Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

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Americans Who Tell the Truth

October 17, 2019

Samantha Smith Challenge

Americans Who Tell the Truth is excited to announce that the registration for the 2019-2020 Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is now open! As we launch the sixth year of the SSC, we know that middle school students across Maine will be tackling important issues and modeling for all of us what it means to be an engaged citizen.
The following quotation from a 2018-19 SSC student gives us hope for the future and makes us smile just a little:
“The Samantha Smith Challenge inspired us to take action on these issues that have been going on for decades and inspired us to not be couch potatoes.” 
We are enthusiastic that this year’s SSC will continue its focus on the different aspects of individual and group identities as students learn to become change-making citizens. We are again asking SSC students to think first about their own identity, considering identity in terms of peace, ethnicity, gender, age, and also those identities that are easier to experiment with — beliefs, clothing styles, groups they join, issues that engage, etc. How do these characteristics affect expectations they have for themselves and expectations others have for them? How can knowing the characteristics of their own identity enhance their appreciation for the identities of others?
Then, as they look around, in their community or across the state, nations, and world, think about these identities and expectations affect others. How does this combination of identity and expectation connecting t o the justice and equity issues they see? Finally, select issues of concern and become activists! All of the steps are provided in the SSC guidelines.

Mark your calendars for this year’s celebration which will be held on Monday, June 1, 2020. Besides having the opportunity to share important work on many social justice issues, there will be an inspirational program that emphasizes how important youth activism is to our world; and, once again, there will be the portrait unveiling of a young activist!

As in past years, Robert Shetterly and Connie Carter are available to do workshops with your students. It is always a highlight to meet your students and experience their energy and actions for their chosen issues.

Please go to THIS LINK to register (remember you can register now even if you plan to introduce the project later in the year):

Questions? Please contact Connie Carter at connie@americanswhotellthetruth.org.

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Congrats Krisanne Baker

October 8, 2019

International award for innovative integration of ocean ed and creative arts

(Waldoboro, Maine) – Krisanne Baker, an art teacher at Medomak Valley High School, has won an Educator Innovation Award for effectively and creatively teaching students about ocean conservation issues and empowering them to be stewards of our blue planet. Baker received a $750 cash prize.

An eighteen foot Humpback Whale designed and directed by Catherine Johnson. Students are creating a 70′ ocean awareness mural that wraps around a student courtyard at Medomak Valley High School under Krisanne Baker’s Gulf of Maine: Dare to Care curriculum. Photo: Krisanne Baker

The Educator Innovation Award was presented by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat), a Massachusetts-based nonprofit whose mission is to activate students through the arts, science, and advocacy to become the next wave of ocean leaders. Bow Seat’s flagship educational program—the global Ocean Awareness Contest—invites youth to learn about and explore the connections between human activities and the health of our ocean through visual art, writing, music, and film. Since 2012, more than 12,000 students from 106 countries and all 50 U.S. states have participated in the Ocean Awareness Contest. Bow Seat has awarded almost $300,000 in scholarships to help advance teens’ creative talents and passion for the ocean, as well as to educators who use the program as a tool to teach students about ocean conservation issues, apply classroom learning to real-world problems, and build students’ research and communication skills.

Aubrianna Nash and Kylee Miller work on their section of the 70′ mural.
Photo: Krisanne Baker

Knowing that our lives depend on the health of the ocean, Baker began a conversation about climate change in her art classrooms and found that no other teachers were addressing the subject. Baker developed the “Gulf of Maine: Dare to Care” curriculum to teach students how to use art to make a difference, specifically in ocean advocacy. When she offered her Studio Arts class the choice to work on Bow Seat’s Contest for an entire quarter and then submit their work to the competition, the students voted unanimously to do so. Krisanne’s Foundations of Arts and Creative Design classes learned  how to make accurate scientific illustrations of endangered Gulf of Maine marine animals, then created slumped recycled glass renditions of their creatures, which collectively will be a part of a display traveling from the town hall to local libraries to elementary schools beginning in 2020. The Foundations of Arts class now has a year-long focus on the Gulf of Maine.

