Archive for the ‘Opportunity’ Category

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kattie Sweet

June 12, 2018

Visual Art Educator

This is one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders. CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Kattie for sharing your story!

Kattie Sweet-Shibles has been teaching grades 7-12 (soon to be K-12) at the Upper Kennebec Valley Jr/Sr High School for 11 years. She has taught Career Education, Math, Visual Arts and Theatre classes. She currently has 60 students and her courses include 2D Art, Artists’ and their Lives (Dual Enrollment Class), Freshman Seminar and a Pre Algebra class0.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Connections-the multiple meanings of the words.

The connections I make with students, current and former. The connection of art to community. Connections I make with other artist and teachers, creating a dialogue on how to bring art and education to all students.

Also the connection, or the ah ha moments students get when they see how the world of art connects to their life or the world around them. My favorite moments are when students say, I know understand part of the world because of something we studied in your classroom.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Focus Choice- freedom of students to choose a method to meet the classroom goals.
  2. Real World Experience with the art- via visiting museums, speaking with artist, taking part in an art show.
  3. Passion- Passion for the Arts and education from the students, the instructor, and the community.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Yes, because of accountability. I use it to hold my self-accountable to meet the goals of the art room, and I hope my students do the same.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Again Connections, with being from Rural Maine, I can feel so isolated and question if I am going in the right direction. I hope to reach out more this year especially since I am moving to a new chapter of teaching younger students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

One thing that jumps out to me is the opportunities I have been able to provide to my students to go beyond our community to see Art in the “real” world. At my time at Valley, I have had two Art Trips to NYC, two other trips to Boston, and various trips to Colby Art Museum or the Portland Museum of Art. Another achievement I am proud of is obtaining my Master’s Degree in Education and therefore being able to offer Dual Enrollment Art Classes for the last three years so our students can receive High School and College Credit for our classroom.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time! Time! and Time! and a bit of money.  I sometimes wish I could clone myself to prep and experiment more with different materials and mediums plus have unlimited supply of art materials, so students can experiment without the fear of wasting money.  I believe so much of learning can come from failure and experimenting.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

This is a difficult question because it seems as if everything in the artroom comes across as “luck” or circumstances to the outside world who doesn’t see the process of learning and teaching. I asked my students this question and they came up with the idea of how easily I sketch out my ideas, making them look like the students’ final drafts. I can remember the struggle I had learning the rules of drawing and the continuation of working on the skill, so I can sketch well on the fly. Another thing is the ability to be creative.  I think some people believe you are born creative or not. I am not naturally creative, but I understand the process of research, and am always searching for inspiration which leads to creativity when I put my own spin on something I have found.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Be brave, take chances, allow yourself to step back. Take care of yourself, “you can not pour from an empty cup.”

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

There is so much. I probably would want to sit on it for a year, to really make a formal plan to get as much out of the money as I could.

Education wise:  Build and Create a space for the Arts in our community would be high on the list. I would love to create more travel opportunities for our students. Plus I would love to connect more with working artist bring them into our community.

Personally wise: I would love to create an artist escape in the Upper Kennebec River Valley Region. Open up my home and barn to create artist studios. Sort of like Old Lyme in CT, or like Vincent van Gogh’s dream for the Yellow House in Provence but of course with less chaos…or should I say a lot less chaos.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Gosh at 94, I hope I have no regrets to list. My current regrets, I hope will be understood by a wiser self and connected more with the path I had to take to get were I am. But I do wish a bit that I could cut myself a bit more slack on the little things that go wrong. Plus I hope to look back and remember that I did the best with what I was given at the time, learn and evolve, advocate with care for everyone involved, be a little more flexible but not allow my integrity to falter.

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A Grandson’s Reflections

June 11, 2018

Russell Kaback

Russell Kaback is a member of the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. Russell will be providing musical reflections on his grandfather life before, during, and after the Nazi era at the PortFringe Festival. The show is a staged reading of the first act of a piece of musical theater inspired by the life story of his grandfather, a Polish Jew who spent four years in the Nazi concentration camps. There will be a talkback after the performance in which the audience is invited to discuss the work.

Russell Kaback is a songwriter, performer, and educator who lives in South Portland, Maine. He has been bringing this performance to classrooms in Maine as part of his mission to teach the history and engage the next generation.

The At MECHANICS HALL – THE LYCEUM CLASSROOM

SAT 6/16 @ 4:30pm
SUN 6/17 @ 9:45pm
THU 6/21 @ 9:45pm

PURCHASE TICKETS

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Dianne Fenlason

June 10, 2018

End of year programs

Dianne Fenlason, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and grades 6-8 music educator at Spruce Mountain Middle School and at Spruce Mountain High School. Dianne has taught since 1995. Her students recently provided several performances. Included below are two; one is the Rock of Ages 2018 with the band Crash and Burn. They provide a historical look and sound of modern music. The second video is the Vocal Ensemble 2018. Congratulations to both groups for outstanding performances! Thanks to Dianne for sharing the work of her students!

