PHS principal defends district’s reputation

By Ryan Ottney

September 13, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Portsmouth High School Principal Doug Poage debunked some of the misconceptions about Portsmouth City Schools Thursday morning during a meeting of the district’s first Educational Forum Meeting of the new school year.

“The thing that frustrates me is people will be talking to me, and they’ll forget and they’ll say ‘Oh, Portsmouth. How can you work there?’” Poage said.

He asked the crowd attending the forum what they’ve heard about Portsmouth School, and they answered that the school is said to be violent and low performing, and the only time they hear anything about the school is when it’s bad.

It was the same question he said he asked to a group of newly hired teachers this year.

“I sat down and asked them, what did you hear about us before you came here. That there are fights; that our kids are horrible; they’re all behavior problems; they’re this and that. Then I asked them is any of what you perceived true. No,” Poage said. “I had one of our new teachers that said daily at a county school here in Scioto County he was breaking up fights in the halls. Daily. Why would you want to go there? We haven’t had a fight in, I would have to go back to last spring maybe. The things that people put out there about us just aren’t true.”

He said the school should do a better job promoting all of its good programs and successes.

“We have kids go to Ohio State, and we have kids go to the University of Cincinnati. We have kids right now in these halls, I could bring them in, we have National Merit Semi-finalists. We have one man going through the process of West Point. We have another young man in the process of being appointed to the Naval Academy. Those kids are here. I don’t think anybody else can say that,” Poage said. “I know nobody else can say they have the drum major at Ohio State as an alumni.”

He grinned proudly as he teased there’s another Portsmouth student in that band also — his son Collin Poage.

“One of the neatest moments is to go up every Saturday, and both of those kids, my son and David Pettit, want to come back. They asked me after the game last Saturday, ‘Can we come back and talk to students and show them?’,” Poage said. “The experiences those kids have gotten, they came from here. They were prepared here. They’re excelling in a world, but they came from here.”

He said the school has also added ACT prep classes, and offers up to 12 hours of dual college credit.

“When you walk out of here, I hope you realize, this is a good place to be. This is a good place for people to send their children. They’re not going to be taken care of anywhere else any better than what we can do for them,” Poage said.

Also during the forum meeting on Thursday, Superintendent Scott Dutey discussed safety and the district’s report card results, and teachers and building principals delivered updates about their current news and projects. Portsmouth City School hosts the public educational forums quarterly.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.