Posts Tagged ‘arts education’

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Danielle Sullivan

May 22, 2018

Music Educator

This is the 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 Danielle for sharing your story!

Danielle Sullivan teaches music, band and chorus at Etna-Dixmont School. This is her second year at the school and her 8th year teaching. Danielle teaches general music PreK-6th Grade, 4th grade band, 5-6 grade band, 7-8 grade band, 5-6 grade chorus, 7-8 grade chorus and jazz band.  There are about 230 students in the school.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love seeing students do something they thought was impossible.  At the beginning of the year they believe that there is no way they’ll be able to play/sing this song and by the end of the year (quarter, semester…) they’re able to. It’s wonderful to watch.

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

  1. Administrative and community support are huge. Without support you’re always fighting for what’s right.
  2. Teachers who care
  3. Students who want to learn

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

I love hearing students play and sing alone. The student and I learn so much about their ability when they play alone. Quiet and shy students who either need more support or other opportunities can be lost in a large group if they never sing/play alone.

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

I love all the new people I have met and the ideas we share.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of teaching young students to love music. If you can get them young then you have them for life. Being able to teach young children to love music is of the utmost importance to me.

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

All the other duties that aren’t teaching; paperwork, curriculum work, meetings, emails. Doing all these other things makes it harder for me to find time to do research new lesson ideas and work with colleagues.

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

Having older students who consider themselves ‘musicians’.  All of the students that come through the music room door are musicians. When they are young (as is the case at my school) they don’t have a choice; everyone has music class.  But as they get older (middle school and high school) they are no longer required to take music, band and chorus are optional. Having a strong music program with a lot of older students may seem like luck, but if you get students to consider themselves musicians then they will seek out music when it’s no longer obligatory.

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

Don’t be a workaholic! It doesn’t benefit you or the students!

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

For school, I would buy enough instruments so that any student who wanted to play and couldn’t afford it could use a school instrument.

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

Not learning the banjo earlier in life.

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Call for MALI Teaching Artist Leaders

May 16, 2018

Application available – Deadline Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, Year 8

Visual and Performing Arts Teaching Artist Leader Application

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI Summer Institute, August 2017

Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Commission invites you to be a part of    the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Now in its eighth year, MALI offers a unique opportunity to learn and network with teaching artists and PK through grade 12 visual and performing arts educators from across the state. MALI is looking for teaching artists interested in leading and in taking a close look at effective teaching and learning in the arts. This is an opportunity for you to participate in professional development and networking, as well as to have a voice in the direction of arts education in the state of Maine.

APPLICATION

Deadline: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If you are selected, you will be required to attend our summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018. We will provide sessions to help you develop your ideas and support your work. We will then ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other teaching artists, educators and community members in your region and beyond.

Selected Teacher Artist Leader responsibilities for the 2018-19 school year include:

  • Full participation in the 3-day summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018
  • Communicate in a timely fashion by email and in a MALI phase 8 google site
  • Be prepared for summer institute by completing pre-readings and responding to prompts with the MALI community
  • Critical Friends Day – follow-up to the summer institute, fall 2018
  • Participate in 2 meetings electronically with teaching artist leaders during 2018-19 school year
  • Contribute your teaching artist leader story for the Maine Arts Education blog
  • Attend a retreat to reflect on the phase 8 MALI work and plan next steps, winter 2019

Application requirements

  •    Current resume
  •    Letter of support
  •    Paragraph of interest

MALI BACKGROUND

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI summer institute, August 2017

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of teaching and learning in the arts so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. Teaching artists have been included in MALI for the past four years, and the goal of training Teaching Artist Leaders is now in its third year. As the initiative enters Phase 8, MALI has grown to include 101 leaders.

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers and teaching artists to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators

APPLICATION

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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 9, 2018

Phase 8 leadership role

VPA Teacher Leader Search

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) – Phase 8

The Maine Arts Commission invites you to consider applying for the role of Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Now in phase 8, MALI offers the opportunity to learn and network with arts educators and teaching artists from across the state. MALI is looking for PK-12 teachers interested in leading and in taking a close look at effective teaching and learning in the arts. Join us for a GREAT opportunity!

