Archive for the ‘Standards Based Education’ Category


Tina Wood Shares

November 24, 2015

What a switch!

Recently 15 year veteran visual art teacher Tina Wood, Marcia Buker Elementary School (Richmond), emailed me about the work she is doing with students. I could hear the excitement in her voice about what is happening in her classroom that I just had to ask her permission to share it. Below is the email – in Tina’s own words.

IMG_2111I recently had an amazing breakthrough in teaching and learning and must share! At RSU#2 we adopted National Art Standards for our district as our learning targets. I put these in “I can” statements for students and their interest and understanding in learning outcomes was noticeable. Students were curious, questioning and open minded.  Using these statements and their unique art ideas I have been looking for an enjoyable, fun way to assess student knowledge.

Dan Tompkins, IT support at Marcia Buker Elementary School (MBES) found an app, Easy Blogger JR, for the 4 new iPads I wrote a grant for and it has been electric in the art room. Students easily photograph, text or talk about their art and ideas matching their learning to their learning targets independently. It is easy to comment on their posts and students will be able to comment along with parents and teachers. Students are coming in the art room to do their assessment during recess!

This is the biggest amount of joy and bubbling creativity I have ever seen expressed by students!

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.16.26 AMThe first blogs posted are 5th grades alabaster stone sculptures that they began while at Viles Arboretum Sculpture Symposium on October 3rd during a day long field trip exploring nature, creativity and stone carving. The article was published in Portland Press Herald Sunday October 11th about MBES students in the Outdoor section called Making a Solid Impression.

I hope you might have time to visit our blog, This is an inspiring adventure for myself and Marcia Buker Elementary School students. If you have questions for Tina please contact her at

And a recent update from Tina: It is exciting in the art room as we learn and grow and express ourselves. Students in the 5th grade have started tweeting what they are learning in art as part of their end of class evaluation. FUN! mbesartstudio on Twitter!





This We Believe!

October 20, 2015

MALI makes it clear

This summer while attending the Teach to Lead Summit in Washington D.C. the team representing the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative decided to take action on the MALI Teacher Leaders idea of creating Belief Statements. The topics were selected based on the past 4 years of MALI and ones that MALI Teacher Leaders are engaged with, individually and/or collectively: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

IMG_1901At the Summer Institute that MALI had August 3-5 participants worked in groups to draft the statements of which everyone provided feedback on during the institute culmination activity. As a follow-up to the institute they were updated with the suggestions and went back to the teams who collaborated on the writing of them. One last look by the Leadership Team and what you can read below is the result of the several months process. The collaborative effort is another example of the grass-roots work of MALI.

These statements were created to help guide MALI as we continue to move forward with our work. Will these This We Believe statements change? Perhaps, as is most things with MALI, changes are made to move the initiative forward to meet the needs of Arts education in Maine which should positively impact every Maine student.

These statements now live on the Maine Arts Assessment website at!this-we-believe-statements/cmni and were unveiled recently at the Biennial Statewide Arts Education conference on Friday, October 9.

  • ARTS INTEGRATION… allows for cross-curricular collaboration within the creative process. Interconnected learning provides students an opportunity to demonstrate understanding and knowledge using multiple avenues.

  • ADVOCACY… educates communities that arts education is essential. Arts advocacy should involve the presentation of solid, factual information that challenges misconceptions about the role of the arts in our society. Arts advocacy should also highlight the various benefits of the arts through the creation and viewing process; involving the larger community in purposeful and meaningful ways.

  • ASSESSMENT LITERACY… is an ongoing dialogue between stakeholders that informs instruction, supports learning, clarifies understanding and validates what we do as educators.

  • CREATIVITY AND 21ST CENTURY SKILLS… quality arts education is critical to fostering Creativity and developing 21st Century Skills. The arts provide authentic, real life opportunities that nurture:

    * Collaboration

    * Communication

    * Critical Thinking

    * Creative Problem Solving

    Creativity is the ability to connect ideas, information and issues, through exploration, and in novel ways in order to develop personal and relevant solutions.

  • EDUCATOR EFFECTIVENESS… effective teachers are passionate, and love what they do. They are problem solvers, able to reach all learners. They are informed about current pedagogy. They are flexible and can adapt their perspective. They are positive, with a focus on developing student growth.

  • EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING… effective teaching leads to effective learning when students are actively engaged, the learning is individualized and relevant, and feedback leads to informed teaching practice and improved student progress.

  • PROFICIENCY BASED LEARNING AND STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING… students are encouraged and empowered to become independent learners, ultimately taking charge of their own education. Experiences within the learning environment are active, collaborative, and engaging; supporting students to explore their artistic processes in meaningful and purposeful ways.

  • TEACHER LEADERSHIP… is collaboration, the ability to foster change, challenging and supportive of others, advocating for the needs of all, and inspiring others to become leaders. Teacher Leadership is an intentional, collaborative strategy which supports and inspires: a) students and their learning through effective teaching practices and  b) the teaching profession through shared expertise, resources, and high quality and ongoing professional development.

