Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

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Arts Ed Advocacy Day

March 22, 2021

Documentation of the day – February 17

If you were able to attend the virtual plenary sessions on February 17 in recognition of Arts Education Advocacy Day you are aware of the outstanding opportunity the 2 hour session provided. If you were not there, you’re in luck. All of the sessions were recorded and embedded below. The day was organized by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) in collaboration with the leaders of the ABC – Arts Are Basic Coalition.

The first one below actually took place during the last part of Arts Education Advocacy Day, the ABC Student Advocacy Initiatives. We know at the heart of providing quality arts education programs and access to it are students! I salute all the Maine students who care deeply for the arts and are afforded an excellent curriculum. And, to all the arts educators striving to provide access to these programs, thank you!

ABC Student Advocacy Initiative

Governor Janet T. Mills Arts Ed Advocacy Message

Remarks from Maine Arts Commission Arts Education Director Martha Piscuskas

Conversation with Maine Art Education Association President Lynda Leonas and Argy Nestor

Visual Art Advocacy Video Maine Minds

Conversation with Maine Educational Theatre Association leader Kailey Smith and Beth Lambert

Maine Department of Education – Kellie Bailey, Social/Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Practices Specialist, Commissioner Pender Makin, and Jason Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist

Conversation with Maine Dance Educator representative Thornton Academy Dance Educator Emma Campbell and MaryEllen Schaper

Conversation with Maine Music Educators Association President Sandra Barry and Kaitlin Young

Music Advocacy Video

Thank you to Susan Potters, Executive Director of MAAE and Melissa Birkhold MAAE Advocacy Coordinator for the plenary session for Maine Arts Ed Advocacy Day and making these individual videos available. The videos are also available on the MAAE website at THIS LINK.

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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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Primary Source Documents

March 11, 2021

State of Maine

It’s great to find resources that are authentic instead of creating fake ones to use. Recently many of the cultural agencies in Maine worked together to create Primary Source Sets on two topics – several Bicentennial topics and a general one on Pandemics. I have scanned the resources and found them very useful. We can thank the Maine State Archives, Maine State Museum, Maine State Library, and Maine Historical Society. They are wonderful resources on specific topics to make resources easily findable for teachers.

These are wonderful resources to use collaboratively with colleagues to help plan connected authentic curricula and experiences. Currently, the educational sets live on the Maine State Museum website, but the collaborative group is working to create a separate website to house them.

The information for this post was provided by the newly elected Maine State Archivist and first woman to serve in the position, Kate McBrien. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kate with questions and/or ideas. She can be reached at Katherine.McBrien@maine.gov. Interestingly enough when I was online learning more I found a youtube video of a presentation that Kate did for the Southwest Harbor Library on Malaga. I am curious about Malaga and how to incorporate the history into my curriculum and found this very interesting.

Message from Kate

“The cultural organizations of Maine hold a treasure trove of important material that help to connect students to Maine’s history. These Primary Source Sets are meant to help teachers easily find and use a wide range of historical resources from a variety of institutions. Our collaborative approach allows the most relevant historical material to be available to every student and educator in one, easy place to access. We plan to continue this program and will continue to develop more primary source sets.”

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Arts Education Month

March 2, 2021

YAHOOOOO and Happy Arts Education Month!

I know this March is a bit different than other years but we as visual and performing arts educators still have important work to do – celebrating and raising up the voices of our students in the arts. The creative minds of arts educators are serving you well, as you plan and implement a way to recognize the accomplishments of your students in the arts. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to all the educators who provide an excellent arts education and access to it for learners of all ages. I know that you are proud of your students and I encourage you to take advantage of this month designated to celebrate arts education. Whether you do it in a small or large way, please let me know about the work you are doing so I can include your story on this blog. Your good ideas should be shared so others can learn from you! I appreciate your ongoing commitment to providing THE BEST visual and performing arts education!

Take advantage of Arts Education Month to engage others in the conversation of why a quality arts education is essential for all students. Use the Commissioner of Education Pender Makin’s message, posted on this blog yesterday, to help others understand what we know to be important.

If you’re looking for resources each of the national professional organizations below have a plethora of information on their websites. Check them out and consider becoming members to support their good work.

NAEA

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The National Art Education Association has been celebrating Youth Art Month since the 1960’s. Check out what NAEA has to offer on the topic. The purpose of YAM is to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education. 

CFAE

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The Council for Art Education provides tons of resources to help you plan. They have ideas on their site that teachers and students are engaged in across the country. The ideas range from school based to community, both large and small. You can sign up for their free newsletter and receive information on a regular basis.

