Portland: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Portland Public School System (PPS) enjoys a reputation for excellence and has been ranked among the top 10 education systems in the nation. Maine's largest and most diverse school district, PPS offers a challenging academic curriculum with a wide array of educational choices, including expeditionary learning and vocational training. The district's learning facilities range from a one-room schoolhouse on Cliff Island, to the second-oldest public high school in the nation, to a state-of-the-art elementary school under construction as of 2005.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Portland Public School District as of the 2004–2005 school year.

Total enrollment: 7,500

Number of facilities elementary schools: 10

junior high/middle schools: 4

senior high schools: 3

Student/teacher ratio: 11.2:1 (2002-2003)

Teacher salaries median: $47,682 (elementary school); $49,719 (high school)

Funding per pupil: $10,302

Approximately 3,000 Portland area students attend the city's 19 parochial and private schools.

Public Schools Information: Portland Public Schools, 331 Veranda St., Portland, ME 04103; telephone (207)874-8111

Colleges and Universities

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is the largest campus of the University of Maine system's seven campuses. USM has three campuses, in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston, with a total enrollment of 11,007. USM offers more than 40 academic programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Nursing and Health Professions; and its schools of Business, Public Service, Law, and Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology. The Maine College of Art is an independent school of art and design offering Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The University of New England, a highly-ranked regional university, offers degree programs in health sciences, natural sciences, human services, management, education, and the liberal arts, and has the only medical school—the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine—in the state of Maine. The university is comprised of two campuses; the primary one is located in nearby Biddeford, while the secondary one, known as Westbrook College, is in Portland. Renowned Bowdoin College, founded in 1794, is located in Brunswick, about 25 miles northeast of Portland. Bowdoin graduated some of New England's most famous nineteenth-century writers, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, and was a home base for Arctic exploration, having graduated Robert E. Peary. Two-year institutions in the Portland area include Andover, with campuses in Portland and Lewiston; and South Portland's Southern Maine Community College. The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers semester-long programs in documentary studies.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Portland Public Library serves as the major resource library for the Southern Maine Library District, part of the Maine Regional Library System. It has five branches and one bookmobile. The main building, located in the heart of downtown Portland, maintains a collection of 315,603 volumes, 1,880 periodical subscriptions, 2,450 compact discs, 2,870 video cassettes, 6,990 audio cassettes, and 400 phonograph records. Special services include an Art Department, a HealthShare Program, a children's art series, and a collection of resources on Maine history, genealogy, and fine printing. The Maine Historical Society Research Library holds more than one million books, manuscripts, and maps related to Maine and New England history. Area colleges and universities also maintain libraries; among these are the Donald L. Garbrecht Law Library at the University of Southern Maine, which has 371,000 volumes and 3,328 periodical subscriptions; undergraduate libraries at the university house more than 400,000 items plus a special collection of antique maps, globes, and atlases.

Research facilities located in Portland include the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, which specializes in biology, genetics, outcomes and health services research, and clinical research; the University of Maine Marine Law Institute, the only law school-affiliated marine policy research program in the Northeast; the University of Southern Maine Center for Business and Economic Research; and its Small Business Development Center.

Public Library Information: Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)871-1700; fax (207)871-1715