Posts Tagged ‘Ashland’


Aroostook Mall Art Exhibit

March 20, 2017

Northern pARTners

Mackenzie Vigue and Delanie Cyr of Mapleton Elementary School

The Northern pARTners, Aroostook County regional art teachers, held a reception at the Aroostook Centre Mall on Thursday, March 9th from 7-7:30pm. Students from all around Aroostook County gathered to celebrate and showcase student artwork for the Essence of the North annual YAM(Youth Art Month) art show.

There were eleven county school districts represented including Presque Isle/Mapleton, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Caribou, Ashland, Washburn, Connor, Hodgdon, Houlton, Mars Hill, and St. Agatha/Frenchville.

The Aroostook Centre Mall graciously donated space again this year for hanging the show. Vibrant colors and stunning examples of student artistic talents and skills filled the room as county art educators put up their student work.

Student artists accompanied by family and friends filled the gallery space from 6:45-7:45 Thursday evening. The visual appeal of the exhibit is an experience one wouldn’t want to miss. This was evident on reception night as people of all ages excitedly traveled around the exhibit.

Jack Boone of Zippel Elementary School

Beth Walker, Washburn art educator, provided a scavenger hunt which has student artists and their families studying the artworks looking for 2 clues in each district’s collection. They check off if they found the clue and write down the district where it was found. Stacy Ramsey, art educator from Hodgdon, created a visual scavenger hunt for her younger students. Students had to find photo images that she had photographed and printed off.

Despite the blustery weather conditions, it was an exciting evening meeting, greeting, and praising the students and their art work.

The northern pARTners are very appreciative and thankful to the Aroostook Centre Mall for providing this opportunity to display artwork from school districts around the county.

The artwork will be on display from February 28 through March 31st.


Abby Collins of Zippel Elementary School


I’m a Teacher, An Educator, A Professional!

October 9, 2013

Essential to Education

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 9.26.05 PMSusan Beaulier, K-12 Art educator from Ashland was honored last year by the Maine Art Education Association as the Middle Level Art Educator of the Year. She served as a teacher leader during the second phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. Recently she has expressed to colleagues her displeasure with being called and referred to as a “special”.

My question to all of you is this: Since when is something “essential” considered “special”? This post was written by Sue and it is posted here with her permission. My hope is that you think about her words and realize the passion that not only Sue, but many arts educators have for their commitment to being a teacher! Thank you Sue for your contribution to the blog and your dedication to your students providing each of them with a quality arts education.

When asked my occupation by people whom I’ve just met, I reply, “I’m a teacher”. That usually prompts the question, “What do you teach?” I then explain that I am the PreK-12 Visual Arts Teacher and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Education for our district.  A brief discourse usually ensues regarding my work, and then moves to the life of the person with whom I’m talking. No big deal, just polite conversation.

To people outside the education field, I’m viewed as a teacher, an educator, a professional.

I have never had anyone in the general public question my role as a ”real” teacher”.  That task is left to my colleagues, who refer to me as a “Special”.  Despite my college degrees, years of training and experience, and full certification including several endorsements, many still don’t see me as an educator… and I am not alone. The Music/Performing Arts and Physical Education teachers are viewed as  “Specials” too. To our colleagues, what and how we teach really isn’t that important;  after all, we only do the “fun stuff”. To my regular classroom colleagues, “The Specials” are but a break in their very busy day.  They don’t view our time with students as integral to education. Rather, we provide a respite for them so that they can prepare for the REAL job of educating students. My role is to supplement the important and necessary teaching that they do…the real stuff.  

I guess that I should not, then, find it surprising that they frequently keep students from my class to finish up missed homework, or as a punishment for some misbehavior in the “REAL” classroom. In response to this, I invite my colleagues to step away from the photocopier or the coffee machine, and discover the learning that really happens in the art room, the music room, and the gymnasium. I invite them to join their students for art class, music class, and physical education class. Given the opportunity, we “Specials” might educate our colleagues about the teaching and learning that occurs during the course of OUR very busy day. Perhaps the REAL teachers might garner a few tips on how their classrooms and the content they present could be made “Special” too.