“Bow Seat is committed to empowering ocean-conscious creators and changemakers who are using the power of creativity and imagination to bring people together to care for our shared planet,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “We are thrilled to have educators like Krisanne as a member of our global community, and we respect the incredible work she does to ignite her students’ curiosity, encourage their creativity, and open their eyes to their own power to affect change.”

Some examples of slumped and fused glass endangered ocean creatures from Baker’s Foundations of Arts and Creative Design classes at MVHS. Photo: Krisanne Baker

“Using art to educate people, especially young people, gives me hope for this planet,” said Baker. “As an ecoartist, my personal practice uses art as a means to make change. However, five years ago, I decided to do the same as an art educator.  I teach about climate change through art because when I asked my students who was talking with them about it, no one was. It’s a tough subject and in my mind, the largest looming local and global problem our young people face. In my 25 years of teaching, never before have I had students so impassioned, empowered, and empathetic.”

Art advocacy for North Atlantic Right Whale silkscreened t-shirt; Gulf of Maine: Endangered Ocean Species silkscreen unit.

Visit bowseat.org for more information about Bow Seat’s programs, educational resources, and global collection of student artwork. The 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Transforming Crisis: Climate Hope,” is open now through June 15, 2020, to students ages 11-18 worldwide.

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Education Reimagined

September 28, 2019

Vision

Education Reimagined is all about transforming education. They’ve been carefully proceeding with their commitment that “learner-centered education be available to every child, regardless of background or circumstance.” Twenty eight educators came together to create Education Reimagined with diverse backgrounds who are committed to future of education.

MISSION

SIMPLY PUT, the current system was designed in a different era and structured for a different society. Our economy, society, and polity are increasingly at risk from an educational system that does not consistently prepare all children to succeed as adults and is least effective for the children facing the greatest social and economic challenges. Conversely, the Internet revolution has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new approaches to learning. Our growing recognition of the importance of skills and dispositions is also sparking a shift toward expe- riential learning. In short, we see both an imperative for transformation and many promising avenues for re-envisioning the learning experience.

Recently Sweetland School in Hope was featured in online news for Education Reimagined. Sweetland School is a student-centered school inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and by educators and artists such as John Dewey, Elliot Eisner, Lily Yeh, Paulo Freire, Howard Gardner, Alfie Kohn, Sir Ken Robinson. Sweetland School aims to remain open and flexible to change and the needs of the current times and community. Lindsay Pinchbeck is the founder and director and also teaches at Sweetland School. She has served on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative leadership team.

Read about Sweetland on the Education Reimagined website.

Sweetland School

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AFTA Advisory Councils

September 26, 2019

Looking for leaders

Americans for the Arts is looking for arts leaders across the country to serve on four of our Advisory Councils. These Advisory Councils are comprised of field leaders who help guide Americans for the Arts’ programs and services that will build essential capacities, spark necessary conversations, and forge deeper connections in the arts field. Nominate yourself or a colleague today! Deadline for nominations: October 4, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST. You must be a member of AFTA to be nominated.

The Arts Education Advisory Council advises Americans for the Arts’ staff on trends in the field to create programs and services that will build a deeper connection to the field and the Arts Education Network. Council members are involved in:

  1. Participating in a council committee to work on projects such as:
    1. Selecting the Arts Education Leadership Award recipient planning the winter council meeting, and reviewing nominations for new council members, etc.
    2. Advising on communications strategies to reach broader audiences in the arts education, and related fields.
    3. Contribute to professional development offerings through ArtsU, publications, and the annual convention.
  2. Advising staff on large scale projects, such as:
    1. Creative Youth Development Toolkit
    2. STEAM initiatives
    3. The Arts Education Navigator
    4. Future publications
  3. Participating in Americans for the ARTSblog, including writing and responding to posts, participating in blog salons, etc.
  4. Participating and supporting network-specific programs such as National Arts in Education Week and more.

