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Developing a Proficiency-Based System

April 23, 2014

What’s it all about?

In February the Maine Department of Education posted the following in their news room. I know that this would be helpful to some arts educators as you move forward with your work getting ready for the Proficiency Based High School diploma starting with the graduating class of 2018 (that is next years 9th graders). Go directly to the post by clicking here.

Join arts educators on Wednesday, May 7 for a discussion on the Proficiency-Based High School diploma on the next Maine Arts Assessment webinar, 3:30-4:30. To join the webinar (at 3:20) please go to http://stateofmaine.adobeconnect.com/maaimay2014. One contact hour is available.

The goal of proficiency-based education is to ensure that students acquire the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers and the centerpiece of achieving proficiency is a clear focus on learning and instruction.

In proficiency-based education, students who have not met standards receive additional academic support to help them achieve proficiency. When a student demonstrates proficiency in the expected standards, they move on in their education. The standards include content area knowledge and skills as well as those of the Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles, which include critical thinking and problem-solving.

Implementing the requirement that high schools award proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018 places student demonstration of skills and knowledge at the center of instruction, assessments and reporting. School administrative units (SAUs) can work together or with other SAUs to develop their system for awarding of proficiency-based diplomas. Additionally, SAUs may add to the expectations for proficiency described in the content area standards and Guiding Principles

There is extensive guidance for developing educational systems that support student proficiency. The literature that describes proficiency-based education systems includes the work of Dr. John Hattie, professor and director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia and Dr. Michael Fullan, Canadian educational researcher and former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Hattie’s synthesis of over 800 meta-studies is the result of 15 years of research. His recent publication Visible Learning for Teachers points to the top 10 influences on student learning. Fullan reminds school leaders to build a system of support for all learners. Fullan asserts that raising the bar (for all students) and closing the gap (for lower performing groups) is dependent on choosing four drivers that have been demonstrated to be effective at achieving measurable improvements in results for students.

As educators build proficiency-based systems, they must continuously evaluate how well their educational programs and pathways provide each student with the opportunity to learn and make progress toward demonstrating proficiency of Maine’s learning standards. The guidance offered by Hattie and Fullan can provide educators and community members with criteria against which they can evaluate and enhance proficiency-based education.

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MAEA Awardees

April 22, 2014

Honoring our colleagues

Nothing like the opportunity to honor and celebrate the good work of arts educators! Congratulations to Allison, Jennifer, Brian, Janie, and Jenny!

Allison

Allison Price – Maine’s 2014 Art Educator of the Year

Allison’s passion, along with educating and creating art are quality art shows. Chair of the MAEA Member Exhibitions, Allison is prime to share her gifts. Exhibitions occur every year with some multiple opportunities taking advantage of varying locations. Allison is a true collaborator working with other dedicated volunteers and location staff ensuring that the experience is as committed to a professional experience as we are committed to our practice. Sharing what Maine Art Educators do inside and outside of the classroom studio, including the blending of exhibition, education and all the benefits that provide opportunities to share practice beyond theory.

Allison is a committed Brunswick High School art educator. The work exhibited in her classroom studio, school and collegial sharing opportunities reflects a talented educator with a strong ability to work with young student artists to produce artworks with evidence of inquiry and quality. Allison is passionate, friendly, professional and always available to help. She is genuine, highly trained in her field and devoted. Devoted to art education, art making, art exhibitions, and her colleagues! A grand slam. Congratulations Allison!

 

JM

Jennifer Merry – Maine’s 2014 High School Art Educator of the Year

Jennifer Merry has taught visual art at Thornton Academy for 28 years. Innovative, creative, and a caring educator, she has a natural ability to lead by example in the classroom, guiding students toward their own art-related accomplishments.
Jennifer is an artist who inspires us all to be better people. One of Jennifer’s true gifts is her compassion for others. Her classroom is a joyous, safe, inviting place where students can summon their creativity and become an artist on a whole new level.

She currently teaches Painting, Drawing, Illustration, and Visual Art I. She also co-teaches an after-school class for female students called Sailing through Girlhood. She is the TA Art Club Advisor, Co-Founder and Member of the Permanent Art Collection Committee, and Co-Founder and Member of Cinderella’s Closet, which recycles dresses for students in need. She currently Chairs the Mentor Support Team, a group of trained faculty that assist new teachers.