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at


Those Amazing Presenters!

October 15, 2015

Different format provides info for all

The Biennial Statewide conference provided a unique format with 5X5 presentations – our version of Pecha Kucha. Each of the workshop session leaders presented for 5 minutes using 5-8 slides. These took place during the morning of the Measure of Success conference which gave participants a chance to hear and see and appetizer of 9 different topics.

On top of providing the workshops each of the presenters put together a plethora of resources and they are available to all of you! When you go there you will be totally blown away at the amazing resources they collected which are now living at!measure-of-success-conference/chki. DON’T miss them.

During the afternoon of the conference presenters jumped into the 9 topics by providing hour and 15 minute sessions on the following:

  • Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy with Visual Arts Teachers Theresa Cerceo from Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School and Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School


  • Making Maine and ME with Visual Arts Teacher Jennie Driscoll from Brunswick High School


  • Evaluating Individual Proficiency within the Large Ensemble with Music Teacher Jen Etter from York Middle School
  • Dancing with the Creative Process: How to incorporate standards-based dance and movement activities in classroom learning and assessment with Dancer, Educator, and Teaching Artist John Morris


  • In the Midst of Madness with Music Teacher Jen Nash from Sabasticook Valley Middle School, Dance Teacher MaryEllen Schaper from Bonny Eagle Middle School, and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership from USM Jeff Beaudry, Ph.D.


  • Empathy, Kindness and Wonder, Arts Integration at Work with the Director and Founder of Sweet Tree Arts Lindsay Pinchbeck
  • Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education with the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring
  • From Cool to Tool: Technology Integration with Student Learning in Mind with Music Teacher  Kate Smith from Central School in South Berwick, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder


  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 

A GREAT big thank you to each of the presenters for the 9 sessions. YOU were truly amazing!

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at


Successful Biennial

October 13, 2015

Great day for Arts Education!


Biennial Statewide Arts Education Conference participants

Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport on Friday, October 9 was abuzz with Arts Educators for the Biennial Statewide Arts Education conference, The Measure of Success. The day was filled with student performances, celebrations, presentations, networking and intense workshops, conversations, questions, and wonderings. From the opening music performance by Camden Hills Regional High School Jazz Band under the direction of Nancy Rowe to the closing session with a theatre performance of the Adamms Family under the direction of Kim Murphy the day was educational, energizing, and filled with surprises!


Camden Hills Regional High School Jazz Band under the direction of Nancy Rowe

Over the next few days on the blog there will be highlights from the conference in words and images to give you a bit of what went on during the all-day event.

If you were able to join us – thanks so much – I hope that you found it worthwhile and that you met other folks to share ideas, your work, and that you learned something from them as well. If you couldn’t make it, please know that the blog posts will provide tidbits but in other similar events its just not the same as being there. I will do my best to describe what went on. If questions arise for you from what you read and see, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

IMG_0347We initially started plans for this conference back in January and as you can imagine it takes many people to put all the details in place including those listed below. My apology if I leave someone or place out. I am sure that you will let me know.

  • The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leadership Team for the hours they spent emailing, zooming to plan and implement the conference
  • The amazing presenters including Theresa Cerceo and Janie Snider, Jennie Driscoll, Jen Etter, John Morris, Jen Nash, MaryEllen Schaper, Jeff Beaudry, Lindsay Pinchbeck, Catherine Ring, Dan Ryder and Kate Smith, and Rob Westerberg.
  • The Maine Arts Commission staff especially Director Julie Richard, Priscilla Kelley and Chris Norris in the front office, and Linda Nelson
  • Maine Department of Education especially Beth Lambert, the new Visual and Performing Arts Specialist and the financial support from the MDOE
  • MALI partners: New England Institute for Teacher Education, Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, USM, UMaine Performing Arts, Maine Department of Education
  • Camden Hills Regional High School Jazz Band, Nancy Rowe and Camden Hills Regional High School theatre students, Kim Murphy
  • Kate Smith, Jen Etter, and Cynthia Keating for Celebrating Excellence!
  • Lindsay Pinchbeck, Amy Gertner, and Jessica Day for Bumpity Bump Bump
  • Theresa Cerceo sharing SLAM
  • Farnsworth Art Museum, Kate Smith, Allie Rimkunas, Pamela Kinsey, Camden Hills Regional High School, Hampden Academy and others for providing door prizes
  • Barb Vinal and Catherine Ring, completing the new website
  • Peripole, supplying every participant with their own set of egg shakers in great colors!
  • Celebration Team!
  • Point Lookout Conference Center staff, especially Gerry Hill
  • Susan MacPherson at Great Gatherings for the registration
  • Maine College of Art for providing the bags, Liam Sullivan

A taste of the Adamms Family – getting ready for opening night, under the direction of Kim Murphy

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at


Car is Packed

October 8, 2015

Headed for the biennial conference

carAfter months of preparation that involved dozens of people we are really READY for the Biennial Statewide Arts Education Conference The Measure of Success. Today, with a car chock full of all that is needed, I head to Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport to set up for the conference being held tomorrow, Friday, October 9.

