Archive for May, 2013


Archived Webinars: CDLN

May 31, 2013

Wrapped up with a bow!


Jen Nash, K-8 music educator, Etna-Dixmont, RSU 19

Lisa Gilman, 7-12 art educator, Winthrop Middle and High School, AOS 97

Suzanne Goulet, art educator, Waterville Senior High School

The three visual and performing arts educators hosted 4 webinars during the 2012-14 school year for the Cross Discipline Literacy Network. They did a fabulous job planning and facilitating the webinars that illustrated the connections between the arts and literacy from multiple angles and integration methods.

They invited guests to participate as well so there was a wealth of information shared on each webinar from people with tons of knowledge. Guests included: Catherine Ring, Jude Valentine, Katrina Billings, Pam Ouellette, Karen Montanaro, and Jake Sturtevant.

Fortunately the webinars are archived so you can access them alone or perhaps with your colleagues. It would be a great way to spend professional development time with colleagues in your building, district, or region. Each webinar provides a place to start a conversation and continue with work you might have underway with literacy, the Common Core ELA, integration, and much more.

The webinar are listed below along with the links where you can access them.


Lisa Gilman


Jen Nash


Suzanne Goulet


Honoring Ruey Yehle

May 30, 2013

Outstanding Administrator award for the Maine Music Educators’ Association

Recently at the All-State music educators conference sponsored by the Maine Music Educators Association I was happy to attend the Thursday night banquet where several Maine educators were recognized for their contributions. One of the annual awards is the ‘administrator award’ presented to an individual who has made enormous contributions to music education. Often the individual exhibits what we all hope for in a school administrator. This years recipient is exemplary and I was glad to be there to see Ruey Yehle, principal of Hampden Academy, receive her award.

Hampden Academy Music educator Heidi Corliss introduced Ruey and with her permission I re-print her presentation below…

IMG_3332It is with great pleasure that I am able to introduce you to Mrs. Ruey Yehle for the Outstanding Administrator award for the Maine Music Educators’ Association. She is the principal of Hampden Academy. It is said that the best educators do not just teach but inspire their students to want to learn. Mrs. Yehle is just such a leader. She models her expectations for her teachers and students and sets the example for other administrators in our district. Her goal is for the students and teachers in her school to not only become excellent but also to practice excellence everyday. Because of her example, I feel I am a better music teacher than I would be without her.

She grew up with music as a large part of her life, singing and playing oboe. Her love of music is evident as she encourages us as music teachers and our students. She rarely misses a performance whether it is at our school or traveling to district and state festivals. She has traveled with our band and chorus on overnight performance trips as well and today drove one of the vans for our African Drumming class to perform here at our All-Sate conference and banquet.

This year, we moved into a new high school. I would guess that the performing arts wing is like very few in the state. She made sure we had much input and she continued to communicate with us through the entire process, instructing us to consider the materials and equipment to support excellence in teaching and performing. She wrote educational specifications that were so well written and so complete that the building committee legislators in Augusta had very little choice but to support her requests. We have a large choral room with a keyboard/ computer lab including software to compose, practice, and record music. We have a band room with 2 sound proof practice rooms. There is a music library, a black box theater which can also be used as a green room with dressing rooms and restrooms. Along the hallway walls are display and trophy cases. There is a scene shop and a 910 – seat performing arts center with full fly space and a balcony which can be visually closed off and used for a lecture space. We also have a ticket booth and a sound/lighting booth with state of the art equipment that she encourages us to use as a teaching laboratory. We are adding courses to support this space including work in sound and lighting technology.

Our present music offerings at the high school include 2 bands and 3 choirs in the school day, 2 jazz ensembles and a show choir. We also teach classes in music industry, African drumming and music theory.
Ruey is always open to new ideas, especially encouraging her performing arts teachers to be creative and try new things. Next fall, we will be doing our first musical in almost 20 years. In talking to the students, they commented about how much they feel her support for them and her appreciation for their involvement in the performing arts. She proudly encourages our students to participate in both athletics and the arts, boasting about the successes in all areas. Our three All-State participants this year are also athletes. One plays soccer, one plays football, and one runs cross country.

I am extremely proud to teach under the leadership of Ruey Yehle.



Phase 3 MAAI Teacher Leaders Announced!