More information on the councils is located at THIS LINK

I presently serve on the Arts Education Council; don’t hesitate to contact me at meartsed@gmail.com if you have questions.

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The Arts, TED Talks

September 19, 2019

Saturday, September 14

I found these stories on the National Public Radio show called the TED Radio Hour very inspiring! TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Five artists stories were highlighted on how the Arts ‘evoke powerful feelings’. You’ll learn in these TED Talks that the art making is thought provoking, highly impactful and in some cases changing minds, communities, and the world. I’m sure you’ll enjoy at least one if not all of these stories.

About Titus Kaphar’s TED Talk

Western art contains countless paintings and sculptures that reveal a painful history of racism. We can’t erase that history, but artist Titus Kaphar has begun the long and hard work of amending it.

About Magda Sayeg’s TED Talk

From door handles to double-decker buses, Magda Sayeg “yarn bombs” inanimate objects by wrapping them in handmade knitting. She wants her bright, fuzzy artwork to make the world a little friendlier.

About eL Seed’s TED Talk

Using Arabic calligraphy, eL Seed paints messages of hope on the sides of buildings. He says the beauty of Arabic script — even if you can’t read it — can change negative perceptions of Arab culture.

About Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk

Years of conducting a world-famous orchestra have shown Benjamin Zander the power of classical music. He says music speaks to our emotions — and has the ability to reach everybody.

About Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas TED Talk

Artists Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas strive to change perceptions of “bad neighborhoods” by arming locals with paintbrushes and a vision: to turn their neighborhoods into open-air art galleries.

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Collective Wisdom

September 16, 2019

New School Year Advice

THIS WAS A POST FROM ONE YEAR AGO BUT WORTH RE-POSTING!

From the voices of veteran visual and performing arts educators on starting a new school year

Make it a delicious school year!

Whether you’re just starting to teach or you’ve been add it for 50 years or somewhere in between you might be excited out of your mind to start or having the back to school dreams and asking yourself “how the heck am I going to do this?!” or somewhere in between. I asked veteran teachers “what’s your message for new and veteran teachers starting off the school year?” Here they are – WORDS FROM THE WISE and EXPERIENCED! It’s an amazing, amazing (and amazing) collection. THANKS to everyone who contributed!

Collectively below is the wisdom of 654 + 65 years of teaching. These are not in any particular order!

Kate Smith – 21 years
Central School, South Berwick Music Educator, Grades PreK-3
-The first friends you should make are the secretaries and the custodians.
-Drink plenty of water.
-Advocate for transition time between classes (see above).
-Don’t take yourself too seriously.
-Take the time to know your students.
-Find an Arts mentor. (MALI teacher leaders are great!)
-Build/maintain/reach out to a network of teachers for a sense of community and just-in-time support.
-You are going to mess up and wish you could forget it all. Write it down instead. Some day it’ll make you laugh like crazy.

Jake Sturtevant – 14 years
Falmouth High School Music Educator
If there is one thing I have learned to do over the course of the time I have been teaching it is to breathe. The power of breath is so important, and it takes moments to do. I still have those feelings of being overwhelmed and always reaching for the surface of the water beneath the pile of to-dos and hope-to-dos, but now I just try to pause and take a breathe and allow that feeling to settle and often it moves further from me.

