Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

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Carol Trimble Award

October 16, 2018

Kate Smith – CONGRATULATIONS!

During the pre-MICA Arts Education conference at USM two weeks ago the Carol Trimble Award was presented to Kate Smith. The award is presented to an educator who contributes exemplary service to the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative/Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) for their commitment, collaborative spirit and contributions. Carol Trimble was an amazing advocate for arts education. She retired as Executive Director from the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. The award was established in 2013 to honor Carol and her work.

Kate with one of her third grade classes with her Carol Trimble award.

Kate is an energetic music teacher currently teaching music to 430 preK-third grade students at Central Elementary School in South Berwick, Maine where she has been since 2003. Kate earned her music education degree from USM and a Master’s degree in Technology in Education from Lesley University. Kate was honored as 2014 York County Teacher of the Year for her passion for innovation and creativity. Kate serves as a teacher leader and design team member for the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, the Parade Coordinator for South Berwick’s annual Lanternfest and a coordinator for Central School’s farm-to-table program. Kate lives in southern Maine with her amazing husband and three children.

Music Educator Kris Bisson, Kate Smith, teaching artist Brian Evans-Jones at the MALI Mega 2018

Kate is well respected in the education world, not only for music but for her work continuing work with the outdoor classroom at Central School. Kate is a remarkable grant writer and many learners of all ages have benefited in her school and community. She has presented many workshops on a variety of topics for conferences at the local, regional and state level. Her most recent was for the Pre-Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) leading the music/dance session and at the MICA facilitating a panel discussion with teaching artists and PK-12 arts teachers.

Kate presenting at the MALI summer institute 2017

In 2014 Kate became a MALI Teacher Leader and willingly shared her enthusiasm for learning. In 2015 she was part of a MALI team who traveled to  Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead Summit. Kate enthusiastically embraced the Logic Model the team was introduced to and ever since has guided the MALI work. Kate is so engaged in how the model can impact each of us she often stays up late writing logic models. She is the
“Logic Model Guru”. Her excitement of having the then US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sit at our table at the summit was contagious. In 2015 Kate became a member of the team who guides the MALI work where she continually gives 100% with every task and responsibility. Kate has co-led the work with the MALI Teaching Artist Leaders introducing them to the many facets of teaching and learning. Her experience working with teaching artists in her school/community has enhanced learning opportunities for many. Kate is dependable, collaborative, honest, a life-long learner, has high expectations, fun to be around, and totally committed to whatever she takes on.

I had the pleasure of traveling to Islesford with Kate at the end of the summer to meet and visit with Ashley Bryan. It was a remarkable and very special gift. Kate was so inspired that on her return she incorporated what she learned to pass on to her students and colleagues. Kate has the ability to process quickly and put ideas into action without hesitation.

With Arne Duncan, Teach to Lead Summit, summer 2015

Catherine Ring, co-founder of MALI, Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education and Visual Art Educator, has worked closely with Kate and said the following about her: Kate is an inspirational leader for arts education. She is an intelligent and passionate advocate for the arts and it’s been a pleasure to work with her for the past 6 years at the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative.

Kate took a moment out of her busy schedule to answer a couple of questions for the Maine Arts Education blog readers.

On Islesford visiting Ashley Bryan

What’s your favorite part about teaching? How do I narrow it down!?!  When you see students not only master what you’ve taught them but then own their learning. Hearing students hum, sing, or whistle the songs I’ve taught them. The joy on my students’ faces when they are creating, performing, listening and responding to music. Hearing parents say how much they love hearing their children sing in the car, at the table, in the bathroom, or in bed when they are supposed to be asleep. Knowing the children are making precious memories by sharing their singing, playing and dancing with their parents (and grandparents!) makes my heart sing!

