Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

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Influenced by Art Teacher

May 11, 2021

Letter from US Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona

How wonderful that we have an educator in the position of Secretary of Education at the federal level who was influenced by an art teacher during his elementary education. I urge you to embrace this moment and consider our roles as educators and ask yourself: what can I do to take a leap in moving visual and performing education forward? You have the potential to encourage, challenge and guide learners to wrap their arms around being life long learners of the arts!

I never could predict what might happen in Mr. O’Neil’s art classes; I just knew I couldn’t wait for the next assignment.  Back then I didn’t realize all the ways this dynamic educator, a rare man of color leading our diverse classroom of second graders, was serving as a pioneer and role model for me and my peers in John Barry Elementary School.  But I’ll never forget how his teaching made me feel.  As a second grader, I remember looking up — watching him encourage, challenge and guide us – and thinking: “I want to be like him.”

In the years since embracing that calling and starting my career as a classroom teacher, I’ve kept that sense of purpose and wonder.  And my goal in all the administrative roles I’ve held is to facilitate great teaching and learning: to support and expand the transformative impact that skilled, caring classroom teachers have for students, schools, and communities.

Every day America’s teachers change lives, and every day those lives change the world.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona US Secretary of Education

Now, this truth can seem to recede as you rush to keep up with the day’s intense pace, and your students’ needs and opportunities. Yet, from the first bell on the first day of the school year, you build a relationship with each of them. You learn their strengths and struggles, laugh with them, cry with them, worry over them, cheer for them – and at the end of the school year, help them transition to their next grade level adventure. You know all those experiences – both the academic and life lessons – have changed both you and them for the better.  You empower them to grow in skill and character — expand their understanding of the world and how to shape it — explore their interests and decide where to make their mark.

Teaching is not a job anyone just falls into. It is mastery of a craft: in fact, the craft that enables all the others. In my experience, great teachers are also quintessential lifelong learners. You use your command of learning science, your insights into your students’ unique needs and aptitudes, as well as the lessons of the past, the realities of the present and the inspiration, innovation and ingenuity of the future to help each new generation become leaders for today and tomorrow. Throughout the year you support your fellow educators, add to your tools through professional development, provide feedback on assignments, sponsor sports, service learning, clubs and other extracurricular activities, collaborate with parents –in addition to everything you pour into your students during class.

Even in this unprecedented year, you rallied, finding new ways to engage with students. In the face of tragedy, you learned new technologies and built virtual classroom communities, all while caring for yourselves and your own families.  As we heal, recover, and rebuild, this pandemic presents a chance to forge opportunity from crisis and reimagine education on every level. We will use this time to address inequities in our education system, and your contributions will be invaluable.  The work won’t be easy, but the impact of your success will be profound, for students and communities. I urge state, local, and elected officials to make sure classroom teachers have a voice in your plans and efforts to reimagine education; second to parents, they know our students best.

I look forward to learning and listening from you in the days ahead.  And, from all of us at the Department of Education: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. There’s a reason teacher like Mr. O’Neil – and all of you – are memorable.  There’s a reason student in America’s classrooms watch you share your curiosity, energy and passion for ideas and think, “I want to be like them.”

You are embodiments of possibility, champions of your students’ potential and stewards of their success.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education.

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Happpppppy Teacher Appreciation Week

May 3, 2021

May 3-7, 2021

During the last year teachers have probably faced enormous challenges – the most difficult of their career. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week so I’m taking a moment to stop and THANK YOU for all of the moments you have leaned in and did what you needed to do. We know at the heart of your work are students. They are so fortunate!

Since 1984, National PTA has designated one week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have worked hard to ensure every student has a quality arts education. I know that you’ll continue to do an amazing job despite the challenges.

 

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Theatre Videos

April 29, 2021

American Alliance for Theatre & Education

Outstanding videos are being created by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education and are periodically being released. The video below features award-winning playwright Alvaro Saar Rios who shares the importance of ‘telling your story’. He speaks from his heart and encourages the viewer to ‘just tell your story”. All the videos are located at THIS LINK.