DEADLINE: Tuesday, 29 May 2018

APPLICATION

MALI Teacher Leader Winter Retreat, March 2018

MALI provides professional development and asks that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other educators in your region of Maine and beyond. Teacher Leaders are required to attend the three-day summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018 at Thomas College.

If interested, please submit a completed application by Tuesday, May 29. APPLICATION 

Selected teacher leader responsibilities for the 2018-19 school year include:

  • Full participation in the 3-day summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018
  • Communicate in a timely fashion by email and in a MALI phase 8 google site
  • Be prepared for summer institute by completing pre-readings and responding to prompts with the MALI community
  • Critical Friends Day – follow-up to the summer institute, fall 2018
  • Participate in 2 meetings electronically with teacher leaders during 2018-19 school year
  • Contribute your teacher leader story for the Maine Arts Education blog
  • Attend a retreat to reflect on the phase 8 MALI work and plan next steps, winter 2019

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Background Information

Overall Description

MALI Mission: Committed to the development of Teacher Leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts for all students.

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of teaching and learning in the arts so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. MALI DETAILS.

MAAI Summer Retreat, phase 1, MECA

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators

HISTORY – Phases I through VIII – Summer 2011 to present

  • Ninety three PK-12 teacher leaders and eight teaching artists leaders attended summer institutes on assessment, leadership, technology, creativity, proficiency-based standards-based and student-centered teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders presented workshops at three statewide arts education conferences: USM Portland, UMaine Orono, and Point Lookout Conference Center with over 700 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated about 125 regional workshops and 16 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Another Arts Educators Story series (94) on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Arts assessment graduate courses provided by The New England Institute for Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring. Archive
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom, Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website contains a plethora of information

APPLICATION

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Current resume
  • Letter of support
  • Paragraph of interest

MALI Critical Friend Day, Point Lookout, October 2013

In the near future we will put a call out for Teaching Artist Leaders! If you have questions please contact Argy Nestor, Maine Arts Commission, Director of Arts Education at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

 

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Maine Educator Magazine

April 25, 2018

Kaitlin Young

The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young was highlighted in an article for the Maine Educator Magazine. Kaitlin teaches music at SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft. In addition to the article, Kaitlin is also on the cover of the February edition. Kaitlin is a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and her full MALI story will appear later on this blog later on this spring.

Quotes from the article which you can access HERE.

“Arts education is essential for all students. The arts help you to participate in a larger community and we are fortunate to be able to provide these culturally enriching activities within our school.”

“We are in Dover- Foxcroft—Being Teacher of the Year isn’t about me, but perhaps my ability to be an ambassador for others. I feel honored to be part of this community and to tell others about it gives me great pride,” said Young.”

“It’s totally normal for me to one be silly and to crawl on the oor,” said Kaitlin Young with a smile. Young is the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and teaches music at SeDeMoCha Elementary and Middle School.”

 

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MALI Teaching Artist Leader Story: Nicole Cardano

April 24, 2018

Teaching Artist – Theatre

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 Nicole for sharing your story!

Nicole Cardano has been teaching Drama and Improvisational Theater in the schools for eight years.  She teaches students in grades K-12 and adults. The majority of Nicole’s work has been with 5-8th graders. She has seen the most growth with this age group. Through Nicole’s studies and practice of improvisational theater she have connected to the foundational philosophies of Listening, Support, Eye Contact and Respect. The games that she teaches and her directorial mindset work from these foundations. Nicole believes in the process being more valuable than the product. Learning and developing these skills fosters a stronger community, a place of open listening and supportive fun.

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

The thing I like best about being a teaching artist is expanding the awareness and experiences of connection through the practice of theater. As a teaching artist you are visiting many different environments and working with a large variety of people. My learning experience is constantly expanding. I have the opportunity of teaching theater as a tool for people to enhance social communication as well as deepen content connection.