Kate Smith, 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and MALI music educator Kaitlin Young, Argy Nestor, Pre-MICA 2018

What are you most proud of from your career as an educator? The relationships I have made. Someone once said, in order to raise yourself up you must surround yourself with people you aspire to follow. I have been able to learn from incredible educators from across the state and region through the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, the Maine Teacher of the Year Association, USM, Lesley University, the Marshwood School District and countless other networks. There have been people who challenge me, inspire me, stretch me, believe in me. They’ve saved me a place at the table, encouraged me to use my voice, to amplify my students’ voices and have taught me to expect more from our legislators and policy makers.

CONGRATULATIONS KATE SMITH – this years awardee for the Carol Trimble Award!

Previous recipients include:

  • Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg
  • Bronwyn Sale
  • Jeffrey Beaudry
  • Charlie Johnson

 

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New Experiences – Raegan’s Story

October 15, 2018

“Winging It” by Raegan Russell

Raegan Russell is a visual art educator at Berwick Academy who was on sabbatical last year. I hope her story inspires you (and perhaps your students) to think about challenging yourself in a new and different way. This is her story…  

This post was written by Raegan Russell for the Berwick Today Magazine, Summer 2018 issue

“View from my window this morning. I’m off to my service site and have butterflies in my stomach. In addition to teaching the young women some printmaking, I’ll be learning their crafts, taking care of babies, pigs, and frogs, gardening, repairing buildings, and whatever else they ask…”

So began the first days of my sabbatical, for which I traveled in Southeast Asia for service, exploration, and art-making. Early on, I joked to my students and colleagues that I was taking a gap year, a semester abroad, or some version of the Eat, Pray, Love journey. For two months, I lived out of a backpack, stayed in hostels or homestays, and sought out local restaurants, cheap digs, and real communities. I traveled to Thailand, where I worked with women and children in crisis outside of Chiang Mai, then on to the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and later explored the bustling cities and stunning beauty of both the landscape and the people of Vietnam. The trip was an adventure for me, and even though I consider myself a well-seasoned traveler, I knew that it would throw me out of my comfort zone and challenge me.

“Highlights from this weekend’s trek to Ba Panden village in the hills north of Chiang Mai. Eva and I hiked 9km up to the village of the Lahu people. I swam in a cool waterfall, rode a raft down river, hiked through bamboo forests and rubber trees, and was kept up all night by a pack of crowing roosters…”

Throughout my trip, I had my sketchbook by my side. I drew the ancient Bodhi trees in Chiang Mai, the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the motorbikes of Hanoi. As I was drawing Ta Prohm, a beautiful temple nearly overtaken by lush trees and moss, a tourist questioned me about why I didn’t just take a picture of it. I answered truthfully that “this is how I notice and experience things. I will remember the heat, the smells, the beauty, and even the discomfort of sitting here on this hard rock when I look back at this drawing.” The sketchbook drawings from my trip became the springboard for the work that I have taken on since I have been home and in my studio in South Berwick. As an educator who has always balanced teaching with studio practice, this sabbatical has given me the rare gift of time to develop new work. The subject matter of my new paintings has pulled closer to home, and the vibe of the work is exploratory and a truthful expression of how I experience the world.

“Yesterday, I made my way to Wat U Mong, where I found the oldest (?) Bodhi tree in Chiang Mai. It took some getting to, but I was able to paint for several hours directly from the tree. This was an experience I will not forget.”

Nearly two days after I took off from JFK on a cold evening in January that made me rethink my choice to travel light (with only a light down jacket that could roll up into the size of a softball), I landed in Thailand. I had specifically sought out a service opportunity that focused on women’s empowerment, and found the perfect project in the northern hills near Chiang Mai.

After a three-day orientation on Thai language and culture, I began my service project at the Wildflower Home, a shelter for single women and their children directed by two intrepid and compassionate women, sisters Anurak and Siripon. My mornings were spent minding the children in the daycare and teaching the mothers printmaking and artists’ books in the afternoons. The artists’ books were a hit, as many of the mothers transformed them into baby books and journals, quickly discovering that they could sell them with the many other handcrafts and goods they make.

