October 26, 2016

Mapping opportunities for the arts

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-10-30-49-pmArts Ed Partnership has created a resource on the Every Student Succeeds Act. This information was published on October 4, 2016 and a link to the resource is below.

By now, the education community is familiar with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). From the moment that ESSA was signed into law, folks across the education community – from classroom teachers to policymakers – have been clamoring with questions. Perhaps the most frequent inquiry is: “What are the opportunities for my child, classroom, district or state?”
Questions such as this come from every organization or individual impacted by the new law – including those focused on the arts in education. For this reason, Arts Education Partnership (AEP), together with a group of AEP partner organizations and other stakeholders, established the ESSA / Well-Rounded Education Working Group to identify the needs of the arts in education community and to develop resources that respond to that need. AEP recently released a new resource exploring opportunities for the arts within some of ESSA’s most pressing education priorities: Title I, accountability, assessments and state plans.

You can download the resource by CLICKING HERE.


Congratulations Rick!

October 25, 2016

Grammy Music Education


This is year four that the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation is recognizing a music educator with the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award. This year one of our very own Maine music educators has been nominated and has advanced to being one of the 25 semifinalists. Rick Nickerson is the director of choral activities at Windham High School where he has taught for 30 years. Rick conducts three choirs, teaches music courses and serves as the music coordinator for the district.

Rick at the 2011 Statewide Arts Education Conference

Rick at the 2011 Statewide Arts Education Conference

The award recognizes “educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education.” This is the second time Rick has been nominated, first in 2013, when he advanced to the quarterfinals. Ten finalists will announced in December and one person will be selected to receive the award and be recognized at the 59th Grammy Awards ceremony on February 12, 2017.

Rick has been recognized in the past as the Maine Music Educator of the Year, Maine Distinguished Choral Director of the Year and was runner-up for Maine Teacher of the Year.

In 2011 Rick’s choir provided an excellent performance at the opening of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Statewide Arts Education conference, Arts Teachers Leading the Way Back to the Future: Arts Assessment for Learning.

Congratulations to Rick and his Windham school district colleagues and community who support the work of music education! We’ll be waiting to hear in December if Rick makes it to the final 10 considered for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award! YAHOOOOOOOO!

Rick conducting at the opening of the 2011 Statewide Arts Education conference

Rick conducting at the opening of the 2011 Statewide Arts Education conference

Rick conducting at the opening of the 2011 Statewide Arts Education conference

Rick conducting at the opening of the 2011 Statewide Arts Education conference


College Scholarship for the Arts

October 24, 2016

For creators, innovators and dreamers

Khori as a young performer - image from the Upworthy site.

Khorii Tinson as a young performer – image from the Upworthy site.

A new scholarship is available called Live Mas and it is supported by Taco Bell. The Live Más Scholarship is not based on your grades or how well you play sports. No essays, no test scores, no right or wrong answers. We’re looking for the next generation of innovators, creators and dreamers – whose post-high school education we will help fund. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the next generation. In 2016 the Taco Bell Foundation awarded $1 million to 220 dreamers, creators and innovators. You can read some of the 2016 awardees and learn more about the scholarship opportunity by CLICKING HERE.

For Khorii Tinson it was an opportunity to go to the University of Texas of Austin. The school is one of 80 schools across the country offering accredited dance programs. Out of 7,000 universities and colleges. You can read Khorii’s story by CLICKING HERE. Her video, at the same link, is priceless.

Thanks to dancer and teaching artist Nancy Salmon for sharing this information.


Victor Ekpuk

October 23, 2016

Mural making

In April 2015, artist Victor Ekpuk spent several days at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art creating a new work. The process was open to visitors and was part of a larger exhibition of Ekpuk’s work, called “Auto-Graphics.”

Thank you Nancy Salmon for bringing this artist to my attention!



GT Conference

October 22, 2016


screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-8-55-31-amCongratulations to the Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented professional organization for a successful conference on Friday, October 21: The ‘Art’ of Technology: Inspiring Innovation in Advanced Learners. The planning committee and officers worked for several months planning an outstanding learning opportunity that focused on the arts and technology. The workshops included:

  • How does the use of technology improve teaching and deepen learning? Terri Dawson, Co-Director of Sebago Educational Alliance for Professional Development and Technology Integrator, Gorham School Department
  • Building and Strengthening your G/T Visual and Performing Arts Program – Beth Lambert
  • Use Poetry to Enhance Rigor and Depth with GT Students – Ruth Lyons and Kimberly Moran
  • Systemic Questions on GT Programming: MEGAT Board facilitation, open conversation
  • Creating Digital Breakout EDU’s – Terri Dawson
  • Collaboration: 2 STEAM Projects – Christine Carney and Adele Drake
  • MakerSpaces on a Dime: STEAM Focused – Lindsey Carnes
  • Visual Notetaking/Doodling in Class –
  • Praxis II, Certification, Endorsement: MEGAT Session with Ruth Lyons
  • Maine Landmarks, their Stories: an Art-based, Interdisciplinary, Community Unit – Ell Fanus and Jonathan Graffius
  • Getting Started with ArcGIS Online: Hands-on Workshop – Margaret Chernosky and Erin Towns

    Karin being recognized by the conference participants after viewing her video. Photo by Jonathan Graffius

    Karin being recognized by the conference participants after viewing her video. Photo by Jonathan Graffius

  • MakerSpaces on a Dime: STEAM Focused – Lindsey Carnes
  • Deepening Your Practice – Nuts and Bolts Session: Open Session, MEGAT Board facilitation

It was fabulous to see so many visual and performing arts teachers at the conference and the many Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders – Lisa Marin, Lisa Ingraham, Charles Michaud, Pam Chernesky, Theresa Cerceo, and Brian McPherson. was thrilled to provide the morning keynote called Why the Arts Are Essential and grateful to have the opportunity to talk to such a diverse audience on the topic.

