Posts Tagged ‘Jen Nash’


A Word About the Conference Presentations

September 10, 2015

Biennial statewide conference – October 9 – Early-bird registration deadline is today, September 10!



The photo below is from a zoom meeting where some of the workshop presenters for the October 9 statewide biennial arts education conference The Measure of Success were engaged in learning more about how to put together the best format for the morning sessions. We are calling the sessions 5 X 5.

What does that mean?

Nine workshops are being offered during the PM sessions. Each conference participant selects from two of them (they are repeated) to attend when they register. During the AM session each workshop presenter will have 5 minutes and 5-8 images to provide a glimpse of their afternoon session that is scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What if you see/hear something in the AM that you must attend?

You can change your mind and attend a different session in the PM than you registered for before the conference.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.07.33 PM

If they look serious it is because they were working to bring you the BEST learning opportunities possible!


  • 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, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford Teacher Jeff Bailey, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder
  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 

    Want to learn more about the sessions? 
    If you wish to reach a description of each workshop, see photos of the presenters, WATCH A ONE MINUTE VIDEO on each session, please go to

    What else are these workshop presenters providing?

    An amazing collection of resources that will go live on the day of the conference, October 9. You will be blown away by what they’ve put together for conference attendees. You won’t want to miss it just for the resources alone!

    Deadline for the Early-bird registration of $90 is today, September 9!

    The conference is sponsored by the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), a program of the Maine Arts Commission. To learn more please go to

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


WERU – Arts Alive

September 7, 2015

Listen to the archive


Susan Potters, Jen Nash, Michael Donahue

I mentioned last week that the WERU Arts Alive program invited a group to discuss arts education and advocacy week, September 14-18. The program has been archived so you can access it and listen to your colleague, music educator from Sebasticook Middle School and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Jen Nash. Also participating in the program were Susan Potters, Executive Director of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Jeff Poulin, Arts Education Program Director from the Americans for the Arts, and me, Argy Nestor. Michael Donahue is the host of WERU, Maine Arts Alive and did a wonderful job.

To access the program on WERU Community Radio, MaineArtsAlive, please go to the site, click on Public Affairs Archives in the lower right, scroll down to MAINEARTSALIVE and click on title; or

go directly to and click on “Program Information” and click on “recent programs” drop down.  This is the direct link:


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. 


Archived Webinars: CDLN

May 31, 2013

Wrapped up with a bow!


Jen Nash, K-8 music educator, Etna-Dixmont, RSU 19

Lisa Gilman, 7-12 art educator, Winthrop Middle and High School, AOS 97

Suzanne Goulet, art educator, Waterville Senior High School

The three visual and performing arts educators hosted 4 webinars during the 2012-14 school year for the Cross Discipline Literacy Network. They did a fabulous job planning and facilitating the webinars that illustrated the connections between the arts and literacy from multiple angles and integration methods.

They invited guests to participate as well so there was a wealth of information shared on each webinar from people with tons of knowledge. Guests included: Catherine Ring, Jude Valentine, Katrina Billings, Pam Ouellette, Karen Montanaro, and Jake Sturtevant.

Fortunately the webinars are archived so you can access them alone or perhaps with your colleagues. It would be a great way to spend professional development time with colleagues in your building, district, or region. Each webinar provides a place to start a conversation and continue with work you might have underway with literacy, the Common Core ELA, integration, and much more.

The webinar are listed below along with the links where you can access them.


Lisa Gilman


Jen Nash


Suzanne Goulet


All-State In-Service Conference

May 27, 2013

A GREAT event!


Sanford High School’s Matt Doiron, York High School’s Rob Westerberg, and Bonny Eagle High School’s Jake Sturtevant recognize colleagues with a standing ovation. All three have had an active leadership role in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to attend the In-Service conference week before last that the Maine Music Educators Association (MMEA) provided for music teachers across the state. Congratulations and a great big THANK YOU to the planning committee for your work and time commitment to making the professional development opportunity a success!

Please watch for individual blog posts on those individuals who have been honored by the MMEA for their commitment to the profession. Thank you to those who take the time to recognize colleagues! I know it means a great deal and it is a reminder to all of us that our work is appreciated.

It was great to see so many Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s teacher leaders providing workshops during the conference.

I had the opportunity to join my music colleagues and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s teacher leaders Jen Nash and Bill Buzza in presenting a session on the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). Jen and Bill and colleague Allysa Anderson provided feedback on the first draft of the document. All three are teacher leaders with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. They were three of 10 Maine visual and performing arts educators that provided feedback. Because of their involvement they have first hand knowledge of the NCAS draft. Several teachers attended the session and asked questions and provided suggestions on how to disseminate the NCAS information as it becomes available. If you have any suggestions, please email them to me. It is important that all of you provide feedback. The next draft of the standards is scheduled for release in June and it will be available to everyone. Please get ready to provide feedback!