The 9 workshop leaders have prepared their 5X5s (5 minutes, 5 images), a long list of resources that will go live tomorrow morning, and their hour and 15 minute workshops. No small feat, of which I know will be incredible offerings for those in attendance! Arts integration, standards-based, creativity, student-centered, assessment, brain research, advocacy, teacher effectiveness, technology, and so much more will be covered, discussed, and unpacked. By the end of the day participants will have at least a handful of ideas that they will walk away with that can be put into practice come next Tuesday morning in their individual classrooms, schools, and districts.

The day will be filled with celebrations, recognitions, and multiple learning and networking opportunities! YOU’ve spoken to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and we’ve done our best to listen and create another professional learning opportunity that I hope will be challenging and enjoyable!

Without the many people who have contributed to the planning, tomorrow would not be possible. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have stepped up!

What??? You haven’t pre-registered? Well, you are in luck – arrive at Point Lookout tomorrow morning, Friday, October 9, by 8:30 and you can register at the door. Please be sure and bring a check, PO, or credit card! And, if you are available today you are welcome to come early and help unpack the car! YAHOOOOOO for Arts Education!

If you have questions please email me at

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at


Last Chance to Register

October 6, 2015

The Measure of Success conference

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.27.24 PMThere is still time and space to register for the Biennial Arts Education Conference: The Measure of Success being held this Friday, October 9 at the Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport. It is bound to provide great opportunities for learning, networking, and celebrations. If you have not registered, you have one more day at The cost today is $100. If you want to wait until Friday, walk-in registration is available at the door for $125.00. Make checks payable to Great Gatherings or pay with cash!

Maine Arts Education: The Measure of Success conference participants will:

  • Participate in a dynamic format of 5 x 5 presentations (9 topics, 5 minutes, 5 images).
  • Attend arts education workshops that are facilitated by colleagues.
  • Explore assessment methods and strategies designed to expand teaching and learning the proficiency-based education environment.
  • Build connections among the arts disciplines: dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual art.
  • Provide networking opportunities.
  • Learn more about creativity, literacy, authentic assessment, technology, and much more!

We are putting the finishing touches on the cake, running around completing the last minute details, and look forward to seeing you on Friday!

If you have any questions please email me at


Dear Administrator,

September 17, 2015

Support professional development

photoI know that the professional learning opportunity on October 9 is going to be so valuable that I’ve written a “Dear Administrator” letter that you can use to support your request to attend.  The Biennial Statewide Arts Ed conference, The Measure of Success, is being held at Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport. The letter goes like this… (see below) and can be accessed by clicking here (you can download it from there easily). Please note: I realize that the formatting might be a total mess below but I promise that when you download it from the link above that it will be fine!

All the details and conference registration are located at Please feel free to email me if you have any questions at

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION COST OF $90. Tomorrow the cost goes to $100 and the day of the conference, the walk-in cost is $110. I hope that you can join us!

June 2015
Dear Administrator:
The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI – formerly known as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) is pleased to announce the 2015 Biennial Statewide Arts Education conference “Maine Arts Education: The Measure of Success” will be held on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport. On behalf of your visual and performing arts education teaching staff, I encourage you to support their participation in the conference. We are fortunate in Maine to have a vibrant community of arts professionals who will attend the conference with the common goal of advancing arts education for the benefit of all students in schools across Maine.
MALI (MAAI) was established in 2011 by the Maine Department of Education and is presently a
program of the Maine Arts Commission. The conference program is grounded in the mission:
MALI is committed to the development of Teacher leaders to ensure deep understanding and
meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts.”
Conference opportunities include engaging workshops on Assessment, Teacher Effectiveness, Arts
Integration, Proficiency-Based Education, Movement/Dance and the Creative Process, Brain
Development, Studio Habits of Mind, Benchmarking in Music, and Assessment in Visual Arts. These
workshops will showcase the latest in research and practice, provide interactive learning through
hands-on experiences, and challenge teachers thinking. The content of the conference can be applied
immediately to teaching and learning in your school–helping to advance your goals.
The MALI shares your vision for ensuring that Maine students receive the best possible education and
that your teachers possess a deep knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning. The
professional learning opportunities made available through the MALI are unparalleled in the field of
visual and performing arts education in Maine. MALI offers a comprehensive opportunity for educators who are engaged with the arts in learning to experience exemplary practices, methodologies, and research.
I appreciate your commitment to visual and performing arts education and in supporting your arts
educators with release time and in whatever way you can, so they may attend. In closing please accept
my gratitude for your leadership that ensures a quality, comprehensive education for all students across Maine.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions by email or by phone
Yours in Arts Education,
Ms. Argy Nestor
Director of Arts Education
Maine Arts Commission
The conference is brought to you by the Maine Arts Learning Initiative (MALI), a program of the Maine Arts Commission.
Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at

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