Jen Etter – 12 years
York Middle School Music Educator 
My biggest words of advice starting a new school year and something that I am attempting to be mindful of is to not lose sight of the big picture getting bogged down in the details. Education is ever changing and constantly evolving and that can be frustrating at times. Keep focused on the big picture and what you know to be important and always keep students at the center!
Patricia Gordan – 38 years
RSU#14 Windham Raymond, Music Educator
  1. I do not just teach music to children. I teach children through music.
  2. Whenever I get to the point where I begin to think I know what I’m doing, I gain more wisdom and realize I still don’t know what I’m doing. (Keeps me humble.)
  3. When I have a student who is a behavior challenge I try to get to know them better and build a relationship with them outside of class.
  4. Music is a vehicle for expressing all thoughts and emotions. It can be scary to share the sad and angry songs with students. Will I get negative feedback from parents? “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” is a song about death! Should I use it? Of course we should be tactful and careful, but songs in music class should cover all emotions.
  5. A musician must have the heart of a gypsy and the discipline of a soldier. -Beethoven – Some students will be really good at the heart thing and some will be really good at the discipline thing. Stretch them toward the other skill.
  6. Sometimes I have a hard time with the word, “fun.” Music is fun but it is also hard work. I want the students to have more than “fun.” I want to feed their souls. I want them to feel the natural high that comes from producing a fantastic product that is the result of extreme effort.
  7. Especially for elementary teachers – Listen very, very closely. The “music” is in there somewhere. 😊
Iva Damon – 11 years
Leavitt Area High School, Turner, Visual Art Educator
Going into this year I am really resonating with going “back to basics”. We’re here for the kids as they are at the heart of everything we do. Remembering that at the end of each day, I am able to make connections and help achieve steps in their learning. At the same time, this year I am going to work harder at self-care and making sure to take time for myself.
Holly Leighton – 11 years
Mattanawcook Academy, Lincoln, Visual Art Educator
Teaching is not something you learn and then implement for the next 30 years. It is a constant.

The more I learn the more I realize what I don’t know. It is the “what I don’t know” that drives me to learn more. This is how I grow as a person and educator. It is a continuous cycle that inspires a fresh outlook to each new school year. Take workshops and conference opportunities, no matter how long you have been teaching. After 20 years of teaching I am always come back with something I can use to positively affect student learning and engagement.

