Archive for March, 2018


Amazing Story

March 31, 2018

Mandy Harvey

At age 18, Mandy Harvey dreamed of being a music educator but when she lost her hearing her direction changed. On America’s Got Talent she sang a song she had written called ‘Try’ Simon gave her the Golden Buzzard. An inspirational story that I hope you’ll share with learners of all ages.


In Today’s News

March 30, 2018

Karen MacDonald on Proficiency Based Education

“I recently retired from the classroom after 37 years of teaching. At the middle school where I taught, we transitioned to a proficiency-based model during the last few years of my career. That change was a consequence of our decision to separate the reporting of academic learning from the reporting of work habits and share this more honest information with parents and students. The change was also about being very explicit about the important learning at each grade level and how we would effectively teach and assess that learning. Finally, we made the shift to provide students and parents with clear guidelines for demonstrating proficiency in a specific area”.

The article was published in the Maine Press Herald, March 29. Read the entire article HERE. Be sure and read the comments as well.


In Today’s News

March 30, 2018

Retired art teacher Katy Helman

Katy retired from Deer Isle-Stonington High School after 18 years in 2016. What’s she doing now?

Canvases, some still wet with paint, line the walls, the walkway and nearly every flat surface. Big paint tubes are bunched together. Jars full of brushes are nearby.

“I just sort of slather it on,” Helman said. She paints on canvas but won’t pass up a good piece of cardboard. “I’m a very casual applicant of whatever material I’m using. I’m not a precision person. I like to think with my hands.”

Read the entire article in the March 30th Ellsworth American newspaper written by  by CLICKING HERE.


Many know Helman as the former and beloved Deer Isle-Stonington High School art teacher. She retired after 18 years in 2016.


Assessment Literacy Conference

March 30, 2018

University of Southern Maine 

#Assessment Literacy Conference: High-impact Teaching Strategies, Quality Summative Evidence, and Grading Practices

Presented by the Southern Maine Partnership – School of Education and Human Development

May 7-8, 2018

8:30 – 3:30, Abromson Hall, USM, Portland


The purpose of this year’s two-day conference is to strengthen the balance of our classroom assessment and assessment systems to support student growth in a standards-based education system. The conference will provide multiple workshops on high-impact teaching strategies that promote learning in the classroom, high-quality summative evidence of progress and proficiency, and high-quality grading practices that accurately measure learning while nurturing growth mindset.

Two major invited presenters will address a balanced approach to assessment. There will be keynote presentations and workshops by Ken O’Connor, author of How to Grading for Learning and A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades and Jan Chappuis, author of Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning and Classroom Assessment for Student Learning.

Presenters from Maine school districts and organizations will focus on high-impact strategies; assessment for learning and leading; school district implementation of assessment for learning modules; effective scoring, reporting, and communicating student learning; teacher evaluation; and STEAMS.

Cost: $225 for full conference, including materials, lunches, and snacks; $125 for 1 day; $175/person for full conference for teams of 5+.



Who Are They? Oxford Hills Region Part 5

March 29, 2018

Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association (OHMPAA)

This blog post is part of a series that aims to bring awareness to the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about the many visual and performing arts venues and educational opportunities in the Oxford Hills. The Oxford Hills Region of Maine is a perfect setting for the arts as it is centrally located where the rolling foothills of the White Mountains and beautiful lakes regions intersect. Located 45 miles north of Portland, 35 miles east of New Hampshire, and 20 miles west of Lewiston-Auburn, the region hosts multiple year-round opportunities for learners of all ages and a thriving arts community. The Oxford Hills School District (SAD17) is Maine’s largest school district in geographic area, with nine community schools, a regional middle school, a comprehensive high school and the Streaked Mountain School, an alternative school for high school students. The Oxford Hills include the towns of Buckfield, Harrison, Hartford, Hebron, Mechanic Falls, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Poland, Sumner, Waterford and West Paris. A great big THANKS to Diana Arcadipone for writing this series of posts.

Dan and Shirli Allen founded OHMPAA in 1985 because they saw a need for a local venue for music, dance and theater in the Oxford Hills. At that time, the primary outlet for the performing arts was for students at the local high school. Except for Ragtag in Bethel, adults had no real performance opportunities. “Back then, we were bare bones and used the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School stage and any other place we could find,” says Jeff Orwig, member (and institutional memory) of the advisory board since the early 1990s. The early group performed works in the public domain and musical reviews because the royalty fees were minimal.

