CONGRATULATIONS to the visual and performing arts educators of Sanford Schools for providing professional development for the 549 teachers in K-12 of Sanford Schools.
The last day before the Christmas break started with Karen Montanaro addressing the staff with her brilliant red hair and flexible body. She shared some of her experiences as a mime/dance educator working with young people; elementary, middle and high school students. She often enters a room and notices the disengaged body language of students. By the end of her visit they’ve changed their limited engagement and are using their entire minds and bodies. Likewise on the Sanford workshop day I am sure that several staff members would rather have been elsewhere. By the end of her presentation they were up on their feet moving, clapping, and stretching their bodies and vocalizing their engagement.
From Karen’s session staff moved onto two-one hour long workshops which they chose from the following: Active Arts!, Arts in your classroom, Basic drawing skills for the classroom teacher, Creative printmaking with found objects, Creative use of technology, Creativity Collection, Energizing the classroom through movement, Every picture tells a story, don’t it?, Faux marble and book-making, Photogenic drawing, Singing for life!, Take a class on a trip without leaving town!, Trick/book/ Accordion flex-a-con, What’s the buzz?, Zumba fun!
In the afternoon I met with the K-12 arts education staff and their administrative liaison, Sharon Remick who realized the importance of providing the workshop day. Their everyday successes and concerns were not different than other arts teachers in Maine. I was glad to be there to provide an update on Maine’s arts education assessment initiative.
The visual and performing arts teachers include:
- Elementary music – Neil Gardner, Dee Ames, and Mary Gannaway
- Elementary art – Joyce St. Pierre and Kevin Donahoe
- Junior high music – Nancy Neubert and Carol Baker Roux
- Junior high art – Ann MacEachern
- High school music – Matt Doiron and Jane Kirton
- High school art – Rush Brown, Kathy Belmont, Lucy Sargent and Maggie Warner
This was my third visit to Sanford schools, once when high school teacher Martin McKeon was named the 2008 Maine Teacher of the Year, once just after music teacher Matt Doiron returned from taking the Sanford High School band to President Obama’s inaugural parade in Washington D.C. The district of 3,280 students has a great deal to be proud of and this arts workshop day is one more success to be added to their list. We often plan unique opportunities for our students that involve artists, why not consider engaging staff in similar experiences. Instead of telling adults about the importance of arts education why not have them experience it first hand? If you are interested in planning a similar event please contact music teacher Carol Baker Roux at Cbakerroux@sanford.org. Carol did a ton of work writing the grant and planning the workshop. The professional development day and other plans are being supported by a SMART grant that the district received from the Maine Arts Commission for the 2010-11 school year.