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Always Learning

August 14, 2016

Aroostook county kicks off the school year

Visual Art and Theatre teacher Pam Chernesky (Houlton Middle/High School) and Dance and Physical Education teacher MaryEllen Schaper (Bonny Eagle Middle School)

As you may know school starts for many of our friends in Aroostook county tomorrow (Monday, August 15). Many of the school districts in the County use a different calendar that coincides with the potato harvest season; including 2-3 weeks off in September and October. Some districts have moved away from this and others are considering the change. Even though potato farming is largely mechanized at this point, high school and some middle school students are hired to do a variety of jobs. School districts are looking carefully at the numbers of students working to make money for a car or saving for college and collecting information from community members to help make this decision.

Last week at the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Summer Institute some teachers (from other parts of Maine) reported that they will be going into school this week to begin to unpack new supplies and to prepare their classrooms for the return of students. It won’t be long now and everyone will return.

Beth Lambert, VPA specialist, Maine Department of Education

Beth Lambert, VPA specialist, Maine Department of Education Photo by Lindsay Pinchbeck

Today marks my anniversary of working for the state and I received notice this week that its been 10 years. It certainly doesn’t seem that long. In fact, it feels like 2 or 3 years only. Next week marks a year that my colleague Beth Lambert is at the Maine Department of Education as the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist. Congratulations Beth!

Along with 10 years at the state this year marks my 40 years in education, the first 30 as a visual arts teacher. I do miss the classroom but certainly appreciate the work that I’ve been privileged to do for 10 years. The favorite part of my job is the ongoing opportunities to learn. And, the highlights are learning about your roles as educators, visiting schools, and working with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). I am so proud of the work that you all do providing excellent arts education for students in Maine and beyond.

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 6.17.28 PMI hope that your summer has been wonderful and that you’ve had a chance to re-charge your batteries. Last week a teacher leader said how great it was to be at the MALI institute because she is now excited about going back to her elementary art classroom and put in place her new ideas and plans.

Perhaps some of you attended professional development opportunities – there were so many available. Or maybe you did some professional reading. I have been reading some of Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset and how students’ mindsets play a role on their achievement and motivation. I find it fascinating. While in Malawi Lindsay Pinchbeck and I talked about mindsets frequently while working with the teachers and students. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading this summer. Please drop me an email about your summer educational engagements (courses, conferences, workshops, books, or something else).

As the sun begins to set on another summer and you begin to move towards the classroom, this is my first message about your return. Best wishes for a year filled with a love for learning, great moments in teaching, and fun!

Sunset in Malawi

Sunset in Malawi

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