May 29, 2013

Look to your visual and performing arst education leaders

screen-shot-2012-05-14-at-9-26-16-pmAlmost exactly one year ago the teacher leaders were announced for the second phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. I am excited to share with you that teacher leaders have been selected for phase 3 of the initiative. In June they will attend a 3-day professional development institute at Maine College of Art in Portland expanding their knowledge in assessment, leadership, technology, and creativity. During the 2013-14 school year the teacher leaders will present workshops:

Watch for the blog posts with more information on the opportunities provided by the third phase of the initiative! CONGRATULATIONS to the following arts educators for stepping forward and taking on this important work across Maine! Continuing with the initiative for the third phase are many of the teacher leaders from phase 1 and 2! Thank you for your continued support, interest, and for taking on the role of leader!


  • SUSAN BARRE – Waterville Schools, grades 5-12
  • JENNIFER ETTER – York Middle School, grades 5-8
  • JUDY FRICKE – Main Street Music Studios, Early childhood
  • PATRICIA GORDAN – Raymond Elementary School, grades K-8
  • LINDA MCVETY – Songo Locks Elementary School, grades K-5
  • JENNI NULL – Songo Locks Elementary School, grades K-6


  • SASHA BLADEN – Enfield Station School, grades PK-5
  • AMY COUSINS – Gorham Middle School, grades 6-8
  • MELANIE CROWE – Marshwood Middle School, grades 6-8
  • SUZANNE GOULET – Waterville Senior High School, grades 9-12
  • LISA INGRAHAM – Madison Elementary School, grades K-4
  • BRIAN McPHERSON – Woodside Elementary School, grades K-5


  • BETH LAMBERT – Carrabec High School, grades 9-12
  • LISA NEAL – Nokomis Regional High School, grades 9-12

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative wiki is located at The Maine Department of Education has a webpage devoted to the initiative at

Teacher leaders at winter planning session - 2013

Teacher leaders at winter planning session – 2013


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Danette Kerrigan

May 28, 2013

This is the 33rd in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

SONY DSCDanette Kerrigan is a Visual Arts Teacher at Sacopee Valley Middle School. She has been teaching in the district for seven years, initially as a traveling elementary teacher in four schools, for two years. Danette then moved into the middle school and currently teaches grades 5-8, approximately 360 students. Her main responsibilities include those grades and she also assists in Response to Intervention (RTI) services in grade six.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

There are moments of such clarity when students gain insight, learn a new skill; experience the joy of success in the shadow of a failure.  It is a privilege to be apart of those moments.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. The passion and commitment of the teacher.
  2. A well thought curriculum that is multidimensional, interdisciplinary and accountable.
  3. Students!

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has been monumental in my ability to provide a rich and individualized experience for students. It has informed my instruction and helped me understand the impact of that instruction.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Getting involved with the Arts Assessment Initiative came at a crucial time in my career. That 5-6 year period where the shine has come off a little bit, where the politics of education seems to bite a little harder. I was beginning to languish and was primed for being re-energized as a teacher. Being involved in the initiative has re-ignited my passion for the quality of my students’ experience, a renewed energy to reach beyond the school day and explore the possibilities of things I haven’t even yet thought of. It has informed my learning and supported my work as a National Board candidate. It has pushed me to reach out and network with others so that I can be reminded of all the reasons we do what we do.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of the experiences with my students. Our district is one of the districts working with teacher evaluation and we are constantly reflecting on goals and outcomes. One of the reflections I have been working with this year has been…”What do I want them to learn?”

As a test, I asked a student…”What do you think you learn in this class? ”  She responded, “I learn to think for myself.  I learn to try something I haven’t tried before. I learn that even if something doesn’t work out, I can get something from it.”

It made my day.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

My inability to say “no”.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have truly put much hard work into creating an environment in my classroom where students can have respite in their day, whether it is during the art class, or recess, or free time. I believe we all need a place to go where the work we do is valued and that we are appreciated. We all need a safe and welcoming space to create, and not simply art; middle school students create friendships, character and sometimes a little chaos. It is work, it isn’t just circumstances or class lists or the luck of the draw that creates an environment that students can grow, I have to facilitate it.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Take care of yourself financially. Put 10-15% of your money away every paycheck and after a few months, you’ll never miss it. Plan ahead. Advocate every chance you get.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Pay off my daughter’s student loans; they are just starting off in their lives and already in so much debt. Then mine. Set up a charity. Invest the rest.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I certainly hope not, I’m working on the bucket list now!