In early days, ticket sales covered all expenses: costumes, musicians, sets, props, and publicity. It has always been important to the group to produce shows that are affordable to the community. Early audiences of 50-75 enjoyed shows at a variety of locations. A local appliance store saved boxes for the sets and OHMPAA was able to produce at least one performance each year. When the high school stage was not available, OHMPAA performed in their then home at Paris Hill Academy.

In 2002, OHMPAA started doing shows in the Norway Grange #45, located at 15 Whitman Street in Norway, ME.  Jeff says “We felt like a moving company because we were doing winter shows at the Grange and summer shows at the Academy.” They eventually made an agreement with the Grange that it could become their home. Finally able to settle into a permanent space, OHMPAA upgraded the electrical service, built an extension onto the stage, and made numerous improvements. Today, OHMPAA cherishes this fine historic building and cares for it as if it was its own.

One pivotal display of community support was when local bookseller Erica Jed from Books N Things in Norway became a ticket agent as a courtesy to OHMPAA. She sold tickets for the past 12 years until recently when she sold the store. Thankfully, the new bookseller, Adrienne Cote, is opening The Tribune, and will honor this tradition. According to Jeff Orwig, this community gift has helped to expand ticket sales to the current capacity of 100 seats.

Jenny Adams, President of the Advisory Board, states the mission of the organization: OHMPAA is dedicated to the presentation of quality entertainment on a regular basis featuring the talents of local residents. On January 1, 2009, OHMPAA became a program of Norway Maine Opera House Corporation which is a 501(c)(3) organization. Today, the advisory board numbers 15 and represents a blend of performers, business and community leaders and audience advocates. Regulations have become more complex and members need to be able to navigate a wide array of complex issues however in the early days, board members were a group of artists who did everything. The board still chooses all of the programming and runs this non-profit organization as a break-even business.

Programming usually consists of two full length main stage shows — most often a play in June and a musical in November — 8 performances each. They also produce “extras” which are training workshops like Audition Workshop and Theater 101, which draw from a panel of local experts: Sally Jones of Norway (former teacher at OHCHS), Ethan Wright of Buckfield (teaches Music at Buckfield HS), Jamie Swenson of Portland and Kristen Short of Norway.

The program below is set for the 2018 season. Tickets sell from $8 to $12 per show and can also be purchased at the door or at The Tribune bookstore. OHMPAA accepts proposals from new directors for full length shows, one acts and children’s theater. The selection process takes place in the summer and two shows, plus extras, are chosen for the subsequent season.  TO LEARN MORE. For GENERAL INFORMATION or MORE INFORMATION. Or email

  • June 14-24              Noises Off  A farce by Michael Frayne
  • July 28                     This is what Happened; Backstage Stories compiled by Sally Jones
  • November 8-18       Little Shop of Horrors by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
  • December 6-9         The Gift of the Magi  and The Happy Prince in four area churches NO CHARGE

Dorie and Hope Connect

March 28, 2018

Arts integration at its finest

Art Teacher Hope Lord and Music Teacher Dorie Tripp collaborated to create an amazing learning opportunity for their students in the RSU 38, Maranacook area schools.

Hope working on the drum at the MALI summer institute

Hope and Dorie became Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders last spring as part of phase 7. Both are inspirational leaders who shared their integrated work at the MALI winter retreat in March.

At the MALI summer institute in August 2017 they participated in the drum building session with MALI Design Team member Lindsay Pinchbeck. Out of the learning opportunity they decided to involve the students in cross-curricular and cross grade level learning.

Hope worked with her general art & design students to build drums and create tribal printing stamps. They brought their ideas and stamps to the 5th graders who used the stamps to make designs on 16 drums.

The students experimented with the sounds that the drums make by using different materials for the drum head and by how tight they attached them. They already started to use the drums and are looking forward to the spring concert to perform with them for the community. Both Hope and Dorie are glad to share their ideas in more depth, if you’re interested!


In Today’s News

March 27, 2018

What your kids learn in art class – and why it matters

This report released recently that documents what is happening across the providence of New Brunswick. Gillian Dykeman, executive director of the provincial artist’s association ArtsLink NB had a conversation with Maine Arts Commission personnel not long after we completed our arts education census. They adapted our work so they could conduct a survey themselves. The findings were just released.

READ ABOUT their work in their news.

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