Cindi Kugell – 30 years
Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, South Paris, Visual Art Educator
Know your “Why”. When we focus on our reason for teaching, and for me it’s because there is nothing cooler than working with kids, it gives our lives purpose, clarity and focus. Working with kids keeps me young, inspired and energized and the gratification that I get from students excitement centered around the arts fuels my passion. I truly feel that teaching is my purpose.
Hope Lord – 29 years
Maranacook Community Middle School, Winthrop, Visual Art Educator
Each school year is a new opportunity for teachers to inspire students, innovate, take risks, collaborate, and celebrate the arts.
Adele Drake – 15 years
Hampden Academy Visual Art Educator
I believe in always being open to learning and receiving help and support from others.
Jane Snider – 27 years
Hancock Grammar School Art Educator
While working outside all day in my gardens to end my summer season I was thinking about all of my gardens, how much they had grown since early spring. I realized how much my teaching is like my gardening! Many plants are now in need of a rest, much like my students and I are in late Spring! I have nurtured the seedlings, plants and bushes throughout the season. I have carefully and thoughtfully helped them showcase their beauty! They’ll be back next year, bigger and brighter! Tomorrow I return to school to nurture my students and showcase the beauty of their learning through their art! I’ve had my rest and restored my spirit, I’m ready to carefully and thoughtfully begin a new season for my students! What do they need to grow and flourish?
Sue Barre – 26 years
Waterville Senior High School Music Educator 
Every year (on the advice of my first principal) I work to learn something about each of my students that has nothing to do with music. This process keeps me on my toes and it is also fun for my students to share their non music passions. I am often uplifted, sometimes saddened, and every so often astounded, to the response I can get from “share three things you did this summer.” My personal goal this year is to greet my students every day at the door……they deserve my attention, whether they are making music or not.
Carmel Collins – 20+ years
Lake Region High School, Naples, Dance Educator
Education today is like working with a living breathing organism. It is forever in a state of flux; morphing, refining, retracting, reshaping……Practice being flexible, adaptable and innovative, learn to let things go and move on, keep light on your feet and don’t get stuck in the mud!
When a parent or guardian becomes angry or frustrated with you, always remember that to them they are fighting for their child, a child they have loved and nurtured since birth. Most of the time they are not angry with you, rather it is the situation they are frustrated with and they are looking for help. Try to stay focused on the issue and don’t make it personal. Practice this and they will become your friend and loyal advocate.
Melanie Crowe –  17 years
Marshwood Middle School, Eliot, Visual Art Educator 
The anticipation of a new school year brings up so many emotions – a changing of the seasons, realizing summer is coming to an end, wiping sand off of my sandals for another season, and the vegetable garden bearing fewer treasures. Although, the excitement of meeting new students and having a chance to bring in a fresh approach and atmosphere to the classroom is a just as much a welcome adventure today as it was entering my first year 17 years ago. I am honored to share the art studio with my middle school artists, the opportunity to engage, challenge, and expand their minds is such a precious experience. The years go by in a blink of the eye, the students faces change, but the desire to light the flame of love for art grows stronger each year. I look forward to working with my colleagues integrating art in as many avenues as I can, bridging the gaps from one content to another so students can see how their learning is not in isolation but interconnected. When students can see how valued they are in the art studio, they begin to believe how valuable their art making experience is. I wish you all a wonderful school year working with the youth of Maine and beyond!
Lindsay Pinchbeck – 13 years
Sweetland School, Hope, Founder, Director, Teacher 
New Beginnings
An opportunity to start again
Still jitters – every year, conditioned since a child
Now knowing
The mix of wonder, unease and transition
Breathe
Fear not the unknown
Anthony Lufkin – 13 years
Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary School, Rivers Alternative Middle School, RSU 40 
Every year is similar, but never the same. Each summer goes by faster and faster, but despite wish for more R&R, I always look forward to the new school year. Art and teaching are similar to me in that they are both all about making connections. In art we attempt to connect with artists of the past to understand their ideas, or we try to connect people with our own ideas and perspectives through creation. Teaching effectively requires making connections with students in a way that they can relate to, understand, and appreciate what we are teaching. If we lose connection, not only does artwork become insignificant to us, so does the purpose for learning. Each school year is an opportunity to make connections in new ways. Being in relatively the same position for several consecutive years gives me the insight for identifying ideas and processes that will relate to specific students. As I prepare to start my 12th year of teaching art, I am looking forward to “reusing” successful lessons, opportunities, and connections I have been able to make thus far.  However, I am also looking forward to experimenting with new ideas to better convey ideas, and give students new ways to understand, and more importantly connect, to what art has to offer.