NAfME

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The National Association for Music Education has been recognizing Music in Our Schools Month since 1985. The idea started in 1973. You can learn what NAfME has to offer on MIOSM by CLICKING HEREThe purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music.

EDTA

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The Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) all provide resources for theater educators. Their resources are directed towards Thespians, schools, and educators. The purpose is to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs for all students.

NDEO

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The National Dance Education Organization celebrates the artistic and academic achievements of exceptional students through the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NAHSDA) by teaming up with the US Department of Education during March. Learn more about their advocacy work by CLICKING HERE.

As you’re contemplating your March celebration checking out a blog post from the past with more resources. CLICK HERE

AFTA

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Americans for the Arts envisions a country where everyone has access to—and takes part in—high quality and lifelong learning experiences in the arts, both in school and in the community. Their arts education council represents a cross section of the country so all voices are represented. The Americans for the Arts website has a plethora of resources on arts education. Check them out by CLICKING HERE.

ARTS ADVOCACY DAY

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We know that arts-rich schools benefit everyone. It is our responsibility to help others who may not understand this statement. Arts Education month provides that opportunity and in the near future the Maine Alliance for Arts Education will be sharing a video of Arts Education Advocacy Day that took place on February 17, 2021.

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Relationships, Distance Learning, Reducing Stress

February 24, 2021

Edutopia Resources

I am continually impressed and influenced by the resources that are provided by Edutopia and encourage you to check out the recent articles that they’ve provided.

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Resources Galore

February 13, 2021

So many resources, so little time

DANCE AND MUSIC – THIS WEEK

  • Virtual dance concert from Thornton Academy. The link below will take you to the streaming site, you have to ‘buy’ a ticket but they are FREE and does not require a credit card, it will just ask for your email to send you a unique streaming link. It also gives a peek into the Thornton Academy dance class set up and combines pieces filmed in person and at home.  http://our.show/thornton-academy/59055
  • Virtual (Winter) Maine Fiddle Camp – Feb 19-20 The cast and crew at Fiddle Camp have organized another weekend of workshops, concerts, special surprise guests and more Virtual MFC replicates the offerings of “real” Maine Fiddle Camp in a pandemic-friendly virtual format. Recognize music teacher Steve Muise in the video below? 

WEBSITE RESOURCES

  • Digital Maine Library – Helpful tools for every subject
  • Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks offering Virtual Tours
  • Virtual story time for Kids: Authors and venues go online amid coronavirus
  • Maine Download Library
  • Storytime with Brittany! from The Strand Theater in Rockland
  • Solve a mystery with Jazzy Ash! Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons, audible book for kids with original jazz music from the creator, Ashli St. Armant
  • Broadway Babysitters Playhouse – a variety of activities (nominal fee)
  • Okie Dokie Brothers, 3-40 minute films filled with music and adventure
  • Learn the basics of partner acrobatics with teaching artist Marisol Soledad, then throw on some costumes and put on a show with your new skills! Sponsored by Shakespeare in Clark Park.
  • PBS TeachersVirtual Professional Learning
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library – Digital archive dedicated to life on Earth. Comprised of animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and various scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries around the globe. Collection of more than 55 million pages of literature, some of which dates back to the 15th century. At least 150,000 illustrations are available for free download in high-resolution files.
  • Musictheory.net – Free online content
  • edpuzzle – Make any video your lesson
  • pedagogy://virtual – A teacher support program that connects a teacher to a virtual pedagogy mentor who helps the teacher find ways to boost student engagement in their virtual classroom.
  • The Atlantic Black Box Project – This project is about “understanding history through story and building community through conversation. Maine stories on the site.
  • From a Maine music teacher: Thankful for YouTube, Google Classroom, Smartmusic, Sight Reading Factory, Sibelius, Band in the Box, Laptops, Facebook Groups, and Zoom.

BOOKS AND ARTICLES  

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Black History Month

February 8, 2021

Over the past two weeks I’ve been considering what to include on the blog to recognize Black History Month. I don’t want what I offer to be just for this month but something that can be for every month. Like excellent arts education should be fostered every day in every classroom, black history should be part of our everyday education. One of the questions I’ve asked myself: how do I, a white woman living in a predominantly white state, avoid common errors that white people make when attempting to provide educational resources that support and recognize black and brown people? I’ve been reading many books and articles, checking websites and listening to podcasts to help open my mind, help me better understand, and move out of my comfort zone. I’ve stopped bashing myself over the head about ‘getting it’ and moved to realizing that I need to be patient with myself because the unlearning necessary will take time and its most likely not a place I’ll reach – my learning will be ongoing.