My classroom is special because…

  • Learners are encouraged to meet learning goals rather than finish assignments.
  • Divergent thinking is valued; even mandatory. There can be several solutions to the same problem; much like life.
  • Students are able to express who they really are, define their individuality and embrace those differences rather than try to fit into the same niche as everyone else.
  • Learners talk to each other about their work. Sharing “answers” is not considered cheating.  We call it  reflection and collaboration.
  • Learners perform both independently and cooperatively, everyday.
  • Learning is not rote.  Lectures are few.  Hands-on, authentic experiences allow learners to learn by doing.
  • Those who are often afraid of being judged, feel safe in the art room, because individuality is celebrated. Thinking that appears silly, absurd or off-task often provides a jumping off point for learning.
  • We’re not afraid to make mistakes. We teach and learn from them.
  • Criticism is constructive. Assessment is provided for improvement, not punishment. There are always chances for re-dos until one is happy with his/her work.  
  • Practice doesn’t make perfect…practice makes better. I also recognize that everyone doesn’t get better at the same time, no matter how much they do or don’t practice.
  • A textbook manufacturer does not determine the pace or delivery mode of instruction.
  • The ability to question is considered more important than the ability to answer.  Experimentation, discovery, risk-taking, flexibility, and trial and error are practiced every day.
  • Learner success is measured by individual growth, not their class standing.
  • Differentiation is inherent. The learner dictates it. I facilitate it.
  • I tailor my lessons to address the interests of my students while still imparting content knowledge.
  • And yes…I try to make learning fun… because it is.

I am a teacher, an educator, a professional. My classroom is a reflection of what I’ve learned, experienced, and believe about learners and learning.  Art education is not “special”.  It’s simply good education…




Essence of the North Student Art Exhibit

March 25, 2013

Aroostook county

Thank you to art teacher Ruth McAtee for contributing this blog post and the photos that accompany it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is our fifth annual Essence of the North Student Art Exhibit. It is now on display at the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque, Maine. This show is put on by the Northern pARTners Aroostook county regional art educators, a group of art teachers from school districts around Aroostook county. Throughout the year we meet once a month or every other month to share information on what’s happening in the visual arts at the state and national level as well as what we are doing in our own visual arts programs. We usually meet at a school site, and art teachers who cannot come to the site, attend via Tandberg. Planning for the our annual art show takes place at these meetings.

This year the show features selected art pieces from the following districts: Caribou, Limestone, Connor, Easton, St. Agatha, Frenchville, Hodgdon, Houlton, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, Mapleton, Ashland, and Washburn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA reception for the student artists, their families, teachers, and administrators took place March 15 from 7:00-7:30 in the gallery space at the Aroostook Centre Mall where the student work is being showcased. Visual Arts teachers at the reception:  Judy Babbidge (Pre-K-6, Connor) absent from photo, Ruth McAtee (MSAD#1 grs. 3-5 Zippel and Pre-K-5 Mapleton Elementary schools), Beth Ann Walker (K-8, Washburn),  Sue Beaulier (Pre-K-12, Ashland), Jane Hutchison (K-12, Easton), Bonnie Tidd (High School, Houlton), Wanda Jackins (K-12 Mars Hill).

The art work is on display from March 11-April 6th.


While in Aroostook county for the Mega-regional workshop in Easton I had a chance to visit the exhibit at the mall. It was great to see the work of the Northern pARTners. I could imagine the art teachers there together putting the show in place and the families at the opening enjoying it. The collaboration that the art teachers have is marvelous. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for providing the opportunity for your community!