Andrea Wollstadt – 21 years
John F. Kennedy Memorial School, Biddeford, Music Educator
Allow yourself to get caught up in the excitement. Students involved in music have a passion for music. Their joy and excitement is infectious. These kids are PUMPED UP about playing in an ensemble or participating in a music class. Whatever worries or anxieties you might have about the upcoming school year, make sure you give yourself a chance to catch some of their enthusiasm.
Lisa Marin – 22 years and retired!
Jonesport-Beals High School & Jonesport Elementary Visual Art Educator     
Words of wisdom for the new teacher: I remember that first year being very excited, nervous and worried about doing a good job for my new students, the school system, and my colleagues. I tried to get as much input as I could from my fellow art teacher friends, who were very gracious and generous with advice and materials. I was told to relax, have fun, and realize that it takes a few years to make the program your own. So, cut yourself some slack and you’ll be great. Oh yes, and make friends with the custodial staff. Their help over the years has been invaluable.
Words of wisdom for the veteran teachers: It may sometimes be hard to keep up the energy and enthusiasm in the face of new and increasing demands on your time that have little to do with quality teaching for students. I’ve tried to combat this by finding ways to shake up my lessons. I’m looking for ways to incorporate materials I’ve been unfamiliar with or slightly intimidated by to blow out the cobwebs! It’s been fun and I often find I am helped in my success by my students. We say we are all in this together!
For the soon to be retiring teachers (like me): Plan ahead for what you’d like to do post retirement. That will make the transition so much easier. This sounds like a no brainer but is often overlooked. As much as you might love your job remember, you do the job, you aren’t the job. A new teacher’s approach can be wonderful. We were once new teachers as well with fresh ideas. Enjoy your new year!
Shalimar Chasse – 26 years
Wiscasset Middle High School Visual Art Educator rk Middle School Music Educator 
I like to start right off with hands on- avoiding the loooooonnnnnnnngggggggg and boring “expectations” talk that mostly sounds like “wha wha wha wha, wha wha, wha wha” to students just waking up after a summer of sleeping in until noon. I refer students to my on-line site and a unit binder that holds class expectation information. I send them home with a parent guide to art class and encourage them to review this with their parents and return with a parent note confirming their time together and comments or questions. I encourage students to ask me any question to help them acclimate to our space and class while we are doing our first day art activity. Students know what is expected, some need reminding or clarification or simply to know they might not get away with something they have tested. They come to art to Do art- so I like to meet their expectations hoping they might return the gesture.I love the newness of a brand new school year- with no mistakes in it. I like to think of the upcoming year and classes as the best we will experience yet.
Allie Rimkunas – 15 years en Etter
Great Falls Elementary School, Gorham, Visual Art Educator 
Love your students. The most difficult ones need the most love. As an art teacher, I rarely know the home situations, or past trauma that these little ones might have or are still dealing with. I try to keep that in mind when I know a difficult student is coming into my room. Every day is a new day and a possibility for new positive interactions.
I have been teaching for 14 years, and every August brings a new batch of school anxiety dreams. Never fails. I figure that if I didn’t get them then I am not doing my job and changing it up enough.
Catherine Ring – 65 years
Isle au Haut Visual ArtEducator 
Share your passion for learning with children. It’s contagious!
Jane Kirton – 21 years
Sanford High School Music Educator 
Be Compassionate . . . Be consistent . . . CommunicateBe compassionate – Music is one of the few subjects that connects the heart and the brain. Showing compassion towards my students and my colleagues is who I am. The world is filled with so much pain, we don’t know what our students are going through at home. I take great pride in the fact that from day one I tell my students that my classroom is their home and we are a family.  No bullying is allowed. If there is a drama free atmosphere in the room, our music will sound better!  Show you care, smile (even though you are a nervous wreck). Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.  Take care of you – exercise, drink plenty of water, yoga, anything to relieve stress.