If you’ve got end of year videos, videos of student work or links of student achievements, please share so I can post them for others to learn about. Thanks!

 

 

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Longfellow School

June 8, 2018

Seussical

The Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant provided funding to support the Longfellow Elementary School (Portland) production of Seussical. It will be performed at the Deering High School Auditorium on Friday, June 8, 6:00 p.m. and Saturday June 9, 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door with the suggested price $5.00 and kids are free! Students have been preparing for months – sure to be a wonderful production!

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Maine Calling

June 7, 2018

Today at 1:00

Today’s Maine Calling topic on Maine public radio at 1:00 will be Arts Education. You can listen live at THIS LINK. Guests will be Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, MAAE Executive Director Susan Potter, and Maine Arts Commission Director of Arts Education  Argy Nestor. I understand we may have a student join us as well. Jennifer Rooks will be hosting today’s show. Always informative, interesting, and thought provoking, hopefully you can listen in and consider calling in to the show.

May 31, 2018 Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission, Julie Richard and Argy were on WERU Maine Arts Alive with Michael Donahue. You can access the ARCHIVE if you’d like to listen.

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Maine International Conference on the Arts

June 6, 2018

USM – September 27, 2018

THIRD BIENNIAL MAINE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE ARTS

Join the Maine Arts Commission at the University of Southern Maine Portland Abromson Community Education Center, where we will explore art making, arts education, capacity-building strategies and skills, and more – all specifically for Maine artists, arts educators, and arts organizations.

Please join us Thursday, September 27 at USM in Portland for the opening reception with entertainment at 5 p.m., followed by Maryo Gard Ewell’s 7 p.m. keynote.

Schedule and Early Bird registration

Thursday, September 27 | 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. 

      • Pre-conference Sessions – Discussions on Rural Community Development, professional development for Arts Educators, and Maine craft and traditional art apprenticeships  
      • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Opening Reception: A celebration of the arts with keynote speaker and performances
      • Keynote Speaker Maryo Gard Ewell– Rural Community Development in and Through the Arts

Friday, September 28 | 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

      • 7:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast/Networking
      • 8:15 a.m. – Maine Artists Idea Lab : 6 speakers using the fast-paced and engaging pecha kucha-style format will knock your socks off with their newest innovations. Confirmed speakers include Lucas Richman, Music Director, Bangor Symphony Orchestra; Rene Johnson, Executive Director, Theater Ensemble of Color; Erin McGee Ferrell, Visual Artist; Kaitlyn Young, 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year; Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy basketweaver;
      • 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – 20 professional development sessions in 5 tracks running concurrently
        • Leveraging Investment. Learn to attract and leverage greater investment through corporate sponsorships, development planning, capitalization and more
        • Visibility. Discuss ways to increase awareness of creative opportunities, as well as their value to communities and local economies. Participate in a new, two-part workshop by MICA 2016 superstar Matt Lehrman, “Opportunity Everywhere, Parts I & II. Or attend a dynamic session hosted by DataArts/The Cultural Data Project on ways to connect your data to stories about your mission and impact, for more effective communications with key stakeholders
        • Arts Education. Participate in sessions on fostering PK-12 arts education and lifelong learning programs, including Creative Aging and Traditional Arts
        • Cultural Tourism. Gather the information you need to enhance experiences and leverage cultural tourism. Hear from organizations on their successes creating experiences outside of traditional venues, or attend a Rural Community Arts Development session facilitated by Maryo Gard Ewell.
        • Building Capacity. All you need to know on strategies for sustainability and increased impact, from an intensive on strategic planning with Julie Richard to a session on The Role of the Arts in Communities in Crisis.
      • 12:30 p.m. – Maine Arts Awards Luncheon hosted by ArtsEngageMe
      • Pop-up performances throughout the day
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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kaitlin Young

June 5, 2018

Music Educator

This is one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Kaitlin for sharing your story!

Kaitlin Young has taught music within the RSU 68 school district in Dover-Foxcroft, Me. for the last eight years. Currently she teaches music to students in prekindergarten through fourth grade at SeDoMoCha Elementary School. She is also the choral director of the SeDoMoCha Singers at SeDoMoCha Middle School. Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Music is pretty cool. I love that I have the unique pleasure of providing experiences for my students that are at times indescribable through words. I love to watch their faces when they hear something they have never heard before, or even better hear something they know and love in a new way. Moments when they laugh uncontrollably at a silly song, tear up as they connect to a piece of classical music, or beam with pride when they have created something uniquely their own.

I love that I get to share in these experiences that elicit strong emotional connections through music with my students. I love that I get to bring joy through song and movement, and that in my classroom kids get to be kids. Wonder and awe are essential to the human experience.