Angela Wang, grade 10, Drawing II - student of Ellyn Whitten Smith at Presque Isle High School

Angela Wang, grade 10, Drawing II – student of Ellyn Whitten Smith at Presque Isle High School


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Susan Beaulier

March 5, 2013

This is the 21st in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The  series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

sue beaulier2Susan Beaulier is in her 23rd year of teaching and is presently teaching PreK-12 Visual Arts Teacher in MSAD #32 in Ashland. Additionally, she has been the Coordinator of G/T Education for that same amount of time. In addition to Visual Arts classes, Sue offers a Digital Photography elective, and an Independent Study Seminar for High School students. Ashland Schools are a small school district in Aroostook County. Our district serves 6 communities. She is responsible for providing services for the 338 students in the district. Susan is a phase 2 Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative!

What do you like best about being an art educator? 

I like the fact that the students (for the most part) want to be in my classroom.  I think that the arts provide a platform for teachers to be more than lecturers. I like the honest interactions that occur within the realm of an art classroom.  The kids are comfortable sharing their thoughts, and usually appreciate my input as well. I like walking into my room in the morning and finding it already full of kids who feel comfortable there and who are actively engaged without being reminded to get started. I like that kids who don’t have art class sometimes drop in during a study hall and ask if they can draw or paint or sculpt. I like that kids choose to stay after school to work on art projects or just be where they are comfortable. I like the energy of the art room and I like providing a place where kids feel happy and successful. I like working across all age levels.  My job is never boring.

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

  1. Creating an environment where kids know that there’s no such thing as getting a “100” in art.  I think it’s important to let kids know that it is through mistakes that they learn. Taking risks is more valued in art class than “getting it right” They need to know that they always have the chance for improvement and growth…no grade is final.  Giving students the time and permission to plan, experiment, play, reflect and re-do is really important.
  2. Creating a place where learners feel productive and successful, and where they feel supported by their peers and instructor.  Allowing for flexibility in pace, practice, and product is also valuable.  Making learning fun doesn’t hurt either.
  3. Highlighting for the students, the problem-solving skills that they are learning and exhibiting, and how these skills can be applied to other areas of their lives. Sometimes they don’t recognize these qualities until we point them out. This connection adds validity to what they’re doing everywhere

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

 Refining my approach to assessment has influenced my instructional practices .I used to think that adherence to a set of pre-established criteria might lead to “cookie-cutter” art products. Now, I am working to include the students as much as possible in developing assessment tools for their work. Creating the rubric  together  is now part of our introduction to the process. Assessment has proven to be a very valuable conversation starter in our classroom.  When students are involved in the assessment process, they begin to “talk the talk” of art and art education. I think that kids inherently know what a “successful” project looks like, but sometimes they lack the descriptors to communicate that. When they have the criteria and vocabulary to express them selves, they are empowered to create, analyze, improve their own work, and justify their artistic choices. When students know what is expected of them, and they have the chance to define levels of achievement in language that means something to them, their work improves. Assessment opens up dialogue about art. 

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

 My involvement with the Arts Assessment Initiative has provided many benefits. It has invited me to step out from my isolated domain, and share my thoughts with other colleagues in the art education field. It has allowed me to gain feedback about things that I do well, as well as those areas that need revision and improvement. I have met an entirely new group of people who share the same passions, worries, tasks, as I, and it feels good to be part of a group. My involvement has reinforced me in what I am doing, but has also offered suggestions for improvement. I have made new friendships and bonds over a short period of time. I feel like we are a family.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am at the point in my career where I am teaching the children of my former students. Additionally, I am teaching the grandchildren of some of my former classmates. I am heartened by the positive response I have received from all involved. It delights me when high school students or even parents tell me that they still remember and/or have an art project that they made in one of my classes. That makes me feel like I made an impression on their lives. One of my former students recently joined our staff as an Ed. Tech. She is also a dance instructor in our town. She told me that the opportunity I gave her in high school to participate in dance class changed her life. I recently received  e-mail from a student who I had during one of my first years of teaching. She was very kind in her remembrances of art class. She made me feel proud that I had an impact on her life. The accomplishments of my kids make me proud.

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

TIME gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher.  I do relish time away from the responsibilities of school, but those responsibilities never really go away. I always feel like I’m behind the eight ball! We live in a fast-paced world. There are many demands upon every person today, and achieving a balance is difficult. I think that, despite our efforts, there is never enough time to accomplish what we want.