All of this work was accomplished without a shared language between us; I learned a little Thai and they learned a little English. We became friends and laughed together while working. They welcomed me into their lives in ways that I never expected. Dao, a mother who headed the kitchen duties, taught me how to make Khao Soi, the region’s sublime dish of coconut milk, chili, and curry noodles over the wood fire stove in the home’s kitchen. The older children knew me as the art-auntie and would join in on our printmaking projects. As I left work every day, Fa, a young mother who has a beautiful daughter SaiSai, would shout to me: “Good-bye! See you tomorrow!” as I rode from the home on the back of Dao’s motorbike to catch the bus back to Chiang Mai.

“Sketchbook Sunday: a collection of sketchbook pages from over the last few months. My sketchbook has been a place for reflection, taking time to understand the world around me, and for gathering resources for work ahead. My sketchbook has always been by my side. It’s feeling kind of precious these days.”

I am lucky to have been able to maintain an art practice beside my work as a teacher. It has taken effort on my part, but it has been made possible with Berwick’s support and professional development opportunities; 20 years of conferences, workshops, and studio sessions have not only recharged me, they have broadened my perspective and provided me with a rich community of artists and art educators as friends and supporters.

My sabbatical has given me the opportunity to push pause in an extended fashion and appreciate the things that are important. I am grateful for this gift, and the adventure is far from over. I am excited to be planning a trip to Thailand over March Break 2019, where I will take students to engage in service projects like mine in Chiang Mai.

Closer to home, I was awarded a fellowship to paint on Monhegan Island in July. I dusted off the red backpack and packed up my paints to head to another place I had never been, where I let new experiences wash over me like the waves that wash over the dark grey rocks at the water’s edge.

Watch for a future blog post describing Raegan’s fellowship opportunity on Monhegan Island. 

www.raeganrussell.com/

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Janie’s School on Dot Day

October 8, 2018

What did you do?

Janie Snider is an elementary visual art educator at Hancock Grammar School where she teaches students in grades 6-8.

I’m guessing that some or many of you and your students celebrated Dot Day in some way. Janie celebrated in a big way that impacted the entire school community. Student learning connected to analogous colors and also to kindness and being positive. Every student and staff member painted a dot, about 270 of them. Afterwards they were displayed in the school’s lobby for all to see and appreciate.

Janie is a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and this is her 25th year teaching. Janie has one of nine videos on standards-based education. This school-wide project is a great example of how Janie leads in her school. She said: “The Dot is such a great book and the dot is such a building block to so many great art works!” Peter H. Reynolds is an actor and illustrator and has done a great job connecting his book to a variety of curriculum and resources. Check them out at The Dot site.

If you did something at your school for “Dot Day” please send me an email so your idea can be shared with others on this blog. Thanks!

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MICA Day 2 Highlight

October 6, 2018

Video Recap

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High School Diplomas

October 5, 2018

Proficiency-based or credit-based – DOE update

Governor LePage signed into law PL 2017, Chapter 466 on July 10, 2018, allowing SAUs to award either proficiency-based or credit-based diplomas. This change will take effect on December 13, 2018. The new diploma law, enacted by the 128th Legislature, removes the mandate that a high school diploma be based on a student’s demonstration of proficiency in Maine’s Learning Results and instead makes a proficiency-based diploma one of two options.

To help inform school districts and the public about the new law, the Department is providing a side-by-side comparison of the two diploma options. While the new law provides opportunities for flexibility and innovation in awarding a high school diploma, it also presents challenges. The Maine DOE believes the comparison chart will help districts navigate their different options to ensure that, whatever the local decision is, students are provided a high quality education.

Side-by-side comparison of the two diploma options (PDF)

The chart demonstrates that many details must be worked out both at the state and local level. As school leaders consider the uncertainties presented by the new law, the Commissioner wants districts to know that Maine DOE has an unwavering commitment to the quality of education for all Maine students. In this vein, districts should move forward with diploma requirements that serve students with an understanding that further legislation is likely necessary to reduce the inconsistencies between the two options.

