Archive for June, 2013


NCAS – June 30 to July 15

June 30, 2013

What do you think?

Your opportunity to provide feedback on the first public release of the National Core Arts Standards begins TODAY. The information is below. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at if you have any questions or concerns. PLEASE take advantage of this opportunity and voice your opinion on the draft of the standards.Screen shot 2013-06-30 at 12.06.55 PMScreen shot 2013-06-30 at 12.07.55 PMScreen shot 2013-06-30 at 12.08.11 PM


Schools Adding Time to Teach Arts

June 29, 2013

Funding used to conduct research

Boston-based National Center on Time & Learning has conducted research and learned that there are schools that have an understanding of the impact of arts education on the development of students and is doing something about that. Apply new thinking to the structure of learning is a common thread in the blog post which you can read by clicking here.


Another Successful MAAI Summer Institute

June 28, 2013

I am totally exhausted from another summer Maine Arts Assessment Initiative summer institute. THANK YOU to the INCREDIBLE TEACHER LEADERS, LEADERSHIP TEAM, MECA and to the administrators who support your arts teachers who have committed to taking on the leadership role. It was an amazing three days – the discussion around “what does proficiency look like in the arts education classroom” was so worthwhile I thought: wouldn’t it be great if every visual and performing arts teacher could have the opportunity to participate in a similar discussion?!

More details will be included in other blog posts in the near future but for now you can see the group photo of phase 3 teacher leaders and leadership team.



LED Ballroom Dresses

June 27, 2013

Brigham Young University

Engineering students from Brigham Young University, about 17 of them, worked closely with students on the dance team to design dresses that had LED lights embedded in them. Each dress included eight LED-light strips, attached to a computer chip and battery. The results, from the year long project, exemplify the great collaboration. Click here for the article and more photographs.

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Happy Retirement!

June 26, 2013


Best Wishes to the following for a wonderful – happy and healthy retirement. Combined they have contributed over 350 years of teaching visual or performing arts to students across the state of Maine. Their expertise and commitment to education is appreciated and I am certain their students will miss them! Never to be taken away from them, or the districts they have served, is the impact they have made on students education in the arts. THANK YOU all! I hope you will continue to be involved in arts education in Maine by providing me ( with an email address to continue to be on the Maine arts education list-serv. May your days be filled with sunshine wherever your journey takes you!

  • Pat Reed – East End Community School, Portland, Visual Art, 27 years
  • Penny Appleby – Leavitt Area High School, Performing Arts, 40 years
  • Dianne Anderson – Traip Academy, Kittery, Visual Art, 20 years
  • Jonathan Smith – Oxford Hills Elementary School, Music, 28 years
  • Nancy Capone – Lake Region School District, Music, 25 years
  • Marta Robbins – James F. Doughty School, Bangor, Visual Art, 28 years
  • Charlene Farnham – Searsport District Middle & High School, Music, 40 years
  • Jack Clifford – RSU 19, Music,
  • Mark Schumpert – RSU 19, Music,
  • David Kent – Windham, Music,
  • Kath Hartley – Bangor High School, Visual Art, 25 years
  • Deborah Jellison – Mary Snow School, Bangor, Visual Art, 27 years
  • Helena Bosse – Dr Lewis Libby School, Milford, Visual Art, 20 years
  • Sybil Wentworth – MSAD 40, Elementary Music, 39 years
  • Marianne Tibbetts – Augusta, Elementary Music, 35 years
  • Ann Stepp – Portland, Music
  • Robert Helstrom – Fort Fairfield, Music, 11 years
  • Sandra Irwin – Tremont School, Visual Art
  • Chris Prickitt – Dexter Schools, SAD46, Music
  • Nancy Curran – South Portland, Music

Please note that some of these teachers started their careers in other schools/districts but the one listed is where they are retiring from this year.


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Leone Donovan

June 25, 2013

This is the 37th 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.

LeoneLeone Donovan teaches visual art at Messalonskee High School (RSU 18) in Oakland, ME. She has been an art teacher for 33 years and at MHS for 14 years. Depending on the quarter, she might be teaching almost anything that falls under the heading visual arts. Currently, the list might include any of the following: beginning and advanced art, drawing, painting, sculpture, metal sculpture, craft techniques, graphic arts, digital design, digital photography, pottery, and AP Studio art. She also teaches an online art history class for Virtual High School and online AP Art History for AP4All. Classes at Messalonskee generally have 12-20 students and meet every day for 80 minutes. Most are quarter-long with the survey courses lasting for a semester.

