Archive for January 27th, 2012


Student Videographers Show Impact of the Arts

January 27, 2012

News Release

AUGUSTA — A team of four students at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast set out to prove in a three-minute video that the impact of the performing arts stretches well beyond the theater. And a four-student team at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft set out to demonstrate how the arts and a little more color in life can lift a person’s spirit and boost productivity.

The two teams of student videographers succeeded, and are winners of the first WatchMECreate challenge of the 2011-12 school year. Each member of both teams will receive an iPod Nano, and both teams will receive $500 each to use toward promoting the arts in their schools.

The video challenge, called WatchMEUseTheArts, called on entrants to show viewers “how the arts have moved, or could move beyond the music room, beyond the art room, beyond the theater, beyond the darkroom, beyond the expected spaces to help students like you make their school or their community a better place for all.”

It was the fourth challenge in the WatchMECreate series, which is a collaboration among the Maine Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine, and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Members of those three organizations judged the video entries and determined the winners.

Cameron Pillitteri, Noah Howard, Eilha Charbonnier and Sarah Joy of Troy Howard Middle School show in their video how the skills they’ve picked up through participating in the school’s drama program have helped them build their self-confidence, bring concepts in social studies class to life, and make literature more understandable.

Shinsuke Mikame, Hollyann Leonhardt, Julian Quinn and Robert Trotter of Foxcroft Academy demonstrate how being surrounded by art – by bright colors and public murals – can change someone’s mood, reduce stress, increase school pride, spark brain development and make people more productive.

“How these students responded to this challenge is a perfect example of what can happen when students have a say in how they learn,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. “These videos demonstrate what we’re seeing more of in our schools as we move to a system designed around the needs of the student.”

The two videos can be viewed online at

Another WatchMECreate challenge will be issued in the spring.

All Maine Department of Education news releases can be found online at:

Thanks to the Department of Education for providing this information.


Arts Assessment Webinar: February 1st

January 27, 2012

LEADERSHIP AND THE ARTS – Wednesday, February 1st, 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Please join Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring in their Webinar on Wednesday, February 1st on LEADERSHIP AND THE ARTS: The role of Teachers, Administrators and the Greater Community.

We all know that in a culture that values the arts, that it takes a village to ensure that they are given a central role in the lives of its citizens.  It is not enough to simply have “arts classes” in schools; we need a culture that understands, values and supports a solid, quality arts education for our children.  And that requires leadership — not only from the teacher in the classroom, but from administrators in the school and leaders in the community.

In hard economic times, and particularly in times when perceptions about school achievement result in an almost exclusive focus on standardized math and reading test scores, (sound familiar?), support for the arts can decrease. Using arts assessment in the classroom can help teachers show the skills and knowledge their students have gained in the arts, as well as the 21st century skills, such as creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication.  High quality assessment practices in the arts classroom and supportive leadership can give us the evidence to help ensure that our children will continue to be exposed to and benefit from an excellent arts education.

This webinar will examine the various roles of teachers, administrators and community members in keeping the arts alive and well in our schools and communities. Webinar guests include teacher leaders, Matt Doiron (Music Educator from Sanford High School) and Jen Driscoll (Visual Art Educator from Brunswick High School), Carol Trimble (Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education), Argy Nestor (Visual & Performing Arts Specialist at Maine Department of Education). Join Rob and Catherine as they facilitate a discussion with leaders in arts education and the community.  Call-in participants take an active role in the discussion too, so this is guaranteed to be a lively and interesting forum.

To join the webinar, To join the meeting, go online to (sign in as “guest”). Conference Number: 1-866-910-4857, Passcode: 140893

I suggest you invite your principals to attend with you after school on February 1st for this informative discussion!

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