I love that music education provides students an outlet to express themselves as well as a way to connect to their community both locally and globally. I love that as an educator, regardless of content, what we do is about fostering relationships. I love that I get to build these relationships over several years and experience all of these moments of joy with my students.  We are engaged in this journey together.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

First, always keep an open mind.

No matter what role we hold within a Visual and Performing Arts program, (student, teacher, administrator, community member, etc.) it is essential that we continue to be open to possibilities. Whether it be growth and learning, actively sharing and listening to others ideas, thinking creatively about solving a problem, or simply being willing to try something new. Our ability to capitalize on those unexpected teachable moments will help us continue to engage others within our programs and help them to reflect our communities.

Second, build trusting relationships.

Relationships are the foundation of a strong education, and are essential to the human experience. We learn the most from people we trust and respect. The arts innately foster empathy, connections, and community. As a valued colleague once told me, “the arts bring people together.”

Third, be willing to persist and advocate for what you love!

We must set goals with our students and colleagues and actively pursue them even when the going gets tough. Advocacy is sharing what we love on behalf of those we love. And one of the best ways to advocate is empowering our students to find their voices and advocate for their future.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessments are a tool to help us to know where we are, where we are going, and clarify how we might need to get there. Once I grasped the concept that assessments could be informative and diagnostic (which felt much different from when I was in school!) it changed the way I viewed learning the learning process. I love being able to use consistent language to identify the skills necessary to help my students develop and grow into strong musicians. Assessment provides the opportunity to improve feedback and promote positive conversation surrounding learning goals and growth for both students and teachers!

Utilizing assessments to share what students need to know and be able to do to demonstrate their learning has allowed students to take control. Assessment has also helped us to advocate within our school community as we challenge the belief that music education is just for the talented few.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Working with such an inspiring and passionate group of educators brings out the best in everyone! Whether it is the facilitated discussions within professional development sessions, informal conversation surrounding our craft at lunch, or follow up phone calls/zoom meetings with friends I always leave feeling uplifted, supported, and encouraged to challenge myself to grow as a professional.

My growth throughout my teaching career has been supported through various opportunities provided by the work of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (formerly Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) and I continue to look forward to the connections that I will be able to make and the doors that may open through this continued experience.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My kids. It might sound cliche, but my husband and I do not have biological kids (yet…growth mindset!) and I love that I get to share in many special moments with all of them each and every day and over the course of many years!

I take pride in all of the small moments where they accomplish something they didn’t think was possible or when they make a fantastic connection that gives greater purpose and meaning to what they are learning. Over the last year it has brought me great joy to share their thoughts and ideas with others as I have presented at conferences as I advocate on behalf of our profession. I continue to be inspired by their words and I am proud that I get to share their ideas!

Kaitlin at the Hall of Flags in Augusta with the arts teachers honored as the 2018 county teachers of the year. (l to r) Kaitlin, Sagadahoc: Christine Del Rossi, Mt. Ararat High School, Knox: Anthony Lufkin, Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary, and Waldo: David Coffey, Belfast Area High School and Troy Howard Middle School

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Paperwork, pressure, and misperceptions oh my! While I am a strong advocate for assessment and high quality education I do agree that often times I can get caught up in the administrative aspects of my job. In a time of “evaluation and accountability” there can be intense pressure to justify your worth, or the worth of your program, based on the misperception of what music education is or “should be,” not upon what we know, as professionals, to be best for our students. Music education, and what music classes might look like, continue to evolve. We have, hopefully, moved further away from some of the sit and get or “mouth the words” experiences that others have had. It can be hard to alter or influence the expectations of those who may have had a poor music experience, do not understand, or simply do not value what it is that we do. That can lead to logistical challenges including itinerant or unrealistic schedules, a less than ideal physical work environment (like being on a cart!), or unsupportive administrators and/or communities. However the need to understand and explain (often way more than we would like) the importance of what we are teaching and why we are teaching it sets us up to be some of the most reflective and effective advocates for our students!

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Take the advice that you give to your students each and every day in your classrooms.  Actively listen. Be reflective and patient. Play nice with others. Dream big, think different, work hard, and be kind.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. representing Maine as the 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin takes the opportunity to have a conversation with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would love to start a scholarship for my students to have the opportunity to travel to explore musical opportunities/experiences beyond our local and state community on a consistent basis. I would also like to take my husband on a road trip across our country, specifically to see all of the National Parks. His affinity and admiration for the beauty that simply exists through nature always inspires me to pause and appreciate the small moments.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I wish I would have been more diligent about writing down the small special moments from the classroom during the beginning of my career. Mostly because my memory is not what it used to be, but also because in education it is the small moments that fill up our buckets. That’s what I will look back upon and smile about the most!

Thank you Kaitlin for representing Maine educators as our 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year. 

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