So, what can I offer you at this time and share with you, the Maine Arts Ed blog readers? Some of the educational resources that I access regularly and some of what I’ve read recently. Places I turn to that pushes on my thinking, sometimes making me uncomfortable. I invite you to share what you’ve been learning by commenting at the bottom of this blog post or by emailing me at meartsed@gmail.com.

Credit: Black History-Shenandoah University

PODCASTS

  • Leading Equity – Sheldon L. Eakins, Ph.D. is an accomplished K-12 educator and administrator and provides the podcast. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels during his career in the states of Florida, Louisiana and in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.  Dr. Eakins also served several years as a school principal in the states of Louisiana and Oregon. His most recent podcast was an interview with Stephanie Gates and is called How to Combat Colorism in the Classroom with Ms. Stephanie Gates. Dr. Eakins faces challenging topics head on and helps us move to a helicopter view as well as down in the weeds.
  • The Cult of Pedagogy – Jennifer Gonzalez is the Editor in Chief and works with a group of thoughtful and knowledgeable individuals to provide the podcast. Jennifer taught middle school language arts in the D.C. area and in Kentucky. She provides the podcast to support teachers through a community approach. The Cult of Pedagogy website includes an overview of podcasts by category. I suggest that you go to the category called ‘Hot Topics’. Jennifer interviewed Dr. Sheldon Eakins for one called Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education. You’ll see a variety of ‘hot topics’ there including one called Talking about Race in School: An Interview with Jose Vilson.

RESOURCES ONLINE

  • Americans Who Tell the TruthMaine artist, Rob Shetterly’s portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. Paintings of ‘truth tellers’, their stories, and what they stood and still stand for. The paintings communicate all by themselves.
  • Natasha Mayers – Activist artist from Maine and one of Rob Shetterly’s portraits. See film trailer, an Un-Still Life created by Maine film makers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton. Website will include many resources in the near future. (blog post later this week with film premiere info)
  • Edutopia – Teaching Black History in Culturally Responsive Ways written by Rann Miller. In this article Rann discusses how Black History is American history, and it should be taught throughout the year across the curriculum—not confined to a single month.
  • Learning for Justice recently changed their name from Teaching Tolerance. Learning for Justice seeks to uphold the mission of the Southern Poverty Law Center: to be a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people. Visit their site to sign up for their weekly emails and access many free resources for K-high school including downloadable posters that will inspire teachers and learners. They also publish a magazine, this springs edition White Supremacy in Education.
Learn more at https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/black-lives-matter-week-of-action.
  • The Art of Education PodcastsCelebrating Black History Month through Art, 17 Black Artists to Know, 5 Black Female Artists You (and Your Students!) Should Know, Where Does Black History Month Stand in the Art room?, 4 Artists that Show Black Lives Matter.
  • Anti-Racism Daily – Since June 3, the Anti-Racism Daily has been sending one email a day pairing current events with historical context and personal reflections on how racism persists in the U.S. (and around the world). You can subscribe and receive an email daily or the weekly archive. The daily information is provided at no cost and was created by Nicole Cardoza. You can subscribe on the website.
  • Teaching for Change – Their website helps connect to real world issues and encourage students and teachers to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.
  • Inspired Teaching – They provide innovative professional learning programs and help teachers build their practice to engage their students as empathetic, critical thinkers. They have several programs and resources that you can access on their website.
  • Indigo Arts Alliance – Portland, ME and cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. Mission: to build global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in their creative process with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and mentees. An integral aspect of the Indigo vision is to provide Maine based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world. Website.
  • Holocaust and Human Rights Center – Augusta, ME. One of the educational resources that they have available on their website is called Decision Making in Times of Injustice. A presentation filled with facts to help support educators in their teaching of the injustices in the world.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama

BOOKS

  • Black Like Me written by John Howard Griffin was written over 60 years ago. Griffin embarked on an experiment. He darkened his white skin to become black and traveled through the south, from New Orleans to Atlanta. He wrote the book to share his stories traveling as a ‘black man’ which ended up selling ten million copies and became a modern classic. I was able to purchase a used copy and I was mesmerized. “Black Like Me disabused the idea that minorities were acting out of paranoia,” says Gerald Early, a black scholar at Washington University and editor of Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation. There was this idea that black people said certain things about racism, and one rather expected them to say these things. Griffin revealed that what they were saying was true. It took someone from outside coming in to do that. And what he went through gave the book a remarkable sincerity.” READ MORE about the book in a Smithsonian Magazine article from 2011.
  • Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race written by Debby Irving. The author tells her true story growing up in a somewhat sheltered upper middle class suburban childhood in Winchester, Massachusetts. Her career focuses on working in nearby Boston in performance art and community based non-profits where she learned that her best efforts were actually doing more harm than good. Her persistence provided lessons along the way and a racial understanding and her white privilege revealed her past.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption written by Bryan Stevenson. A true story (made into a movie) about the inequities in the justice system. Just out of law school Mr. Stevenson moved to Alabama and established the Equal Justice Initiative. He represented the poorest and most marginalized people in the country: those suffering from excessive or unfair sentences, or facing the death penalty. The stories of the people he represented provides a clear picture of the inequities. In addition to writing this book Bryan Stevenson and a small group of lawyers spent years immersing themselves in archives and county libraries to document thousands of lynchings. From their research a sculpture was created called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and installed in Montgomery, Alabama. It is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.

In addition to the resources included above on June 8, 2020 I created a blog post called Social Justice Resources that includes nearly 50 links to a plethora of resources. Included are books for young children, middle school, and young adults along with many other resources.

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Happpppy 2021

January 25, 2021

Over the last month during the time that I wasn’t blogging 3 deer came to my backyard almost every night munching on the acorns that have piled up under our Oak trees. The time I may have spent blogging, which I often do late or early in the morning, I spent watching the deer. While the moon was bright and we had snow on the ground they stood out quite well and I could watch from one of two windows. They didn’t notice me when I stood perfectly still.

Considering we’re barely one month into the new year we certainly have experienced many BIG events. I’ve received many resources to help us navigate this world as teachers. Instead of going back and including them ‘after the fact’ I will try my best to incorporate them into blog posts moving forward.

I have to say as an art teacher I have enjoyed the enormous amount of very clever memes of Bernie in his mittens made by an elementary school teacher from Vermont. I loved reading an interview where she mentioned how surprised she was by the attention she was receiving because of the mittens she made for Bernie and the teachers at her daughters pre-school. She had sewn them and gifted them in 2017 in her craft room on a machine that her mother gave her when she was 12 years old. She also mentioned that she had no desire to leave teaching to make mittens full time. She has received hundreds of requests for mittens. My heart warmed when I read that sweatshirts with the photo were being sold for $45 on Bernie’s website with all the proceeds going to VT Meals on Wheels. Creativity benefitting a good cause!

I was so impressed with so many of the components of Inauguration Day, especially the performers. This includes the hopeful words of Yo Yo Ma and his cello performance of “Amazing Grace” delivered to President Biden at the Lincoln Memorial. “Throughout the pandemic, Ma has been delivering cello offerings on Twitter, bringing peace through music in a time of pain for many.” (from https://www.classicfm.com/artists/yo-yo-ma/cellist-poignant-amazing-grace-biden-inauguration-concert/). Lady Gaga’s rendition of the National Anthem was stunning and her outfit spoke volumes in its representation of traditions. The gold colored dove that she wore was a dove carrying an olive branch symbolizing her wish: “May we all make peace with each other.” She went on to say “My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land. Respectfully and kindly, Lady Gaga”. I read comments from some of my Maine music colleagues that this was the first time I was brought to tears listening to “The Stars Spangled Banner” brought me

Outstanding performances by Garth Brooks, Demi Lovato, Jeff Bradshaw, Jennifer Lopez, New Radicals, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Legend, and Tom Hanks hosting the TV special.

By far, for me, the highlight of the day was Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb”. Perhaps it is because I was responsible for the Maine Poetry Out Loud program for the six years I worked at the Maine Arts Commission. I loved and admired the high schoolers who participate in the program. Amanda had all of the components of amazing poetry and by far her performance was truly remarkable. Amanda is 22 years old and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, suggested by Dr. Jill Biden to recite. She is an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. Amanda is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. I love hearing her goal is to become President. I’m sure whatever pathway she is on she’ll continue to inspire and make a difference in this world.

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

I am hopeful for 2021 and the future as the artists mentioned above and so many more are given opportunities to let their voices be heard. Another reason why excellent PreK through 12 Arts Education should be afforded to all children no matter their zip code.

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Pentatonix

December 30, 2020

Get in the Holiday Spirit with this performance of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by the A Capella group Pentatonix.

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Ode to Joy

December 29, 2020

Musician and Conductor André Rieu performing “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven live in Maastricht with His Johann Strauss Orchestra. Even with the video a bit blurry the performance is beautiful. Please listen and see for yourself.

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