! Each month Food Service will locally purchase a different Maine product to feature in school meals.

The March harvest item is: MAINE BLUEBERRIES. Keep an eye out for wild blueberry yogurt parfaits in school lunch on May 7th and May 20th!

Here is the link to the Cafeteria Classroom where other HOM resources will be posted throughout the month.

An important update about school meal pickup sites!

  • All school meals are free for the rest of the 2021 school year and are for ALL students! Meal sites are open Monday-Friday 1-2 pm at at Casco Bay High School and Deering High School. Portland High School and Gerald E. Talbot Community School are now Wednesday ONLY sites from 1-2 pm.

  • Lastly, the USDA extends flexibilities to provide FREE meals to children through the summer months!

2021-2022 School Calendar

The Portland Board Of Public Education has approved the 2021-22 School Calendar.

As they plan for the start of the 2021-2022 school year this fall, they are proposing adjustments in school start and end times that build off the schedule changes that they made this year and begin to move our secondary schools to later start times. Click here for more information.

Emergency Broadband Benefit ~ Helping Households Connect During the Pandemic

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application.

You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311

Children's Vision Digital Screen Tips

Now that it's warmer outdoors, it's time for kids to get outside to play (where it's safe to do so) and time for them to take a break from digital devices!

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Meetings will be on Zoom until further notice.

Wednesday, June 2, 6-7:30 PM

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 897 3593 8430

Passcode: 863617


-Interest in joining PTO next year? Looking to be more connected to OAES? We are looking for board members and committee members. All are welcome and there are opportunities for all levels of commitment. Interested people can reach out to Rosie Lenehan (president@oapto.org) or Kate Kessler (vicepresident@oapto.org).


-Support your school by joining your fellow parents in the Dolphin Cove. It's really easy to set up a recurring donation of $20, $10 or $5 per month. If you've already supported - Thank you!

Superintendent's Column

View the Superintendent's Monthly Column for April 2021.