Posts Tagged ‘Drew Albert’


Roundtable Music Ed Webinar

May 28, 2014

Review of webinar

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.42.14 PMThe fourth in a series of webinars for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Tuesday, May 20, entitled “Maine Music Educators Roundtable”. The webinar was facilitated by Rob Westerberg, choral director at York High School in direct response to concerns from music educators in the field around a broad selection of topics. The hour included participation by Maine’s Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, Mr. Kevin Facer.

Roundtable guests were: Drew Albert – vocal and instrumental, Maranacook Community High School, Andria Bacon – instrumental/strings & general, RSU #64; Corinth, Bill Buzza – instrumental & general, Edward Little High School, Jen Etter – vocal music, York Middle School, Jen Nash – instrumental/strings & general, Sebasticook Valley Middle School and Ashley Smith – vocal & general at Brunswick High School. After a brief introduction, the roundtable went to work fleshing out thoughts around topics which included:

  • Effect of common core on music programs
  • Proficiency & standards based assessment
  • Music teachers as leaders in your own schools
  • National Standards release and ramifications
  • Teacher evaluation implementation

Additional discussion prompts were also presented:

* “I feel our district is caught between common core, national standards, Maine Learning Results and our own ad lib set of standards created from the consortium of schools we belong to. It’s mind numbing that we have so many versions of what is ‘important’ in a curriculum versus what should be required of Maine students in order to receive a high school diploma.”

*How can we create an effective mentoring system for teachers who are in need of improving their pedagogical skills?

*As we deal with budget issues, our teachings loads are increasing as we are being asked to do more with individual assessments. We cannot administer these assessments without adequate time in our schedules.

Many viewpoints were presented on all of these topics, providing a practical platform for further discussion by music teachers within and between school districts. The archived recording of the session is located at Accordingly, a follow-up meeting plan has been developed to facilitate this discussion, applicable for school district professional days or regional meetings between music educators. The meeting plan is located at

On Wednesday, June 11, 3:30 to 4:30 the MAAI will be holding a webinar hosted by Catherine Ring, featuring the ongoing work of the Resource Bank team for Visual and Performing Arts. Teacher leaders on the Resource Bank team will be our guests. Please plan on joining us for an exciting conversation and a sneak peak of some of the rich resources created by the team on that second Wednesday of June. 


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Drew Albert

June 4, 2013

This is the 34th 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.

IMG_0126Drew Albert has been teaching at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Maine for two years. The high school serves about 400 students and Drew teaches both instrumental and vocal music.

What do you like best about being a music/art/drama/dance educator?

Certainly the most rewarding part of being a music educator is the students. It has proven to be an incredible experience to be their teacher. I feel such a sense of pride when they do something they thought they weren’t capable of, or when they realize a passion for music they might not have known they had.

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

  1. Collaboration and support. Everyone needs to work well together: teacher and student, parents and teacher, administration and teacher, student and student.
  2. Vision. Setting goals for any program is the best path for growth, musically and otherwise. Reaching attainable benchmarks leaves myself and my students feeling accomplished, while also developing as both individuals and as a group.
  3. Passion. I want my students to find their passion even if it isn’t for music. Students should feel they are in an environment where they are free to express themselves and create; to take risks and make mistakes; to learn, laugh and grow.

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

Assessment has been the biggest tool in guiding my teaching. Having to work with many students, all performing at various levels, I felt responsible for knowing each students’ strengths and weaknesses. Preparing meaningful individual assessments has prevented me from letting any of my students fall through the ‘proverbial’ cracks. More often than not, I found areas in which I needed improvement. Assessing my students on a regular basis provides me with an observation of my own teaching, which is especially important considering the busy schedules of administrators and colleagues. These assessments have been an invaluable tool in evaluating student progress from lesson to lesson.

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

To be surrounded by so many incredibly supportive and passionate individuals has been the greatest benefit of the initiative. I have learned so much from everyone that I am able to use in my own teaching, and we have really had a lot of fun together!

What are you most proud of in your career?

Without a doubt, being fortunate enough to be hired by Maranacook High School my first year out of college. They trusted that I was the right person for the job, so I try my best everyday when I get to school.

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

Time, for sure. That’s a universal issue. More time for students and teachers. Our students have so many opportunities to take advantage of. Naturally, the majority want to be involved in as many activities as possible. It’s no wonder we run into scheduling problems! Sometimes the math team is missing from dress rehearsal, others times a track meet is scheduled for the same day as the big Memorial Day parade. We just have to do the best we can and usually things will fall into place.

I also find myself getting in my own way. It is very easy to over plan for a particular lesson. Creating a behemoth of a plan with an unnecessary and confusing set of directions, assessment, rubrics, scales, standards, bells, whistles and the kitchen sink. I have learned these past two years to keep things simple, succinct and meaningful.

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

I felt very lucky to sign my first contract at my current school. The truth is, I’ve been very fortunate to work with many supportive, passionate people. From my high school music teachers to my professors at the University of Maine, they are the ones who got me to where I am today, as well as my colleagues, friends and family. I owe them thanks for inspiring me to work even harder.

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

Every once in a while, congratulate yourself! You work hard. You inspire your students. You get to school early. You stay at school late. You put on concerts and fundraisers. You create and motivate. You play music and paint and act and dance. You are pretty great!

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

Pay off my sister’s student loans and mine. Then I would take my entire family on vacation: aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins…the whole crew. The last time we did that we went to Disney World. I’m thinking maybe Vegas this time? With whatever was left I would buy lots of new toys like guitars, ukuleles, steel drums…you name it. And of course I would share them with my students!

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

I would be pretty excited to see 94! There will always be regrets in my life and career. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”.

Thank you Drew for sharing your story!




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