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MALI Critical Friend Day

August 22, 2015

A great day in Portland!

IMG_0233So impressive were the presentations all day on Thursday during the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Critical Friend Day. Forty-five educators convened at Luther Bonney Hall on the USM, Portland campus. Twenty-four educators made presentations, either a workshop or a logic model idea. When not presenting they joined the critical friends who were a collective of teachers, a principal, an assistant principal, curriculum leader, an assistant superintendent, and an Apple employee. In addition, we had three educators join electronically and two actually gave their presentations from Aroostook county during their prep periods (school is underway). Needless to say it was very cool that they could join us from a distance. The entire day was a TERRIFIC learning opportunity for all involved. The presenters received valuable suggestions so they can tweak and expand on their ideas and the critical friends walked away with new information and ideas to apply to their own work. It is a fabulous opportunity for all involved.

Dance and visual arts teacher leader from Lake Region High School Carmel Collins and music teacher leader from Sebasticook Valley Middle School

Dance and Visual Arts Teacher Leader, Lake Region High School Carmel Collins, and Music Teacher Leader, Sebasticook Valley Middle School

The presentations were in direct connection with the three-day MALI institute that was held earlier this month where over 50 visual and performing arts educators and teaching artists came together for a professional learning opportunity. You can read about the institute in several consecutive blog posts starting with August 10. They had a chance to gain more knowledge in teaching, learning, assessment, proficiency-based education, leadership, advocacy, technology, creativity, integration, and several other relevant topics related to the challenges faced in the visual or performing arts classroom. I had a chance to go from one workshop to the next and it was amazing to see the high quality of work that has been formulated.

Visual Art Teacher Leader Mandi Mitchell from Hermon High School

Visual Art Teacher Leader Mandi MItchell, Hermon High School

You might be wondering what a critical friend is or does. Below is how we guided the work of those who graciously took on the role as “critical friend”.

One definition of “critical” is expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art. A “friend” is a person who gives assistance. The MALI leadership team asks you to do both in a gentle helpful way. We want the teacher leaders to create the best work possible so please be honest in your feedback.

Rob Westerberg, Nancy Kinkade, Holly Leighton, (hidden) Shari Tarleton, and Virgil Bozeman provide feedback

Rob Westerberg, Nancy Kinkade, Holly Leighton, (hidden) Shari Tarleton, and Virgil Bozeman provide feedback

The workshops will be presented at the local level during the 2015-16 school year. The new teacher leaders (https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/phase-5-maai-teacher-leaders-announced/) will be selecting a location and time and all of the information will be posted so you can see what is offered and plan to attend.

Trevor Marcho Music Teacher Leader Mattanawcook Academy

Trevor Marcho Music Teacher Leader Mattanawcook Academy

The veteran teachers selected a problem and created a plan to solve the problem. The logic model is just that – a way to guide those using it to a clear picture of how to influence and create change. You can read a bit about logic model at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic_model.

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Allie Rimkunas, Great Falls Elementary Art Teacher Leader

During the afternoon session we participated in a “messaging” workshop that was facilitated by Kate Smith, music teacher leader from South Berwick. Participants selected a topic that they wanted to refine to be able to communicate clearly and concisely at a moments notice when the opportunity arises.

Art Teacher Leader, Lisa Ingraham, Madison and Critical Friend Hollie Hilton

Art Teacher Leader, Lisa Ingraham, Madison and Critical Friend Hollie Hilton

Needless to say yesterday was a great day for Arts education in Maine. Nothing like being in an environment where everyone is talking, thinking, exchanging about visual and performing arts education – directly connected to all the issues and topics of education in general! If you’d like to read about the teacher leaders and leadership team please go to the Maine Arts Assessment site at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/.  You can be part of the next quality learning opportunity at the Biennial Statewide conference being held on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport, Maine. Information and registration for the great day we have planned is located at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide. If you’d like to learn more about being involved in MALI and the opportunities that the initiative provides please be sure and email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Music Teacher Leader Kate Smith, and Critical Friends, AOS 92 Curriculum Leader Mary Boyle and 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year Karen MacDonald

Music Teacher Leader Kate Smith, and Critical Friends, AOS 92 Curriculum Leader Mary Boyle and 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year Karen MacDonald

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email me know if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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