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Lewis Prize for Music

April 7, 2021

RSVP

RSVP by CLICKING HERE

The Lewis Prize for Music is thrilled to invite you to our virtual Open House for Music CYD Rural Leadership on Thursday, April 22 from 5pm – 7pm ET. We are hosting an informal conversation with rural and tribal creative youth development practitioners and youth participants, members of state arts agencies, rurally based community centers, advocates and supporters for rural and indigenous communities.

Creative Youth Development is a recent term for a longstanding practice that integrates creative skill-building, inquiry, and expression with positive youth development principles, including holistic wellbeing. The Lewis Prize for Music team is eager to learn about rural communities and the experiences of working and getting funding for out of school music programming.

We will share information about our annual Accelerator Awards application and how to apply beginning in May 2021, as well as how to share about the award opportunity with other rural CYD music organizations that qualify for this opportunity. 

Please note, we are capping attendees to the first 100 people to sign up. Honorariums will be provided for attendees that qualify as being a part of CYD Music Organizations.

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Being a Searcher

April 2, 2021

Rob Shetterly and Jim Carrey

As another month comes to an end today I’m sharing this post that might help you close another chapter in a wondering state of mind. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” she talks about ideas that come into our thinking and how if we don’t act on them they fly out and keep circulating out there until they land somewhere else. Not sure if this has happened to you but it has to me multiple times, some small topics, others very monumental.

Recently Rob Shetterly from Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) was sharing with my students his story about becoming the painter of the Truth Tellers. Rob has painted over 250 portraits of truth tellers and if you’re not familiar with them please take the time to view the AWTT site – there are many teaching and learning resources and opportunities for your learners.

Anyway, Rob said something that hit me upside my head. It went something like this: A few days later Ellsworth High School art teacher Leah Olson shared a video about Jim Carrey. First, I was surprised that the video had a similar message to Rob’s and that it was coming to me not long after I heard Rob say it. Needless to say it was my “big magic” moment and I knew that I had to act on it. So, I followed up with Rob, shared Jim Carrey’s video, and asked him to repond. Rob’s response pushed on my thinking and the importance of Rob’s paintings became more clear. I am so grateful for his work and wisdom.

Rob’s thinking on The Searcher

Fascinating little video about his art. He’s a searcher. And when you are a searcher, you are also sought. Allowing yourself to be found by what’s searching for you is one of the most important moments in your life. So much of our lives is in preparing ourselves  to be ready for the  recognition of that moment. Being open to the voice. It’s an annunciation one can decline, but at the peril of avoiding the deepest meaning you may be capable of.

Jim’s video

When I went back to view Jim’s video what I found, along with “the searcher”, was how meaningful this video is for students and adults alike. I have been reminded over and over in the last month how serious some parents and educators are about “preparing kids for the future”. Sadly, not about the importance of living each day to the fullest. The video has many messages along with the important one “what you do in life chooses you”. It’s about how important color is (I equate this with the lack of sun during Maine winters), relationships, engagement in learning, observation, love and so much more. I urge you to take the 6 minutes and 18 seconds to watch it and encourage you to share with a friend and/or colleague and of course, if appropriate with your students.

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Malaga Island

March 30, 2021

Resources available

The Maine State Museum is a wealth of information for teachers of all content and grade levels. One topic that they have excellent resources on is Malaga Island. The story of the island and the people who lived there have been of interest to me for some time.

If you’re not familiar with Malaga it is a 41 acre island located near Phippsburg at the mouth of the New Meadows River in Casco Bay. It was the site of an interracial community from the Civil War until 1911, when the residents were forced to leave their homes.

From the Maine State Museum webpage

By July 1, 1912, the community on Maine’s Malaga Island ceased to exist. The State of Maine had evicted the mixed-race community of fisherman and laborers in order to clear the small coastal island of “It’s Shiftless Population of Half-Breed Blacks and Whites”, as one 1911 newspaper article described it. The mixed-race community was controversial in the state; many people saw the island as an ugly mark on the pristine beauty of Maine’s coast. After years of well-publicized legal battles, the state succeeded in removing the community of around forty people, committing eight to the Maine School for the Feeble Minded. By the end of 1912, all visible traces of the community disappeared – houses were moved and the cemetery was exhumed.