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

I’m not sure that I’ve made much of an impact  on many of my colleagues through my hard work and determination. My fellow teachers often comment on how “creative” I am, and that I “do things so easily.” I have even had teachers tell me that I am “wasting my creativity” here at school. I truly think that they are speaking from a naive view of what creativity truly is. I feel that they think I am accomplished at my job because I possess artistic skills, and can demonstrate those to the students. They often comment that I “make things look so easy…”  Though they recognize my artistic abilities, many of my colleagues fail to see me as an equal in terms of being an educator. I think that they still see the arts as a “special”  (A term I detest!). They don’t recognize that my artistic skills are really just an extension of who I am as an educator. What they fail to see is that I face all of the same difficulties with educating kids as they do. Visual Arts is a language.  So, when I am introducing the tenets of the visual arts, I am essentially teaching students a new language. That does not just happen because I can draw well. The skills that are developed and fostered in the art room may not be practiced anywhere else in the curriculum. I don’t think that regular ed. teachers know this or appreciate its impact on all other learning. Much of what I teach is really taught “through” art, not” because” of it. The critical/creative problem solving skills, life skills (working collaboratively, taking risks, working through a process, observation, reflection, revision, perseverance, etc.) aren’t really the by-products of an arts education. They are at the core of arts education. I often think that my students understand the benefits of a quality education in the arts better than my adult colleagues do.

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

Don’t let technology replace human interaction…kids crave it.  If all else fails, Play Power Ball!

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

I would add it to my Maine State Retirement Account because Teacher Retirement is abysmal.

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

Of Course!  I should have sung louder, danced more, and afforded myself more time for my own art.

Thank you Susan for telling your story!






Youth Art Month Exhibits

March 14, 2012

From Portland to Hallowell to Bangor to Presque Isle

Celebrating Youth Art Month with student art exhibits throughout the state.

Art in the Heart student exhibit, Bangor Mall

Bangor Mall – Art in the Heart student exhibit. Fifty five art teachers have contributed about 800 pieces of student artwork and came together on a recent Sunday to set up the exhibit. The artwork will be in place until March 17th.

Kal Elmore’s description: “Teachers had selected work, matted work, made lists of students, etc. Calls had been made to arrange mall space, panel moving, etc. The day had arrived. It was time for all the parts to come together. And, yes, it was a Sunday morning.

The panels arrived. People started to set up their exhibits. Art teachers greeted old friends with hugs and news. “Oohs” and “aahs” could be heard as art teachers found pieces that are appealing. It truly was glorious to see this exhibit come together!”                                              

The state Youth Art Month exhibit is at the Portland Museum of Art until the end of the month. The exhibit is sponsored by Maine Art Education Association (MAEA). The official opening was on Saturday, March 10th with hundreds of people there to celebrate the 131 students from grades K-12. It was marvelous! Carol Trimble received the Arts Advocacy Award from MAEA and Linda Stanley, MAEAs selection for the Art Teacher of the Year; both had wonderful messages for parents, teachers, and most importantly the students! The show remains until the end of March.

Camilla Jones, "Me on My Worst Day" Tempera, Hall-Dale High School

The Harlow Gallery in Hallowell annual student exhibits are top notch. The high school exhibit was on display during the first part of the month and presently on display is the elementary student art work. The high schools represented each send one student to actually hang the show. They did a marvelous job on the collaboration.

The Northern pARTners – art teachers from Aroostook county, came together last week to hang their student art show at the Aroostook Centre Mall. The art teachers traveled from Houlton, Easton, Caribou, Hodgdon, St. Agatha, Washburn, Mars Hills, Connor, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Ashland, and of course Presque Isle. The show has 346 pieces from 12 towns. Hundreds of parents and students attended the opening and there were smiles and smiles to go around.

Madasyn Shorey, Grade 3, Zippel Elementary School, Ruth McAtee art teacher

Aroostook county art teachers at the opening of the exhibit.

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