Be consistent – Consistency, in my eyes, is critical in good parenting. Set your classroom code of cooperation on day one and stand by it! Treat everyone the same. Discipline can be challenging for a new teacher. Discipline allows a successful start for the entire class. I always remind myself I can always ease up a bit as we get into the year but hold firm to your rules. Keep up with the paperwork (yes, there are certain things we need to do as part of the job which doesn’t have anything to do with what we teach – just “get it done,” don’t put it off.)

Communication – I always tell my students that I’m not a mind reader. I encourage them to tell me what’s going on. It is also important to communicate with them and their parents – concert schedule, paperwork, etc. Communicating with your colleagues is also important. I recently read a post where a new teacher was critical of older teachers in their district in the ways they were teaching. Not a great way to start!  We’re all in this together. Reach out and communicate.  Communicate with your administration, janitors, secretaries, etc. Ask if you don’t know!!

Rob Westerberg – 33 years
York High SchoolMusic Educator 
It’s not about the product, it’s about the process. Precious few are going to remember your concert or art exhibit or play or dance recital three years from now. But dozens of years from now every single participant will remember their journey with you to create that product, and whether or not you caused them to flourish academically and blossom personally. If you take care of those two things – on a daily basis – the rest will take care of itself. Academic without personal is tedious. Personal without academic is cheating them. Both combined is spot-on and will leave you at the end of the day feeling like it was all worth while. Because it will have been.
Charlie Johnson – 45 years
Mount Desert Island High School Visual Art Educator 
Get to know your learners; it is through positive connections that a teacher can discover that which is not always overt from an individual. We are all unique and we are all special, and if you endeavor to learn about your students in a positive manner, it goes a long way toward developing a teacher/learner relationship that benefits both parties.
I’m just starting my 45th teaching year, and I’m just as excited about my new students and classes as I was my first year, because I haven’t fallen into “the same old thing” trap and have many new pieces to explore with my students!
Barbie Weed – 15 years
Gray-New Gloucester Middle School Visual Art Educator 
I always find that the best way to begin a new school year is to forge connections with students as soon as possible. Whether students are returnees for new to the school, taking a little time to get to know something about them sets a positive tone for the whole year. I’m excited for the new experiences that students will bring to my classroom.
Jean Phillips – 30+ years
Wiscasset Middle High School English and Drama Educator
Life is an occasion; rise to it.
Lisa Ingraham – 13 years
Madison Elementary School Visual Art Educator 
Plan meticulously, but keep your mind open to teachable moments. Some of the best learning experiences in my art room began with a student question, interest, and/or aha! that changed our direction for that day.
I’m looking forward to a great, creative, messy year!
MaryEllen Schaper – 42 years and retired
Dance Educator 
Take your work seriously; don’t take yourself too seriously. The work is VERY important, but you can be replaced.
For new teachers, yes, you want to develop positive relationships with your students, but they are NOT your friends. If you need friends at work, develop friendships with your colleagues.
My former superintendent, used to say, “we are there to teach ALL children. Parents send us their best. They don’t keep “the good ones” home”.
We never know the baggage a student brings to school, so listen and be kind. Help students learn that that baggage may be a reason, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse by the student, the teacher, or the parent. There’s a difference.
Applicable Lin Manuel Miranda “Hamilton” quotes:
“Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” You might not be. I have learned A LOT from my students.
“I am not throwing away my shot.”  You have amazing opportunity to influence lives now and beyond anything in your wildest dreams, so go in EVERY DAY and give 100%.
“I am looking for a mind at work”. Teach your students to think outside the box, ask questions, and how to find answers, even if they might not be what you had in mind.
“Talk less. Smile more.”  Breathe. listen. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see and hear.
“I wanna be in the room where it happens”.  You ARE in the room where it happens every day. Savor it. It goes by quicker than you’d think!
Lori Spruce – 11 years
Brewer High School Visual Art Educator 
Contribute to the knowledge and skills that you have not only in your own content area, but also expand out to involve your colleagues content areas as well. By doing so, you help not only yourself,  but also students and teachers can learn and grow in the same way. By getting out of your comfort zone and content area, the relationships that you build are invaluable and help build the confidence needed to model what you learn.
Pam Chernesky – 27 years
Mt. Blue High School, Farmington Visual Art Educator 
Start each school year open and ready to build a new community! Bring your best self and a positive attitude to what you do. Every year there will be new initiatives and demands on your teaching and your time, but the real focus should be meeting your students and sharing the excitement of creating and learning with them. Remember that you have content knowledge, passion, and experiences to share and that your students want to learn from you. Don’t become bogged down by the initiatives, administrative demands, or even the details of lesson plans. Offer challenges and take risks in your classroom! Laugh with your students!  Have fun!
Kris Bisson – 17 wonderful years!
Marshwood Middle School, Director of Choruses 
No matter what type of learners you have in your classroom, every student needs understanding.

When I’m excited about what I’m teaching, my students are excited about what I’m teaching!

