Posts Tagged ‘education’


My Helsinki – Part 3

November 21, 2018

The days were full

This is one of a series of blog posts about the trip that Lindsay Pinchbeck and I took at the beginning of November 2018. We were invited as Ambassadors to attend the HundrED Summit in Helsinki. We were inspired by the amazing educators who shared their innovations in education.

Each day was live streamed and fortunately archived and made available for free to the world. Along with the events being available so are the 100 innovations that were selected this year. The innovations are available on the HundrED website and this short video below provides an overview of HundrED that explains their mission.

We Seek and Share Inspiring Innovations in K12 Education – HundrED

HundrED’s manifesto – 

The purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life.

In a fast changing world focusing on traditional academic skills will remain important, but that is not enough. To thrive as global citizens, children must be equipped with a breadth of skills.

To learn more about the content of the summit please go to the HundrED website and click at the top of the page on each of the dates – 7.11 – 8.11 – 9.11 to see the live streamed presentations. These will provide you with a clear picture of what took place.

More blog posts will follow with details of the learning opportunity that took place in early November.


Changing Kids’ Minds

August 23, 2018


“Most people assume that imagination takes place in the head, but the hands are just as important.” ~ Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab

When children find themselve at the intersection of discovering their capacity to make art and exploring the natural world, deep thinking happens. Local kids who participated in the Langlais LEAPS summer program “got the picture” by soaking up inspiration from the artist himself- Bernard Langlais.

In six weeks of observation, research, and making, led by LEAPS’ artist, Susan Beebe, children engaged in (1) a study of butterflies (2) the creation of a collaborative bas relief, and (3) the art of speaking through hand-made animal puppets – while becoming stewards of the Earth. And that was only the half of it.

The artworks that evolved reveal how nature inspires art and art helps change minds. Having planted their own garden, kids saw butterflies lay eggs there. From the magic of Langlais’ sculptures, they gained confidence as woodworkers. Walking the paths of the Sculpture Preserve got every child’s brain going. As humans, when we travel down new pathways (either literally or figuratively) we generate new neurons in our brains. We can, through these repeated experiences, actually alter the structure and function of our brains!

Taking kids out on trails, training them to observe closely, and inviting them to transform what they’ve seen into original art has impacted our campers this summer. And their commitment to nature and the practice of forging connections will stick with them down the road.

If you’d like to learn more about LEAPS and how we connect local artists with kids, come along with us. Check out our website. 

Wide-eyed with wonder, and grateful to all who made this program possible, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is a partner with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. This is a repost from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog.Thank you Nancy Harris Frohlich for permission to repost this from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog


Calling Everyone with a Voice

October 28, 2014

That must be YOU!

DSCN3929Don’t get left out in the rain! This is your chance to let your voice be heard! The Maine Arts Commission is seeking feedback from you and your colleagues throughout the State to help guide the agency’s work and priorities.

Please lend your voice to a project important to the future of Maine and also encourage your circle of coworkers, friends and family to take part.


Click the link below to complete the Teacher Survey to contribute your ideas on what you think the future of Maine Arts Education should be.


We also want to hear from students, since they are the future of Maine. Please take a few minutes with your  classes or pass on the link to students and ask them to contribute their ideas. Student survey link:

General Survey

And, one more opportunity to complete the general survey which will take only five minutes and you will have the chance of winning a $50 gift card. Click the link below

If you have questions about the survey, please contact the Maine Arts Commission at or 207-287-2724.



Sir Ken Robinson: Educating the Heart

July 29, 2014

The heart and mind

I think this is an appropriate post to provide today as we begin the 3-day Summit on Arts Education at USM. I have posted the work of Ken Robinson in the past. He has thought-provoking videos on YouTube and TED talks and travels around the world talking about creativity. And, on top of that he is funny. He has written several books that I have enjoyed reading and highly recommend them. Anyway, this video called Educating the Heart and Mind and I hope that you enjoy it!


Happy Teaching, Happy Learning

July 9, 2014

Finland education system

I’ve been excused by my brothers (yes the ones who were dressed up in their evzone costumes in a recent post) that I am in “LaLa” land. When asked what that means the response was that I am out of touch. I’ve been known to make lemonade when handed lemons and the norm for me is looking at the glass half full and not half empty. As parents, my husband and I learned when our sons were very young, that we needed to look at each situation and ask “is this a dance or a wrestle?” and yes, most of the time, it was a dance. Few things in this short life, in my opinion, are worth battling over.

Recently, an article reached out to me that made me ponder what makes some of us approach situations (easy or difficult) so differently. I wonder if our learning environments as children have something to do with it? And, I wonder how our young learners will be impacted over the long haul with the “testing environment” our schools are in at the present time?

I have been curious about the Finish education system and what makes theirs so world-class. The article provided some incite from one writers view. It is called “Happy Teaching, Happy Learning: 13 Secrets to Finland’s Success” written by Sophia Faridi and published June 24, 2014 in Education Week TEACHER. Ms. Faridi had been to Finland with seven teachers from the U.S. to learn more about the Finnish system and the lessons it “might offer”.

Ms. Faridi found 13 factors that she identified to be key.