Donovan is also a member of the MHS Leadership Team and Capacity Builders, chair of the accreditation committee, advisor to the National Honor Society, and writer and managing editor of the RSU 18 newspaper, The Messalonskee Messenger.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

I think teaching art is a fabulous fit for someone with mild ADD tendencies! I love the variety of what I might be teaching in any given term and in any given moment. I like juggling all the ‘stuff’ that comes with teaching art and I love watching kids get excited about it all, too. Those moments when you see the student’s belief in his or her abilities and creativity starts to shine out are standouts.

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

The commitment and passion of the arts teachers, a schedule and commitment from administrators and the community that paves the way for enough time for meaningful access to arts classes, and students who love making all kinds of art.

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

I am always questioning how and what I assess, especially now as we, in my district and around the state, are moving towards a standards-based system. Assessments in a variety of forms are helpful to me and to my students, I think. Formative assessments give me the chance to act as consultant to the artist and to the process. Asking the students to reflect on their work, too, can generate deeper understanding for both of us and suggest a path for next steps. Assessment helps clarify objectives and teaching methods for me and, I hope, for my students. I think, too, summative assessments, class critiques, art exhibits, all give the arts more validity in the eyes of those outside of our classrooms.

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

I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to explore the whole world of assessments and had the fun of doing so with a lot of funny, smart people! It made me carve out the time to think about methods and rationales of teaching and learning. MAAI has given me fabulous training and resources that I call on all the time. And, of course, I became acquainted with Gloria Hewett’s fabulous brownies!

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m proud of my students. I’ve kept in touch with some and lost track of many others but I think back to all the different kinds of students that have turned up in my classroom and I’m glad to have met them. And I don’t mean only those students who planned to make art part of their careers. Really, I’ve enjoyed the challenges and pleasures of making connections and hearing their life stories and dreams for themselves no matter what was ahead for each of them.

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

Oh, just like everyone else, I have to say time, money, and energy! Seems like we have less and less of all three, all the time. I don’t know if it really is less but more would be great if anyone can send some.

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

Wow – tough question. I think a lot happens because I’m willing to jump into things and really hate not meeting deadlines. There’s probably a bit of the being in the right place at the right time occasionally, too. I would never have applied to the Fulbright Teacher’s Exchange program had I not been at the MAEA conference at Haystack one fall and heard another teacher talk about her experiences. I don’t know that I would have pursued a Master’s in creative writing if my district didn’t require that degree. And so on. Circumstances got me started but my commitment and determination got me through.

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

Run. Run now. Noooooo, just kidding. I would say, hang in there. Let the craziness of the educational politics and budget issues and the odd school demands on your time and attention eddy around you as much as you can and be the teacher you want to be in the classroom. Not that there isn’t something to be learned or used from all those initiatives and theories that fly at us; there often is. But let it be a sidebar to your real life. Make space in your life to grow as an artist and a teacher in the way that excites and inspires you. In the next moment that inspiration will move from you to your students. And, really, really enjoy your summer vacations!

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

Travel. Travel a lot. And in first class.

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

That Argy was only kidding about the $500,000.


MAAI Summer Institute – YAY!

June 24, 2013

Institute starts tomorrow!

This is an exciting week and today and tomorrow are jock full of preparing for it! As you know (if you’ve been following the blog) we have launched phase 3 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) and tomorrow is the first day of the summer institute. This is a week that I tell myself “Argy, no one ever died of lack of sleep!” since there are so many details to pay attention to. Fortunately, the MAAI leadership team is a wonderful group of educators who have guided the initiative every step of the way. It is an ongoing volunteer job that they have committed to and I want to THANK each and every one of them:

  • Catherine Ring, New England Institute for Teacher Education, Executive Director
  • Jeff Beaudry, USM Associate Professor, Ed Leadership
  • Bronwyn Sale, Bates College, Lecturer in Education
  • Bill Buzza, Edward Little High School, Music Educator
  • Pamela Kinsey, Easton Schools, Music Educator

So what is the excitement all about? For starters, we have 14 new teacher leaders and 21 returning taking on leadership roles for phase 3. Thirty-five teacher leaders will be creating assessment workshops that will be based on research, practical knowledge and experience, professional development at the institute, and will be on topics that are relevant to visual or performing arts education. They will provide the workshops over the next school year at the regional, mega-regional, and statewide level. The dates for all of these workshops will be made available in the near future. How fortunate we are in Maine that 35 (52 counting all the teacher leaders from the past) visual and performing arts educators are committed to helping other arts educators. This is a HUGE commitment and I certainly appreciate their willingness to take on the leadership role! THANK YOU to the teacher leaders who represent pre-school, elementary, middle, and high school, dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, and all regions of Maine.

  • Drew Albert
  • Allysa Anderson
  • Susan Barre
  • Sasha Bladen
  • Andrea Chase
  • Amy Cousins
  • Melanie Crowe
  • Jennie Driscoll
  • Jen Etter
  • Judy Fricke
  • Patti Gordan
  • Suzanne Goulet
  • Mari-Jo Hedman
  • Gloria Hewett
  • Lisa Ingraham
  • Charlie Johnson
  • Susan Jones
  • Jane Kirton
  • Beth Lambert
  • Lisa Marin
  • Jen Nash
  • Jen Neal
  • Jenni Null
  • Brian McPherson
  • Linda McVety
  • Leah Olson
  • Jeff Orth
  • Pam Ouellette
  • MaryEllen Schaper
  • Ashley Smith
  • Jane Snider
  • Shari Tarleton
  • Shannon Westphal
  • Andrea Wollstadt
  • Rebecca Wright

The teacher leaders and feedback from the over 800 arts educators who have participated in some way in the first two phases of the initiative have identified these focus areas for phase 3.

  • Standards
  • Depository
  • Advocacy
  • Outreach

We will hit the ground running using these Essential Questions to guide the standards segment of the work.

  • What is proficiency in the arts in reference to the Maine Learning Results?
  • How do teachers in the arts articulate what proficiency is?
  • What does it look like at different grade levels?
  • How will we do this in Maine?

This work is a direct response to preparing Maine arts educators for LD 1422 which goes into effect with the graduating class of 2018. I hope that you are having conversations around these same questions at the district level to be ready for students graduating showing proficiency of the standards. This will transition us from discussing “seat time” or “one credit in Fine Arts” to talking about what will be in place for students to “fulfill the standards and the guiding principles”?

So, as I spend today and tomorrow gathering resources, organizing groups, answering questions, packing the car, crossing items off the forever long “to do” list, I can’t help but smile! I know how fortunate I am to work in a state with outstanding arts educators and people who truly care about the quality of arts education programs. Each student benefits from the work that each teacher does!  I look forward to the traditional group photo that shows the teacher leaders at the end of the institute – tired and full of new ideas ready to hit the ground running! You can look for that photo as well – posted on the blog at the end of this week!


In Today’s News

June 23, 2013

Caribou Middle School


Ann LePage at the unveiling of the book at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. Kevin’s framed artwork is in the background.

Imagine being in 8th grade and you learn not only that your artwork was selected to be in the Love.Read.Learn! Baby Journal that the First Lady Ann LePage published in collaboration with the Barabara Foundation but on top of that your artwork was chosen for the cover?! How cool for Kevin Duplessie! This past week just before students were finished school for the year, the First Lady traveled to the middle school in Caribou to present Kevin with an enlarged framed image of his artwork at a surprise assembly in front of his school community and family members.

I had the chance to meet Kevin and his Dad and grandfather when the student work was on display at the Children’s Museum in Bangor in December. He is a student to watch!

I am certain that every time he views the artwork he will smile! Congratulations to Kevin! Read about the event by clicking here.

Kevin Duplessie, Grade 8, Caribou Middle School

Kevin Duplessie, Grade 8, Caribou Middle School

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Baby Journal Published

June 23, 2013

Art teachers with Westbrook Middle School students whose artwork is included in the book

You might remember back in September at the start of the 2012-13 school year the blog post that invited artwork submissions for the First Lady’s Baby book, “Love.Read.Learn!” Baby Journal. From that blog post and information going out to school’s and educators through other avenues there were over 800 pieces submitted for consideration. Every region of the state was represented and students from grades K – 8.

The project was a collaboration with the Barbara Bush Foundation and First Lady Ann LePage. The First Lady arranged the artwork throughout the Blaine House to be scored using a rubric derived from the AP rubric. First Lady Ann LePage, Becky Dyer from the Barbara Bush Foundation, and art teachers Lynne Shulman and Kathy Smith and I met at the Blaine House to score the artwork. It was great to share our love of teaching with both Becky and the First Lady. And a blog post announced the work selected.


Barbara Bush and Ann LePage at presentation of the book

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the unveiling of the book as it was presented to three new moms. Two of the students whose artwork was selected for the book (out of the 32), from Westbrook Middle School along with their teachers, principal, and their parents were in attendance as well.

I was so proud to see the completed book and all the students who submitted work. I know that the First Lady and Barbara Bush were inspired by the student work and dream of the possibilities. During the next year the book will be presented to new parents at each hospital in Maine. A great day for art education!

All the artwork published is at this link which is located on the front page of the meartsed blog.


In Today’s News

June 22, 2013

Garelick Farms

Sixth-grader, Kimberly Weltner’s art work depicting “pure happiness” provided her with a $500 savings bond and $500 for the art department at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway. Thanks to the Garelick Farms opportunity. To read the entire article in the Oxford Hills Sun Journal, June 21, 2012, please click here.

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