Theresa Cerceo – 16 years
Dr. Levesque Elementary School & Wisdom Middle High School, MSAD # 33 Visual Art Educator
Trust your instincts, value your strengths and keep yourself open to learning new things.
Danette Kerrigan – 14 years
Sacopee Valley Middle School Visual Art Educator 
Every year is different, but poses the possibility of new discovery and greatness. Every year is the same – the same bright expectant eyes, sleepy heads, hugs and growth. Starting a new year is never boring, always keeping me on my toes, yet is as exciting as opening a new box of crayons… the possibilities are endless. Fashions change, expectations change, requirements change, students stay the same – still needing reassurance, encouragement, celebration and a champion.
For new and veteran teachers – breathe. Embrace each day and reflect at the end on what went well and be honest about what did not. Remember that everyone has something to offer, even those adults who may try your patience. They too, got up this morning, hoping to do the right thing. Assume good intentions. Always apologize – even to students – especially to students – when you have had a bad day and spoke shortly when you shouldn’t have. Remember that you are making an impact you don’t even know about yet.
Rick Osann – 15 years and retired
Bonny Eagle High School Media, Theatre, and Visual Arts Educator 
Be sure to be yourself. Teaching can be really stressful and it’s easy to try to be different to either be the “perfect teacher” or to get your students to “like” you.  The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin.  Students of any age recognize quickly if you’re not being true to your core beliefs. Students will respect you if you just be yourself.
Bill Buzza – 26 years
Edward Little High School Music Educator 

Some words of advice for the beginning of the year:

#1 – Take time to get organized. We get so busy and there are many demands on our time. Using an organizational system that works for you allows you to spend more time teaching.
#2 – (New teachers) Find a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s much more efficient to learn from others than trying to reinvent the wheel.

#3 – Don’t be afraid to say “No” but keep an approachable demeanor. Many times students try to learn / push a teachers limits. We need to be committed to our response and consistent so students know what to expect.

#4 – Build relations with everyone; students, administrators, parents, colleagues, custodians. There will be a time when those connections will pay great dividends.
What’s your advice to new and returning educators? Please email me yours and I will collect them for a future blog post. How will you include and support new teachers in your school/district? Please introduce them to the Maine Arts Education blog – its easy to subscribe (on the right side, half way down). And, invite them to join the community by joining the arts education list-serv by sending me their email address.
Before we get to the “wise words” from Maine, Nancy Flanagan taught K-12 music for 30 years in Michigan. She blogs for Education Week, the TEACHER section called TEACHER in a Strange Land (you may want to follow her on twitter) and on 6 August 2018 she wrote a post called Ten Non-Standard ideas About Going Back to SchoolIt’s worth the read (after you read what Maine arts educators have to say)!
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Happy Arts in Education Week!

September 10, 2019

Americans for the Arts celebrating 

It’s finally here — join Americans for the Arts and arts leaders, educators, and students across the country in celebrating the powerful impact of arts in education all this week, September 8-14, 2019!
Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education joins together in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of the transformative power of the arts in education.
PARTICIPATE
AFTAStarSmall.png Gather online with arts education supporters with this year’s National Arts in Education Week Virtual Conversation. Take a look at the current state of arts education with theReflecting on the State of Arts Education” Virtual Conversation on Monday, September 9, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST, and envision the future of arts education with the A Look Forward into the Future of Arts Education” Virtual Conversation on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
AFTAStarSmall.png Learn from educators and leaders throughout the week on Americans for the Arts’ARTSBlog posts celebrating National Arts in Education Week.
AFTAStarSmall.png Stay up to date on all the week’s news and events by joining the National Arts in Education Week Event on Facebook.
AFTAStarSmall.png Tag tweets using #ArtsEdWeek and #BecauseOfArtsEd through National Arts in Education Week, and use these hashtags to read and share stories about the impact of arts education.
AFTAStarSmall.png Join the National Arts in Education Week social media campaign using our How-To Guide.
ADVOCATE
AFTAStarSmall.png Work with your elected officials and decision-makers to share the value of the arts in education using our resources, including sample resolutions and videos.
AFTAStarSmall.png Send an op-ed to your local newspaper using relevant talking points about the importance of arts in education.
AFTAStarSmall.png Use our online guided tool, the Arts Education Navigator, to craft a personal advocacy plan.
CELEBRATE
AFTAStarSmall.png Host a celebration in your community, whether big or small, an existing event, or a new one.
AFTAStarSmall.png Check out local #ArtsEdWeek events on ArtsMeet, a national arts event calendar.
AFTAStarSmall.png Download the 5 Ways to Partner Packet for other ideas of how to celebrate in your community!
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