Not long ago the museum had a comprehensive exhibit on the community and they’ve been able to include many of the resources online (links below) so we can continue to learn from them.

The museum has also archived 5 lessons which include background info, teaching resources, and photographs from the island settlement. Lessons are located at THIS LINK.

If you have any questions about the museum’s resources please contact Joanna Torow, Chief Educator at the museum at Joanna.Torow@maine.gov.

In addition to the above resources Kate McBrien, Maine State Archivist, presented at the Southwest Harbor Public Library and that recorded presentation is below. At some point there was a shift in the attitude towards Malaga Island. In 2010 Governor John Baldacci visited the island and apologized for the wrong that had been done on the island and to its residents. One of the descendants accepted the apology and communicated how grateful the state of Maine acknowledges the history. You can hear the recording from the ceremony and other stories documented at THIS LINK.

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The Arts and Cognitive Skills

March 29, 2021

Recent research published

Some of the latest brain research supports the notion that the arts impact the neural pathways including cognitive and social skills. T. Christina Zhao and Patricia Kuhl have been studying the impact of music on babies brains. Kuhl explains in a TED Talk that music is positively impacting Executive Functions. In a video, embedded below, which was found on the Edutopia website, the research is highlighted. For school age children a study in Texas that followed 10,000 students researchers learned that students who participated in arts programs not only scored higher on writing tests but were also more engaged in school and had more compassion for fellow students, among other points. Another study showed that drawing had a positive impact on memory among other points. These reports and other research can be found in an Edutopia article at THIS LINK

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MECA Courses

March 25, 2021

May Online Term

Maine College of Art’s (MECA) Office of Continuing and Professional Studies in collaboration with the college’s Master of Arts in Teaching program are pleased to offer two fully online courses for this May term. These Graduate-level courses offer 3 credits each at a discounted, non-matriculated rate. The two art education classes are certification requirements for folks seeking a Visual Art teaching endorsement. If you know any community artists or educational technicians that may be interested in becoming an art teacher, this would be a perfect opportunity for them to move closer to that endorsement. 

To learn more go to MECAs Continuing Studies webpage with the class listings.

May Term at MECA is five weeks, from May 15 to June 20. May Term 2021 offers: MAT 806: Teaching Exceptionality in the Art Classroom with Heather Nunez-Olmstead. MAT 815: Methods of Teaching Art in the K-12 Classroom with MAT Program Chair, Dr. Rachel Somerville, Ed.D.

Below is a video that provides information on the two courses being offered.

If you have questions please contact Rachel E. Somerville, Ed.D. Interim Chair & Director of Art Education Outreach at rsomerville@meca.edu. For more information about May Term classes, visit: https://cs.meca.edu/​ or call us at 207.699.5061.   

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Secretary of Education

March 18, 2021

Miguel Cardona

I’m sure you’re all aware that we have a new Secretary of Education at the federal level. Miguel Cardona was a teacher and principal and is the parent of high school students with a lens grounded in his life experiences. Communication updates from the U.S. Department of Education have been re-established, below is a letter from the Secretary. At THIS LINK the U.S. Department of Education makes available a variety of newsletters and journals that you may find valuable. You can sign up to have them automatically sent to your email address.

To our Nation’s Educators and Education Stakeholders:  

Thank you for giving your all for students during this unprecedented year.  

As the Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, I experienced firsthand the disruptions schools and communities faced as the pandemic unfolded. As a former teacher and principal, I understand how challenging it has been to work under these conditions. As a parent of a daughter and son in high school, I know how critical it is to stay engaged with students, and to help them stay engaged in learning. And, as your Secretary of Education, I pledge to do everything I can to listen, to learn and to act in the best interests of our nation’s students.   

Our top priority in the coming months must be to work together to safely reopen all schools for in-person learning, beginning with children in grades K-8. The data, and daily experience, show our children need us to find a way to take this step. My career experiences have taught me that education is primarily a state and local endeavor, and I know students, educators, administrators, staff, and families have performed heroically under these difficult circumstances to take steps toward reopening and to support students wherever they are learning. From a federal perspective, our role is to provide support, guidance, and directions on how to do it safely.  

I also know that leadership and support from the federal government is needed in the immediate and long-term – so you have the funds, facts and guidance to make the best decisions for your students and communities. As part of this effort, the Department has released our COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, to help you implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s K-12 operational strategy. We’re working on the second volume, which will provide schools with practical implementation plans to address the extraordinary disruption created by COVID-19 for students, educators, and parents — especially for historically underserved students and communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.  

Together, we can ensure our efforts are always grounded in science and proven practices, so we do what is most effective for students and families. As we open classrooms, the health and safety of our students and educators must remain the highest priority.  The research is conclusive: when they can do so safely, students are better off learning in school, in person, rather than remotely. The need is most acute in our underserved communities and among students of color, who have suffered disproportionately during this time.  

In Connecticut, we offered clear, expert-driven guidance and communicated with teachers and staff, administrators, parents, and students. We connected medical experts with schools, and supported flexibility for districts to revise and revisit plans based on local health data. Our approach to tackling this issue nationwide must be the same.   

In addition to helping you create conditions in which students can safely return to the classroom, we’ll work to close the large funding gap between majority-white and non-white districts, improve teacher diversity, ensure teachers receive the support and respect they need and deserve, expand access to high-quality preschool, and support high-quality career and technical education.   

These ambitious goals and needed changes can only be accomplished if we remove silos in education, share our breakthroughs and successes, and cultivate schools and colleges as places of innovation. States have always been leaders of innovation, and the pandemic has spurred schools, institutions, and individuals to find new ways to meet students’ needs. We will capture and elevate those stories through a best-practices clearinghouse. And, I will always keep students at the forefront of all we do. (Here’s a video about the path ahead.)

I have full confidence in our shared ability, and in the power of our partnership. I want you to know that you have a strong advocate in Washington who is committed to communication, accountability, transparency, inclusivity, and results. Together, we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. We will empower our students as never before and equip them for the bright futures they deserve.   

Once again, thanks for all you do. I’m eager to work with you to help all students achieve their dreams.  

Sincerely,   

Secretary Miguel Cardona  

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Maine Art Education Conference

March 16, 2021

April 3 Zoooooom!

JOIN COLLEAGUES FROM ACROSS THE STATE

VIRTUAL SPRING ART EDUCATION CONFERENCE

SATURDAY – APRIL 3rd – 9:00-2:30

This past year has held many challenges, but there are so many things to celebrate, and you are invited to join colleagues from across Maine for the annual art education conference. This year things will look a bit different as we will be apart. The conference will be coming to you safely via Zoom and we have an outstanding lineup of speakers for you and it is only $20.00 this year!

Conference Registration Link Found Here!!!!

Keynote Address Presenters: Natasha Mayers & Robert Shetterly

About our Featured Keynote Speakers: Natasha Mayers has been called “the heart and soul of activist art in Maine.” She is widely known for her work supervising more than 600 school and community murals from Maine to Nicaragua.

Natasha Mayers

She has been a Touring Artist with the Maine Arts Commission Artist-in-Residency Program since 1975. She has taught students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled,” with whom she has worked since 1974, and has organized many exhibits of their artwork.

Her portrait was painted by Robert Shetterly as part of his Americans Who Tell the Truth series, featuring her words: “We need artists to help explain what is happening in this country, to tell the truth and reveal the lies, to be willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to create moral indignation, to envision alternatives, to reinvent language. We need artists to help us come together and share our voices and build community around powerful issues concerning our roles in the world and our planet’s survival. Compassion must be translated into action.”

Rob Shetterly

To learn more, visit Natasha Mayers’s Website and Robert Shetterly’s American’s Who Tell The Truth website

Presenters

Joseph Cough – Midcoast Music Academy
Cory Bucknam – Brunswick Junior Hig)
Lori Spruce & Holly Houston – Brewer High School & Yarmouth High School
Samara Yandell – Biddeford Middle School
Hope Lord – Maranacook Middle School
Argy Nestor – Sweetland Middle School

Those that attend earn contact hours and get swag!! Conference Registration will Close April 1! Sign up today to save your spot! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

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