I was glad to attend the banquet and see the performance of Hampden Academy students and their teacher Pat Michaud joining them on the drums. It was a delight to see so many of you attending the conference and a chance to chat.


Pat Michaud and Hampden Academy students perform at the banquet.


Music teachers showing their appreciation for the student performers


Music teachers discuss the National Core Arts Standards

Bill Buzza, Argy, Jen Nash presenting the session on the National Core Arts Standards

Bill Buzza, Argy, Jen Nash presenting the session on the National Core Arts Standards


Cross Discipline Literacy Network

March 20, 2013


We know Spring is coming and so is another wonderful opportunity to connect with other Arts educators in the third Cross Discipline Literacy Network webinar.  Even if you have not joined the conversation before please feel free to “drop in” and learn about what literacy in the Arts classroom is and can be.

Thursday, March 21st, 3 PM to 4PM
                                                       The “L” iteracy Word

The following is for connecting to the webinar:
To join the meeting:

1.    Go online to

2.    Select ‘Enter as a Guest’ and type your name in the corresponding field.

3.    To listen and speak during the meeting, you will need to be connected by telephone:

·         The meeting can call you at a phone number you provide at log-in, or

·         You can dial directly into the meeting: 1-877-455-0244, Passcode 8332185782.  (Use this second option when joining the meeting from sites where your phone can only be reached through a switchboard.)


Visit to Etna-Dixmont School

February 28, 2013

Jen Nash, Music teacher Extraordinaire

5th gr For quite a while elementary music teacher Jen Nash and I had been trying to schedule a time for me to visit her school and it finally happened the week before February break. I had the full visit from meeting teachers, administrators, lunch in the teachers room, playground duty, and the best part was being in Jen’s classroom.

I arrived in time for a kindergarten class. I am always impressed with elementary music teachers and the energy it takes to teach and Jen was no exception! Moving from one activity to the next challenging the students as they were introduced to a variety of concepts and building on ones mastered from previous lessons. Ongoing assessment was evident throughout the lesson. Jen keeps her ipad close by making notes throughout.

The students went on a “bear hunt” and flipped between being a blur of movement to silent movers to climbing and slithering and sliding through different environments.  Throughout the lesson students were engaged in their learning, enthusiastic, happy, and able to move at their pace. Their motor coordination, movements, personal space, interactions with their classmates were tapped throughout the song. And all the while they were singing and dancing! Jen interwove literacy throughout the lesson providing students the opportunity to know success as they relied on each other and worked individually.

kindI had the chance to be there for an individual saxophone lesson, 5th grade band, and the middle jazz band practice as they readied for the competition scheduled later in the week. Which, by the way, they received a 1-rating and will go on to the state competition – congratulations! During my visit Jen played the sax, trombone, and the drums.

I had a chance to speak to principal Jane Stork who is proud of the work that Jen and the students are doing in music education. Superintendent Greg Potter stopped by for a visit as well. I lucked out for lunch since it was the teachers once a month pot luck. The theme was Mardi Gras and the choices were all very yummy!

A great big THANK YOU to Jen for inviting me and the opportunity to see her and the students “in action” – a wonderful day at Etna-Dixmont School!

Jen has been an integral part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) as a first phase teacher leader. When I arrived in her classroom I noticed written on the board the saying: “Music… can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” ~Leonard Bernstein. Jen told me that she had gotten the idea to write a quote on the board by phase 2 teacher leader Jane Kirton from Sanford High School. It was a reminder to me that the MAAI is about fulfilling its mission of “Creating an environment in Maine where assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to deepen student learning in the Arts” AND so much more! The importance of bringing arts teachers together to exchange ideas, ask questions, provide alternatives, and share best practices is ongoing. I invite you to join the work and play at one of the upcoming  MAAI Mega-regional and/or regional workshops.

trumbone jen

jazz band

blur kind.

sax alyssa



Arts and Literacy

January 22, 2013

How well do you play with others?

DanseThe second live webinar installment of the Arts component of the Cross Discipline Literacy Network (CDLN) is this Thursday from 3pm to 4pm.

“How to play with others” is an investigation in to using strategies and frameworks so that each content area is enhanced and strengthened in the learning environment.

There are many changes and adaptions afoot in the arts world and understanding the developments available to us will help to create relationships with our non-arts education colleagues that embrace and support the unique gifts that the arts bring us.

This is an invitation to join Jen Nash, Lisa Gilman, Suzanne Goulet and specials guests, Catherine Ring and Argy Nestor in these discussions.