Thank you Danette for telling your story!








All-State In-Service Conference

May 27, 2013

A GREAT event!


Sanford High School’s Matt Doiron, York High School’s Rob Westerberg, and Bonny Eagle High School’s Jake Sturtevant recognize colleagues with a standing ovation. All three have had an active leadership role in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to attend the In-Service conference week before last that the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA) provided for music teachers across the state. Congratulations and a great big THANK YOU to the planning committee for your work and time commitment to making the professional development opportunity a success!

Please watch for individual blog posts on those individuals who have been honored by the MMEA for their commitment to the profession. Thank you to those who take the time to recognize colleagues! I know it means a great deal and it is a reminder to all of us that our work is appreciated.

It was great to see so many Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s teacher leaders providing workshops during the conference.

I had the opportunity to join my music colleagues and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s teacher leaders Jen Nash and Bill Buzza in presenting a session on the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). Jen and Bill and colleague Allysa Anderson provided feedback on the first draft of the document. All three are teacher leaders with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. They were three of 10 Maine visual and performing arts educators that provided feedback. Because of their involvement they have first hand knowledge of the NCAS draft. Several teachers attended the session and asked questions and provided suggestions on how to disseminate the NCAS information as it becomes available. If you have any suggestions, please email them to me. It is important that all of you provide feedback. The next draft of the standards is scheduled for release in June and it will be available to everyone. Please get ready to provide feedback!

I was glad to attend the banquet and see the performance of Hampden Academy students and their teacher Pat Michaud joining them on the drums. It was a delight to see so many of you attending the conference and a chance to chat.


Pat Michaud and Hampden Academy students perform at the banquet.


Music teachers showing their appreciation for the student performers


Music teachers discuss the National Core Arts Standards

Bill Buzza, Argy, Jen Nash presenting the session on the National Core Arts Standards

Bill Buzza, Argy, Jen Nash presenting the session on the National Core Arts Standards


Conrad Hutchings

May 26, 2013

Such pride!

Carol Clark is a music teacher at Gray-New Gloucester High School. Every so often we have those moments in our careers that we are reminded of why we do what we do. Carol had one of those moments last week when a former student sent her a YouTube video. Carol’s student Conrad Hutchings played the trombone in the concert band and he sang in the chamber choir. He graduated from high school and went to USM and studied music. Conrad is presently the Music Director at the Daegu International School in South Korea. In the video below he is directing the SKAC All Conference Orchestra. In Rightfully so, Carol is very proud. And in Carol’s words: “My heart’s bursting!” A great big Congratulations Carol!


Looking for Arts Teachers

May 26, 2013

Call for Applications to Summer Institute
for Maine Visual and Performing Arts Educators
July 23 – 25, 2013
Pine Tree Camp, Smithfield, Maine

The Maine Arts Commission and Syntiro are announcing a call for applications from Maine educators for a three-day summer institute focusing on teaching arts to K-12 students with disabilities.

20130513_100728 The institute will accommodate a total of 15 educators who will be part of a team developing new techniques and best practices for teaching arts to K-12 students with disabilities. The learning experience will consist of both structured training and real time opportunities to work with students. Each participant will receive a $200 stipend to assist with travel.

The summer institute will be held at the Pine Tree Camp in Smithfield, ME, July 23-25, 2013. This beautiful camp is nestled on the shore of North Pond with rustic large cabins and a mile of shorefront.  Participants will spend three days fully immersed in camp enjoying meals and free time with students, while having the opportunity to participate in professional development designing arts curricula throughout the day.  Overnight lodging is available and encouraged. Pine Tree Camp will be providing participants with a large group cabin for their use during the three days at no charge. There are hotels available offsite if you prefer but they would be at your own expense.

By the end of the 3 days, success will look, sound, and feel like:

  • a deeper understanding of students with disabilities
  • an opportunity to learn techniques to help all students succeed in the arts
  • an opportunity to participate in designing curricula that engages  students with disabilities
  • a collaborative arts experience that engages students and helps teachers learn through hands-on experience
  • an understanding of ways various arts mediums can be used to engage students with disabilities
  • Practice using specific skills that promote arts participation and comprehension for students; and
  • Confidence and eagerness to act in new ways that will optimize the performance of the students with whom you are working.