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

Providing a variety of opportunities for the students to connect. Recognizing that our strengths and challenges are different for each person. Being patient with yourself and the process. Every experience is new.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

At this stage I find assessment to be most helpful in further communicating the validity of the practice. Articulating the progress that you saw within a class or with a particular student heightens the understanding of the importance of your work. I welcome recommendations on learning more formats of assessments that others have had success with.

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

Joining this supportive, creative and inspiring community has been an honor. The knowledge that we share with each other is endless due to so many different areas of expertise and experiences. I enjoy each and every conversation, and always wish I had more time with each person. I want to take everyone’s class!

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

I enjoy observing unexpected moments of pride. Such as experiencing success and true engagement from students that the teachers may not have thought would gravitate towards this work. Theater is a tool to learn with. That concept has been difficult to translate. I find that there can be a misconception that I am trying to work with the “theater kids”.  The theater kids are wonderful but that is not what fuels me to find opportunities for bringing the practice of theater into the school day. People want to play, students want to play, and at the right time teachers want to play too. We learn a great deal from each other in the act of play. In one of my first years as a Teaching Artist I went out of my way to recruit students that were not identified as being a part of any particular extracurricular interest, students that would easily have been predicted to become ‘At Risk’. Out of this selection there was one student that I quickly recognized needed to play extravagant characters. The feedback I received from a professional who had known that student for nine years was that they did not know that they could do this. Demonstrating longevity with supporting these students is something that I aspire to.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

Nicole at the Maine Arts Leadership Summer Institute

Having a set program where I am able to work with the students over their schooling years would be ideal. My work is designed to give the students Freedom through the practice and environment of Respect. This philosophy goes a long way for students that may often struggle in school, or struggle with believing in their own education.

School did not come easy to me. Teachers liked my personality, but many times did not know where to place me as a student. I had test anxiety, was a slow reader and easily lost my interest in a standard classroom setting. I could connect with people. Theater has been a life skill. This has been a way for me to study people and culture. Improvisation has allowed me to directly connect. I often think and process information with the tools of theater and improv. Relaxing a student, and providing play with the foundational rules of improv allows for a safe place to learn and interact.

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

Expanding the work. Reaching new schools, classrooms and age groups. The majority of my work is truly for all ages. I have learned to zone in on the philosophies and foundations of practice that speak to all, while also finding exercises that more directly fit certain ages and environments.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

Start with one project and observe/assess that. What did you most enjoy? What was challenging? What would you do differently? Where would you like to see this work continue? Then find a home for a second project based on this information, and repeat.

Be aware of what your needs are. I recognized that as an individual artist that I needed more recognition for my work and a business format. I have since launched a non-profit entitled “Theater Today”. I continue to work at this. The mission for my non-profit is:  “Theater Today facilitates, educates, and leads the mindset of drama, improvisational theater and play as a developmental tool.  We are social education and emotional growth through the medium of play, practiced in any format and with any organization.”

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

MALI Summer Institute – Teaching Artist actor, theater maker Dana Legawiec, Nicole, Wiscasset High School Theater teacher Jean Phillips

The truth is I would distinctly support my non-profit. Creating programming that was not as limited by funding, time constraints of finding funding, and provided more consistent support. I would be intentional on what would create longevity for Theater Today, and the goals that we aspire to reach. Allowing plans to be big, while continuing to be clearly thought out. Creating the opportunity for the practice of theater to become a normal part of learning. Give talks on the importance of play. How human connection through play can promote a more positive human existence for all.

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

Wow, how fast time has gone by. I am now 94. I am proud of the differences I have been able to make.  That theater is recognized, appreciated and utilized as a tool for learning and improving communication. I am filled with joy that I have been able to travel the world and meet so many amazing people. I laugh at the moments of confusion I had as a younger person. Embrace today and now. Life is outstanding! Enjoy it, and consciously share your love of it!

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Arts Education Policies

April 20, 2018

Arts Ed Partnership resource

Twenty-nine states in our country define the arts as a core or academic subject. You can learn what Maine and other states have in place for policies that impact arts education on the Arts Ed Partnership site at ArtScan.

