April’s MAAI Webinar
This post was provided by music educator Rob Westerberg.
The second of a series of four webinars for phase 3 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Tuesday, April 8, entitled “Common Core and The Arts”. Catherine Ring and I facilitated what ended up being a pretty full hour with guests Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Consultant at the New Hampshire Department Of Education, and Jenni Null, Fine Arts Coordinator in S.A.D. #61. The dialogue focused around three broad topics:
- what is the Common Core and what are it’s origins,
- how does it tie in to Visual and Performing Arts, and
- how do we confront authentic concerns and questions we have around it all?
A focal point of the webinar was a resources page on which we provided live links (those links are still live in the archived webinar, which you can access at the end of this blog post) to abundant information on the Common Core, practical connections to the Arts and yet even more links that can assist Arts teachers, informing their work at integrating Common Core. As those links were shown, we had a rich conversation that included articulating the difference between “enrichment” and authentic integration. We also spent time addressing specific concerns from the field, stating that some have been coerced into sacrificing their own work to accommodate ELA prompts and increase math achievement scores. Others have had their face time with students slashed so those students can receive remedial help in other subjects. Rather than skirt these issues, confronting them head on brought about many insights and ideas for moving forward.
It became apparent that the issues we confront here in Maine have less to do with the Common Core than practical implementation of them in local controlled school districts. In short, it is evident that the Common Core standards hold many promises for all of us in Maine, including the potential for exciting collaborative work in the Arts. But implementation of this requires much prep work and a commitment to ideals that squarely place the focus on students, not programs. Successful implementation will require “intentionality” and school leadership where a broad understanding of how the arts appropriately contribute to the Common Core is present. There is not only a place for the Arts at the table, but the scenario exists in which we potentially play a larger role than ever before in the development of our students in the 21st Century.
As Marcia McCaffrey pointed out, the College Board has come out with a Review of Connections Between the Common Core and National Core Arts Standards Conceptual Framework and specific ways to approach alignment. Marcia provided an overview of this research which will be posted at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI-Webinars in the near future.
On Wednesday, May 7, we will be holding our third webinar in which we will be discussing how the Arts are impacted by the Maine law mandating Proficiency in all subject areas – including the Arts – and what that will look like for us as we move forward. No doubt it will tie into additional Common Core topics as well as the revision of the National Core Arts Standards that will be released in early June. Please plan on joining us from 3:30 to 4:30 on that first Wednesday of May. In the meantime, you can access the archive of the April 8 webinar at http://stateofmaine.adobeconnect.com/p7qnkdt5lp2/. In the near future along with Marcia’s presentation there will be a Meeting Plan which you can use individually or with your colleagues, along with additional information on the Maine Arts Commission website at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI-Webinars.