Archive for February 28th, 2012


Looking Back and Ahead

February 28, 2012

Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team meet

Maine Arts Assessment Institute - August 2011

Today is another big day for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). The Initiative’s Teacher Leaders (TL) and the Leadership Team (LT) are meeting in Bangor at the UMaine Museum of Art. We are fortunate to be working with Education Coordinator, Eva Wagner. And are very grateful to Jill Spencer who is facilitating our work today. Jill is an active blogger, she writes about exemplary and innovative teaming practices at Teaming Rocks! Collaborate in Powerful Ways and is a contributor to the Bright Futures blog. You can check her out at

Today is a chance for us to reflect on the first nine months of the initiative. We will evaluate and look closely at the components of the process, the work, and the accomplishments of the initiative. And we will collectively look at the proposals for phase II of the initiative, brainstorm ideas, and determine the next steps. So, it is a chance to look back and to look ahead!

So what has been accomplished during the first phase of the MAAI? And have we accomplished what we set out to do? The overall goal is to create an environment in Maine where assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to deepen student learning in the arts.

  • Music educator, Rob Westerberg and Visual Art educator Catherine Ring provided leadership in creating the plan for the MAAI.
  • In addition to Catherine and Rob, a leadership team was formed that brought together a remarkable group of Maine educational leaders including University of Southern Maine (USM) professor Jeff Beaudry, Bates College professor Bronwyn Sale, Wiscasset High School art teacher Shalimar Poulin, Maine Alliance for Arts Education (then) Executive Director Carol Trimble. Added since is Eastport music teacher Pamela Kinsey.
  • In May of 2011, 18 Teacher Leaders in arts education were selected to help lead the initiative. A wiki was established where the TL started to communicate about leadership, assessment, and technology. Since that time the wiki has been visited by the TL and LT (about 25 people) 1308 times.
  • Those three topics were the overarching segments during a 4-day professional development institute that the TL attended in August at Maine College of Art (MECA).
  • The statewide arts education conference Arts Teachers Lead the Way, Back to the Future: Arts Assessment for Learning was held at USM on October 7, 2011 with 225 educators attending. The TL were the workshop facilitators and shared their knowledge as classroom teachers. Conference feedback was very positive!
  • A video summarizing the conference is being created by a Massebesic High School freshman and will be released shortly.
  • A timeline documents what is happening in arts education in Maine.
  • An MAAI wiki provides information for those wishing to learn more.
  • The Department of Education arts assessment web page provides information on the MAAI.
  • Five webinars faciliated monthly by Rob and Catherine. They were attended by between 30 and 52 participations each month. Each of the webinars has been archived and a meeting plan designed to accompany the archives. These are available for teachers and/or administrators to access and be used at the local level. They are available by clicking here.
  • The TL are presenting workshops in different regions throughout the state during the 2011-12 school year. The schedule is available so educators can attend workshops in their regions.
  • There have been 12 workshops with at least 12 more that will take place before the end of the school year. A total of 130 educators have participated so far plus the 225 that attended their workshops at the statewide conference.
  • Arts assessment graduate courses are being taught by The New England Institute for Teacher Education.
  • A repository is being created for arts education resources that will be available for all educators.
  • Professional organizations who have collaborated with the MAAI on a variety of levels. They include: MLTI, ACTEM, MECA, District 3 Music Educators, MAAE, MAEA, MMEA, USM, and The New England Institute for Teacher Education.

At the meeting in Bangor today we will focus on going deeper into the work and also going wider. We want to provide more opportunities to involve more arts educators to expand on the thinking about assessment, teaching and learning in arts education. If you have feedback on phase I of the MAAI please email me so the TL can take your comments into consideration as we plan phase II. If you’d like to get involved and take on a leadership role please be sure and contact me.

We have sooooooo much to be proud of and are soooooooooo grateful for the contributions and involvement of sooooooooo many in this initiative. If you haven’t joined this journey with us, please do!

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