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

April 18, 2018

Learning Works

Heather Davis and Amy Pichette

I had the chance to meet with Heather Davis, Executive Director of LearningWorks and Amy Pichette Learning Works After School (LWAS) Team Program Director recently. I learned about their comprehensive after school programs, had a tour of the Portland facility and to visit one of their after school programs at Reiche School. LearningWorks received Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant funds for the 2017-18 school year.

LearningWorks Mission

LearningWorks reimagines learning through innovative programs that help children, adults, and families realize their potential and build thriving communities. 

I asked Heather to answer some questions so the Maine Arts Education blog audience could learn more about the LWAS program.

What do you see/know are the greatest benefit(s) to students at Reiche and the other schools you are working with to offer the afterschool program?

The greatest benefits to students in the LearningWorks LWAS program are the opportunities to continue building skills, background knowledge, and confidence in a supportive environment.We love afterschool because it is flexible and student centered. We are able to provide students with structured learning activities, but the students can help guide the direction of the ship based on their inherent interests.

What do you hope that students will remember or will be saying in the near or far off future about the opportunity to learn in this manner?

We hope students will remember the experiences they had while participating in LearningWorks Afterschool and how it helped them perform better in school. We also hope that the students develop new interests and skills through participation in activities they may not have had the opportunity to participate in if they weren’t a part of LearningWorks Afterschool. For example, those students who participated in the Portland Youth Dance Club are developing new dance skills and it is our hope that some of the students will be able to take advantage of participating in Portland Youth Dance beyond their time in LWAS and it can becomes a lifelong engaging activity for them.

Success story

A LearningWorks Afterschool/Portland Youth Dance success story comes from our performance yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, April 4th, 2018) during our LearningWorks Afterschool/Portland Youth Dance Final Showcase. All six groups (Reiche, East End, Ocean Avenue, Presumpscot, Hall and Riverton Schools) of LWAS/PYD dancers traveled to the Casco Bay Movers Studios to show off their dances to their peers, parents, and the community. The energy in the room is like no other…students are full of excitement and nerves. Some dancers are so nervous when they walk into the studio, they don’t want to dance. But, when the music starts, every dancer is ready to use their dance energy. There are constant cheers of support from the audience and the other dancers throughout each and every performance. The room was packed and this year’s performance had the most dance participants and the most parent/community audience members than any of our showcases in the past. One dancer from Hall School had 14 family members attend the performance! This is the best day of the year!

This video is on the Learning Works After School Portland Facebook

Check out the energy of the dancers and the crowd – Ocean Avenue’s dance team.

LearningWorks Commitment

LearningWorks is committed to strengthening the communities we serve by providing free community-based education programs for children, adults, and families throughout Southern Maine. Our primary goal is to support academic and personal success for our neighbors who lack resources and/or fall outside traditional educational structures. Our unique blend of academics, youth development, and social and emotional expertise makes it possible for us to transition our students from a place of struggle and hopelessness to a place of possibility and opportunity.

LearningWorks History

In the mid-1960s, residents of Portland’s West End neighborhood banded together to advocate for change on behalf of families who were struggling to maintain affordable housing. This coalition became known as Portland West in 1967. Through its housing rights work, Portland West came to appreciate that education is the best pathway out of poverty. Thus, the group reoriented its mission to focus on education.

LearningWorks’ journey from a grassroots neighborhood advocacy group to a unique and innovative education nonprofit has been long and remarkable. In late 2016, our staff and board joined forces to rewrite our organizational mission statement to focus on the concept of “reimagining learning” to help Mainers of all ages realize their potential and build thriving communities.

As we celebrate 50 years of service, we look to the future with a focus on what we do best: reaching students that no one else can reach; breaking down barriers to create educational opportunities for all; and helping people of all ages and backgrounds achieve academic and personal success.

LearningWorks AfterSchool (LWAS) provides free, high-quality afterschool and summer programs for students in grades 2-5 who are below grade level and come from families that cannot afford a paid afterschool enrichment or tutoring program. The curriculum utilizes an innovative blend of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and literacy to help improve each child’s academic standing, all in a safe and supportive environment. The primary focus of the afterschool program is academic enrichment through project-based, hands-on, and engaging curriculum. Transportation and a snack are provided.

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