She is a painter, draftswoman, and photographer whose work has been exhibited in local art exhibits. Jennifer lives in Kennebunkport with her husband John and she has two sons, Johnny and Charlie. She also teaches Sunday School at South Congregational Church in  Kennebunkport.

 

Janie

Jane Snider – Maine’s 2014 Maine Middle Level Art Educator of the Year

Ms. Janie Snider is truly one of the best. Janie knows how to engage learners while simultaneously addressing educational standards; reads professionally and attends educational seminars; and continues to grow as a teacher and leader in her field. She has conducted several teacher workshops demonstrating how to unpack the Maine Learning Results Visual Arts Standards.

During her tenure at Hancock Grammar School, Ms. Snider has involved fifth grade students in the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, a program designed to bring artists from Maine and around the world to sculpture a single piece of public art from Maine granite.  This field trip reaches across the curriculum as it encompasses art, writing, science, social studies, and math which aligned with the Maine Learning Results, Visual and Performing Arts Standards.

Ms. Snider involves parents and community members through her thoughtful and creative projects. Soup for the Soul, involves students from grades 6-8 sold during the benefit, proceeds going toward a charitable cause for a community member who suffered from ALS.

Because Ms. Snider is explicitly thoughtful about her classroom practices, her students learn to do art well. She simply knows how to bring out the best in her students, and … isn’t that really what good teaching is all about?

 

BrianDMcPherson

Brian McPherson – Maine’s 2014 Elementary Art Educator of the Year

Brian McPherson is remarkable. While he is truly a committed visual art educator of the highest caliber he is also an advocate for good teaching, good learning, and good outcomes for people of all types across all situations:  students, colleagues, parents, and educators.

Brian is dedicated to his students’ art, his drive to showcase their creativity on the school walls, in district level buildings, in local community venues, art museums and galleries, and even the State House in Augusta. He is driven to improve himself and his practice. He was supported by his school district to earn National Board Teacher Certification in 2007, the first elementary art teacher in the state to earn the honor. His professional life has taken him to various parts of Europe, Southeast Asia and China, where what he brings back are not merely cultural artifacts, but inspiration for what’s next in his curriculum development.

As a member of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative he has been a conference presenter and curriculum developer for the Resource Bank. His work has been recognized and selected to be part of a video series highlighting Standards Based Art Education at the Elementary Level.  A true career professional art educator, Brian’s Principal, Rick Dedek II states, “Brian is one of the best teachers I have ever known.”

 

Jennifer Kowtko- PORTRAIT

Jennifer Kowtko – Maine’s 2014 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year

Jenny is a 2013 graduate of the Maine College of Art Masters of Art in Teaching program. She also holds a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Jenny has over a decade of freelance illustration and other work experience, which has given her a wealth of professional experiences that she is able to draw upon in her teaching. Since graduating from MECA, Jenny has spent the current school year as a long-term sub at Windham Primary School and most recently at Kennebunk High School, where she will finish out the duration of the year teaching Art Foundations, Painting, and I.B. (International Baccalaureate) Visual Art.

A New Jersey native, Jenny has been proud to call Portland, Maine her home for the last 11 years. She is grateful for the wisdom and generosity of her own mentors, coworkers, and former teachers, the love and support of her husband Brian, and the undying loyalty of her adopted cattle dog. With great enthusiasm and anticipation, Jenny is currently seeking an art teacher position for the coming school year.

 

 

 

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Pam Kinsey Blog Post

April 21, 2014

Aroostook county Music educator Pam Kinsey makes a statement!

The following post was contributed by K-12 music educator Pam Kinsey who teaches in Easton, Maine. Easton is in Aroostook county, about a 20 minute drive east of Presque Isle. There are several arts educators in Maine who teach K-12, many in rural areas. The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) makes a commitment to all arts educators in Maine providing professional development opportunities for rural, urban, and everything in between. Pam has served on the MAAI leadership team for 2 years representing Maine Music Educators Association. The leadership team is thrilled that Pam will be attending the New England Summit on Arts Education at USM, July 29, 30, 31 and August 1. This is Pam’s first summer joining the professional development opportunity and we all hope that you can join us as well!