  1. A heavy emphasis on play.
  2. No high-stakes standardized testing.
  3. Trust.
  4. Schools don’t compete with one another.
  5. Out-of-this-world teacher prep programs.
  6. Personal time is highly valued.
  7. Less is more.
  8. Emphasis on quality of life.
  9. Semi-tracked learning.
  10. National standards are valued.
  11. Grades are not given until 4th grade.
  12. Ethics is taught in primary grades.
  13. Collaboration and collaborative environments are strongly emphasized.

Sophia Faridi said: ” Students in Finland appear happy, engaged, and invested in their work.” If you’d like to read more about her findings please click here.

By the way, no one in my professional world has ever said (to my face anyway) that I am in “LaLa” land. Hmmmm!


In Today’s News

April 10, 2013

Congratulations Marisa!

In today’s Morning Sentinel Marisa Weinstein is highlighted for the surprise award she was presented at the Warsaw Middle School where she teaches music, Music Educator of the Year! YAHOOOO! You can read about Marisa and view the marvelous photos that were taken at the school assembly by clicking here.




LD 1422

February 14, 2013


This Administrative Letter from the Commissioner of Education might help clarify LD 1422 for you – Proficiency-Based Diploma
Implementing LD 1422:  Proficiency-Based Diplomas

The change to a learner-centered, proficiency-based system of education is one of the most significant changes in education in the last 100 years.  It holds great promise for helping all students graduate career- and college-ready for the 21st century.  The Maine Department of Education has built its strategic plan, Education Evolving, around this principle and we are restructuring our service delivery model to improve our ability to assist districts in accomplishing this shift.

While we at Maine DOE are re-tooling to help local districts, many of you have been working to implement these changes and provide leadership and direction for the rest of the state.  As a result of local implementation efforts, the Department has fielded questions recently regarding the implementation of learner-centered, proficiency-based education and the proficiency-based graduation requirement of LD 1422.  The purpose of this letter is to answer these questions, which include the following:

Are students required to achieve proficiency in all standards in all content areas?

Will the Department require local districts to adopt specific curricula or instructional approaches as part of the Common Core and the proficiency-based diploma requirement?

How does the proficiency-based graduation requirement apply to students with Individual Education Plans under IDEA?

Has the required implementation date for proficiency-based graduation changed?

All standards in all content areas

Maine law, Title 20-A, section 4722-A requires a student graduating after January 1, 2017* to “demonstrate proficiency in meeting state standards in all content areas of the system of learning results established under section 6209.”  The Department of Education interprets this language to mean that students must demonstrate proficiency in all standards in all content areas as set forth in Department Rule Chapter 131 and 132.  For the most part, the manner in which these standards are taught and the method by which proficiency is assessed is a local decision, as described below.

State or local curricula and instructional practices

School districts are required to offer students instruction and educational experiences that provide them the opportunity to achieve and demonstrate proficiency in all content areas of the Maine Learning Results standards.  (see Title 20-A, sections 4711 and 4721).  The role of the Maine Department of Education is to provide resources and technical assistance to support districts in creating curricula and instructional practices to meet the needs of their students.  Decisions regarding curricula and instructional practices are local decisions. The Department will disseminate materials and training on practices that, in the experience and expertise of our staff, constitute “best practices,” though they are not binding on districts.

With regard to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, for example, the strength of these standards is their unique, integrated structure, and we believe that it is important for districts to implement them in a way that is consistent with their integrated design, and the Department stands ready to provide assistance and support to districts as they undertake this work..

Proficiency-based graduation requirement, students with IEPs

The law regarding proficiency-based graduation provides that a diploma may be awarded to “a child with a disability, as defined in section 7001” if that child achieves proficiency in the same standards as required of other children, “…as specified by the goals and objectives of the child’s individualized education plan…”

The Department interprets this language to mean that an IEP may modify the means by which a student with a disability demonstrates proficiency in the standards, but the IEP does not modify the standards themselves.  The standards and established proficiency levels will be held constant for all students in the awarding of a diploma.

*Implementation date

The law requiring proficiency-based diplomas included a provision requiring the state to provide implementation grants to local school districts, or else to delay the implementation date for such diplomas.  Section 4722-A, subsection 4 requires the implementation grant to equal 1/10th of 1% of a school administrative unit’s total cost of education under Title 20-A, section 15688.

Because the state did not provide implementation grants in the 2012-13 school year, the deadline for implementing the proficiency-based diploma requirement is January 1, 2018.  This means that diplomas awarded on or after January 1, 2018 must be awarded on the basis of the requirements set forth in section 4722-A.

While the deadline is extended, please keep in mind that, in order for students to graduate with proficiency-based diplomas in 2018, they should be provided an opportunity to work in a proficiency-based education system as soon as practicable, so we encourage you not to delay laying the groundwork for proficiency-based diplomas.  Also keep in mind that the commissioner may authorize a school district to award proficiency-based diplomas sooner than the deadline.

For more information on the Department’s work to support teaching and learning in Maine’s schools, please visit our website .   Beginning July 1, 2013, the Department expects to launch a comprehensive online resource bank for schools transitioning to learner-centered, standards-based education.

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