The Commissioner is working collaboratively with stakeholders to establish common goals and seek solutions that ensure Maine’s high school diploma requirements provide a challenging, high quality education for every student in Maine. The Maine DOE looks forward to working with districts in this endeavor to prepare our graduates for a bright future.

Resources

Laws Quick Look Up:

Maine Learning Results

Guiding Principles of The Maine Learning Results

Understanding the Guiding Principlesa Resource developed by the Maine DOE and epic, Educational Policy Improvement Center.

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Retired Art Teachers

October 3, 2018

What are they up to?

Thanks to retired visual art teacher Diane Noble for providing the following information. In her own words…

The MAEA Retired ART Teachers, along with some family and friends, enjoyed a morning at the Bernard Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing on Friday, September 21. We were greeted by Annette Naegel, Director of Conservation for the Georges River Land Trust, that is in charge of the property and Cynthia, the Education coordinator, and Doug, Conservationist of the sculptures.

Seventeen of us heard from each about how the Langlais sculptures came to be renovated with the aid of the Colby College and the Kohler Foundation, then turned over to the Georges River Land Trust as stewards of the works and property of 160 acres.

We toured his studio, workshop, the barn, the education area and the house.

It’s an amazing place, visited by many school groups. If any Art teachers are interested in visiting the preserve with students please contact Annette Naegel, annette@grlt.org, Georges River Land Trust, Director of Conservation, 207-594-5166.

Ticket to Ride provides funds to travel to places like the Bernard Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing. Please learn more about the Ticket to Ride program on the Maine Arts Commission website. 

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MICA – Day 2

September 29, 2018

A day filled with GREATNESS

Kaitlin Young in the Idea Lab

The Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) wrapped up yesterday with a very full and high spirited, exciting day. The day started with a lively performance by the Maine Taiko Drummers. The Maine Artists Idea Lab stories followed in Hannaford Hall reaching across the many “arts” lines and inspiring folks bringing many to tears.

One of the Idea Lab presenters was Sedomocha School Music Educator Kaitlin Young (Maine 2018 Teacher of the Year) who shared her “teacher” story and reminded me of the importance of “life-long learning”! All of us who call ourselves “educators” can be proud that Kaitlin represents Maine educators who are continuously striving to provide an excellent education for all learners!

The day was filled with breakout sessions on a variety of topics relating to the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) Cultural Plan – Leveraging Investment, Building Capacity, Visibility of Arts & Cultural Sector, Arts Education & Lifelong Learning, and Promoting Cultural Tourism.

Teaching, learning, and assessment panel

Just before lunch Arts EngageME presented their Inaugural Maine Arts Awards to the surprised recipients. Throughout the day there were pop-up performers including Sara Juli, Oratorio Chorale, Portland Piano Trio, Celebration Barn, Golden Oak, and MAMM students.

The PK-12 arts education sessions were informative, enlightening, and inspirational. Thank you to the following who contributed their expertise to the sessions designed especially for educators.

How do teaching, learning and assessment work together in a positive, productive standards-based Visual and Performing Arts classroom? 

Jeff Beaudry, Jen Etter, Kelly Hrenko, Michelle Kaschub, Holly Leighton, and John Morris!

Teaching artists and PK-12 arts teachers session

When Teaching Artists and Arts Teachers Connect, Students Win

Kate Smith, Brian Evans-Jones, Kris Bisson, Tim Christensen, Lori Spruce, John Morris, Carmel Collins

Empowering Your Voice for Arts Education 

Catherine Ring

MAC provides MICA biennially so if you missed it this year mark your calendar for the next one being held in 2020. It will be a great way to celebrate the Bicentennial of our state.

Catherine Ring presenting

Some of the MALI folks in attendance

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