IMG_3233How to write a blog post? I guess you just start to write down your thoughts. Are you part of a small or rural school system? Are you a department of one? What do you think when they say (for professional development days):  ‘We are going to work by department” and you think ‘hmmmm….me, myself and I—again. What if you could be part of a team? Perhaps develop curriculum and rubrics, lesson plans and grading strategies with others from your discipline? Tackle standards-based learning outcomes with someone who has the same struggles and celebrations that you encounter on a daily basis? The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) probably has something for you! For many years (over 20!)

I have been a department of one. The neighboring town now has a music department of one and the communities two over from my district each have music departments of one. What a great idea if we could all collaborate to create meaningful instruction that aligns at least with one another as we pore over new curriculum expectations and standards-based outcomes? Often, our populations are transitory and some students travel freely from district to district, depending on a parent’s current situation. I, for one, would love to avoid the gaps that all of this moving can create for students, as well as a seamless flow of curriculum through the grade levels for students that don’t move around. I would like to do this in a group of more than one!

The MAAI is responding to feedback and offering the ‘New England Summit on Arts Education’ this summer, July 29, 30, 31, USM, Portland, and it has opportunities for individuals and teams to work together to problem solve these and other aspects of teaching and learning for our students in the arts. I already have a few choices in mind of other music educators that I can contact and I can only hope that they will share my interest. If not, I know that when I attend I will still find others who share my concerns and attitudes toward wanting to provide the best education in the arts that I can and these people will become part of my learning community. Either way I am sure it will be a win-win opportunity for my students and for me!

IMG_2908For more information on the New England Summit please go to http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/NESummit#. Registration is now open with an early bird discount for those who register by May 30. The Summit is being customized to meet your needs. There is a team discount for those who register with at least from a district. The team strand is not only open to PreK-12 district Visual and Peforming Arts teachers and classroom teachers, but also to administrators, teaching artists, community cultural organizations or institute members, parents, and/or school board members. Check out the link above to learn more.

If you are interested in joining the MAAI as a teacher leader please attend the 3-day Summit and the additional day for teacher leaders only, August 1. If you have questions about the Summit and/or being a teacher leader, please contact Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Playwrite Competition

April 20, 2014

Kennedy Center VSA

The Kennedy Center VSA Playwright Discovery Competition invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of script writing. Writers may write from their own experience and observations or create fictional characters and settings. Scripts can be comedies, dramas, or even musicals. Maximum award: Division 1 (Grades 6-8, or equivalent): $375 for his/her school; publication in the 2014 VSA Playwright Discovery Program booklet. Division 2 (Grades 9-12, or equivalent): $750 scholarship, $375 for his/her school; publication in the 2013 VSA Playwright Discovery Program booklet. Deadline: April 28, 2014.

For more information please go to http://www.kennedy-center.org/education/vsa/programs/playwright_discovery.cfm

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Community Supported Arts Project

April 19, 2014

A collaborate project and much more

Susan Bickford is an adjunct professor at the UMA. Recently she did a most interesting collaborate project that challenged students in a unique way. You’ll learn about the project in this post along with Susan’s story.

Susan’s most recent project

1560699_479914208779321_552558491_nThe Collaborative Portrait Project began in my 2-D classroom four years ago. I wanted to develop a project that required a group effort, like the experiential education games that we played on Cow Island at Ripple Effect. I wanted to translate that group leadership dynamic to art making. At the same time I had to deliver the value studies lesson. I was also mandated to work both digitally and manually. So in this project I begin by asking the students to research and nominate a hero, “give me three good reasons why I should vote for your candidate”. At first they suggested movie stars and pop idols, like Micheal Jackson, Hugh Jackman, and they were all male. I hinted that they could go deeper and choose people that were more meaningful to them, more relevant of the present time, and more deserving of an epic portrait. Now we are getting nominations like Malala Youzefsai, Amelia Earhardt, Edward Snowden and the Dalai Lama. Each time I do the project I figure out a better way to do a certain aspect of it. The students give me suggestions.

1495476_480294335407975_371321812_nThe most recent iteration of the Collaborative Portrait Project is the Farmers Edition. Over the course of making a video documentary of a growing season on the Goranson Farm, farmers in general had become my heroes. In this case I nominated the farmers that I had worked with in the CSA: Community Supported Arts Project with the Harlow Gallery. Ten of the farmers that participated in that project agreed to be subjects for the portraits. I solicited Allison McKeen to take photographic portraits of the farmers, applied a coded matrix and digital filters. Now all I needed was a group to help me make the 360 panels. Deb Fahy who helped to find funding for the project connected me with the education committee at the Harlow Gallery through which 10 teachers committed to doing the project with their classrooms. I taught the teachers the methods at workshops and distributed the panels. Our first meeting was in April, the students made the panels during the Fall semester and we showed the portraits at the UMA Danforth Gallery in January. We even got materials donated by local businesses: Artist and Craftsman Supply and A.C. Moore. Ten four foot portraits of farmers from Maine, made collaboratively by 10 teachers and their 250 students. Each panel is lovely, it is amazing how they all fit together. You can see them now on the website at www.collaborativeportraitproject.com. Epic Portraiture throughout most of history has been reserved for monarchs, religious leaders, and the very rich. Images of the few, commissioned by the few, made by a master. They reveal the dominant paradigm of their time. Andy Warhol utilizing mechanical reproduction shifted the subjects of portraits to include ordinary people and cinematic moments. Chuck Close magnified virtuosity and mastered imperfection as beauty. In contrast, making portraits in collaboration, redefines how we see ourselves as a group. This is a radically different model, many with many, not icons but locals, not virtuosity but inclusiveness. My colleague Robert Rainey designed a gorgeous documentary book of our process with a DIY section which you can view and purchase on blurb.

participantsCPPF

What are your next steps with the collaborative project?

Thank you so much for asking me that question, you might think that after doing this project with 360 moving pieces and so many people that I would be exhausted but there is something about the group dynamic that is energizing me. You have to follow your flow, so I want to do this nationally. “100 heroes” is what I am calling the next iteration for this system of collaborative portraiture. I want to work with teachers across the country, teach them the project, have each group nominate a local hero and feed it into the system. We will all learn about what amazing things local people are doing all around the country. One thing I learned from the Farmers Edition was that the kids really enjoyed being part of a larger group. It inspired them to work really hard on their panels. To belong to this larger group was expansive and empowering. Another thing that confirmed to me by Carolyn Brown from Camden Hills Regional High School was that the digital filters assisted the students in their manual reproduction. The abstract nature actually facilitated the value study because it reduced the preconception of content. I want to highlight both of these discoveries in the national project. I am developing an online interface so that all of the portraits will be remotely uploaded to the internet, and the participants will be able to pick their panels much like you would pick an airplane seat. Then apply the filters, print them out and manually and reproduce them. Finally they will send them all, carefully coded, snail mail in a packet to the exhibition site. The collection of portraits serves to empower through involvement, and make visible an index of hope for the future. Can you imagine all these newly elected heroes, portraits traveling in pieces across the country toward their exhibition to be put back together like ambassadors of hope? It gives me chills.

What is your background?

As an artist I have always pieced my living together with lots of part time work. I grew up here in Maine, in Yarmouth. My fathers side of the family goes back seven generations in the Lisbon Falls area. When I graduated from college I worked doing environmental graphics in DC for a short time. But I soon moved back to Maine and started my own business making fine craft jewelry. I had big clients like Barneys and Nordstrom as well as many small galleries. I did wholesale trade shows for 15 years, as well as taught ceramics and metal smithing at North Yarmouth Academy and continuing education venues. Then I had my daughter Bella, which changed everything because I wanted to be with her all the time. When she was three, I started the MFA program at Maine College of Art (MECA) which really re-invigorated my art practice. My mom encouraged me to continue my studies. I studied at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the early eighties, now it was the new millennium and so much had changed in those 15 years. In the Masters program at MECA I was required to read and write, to think and articulate my thoughts. My artwork is systems of interactivity. Sometimes I make installation with projected video and sound that viewers can modify with their movements and voice. Other times I make projections for theater. I was the artist in residence at Ripple Effect on Cow Island for several summers, living in a tent, being a video instructor, making rings and environmental sculpture. Nature is a very important element in my work. Since 2003 I have been teaching at the college level within the University of Maine system, Augusta, Farmington, USM, and Orono and more recently at MECA. I teach 2-D, 3-D, Electronic Art and various seminars.

How did you get interested in art? 

I got my start in art because my Grandmother Vivian took me to art classes with her on Tuesday nights all through high school in the seventies. We drew with colored pencils, Mr. Matolchy and Lee Bean were my teachers, I wasn’t very good at drawing but I learned to see, make marks and the discipline of practice. Then my parents funded my undergraduate studies at RISD. I probably would not have gotten accepted if not for those classes. My Dad suggested I major in Industrial Design because it was applied, he was an engineer and liked that idea. It has served me well, I have a fond place in my heart for machines and manufacture, and well functioning, elegant objects. I like problem solving and design process. The jewelry that I made was modular and utilized all of that training. When I think about installation it is with a knowledge of three dimensional space and ability to build things.

What is your role at UMA?

Since 2003 I have been an adjunct faculty member at UMA. We have great art facilities there, for printmaking, sculpture, photography, painting, electronic art and ceramics. The faculty are really passionate about teaching and their media.  Most of our students are place bound and would not have the resources to travel to other locations to study so I feel we are providing a valuable service for Central Maine. In the twenty-first century everyone utilizes media so having some visual literacy is a skill employers are looking for.

For more information email sbickford@tidewater.net.

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Cultural & Strategic Planning Kickoff

April 18, 2014

MAINE ARTS COMMISSION – We Want to Hear from You!

The Maine Arts Commission is looking for artists, arts organizations, economic development professionals, educators, government & elected officials, tourism officials and anyone who is passionate about the arts, to attend a feedback meeting at one of the locations and times shown below.

The purpose of these meetings is to:

  • Inform us of your perceptions of the cultural industry in Maine–both positive
    and negative.
  • Learn about current relationships that exist across sectors and the results they are yielding to enable continued support of what’s working.
  • Explore potential benefits and outcomes of smarter partnerships between the arts and culture sector and other sectors.
  • Lay the groundwork for surveying or obtaining other types of input from these various sectors as appropriate.

Register today! Please click here to reserve your spot in one of the meetings.

APRIL 22 Ÿ 10 – 11:30 a.m. – One Longfellow Square

181 State Street

Portland, ME 04101

 

APRIL 22 Ÿ 2-3:30 p.m. – River Tree Arts

35 Western Avenue

Kennebunk, ME  04043

 

APRIL 23 Ÿ 10-11:30 a.m. – Harlow Gallery

160 Water Street

Hallowell, ME 04347

 

APRIL 23 Ÿ 6:00-7:30 p.m. – University of Maine Museum of Art

40 Harlow Street

Bangor, ME 04401-5102

 

APRIL 24 Ÿ 10-11:30 a.m. – Waterfall Arts

256 High Street

Belfast, ME 04915

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The Ant Girls

April 17, 2014

UMaine, Lewiston

The University of Maine, Lewiston campus is the site for an art exhibit called Ant Farm. The Ant Girls are artists Dorothy Schwartz, Rebecca Goodale, Vivien Russe and Colleen Kinsella. These 4 Maine based artists have been collaborating to merge art and science through the visual exploration of leafcutter ants. The Atrium Art Gallery, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston is the exhibit location and will remain until June 6. The show is a great example of the connection of art and science and would be an excellent exhibit for students to visit.

If your school has limited funding for field trips please note that the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funding is still available and this is a perfect opportunity for your school to apply for the funding. Information and details are located at https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Ticket-to-Ride.

I am delighted to think that Ticket to Ride funds can be used for this–it is such a creative explosion of science and art put together by 4 artists working in different mediums plus a soundtrack! ~Carolyn Wollen

Artist Dorothy (Deedee) Schwartz passed away in March but her husband, musician Elliott performed at the Ant Farm opening this past week with musicians Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella. Elliott and Caleb composed the piece “Ant Girls” for the show.

You can read the Ant Girls blog to learn more. Included are more photos of the exhibit, and listen to the sound tracks of the piece that Elliott and Caleb composed at http://antgirlsmaine.blogspot.com/.

 

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photo 3

 

 

I am delighted to think that Ticket to Ride funds can be used for this–it is such a creative explosion of science and art put together by 4 artists working in different mediums plus a soundtrack!

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