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What a Week!

October 9, 2012

Some weeks are crazy

Last week was filled with adventures! I started the week in Washington D.C. at the Arts Education Advisory Group (AEAG) meeting. They are part of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASSA) which is made up of the state arts commissions including the Maine Arts Commission. Every year the AEAG plans a professional development institute (PDI) for the arts in education associates at the state arts commissions which includes Meagan Mattingly. I am the representative to AEAG for my national professional organization called State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) which is comprised of the arts education specialists from the Departments of Education. I had a chance to be with AEAG at the opening of their PDI. It was wonderful to meet people who are committed to arts education in each state. Not to mention they are interesting, knowledgeable, creative, and FUN! The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are affiliated with the AEAG and NASSA since funding is provided by the NEA. Consequently, there were a handful of staff from the NEA who are responsible for arts education who attended as well. In attendance was Ayanna N. Hudson, the NEA Director of Arts Education. She agreed to write a blog post for meartsed that will explain the programs/funding that is available for teachers, schools and communities. This will provide an overview to help you learn what is available. One of the evening highlights was the opportunity to see the performance of the DC Youth Slam Team. They were INCREDIBLE!

Next my travels took me to Reston, VA where SEADAE met with the chairs of the National Arts Standards writing teams and the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership team. The writing teams are moving along with their work in spite of the little funding that has been provided. The most recent draft of the framework was shared by Co-Chairs, Marcia McCaffrey and NH DOE arts specialist and Lynn Tuttle, AZ arts specialist and president of SEADAE. The writing teams have taken the first draft with the components including Disciplines, Essential Questions, Enduring Understandings, Artistic Processes, Cornerstone Assessments, and re-arranged the direction of the document to make it  more user friendly. The work was shown to us on the website where the document will be housed so we could also see the work that has been done on the site. It will include a “quick view” button for finding stuff in a hurry, the use of tagging and keywords, and links to other works. All of this will be important aspects since it will be a web based document. You can view some of the ideas that are being considered at this link.

We had a discussion on what to call the final document so if you have any suggestions please email them and I can pass them along. The document will be arranged by grade level, PreK-8 but the high school format is still under discussion. You can read more about the format by clicking here.

At this point the expected date for the release of the “framework” will be in December. The first draft of the standards document which includes Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts will be within a few months after that, perhaps in March. Most likely the cornerstone assessments will be included when the standards draft comes out at grades 2, 5, and 8. The format will require feedback on the standards and the “userness” of the website.

Nancy Rubino from the College Board reported on recent research that looks at the Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math (CCSS) and the National Standards for the Arts. The research looks at the overlapping components of the CCSS and the arts frameworks and where the arts references are present in the CCSS. For example the research includes tells us that there are 26 ELA standards that have references to reading a work of drama. Looking closely at “college level learning” in the arts has been included in the research. The research will be released as soon as the final framework is determined and I am sure you will find it helpful. The College Board has done other research which I have mentioned in past blog posts and you can find links to this valuable information on the right side of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards wiki.

The end of the day included the live stream from the meeting to provide an overview of the event. If you weren’t available or couldn’t get on since the system was full I understand that it will be archived on the site in the near future.

I flew back to Maine early on Thursday morning and headed to Point Lookout in Northport where the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) teacher leaders and leadership team met that night and all day Friday. We worked on the Depository for arts education resources in Maine located at MaineLearning.net and continued plans for the Mega-regional workshops to be held throughout the 2012-13 school year. On Friday the teacher leaders from phase 2 presented their workshops so they could gather feedback on their sessions to determine if they’d like to tweak anything before taking their session on the road for the regional workshops. The regional workshop sessions will be posted on the Department arts assessment page in the next two weeks so you can see what is available. The energy and expertise of their topics was inspirational and truly amazing. I was reminded of how fortunate we are in Maine to have such outstanding arts educators who are willing to share information and expand their horizons to become teacher leaders in the arts. I am sure when the Cornerstone Assessments are released from the national standards work that Maine will be ready to take on the task of reviewing them to provide feedback that will inform the nation.

Needless to say when the week ended on Friday evening I was exhausted! However, I am extremely proud of the work that arts educators are doing throughout the state and urge you to continue to read and stay abreast of the opportunities that are offered. If you have questions or comments on any of this please feel free to email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov or post a comment at the bottom of this post.

MAAI arts educators fall workshop

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