Applications will be reviewed by looking at the following:

  • A brief resume of classroom experience;
  • what skills, perspectives and experiences you hope to bring to the experience;
  • what you hope to gain from the experience;
  • a description of any past experiences you may have had working with students with disabilities;
  • an explanation of what makes you a good candidate for this summer institute.

Submit Application
The institute is open to Maine educators with at least three years of classroom experience. Preference will be given to visual and performing arts educators. Fifteen participants will be chosen based their application. Please CLICK HERE for an application. Chosen participants will be notified by June 21, 2013.

Participants are required to stay from 8-4 each day. Overnight lodging is free, encouraged and available. This is intended to be a full immersion program.

20130513_111310DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: JUNE 20, 2013


Google Art Contest

May 25, 2013

Falmouth Middle School 8th grader one of top 5 in country

Joseph Han, 14, was already among the 50 state winners in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest for his colorful drawing, “Late-Afternoon Bliss” answering the call for artwork under the theme of “Coming Home”. He learned recently that his work was selected as one of 5 from 130,000 submitted.

“Han’s doodle was a colorful painting of a boy sitting on the bank of a river with the Google name subtly spelled out by trees and a footbridge. Han receives a $5,000 scholarship for his selected artwork.”

Read the entire article from the Portland Press Herald written by Jason Singer where the information above and image below came from by clicking here.

Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 7.46.04 AM


In Today’s News

May 24, 2013

Rick Nickerson up for Grammy Honor

DSC_0036In today’s Portland Press Herald written by Leslie Bridgers

A Windham High School music teacher is up for a new award from the Grammy Foundation.

Rick Nickerson, who is also the director of the school’s chamber singers, is a quarterfinalist for the Grammy’s first-ever music educator award.

The award’s 217 quarterfinalists are from 195 cities in 45 states, according to a press release from the Grammy Foundation.

Music teachers from public and private schools, from kindergarten to college, were eligible for the award, which recognizes teachers “who have made a significant contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools,” the release said.

The winner, selected from 10 finalists, will attend the Grammy Awards and receive $10,000. The other finalists will receive $1,000, as will their schools.

Semifinalists will be named in August.


Another Arts Student’s Story: Izaiah Stackpole

May 24, 2013

Grade 5 student

IMG_1230Izaiah Stackpole is a 5th grade student at the Biddeford Intermediate School. His music teacher is Andrea Wollstadt, one of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The following is an interview with Izaiah that happened as a follow-up to a recent visit to the Biddeford Intermediate School. Debi Lynne Baker and I were visiting to video tape Andrea in her music classroom. You will see Izaiah in the video in the near future.

What value do you see in taking a music and theatre classes?

Music expresses how I feel and I have fun doing it. Theater is important to me because it brings out my inner-self and music helps with it too.

Name three skills, ideas, or life-long tools that you have learned in your arts classes? 

  1. I have learned you don’t need to be afraid to sing or act in front of tons of people.
  2. In art I have learned to express myself.
  3. I learned how to re-write songs, and count rhythms in musical notation.

What is your favorite part of the being involved in the arts?

My favorite part of theater is when you get to be the character and you get to be in someone else’s life.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of singing a solo in chorus, being able to play percussion without stumbling, being able to do lines in front of tons of people.

Did anyone encourage you to be involved in the arts?

Ms. Wollstadt encouraged me to take chorus, and my sister encouraged me to take chorus too. Who provides the greatest support for the work you now do and how do they support you? My Mom and my sister support me the most.

How does your work in the arts support and develop creativity for you?

In theater when you stumble on a line you have to use improvisation. One time I was in Beauty and the Beast – I was Gaston. I had to fight with someone and my wig fell off! The other character and I made up our lines to cover it up.

If you could change any part of your arts education, what would it be?

I would take more theater and chorus classes.

What are you plans as far as continuing your study of the arts?

When I go to middle school I’ll start chorus, band and theater. I hope to take an art class too.

Thank you Izaiah for taking the time to answer the questions for this interview.

%d bloggers like this: