Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

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Falmouth High School Making Music

November 30, 2020

Recognizing Veterans Day

Across the state and country it is a tradition in many schools that the music curriculum includes a Veterans Day program. With a pandemic underway these programs have been altered and in many cases eliminated.

CONGRATULATIONS Falmouth High School students and staff for working together to make this happen. Jake Sturtevant and Wendy Northrup, Falmouth High School music educators, made some adaptions this year. The concert band and chorus played on the football field and in the bleachers two selections that have been posted online for all to appreciate.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER (CONCERT BAND)- Veterans Music Performance 2020  

MY COUNTRY TIS OF THE (CONCERT CHOIR)- Veterans Music Performance 2020 

We all know that it takes cooperation and collaboration from many to put together a virtual performance – students, parents, music teachers, administrators and maintenance staff. The reality is that in a normal year the rest of the world most likely would not see/hear this performance. Another silver lining of the pandemic world.

I understand that there will be more virtual performances in their future. You can find those at the Falmouth Music website.

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In Today’s News

November 27, 2020

Music teacher taking action about hunger in Maine

Michael Arell, the director of music for Veazie Community School, is doing something in response to something he heard on the radio during his morning commute. At least 12 percent of Maine households were food insecure in 2019, higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So what is Arell doing? He has self-recorded a Christmas Album and is selling it for $10 on his website. The proceeds will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Michael Arell, the director of music for Veazie Community School, plays the piano during a graduate recital in 2019. Arell is pledging to donate profits from his self-recorded Christmas Album to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

READ the entire article from the Bangor Daily News. Thank you Michael!

Arell’s Christmas Album is available for streaming on Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. People can purchase a digital copy of the full album for $10 on his website.

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Maine Theater Fund

November 27, 2020

Awards $76,000 in Grants

PORTLAND & ELLSWORTH—The Maine Theater Fund of the Maine Community Foundation has awarded 17 grants that total $76,829 to support professional and community theaters in the production and presentation of live theater.

Grace and Jenny of Bana Mboka lead the audience in Congolese dance during a 2019 performance at Mayo Street Arts. Photo Vanessa Marcoux, MSA

GRANT RECIPIENTS

  • Everyman Repertory TheatreRockport, to present the 2021 season of plays that celebrate the arts in Maine and the state’s history
  • Friends of St. Lawrence ChurchPortland, to supplement operating funds for maintenance of the Parish Hall Theater
  • Mayo Street ArtsPortland, to renovate the box office and concessions area to ADA standards
  • Acadia Repertory TheatreSomesville, to replace the theatre’s 40-year-old lighting system: $3,000
  • Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport, for the purchase of a sound system for Meetinghouse Arts:  $5,000
  • Chocolate Church Arts CenterBath, to replace ticketing and donation system: $5,000
  • Community Little TheaterAuburn, for the theatrical rights and expenses for the production of AR Gurney’s Love Letters: $4,000
  • Crowbait ClubPortland, for “King of Crows IX,” the yearly production of the winners of the monthly Theatre Deathmatch for 10-minute plays: $2,000
  • Dramatic Repertory CompanyPortland, to fund the 2020-2021 season, including two Maine premier productions: $5,000
  • Everyman Repertory TheatreRockport, to present the 2021 season of plays that celebrate the arts in Maine and the state’s history: $5,000
  • Friends of St. Lawrence ChurchPortland, to supplement operating funds for maintenance of the Parish Hall Theater: $3,000
  • Marsh River TheaterBrooks, for new lights: $5,000
  • Mayo Street ArtsPortland, to renovate the box office and concessions area to ADA standards: $5,000
  • Midcoast Actors StudioBelfast, to provide quality year-round theatre opportunities in the new performance space at the former Waldo County Courthouse    $5,000
  • Ogunquit Playhouse Foundation, to help offset the costs of COVID-19 personal protective equipment and safety upgrades for the 2021 season re-opening: $5,000
  • Portland Lyric Theater, to install an air purification system to improve indoor air quality, preparing for safe opening: $5,000
  • Saco River Theatre, to complete construction of staff/performer restrooms in the basement of the building           : $5,000
  • Terra Moto Inc.South Portland, to produce MAINEUSA: The History of Maine from the Ice Age till Now in July 2021 at Portland Players Theater followed by statewide performances: $5,000
  • Theater at Monmouth, to produce TopDog/UnderDog by Suzan Lori Parks as part of TAM’s (R)evolutionary Season Redux: $5,000
  • Waldo Theatre Inc., to purchase and install essential flame-retardant stage masking curtains and the required stage rigging: $4,829

An anonymous couple who recognized the connection between vibrant communities and support for the arts established the Maine Theater Fund in 2005 to strengthen and sustain theater performance throughout the state. 

Awards are typically between $2,500 and $5,000. The next deadline for applications is September 15, 2021. Guidelines, application and a list of recent grants are available at www.mainecf.org. The 2020 grants are also listed below.

If you have questions please contact Carl Little, Communications Manager, Maine Community Foundation.

Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Rockport, and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.

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Happpppy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

I know this Thanksgiving will be like no others. If you’ll be with family and/or friends that aren’t in your ‘bubble’ please be sure and practice safe distancing, wear a mask and if you’re inside try and leave some windows open. No matter what I hope the sun shines on you and that you can consider what you are grateful for, even in this challenging world-wide pandemic! I hope you take a moment and write down or make art that reflects what your gratefulness!

I’m grateful for the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line each and everyday to do the right thing.

I’m grateful for our elected officials who are making the most difficult decisions determining what to put in place to keep us all safe.

I’m so very grateful for my family and friends who continue to reach out to each other to lift spirits with a kind word and helpful hand.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for the educators who are teaching during this most difficult and challenging time. I know that you’re working around the clock doing the right thing for each learner and the best that you can for your community! Thank you for making a difference in so many students’ lives and in so many communities. 

Thanksgiving is different this year and my appreciation goes deeper than ever for all of the teachers across this globe going above and beyond and remembering that WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING IS ENOUGH AND WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! Be sure and reach out with stories to share and asking for assistance!

My warmest wishes for a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Chelsea Beck for NPR
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Morse High School Theater

November 25, 2020

On the lawn performance

Our Town was performed by Morse High School students in October outside on the school lawn. Kevin O’Leary teaches drama teacher, 9th grade English and is responsible for the drama program at Morse High School.

Kevin explained the situation for performing this fall.

We had five platforms, distanced 14 feet apart (think of the black dots on dice). When an actor was on the platform, he/she/they removed the mask. When the actors were on the periphery, they kept their mask on. In a word, all masks stayed on until the actors stepped onto the platform. No actor was ever closer than 14 feet from platform to platform. We allowed only 25 audience members per show. All audience members (4 or 5 per side of the squared acting area) were masked and were at least 14 feet away from the unmasked actor on the platform. It’s a good thing we did the show prior to the new guidelines. We would not be able to do this now. Here’s to better days ahead.

I couldn’t agree more with Kevin – better days ahead! If you have questions for Kevin please email him at koleary@rsu1.org

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Support the Theatre

November 20, 2020

I LOVE this and hope you will also love this! Filmed London’s West End the song is from The Greatest Showman and is reminding us that the theatre community needs our support.

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Samantha Smith Challenge

November 19, 2020

Guidelines available

The guidelines for Americans Who Tell the Truth‘s (AWTT) Samantha Smith Challenge are posted on the website (www.americanswhotellthetruth.org). Connie Carter, Education Director, from AWTT hopes that you and your students will take this opportunity to engage in this challenge as we work collectively to find creative and powerful ways to make our society stronger.

MISSION

The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is a dynamic educational program for Maine middle and high school students that uses art to to build a bridge between the classroom and the world to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.  

Maine student, Peace Activist, 1972-1985

SSC 2020-2021: Show US Who You Are

As Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) reflects on the past year and looks forward to the months ahead, we are asking students this year to focus on one of three critical themes – racial equity, climate change, and health care. The SSC asks students to use their voices on one of these topics, take action, and Show US Who You Are. AWTT portrait subjects model how the beliefs, voices, and actions of youth can influence important social justice issues. Check out: 

Kelsey Juliana
Zyahna Bryant
Claudette Colvin
Becci Ingram
Rachel Corrie
Barbara Johns
LeAlan Jones
Nicole and Jonas Maines
Chloe Maxmin
and, of course, Samantha Smith

There is no deadline for registering unless you want to have a virtual visit Robert Shetterly and Connie. Please contact Connie Carter at connie@americanswhotellthetruth.org with question or if you’d like to connect with any of the living portrait subjects about your projects.  

A warm message from Connie: “Thank you all for being phenomenal educators in a time that demands so much.  Your students are very fortunate to have you!

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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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Spirit of Community Awards

November 10, 2020

Recognizing students work

Perhaps now more than ever we need to recognize and celebrate the work of our students. I’m happy to share this opportunity provided by Prudential that invites teachers/schools to highlight the work of young people.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is launching its 26th annual search for exemplary young volunteers. Once again, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) is proud to support this unique youth recognition program–-especially in a year when so many students have had to go above and beyond to continue their volunteer service. I hope you’ll encourage your school to take advantage of the opportunities that it provides.

Sponsored by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the awards program has honored more than 140,000 middle level and high school volunteers since 1995, and has provided schools nationwide with an excellent opportunity to promote volunteerism. This is how the program works:

  • The process begins at the school level. Students fill out applications online and submit them to their principals. Then, schools select their top youth volunteers, present them with certificates, and recognize them as role models. Qualifying top applicants also receive President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
  • A state-level judging panel selects the top middle level and high school candidate in each state and the District of Columbia.
  • These State Honorees earn $1,000 scholarships, beautifully engraved silver medallions and an invitation to the program’s national recognition events. Hundreds of other state-level honorees receive bronze medallions or special certificates. 

One of the distinguishing characteristics of this program is the recognition it provides for middle level students. Every year, half of its 102 State Honoree scholarships, and five of its 10 national scholarships, are granted to students in grades 5 through 8. These scholarships provide middle level educators with a chance to celebrate and encourage civic responsibility by our students. 

All middle level and high school principals have been sent a packet with complete details on the 2021 program, and additional packets are available by calling 888-651-2951. Details are also available at spirit.prudential.com. The student application deadline this year is November 10, and the deadline for schools to certify applications for state-level judging is November 20

This program presents a great opportunity to publicize the wonderful things that kids are doing and the role that schools play in promoting community involvement. I hope you’ll encourage your school to participate.

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The Show Must Go On

November 6, 2020

Virtual choir

I learned in a Mindshift article about theater programs that continued throughout the summer. I came across this virtual choir including ‘All-Star Thespians’ from across the globe. Their performance saved in this YouTube video kicked off the first-ever Virtual International Thespian Festival. The virtual choir features 90 students from 38 states and 3 countries, plus Broadway performers Jason Alexander, Norbert Leo Butz, Joshua Colley, E. Clayton Cornelius, Janine DiVita, Matt Gumley, Sam Harris, Annabelle Kempf, Analise Scarpaci. I was moved by their performance “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman…and hope that it brings a smile to your face on this Friday.

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