The biggest thrill of the day came just after lunch when we were treated to an amazing video on STEAM created by Karin Zimba from Hall School, Waterville. Her Doodle for Google creation was the Maine state winner and a finalist in the national contest last year. The MEGAT board recognized her for accomplishments. Congratulations to Karin and her sister whose submission was the Maine state winner in 2015. We’re hoping that Karin’s video will be made public in the future so others can appreciate her artwork and learn from her creation.

Karin's winning design

Karin’s winning design


Beth Lambert presenting

Ann Marie Quirion Hutton presenting

Ann Marie Quirion Hutton presenting



Gospel Singer

October 21, 2016

Subway in New York

Whether it is morning, noon or night when you are at this blog post take the time to … stop, breathe deeply, and watch this one minute and 2 seconds video of a man singing in the subway in New York City.

When we wake each morning we never know what will come our way when we get to school. Certainly there are situations that are out of our control. Some of them make us uncomfortable, challenge us, and provide the opportunity to grow. Sometimes they bring us a smile and even make us laugh uncontrollably. The one thing we do get to control is our attitude; how we wish to be and to respond to whatever students, parents, and colleagues say and whatever may happen. That’s why I say “make it a great day”. What will your attitude be today?




October 20, 2016

Suzanne Goulet

Congratulations to the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) Teacher of the Year, Suzanne Goulet. At the annual fall conference at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in September Suzanne was recognized in front of her peers and shared the following message with her colleagues and members of the MAEA from across the state.

For more information on MAEA, their awards and other programs please CLICK HERE.

dscn4589‘I Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’ – borrowed from a quote Tom Brady found.  (Background discussion on ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), Resiliency, Determination and how Tom Brady never gives up)

A Study of Only – Limitation or Inspiration?                                                        

Last winter I was in a very engaged conversation with a colleague about our school culture and proposals for consideration. We had a very stressful year (Starting with the Principal being suspended the first week of school, and ultimately fired…won’t share more at this time….but that was just the beginning of a tumultuous year)

We needed to examine our culture.

Some interesting (and controversial) ideas were being flushed in a personal collegial conversation… then abruptly my colleague, attempting to disqualify my contributions and stake, retorted with, “You’re just an Art Teacher”

Oh….yes…..that’s what was said…….and the engaged conversation ended there….for the moment.

ONLY?……what does that mean……if ONLY we could ONLY be ART Educators

4747f3_42a4e73771c0482099f1295cab14d835So what does ONLY MEAN?

Self-Assessment: Are You Only An Art Educator? (a physical self-reflective study)

This will be interactive – asking that you please stand, when asked, if any of the following statements describe you (does not have to only relate to teaching).

If you introduced a new word or term to someone’s active vocabulary this week please stand. 

If you have ever helped someone develop or refine work habits or best practices please stand.

If you have introduced a form of recreation to someone please stand

If you utilized your Blood Born Pathogens and Bodily Fluids training please stand…

     …Remain standing if it was this week

dscf7323bIf you have helped someone to be brave, to find courage to make a mistake or fail… and to learn from it please stand.

Stand if you have benefited from a colleague sharing a best practice with you.

You are or have been an active Art leader (Workshop presenter, MALI Teacher Leader, Board, Officer) please stand.

Stand if you made art in the last month before the school year started.

Continue standing if you made art since the school year began

… glean and learn from these people

Stand if you helped someone learn to use scissors safely

If you have created community (met with a colleague from a different school and shared a best practice…online, RSVP ME, in person) please stand.

Stand if you have helped someone with a difficult choice or to identify creative possibilities or solutions.

If you have wondered where or when a student’s next meal or place to sleep will be please stand.

Please let me expand on this one…

If you, at anytime, have, or think you have, saved someone’s life – in addition to rendering first aid… maybe you listened, referred someone to a counselor or medical professional please stand… thank you.

img_1315If you have guided someone to express themselves in a non-verbal form please stand. If you have helped someone to visit or experience a college campus please stand.

If you have had an influence on someone’s career or life decision please stand.

If you have helped someone better understand the world around them p lease stand…         (Are your legs burning? OK to sit now…)

If ONLY… If ONLY being an Art Teacher means that you are an active, reflective and compassionate educator, Then Bring it on.

‘I Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’

The Maine Art Education Association has been a great vehicle for helping me to become an active, reflective and compassionate educator/Art Teacher.

img_1038Holly, Jodi, Pam, Sheila, Chris, Jeff, Charlie, Lisa, Maryann, Marilyn, Catherine, Argy, Heidi, Deb, Carolyn, Aimee, Shalimar, Sandy, Nancy, Stephanie, Tim, George, Margaret, and Kay are only a few members and former members that I have to thank for sharing something with me that has advanced my personal profession. There are many, many more, and I apologize for not including the entire list.

As low as last year was (the “Only” conversation did not help), the honor of being nominated by a respected Art Education colleague and then recognized by our Associations highest honor was transforming. The honor only got better. My student, Scott Norman, during the presentation helped us to realize or remember how important… no….how vital, art, art education and art educators can be for our students….and us.

dscf6414Nominate a peer today. Ask me for help. Deadline is December 31 ….start Monday. Help others to appreciate what it is to be ONLY an “Art Teacher”.

Elections are coming this Spring. We have two year terms. President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership are all positions that we are seeking candidates for. I first became treasurer when I left the room… no joke… and my life has forever been changed since… and so have my students. I am extremely thankful for this.

I am active, reflective and compassionate… I Am Only an Art Educator… We Are Only Art Educators.

‘We Didn’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far’

We Have Important Work to continue…

Thank you

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