MARK PORTERIE — April provides plenty for Port Arthur ISD to celebrate

Published 12:06 am Sunday, April 2, 2023

Welcome into April 2023! This month is filled with holidays, observances and, for PAISD, the beginning of the 2023 yearly state assessments.

This year, April will observe Easter Sunday, which for some, will be the center of attention for celebrations. The month of April is also associated with springtime, new beginnings and a time to open up and allow the sun and positive energy into our lives.

April comes from the Latin verb “Aperire,” which means “to open.” Like the flowers and trees, we will shed coats and jackets and move into t-shirts and shorts. April is a month worth celebrating, including Tuesday/April 18, which is the tax filing deadline for most Americans.

Dr. Mark L. Porterie,
superintendent of schools

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Please be reminded that today (April 1) is April Fool’s Day. You could be faced with some friendly pranks, which will either bring a laugh or a frown. We have to remember not everyone appreciates a good joke.

KUDOS to the PAISD Police Department and also the City of Port Arthur Police Force and Constables for their urgency and professionalism as they responded to what was ultimately determined to be a hoax.  A call recently received in reference to one of our schools reported false information that someone was violently injured and could be found in one of our campuses.

More than 30 law enforcement officers took charge of the alleged threat and acted with experience, precision, stealth, expert knowledge and, most of all, common sense. Watching the professionalism of the officers has brought me a new sense of calm, and I firmly believe any officer would willingly sacrifice his or her life to protect our facilities and keep our students and staff safe.

During the month of April, we will focus on learning more about, appreciating and accepting autism. Over the years, we have witnessed an increase in the number of students who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

According to the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring report, approximately 1 in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.

People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. Some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills, whereas others may be nonverbal.

Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support. It is important that when we learn of people who have been diagnosed with autism, we must not place them in a stereotypical or unfavorable category without getting to know the actual person.

Educating oneself on the facts of autism allows one to gain a better and truthful understanding and be able to share facts with others.

PAISD continues to congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of our students, staff and schools, including, but not limited to, the following:

• UIL participation and wins across various campuses (such as MHS-9, Lincoln and Wilson);

• Wilson Early College students Damien Broxton II and Kasi Randals being crowned Mr. And Miss Top Teen of America, Port Arthur Chapter;

• newly inducted members of TTA-PAC from many of our secondary schools;

• student artwork being featured at the YMBL SETX State Fair;

• MHS senior Alondra Gallegos competing at the THSWPA 5A DI State Powerlifting Meet  in Frisco, TX;

• elementary gifted and talented (GT) students rewarded for completing selective reading assignments and animated presentations at our 4th Annual GT Bluebonnet Brunch;

• our Middle School Robotics Team won 1st place in two categories, 4th place in a third category and 6th place at the GEAR Robotics Competition 2023;

• CATE Campus Welding students finished 5th place out of 10 schools in the Industrial Craft Competition at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the barbecue pit they built; and the list goes on and on!

As we continue to “spring forward” toward the mark of successfully completing state testing, grade level promotions and high school and early college graduations, PAISD continues to support our staff and student successes.

We look forward to seeing prospective PAISD employees at our annual career fair Wednesday (April 5) from 4 to 6 p.m. at Memorial High School.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at