Please consider sharing some of your successful integrations with us!

To join the meeting:
1.    Go online to

2.    Select ‘Enter as a Guest’ and type your name in the corresponding field.

3.    To listen and speak during the meeting, you will need to be connected by telephone:

·         The meeting can call you at a phone number you provide at log-in, or

·         You can dial directly into the meeting: 1-877-455-0244, Passcode 8332185782.  (Use this second option when joining the meeting from sites where your phone can only be reached through a switchboard.)

Thank you to webinar facilitator Suzanne Goulet for the blog post and for the Danse logo!


Cross Discipline Literacy Network

September 28, 2012

Questions to Ponder

  • Are you looking for specific literacy activities and resources?
  • Do you use school wide tools and wonder how to adapt them?
  • Do you have a word wall?
  • Do you wonder about visual literacy and how your students are visual learners?

If you are interested in learning more, now is your chance to act by joining the Cross Discipline Literacy Network (CDLN). Registration is open until October 5th! Literacy tools and strategies can provide opportunities for students to go deeper in to their learning.

Consider this image taken from the Waterville High School principles and elements of design reference sheet.

Imagine this with the entire list of elements and principles. The list used in conjunction with a graphic organizer, you could implement/modify for students use and make available when reflecting or describing visual artworks.

An excellent and elegant example of a graphic organizer from the Smithsonian.
The CDLN is an excellent opportunity in adapting and modifying existing resources for your use to improve learning.

Does your school have a literacy mission and is not sure how to “make this work” in the arts?

Insist that you are part of your school initiative………This professional development may help you to take advantage of a great opportunity to show how valuable the arts are – perhaps even to lead.

Looking for professional development and an opportunity to get together and share strategies in a collaborative environment? The network is led by facilitators understanding that there is much to share and learn. Three of your colleagues will be facilitating the webinars representing the elementary level is Etna-Dixmont music educator Jen Nash, Winthrop Middle School visual art educator Lisa Gilman, and Waterville High School visual art educator Suzanne Goulet.

The cost is $25 for the year and provides you with multiple opportunities for webinars and face to face gatherings for discussing your experiences and discoveries in improving student learning. The webinars will also be archived. Information describing the CDLN, the face to face locations, and the webinar strands,  as well as the link to register for this opportunity can be found at:

You can register by clicking here. UNTIL OCTOBER 5! For more information on the CDLN and the Literacy for ME initiative please click here.


Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jen Nash

May 15, 2012


Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the ninth in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. The series contains a set of questions that provide the opportunity for you to read and learn from others.

Jen Nash currently teaches K-8 music at the Etna-Dixmont School and has been there for the last 4 years. There are approximately 220 students from K-8.  Classes include: K-6 general music, 3rd grade recorders, beginner band, second year band, and middle school band, jazz band and chorus. Jen is a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, phase I.

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

Watching the learning phases that students go through. I love being able to teach students the skills to become independent and self driven. The advantage of being a K-8 music teacher is watching them grow up, and mature in all things musical. It is wonderful when a student can identify mistakes, plan out a way-of-attack, and smile at what they have accomplished. When given the opportunity, students can be inquisitive, insightful and take ownership in the process.

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. Direction                                                                                                                              – long term and short term goals (educator produced and student produced)
  2. Drive

-a clear philosophy of why the program exists and who it serves

-after setting goals, planning how to accomplish goals

3.    Gas

-Students fuel the program.

*recruiting, helping in events, sharing with younger students,     student leaders

*establishing expectations and creative assessments

-Parents and community

*without their support, arts programs would not exist

-Making sure your teacher tank does not hit “empty”.

*we run ourselves ragged for what we believe in. We must find balance.

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

I have student self reflect at the end of every class. Most the days I ask them to assess their overall performance for the day. Examples: Where you on task? Did understand the topic? Did you apply the new concepts? Did you follow directions? Did you put forth 100% effort?

I used to give them an overall individual assessment at the end of every class last year (no input from students). Since using the student driven method for the 2011-2012 school year, I have had students practicing more, on task, and asking about how they may improve.  I use a chart labeled 1-4, and clothes pins with students names on them.  It takes less than 2 minutes to take note of their scores, and I use GoogleDocs to keep it organized.

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

It has been said over and over again: collaboration. Collaboration among all arts educators is essential to the survival and growth of programs across this state. I have learned so much from the many effective, wise (I do not mean “old”) teachers. Imagine what a truly unified front of Maine arts teachers would look like? How could we fine tune, or, perhaps revolutionize our methods, to reach this new generation of students?

What are you most proud of in your career?

Keeping students first. Teaching means trying things, and when I find they do not work, I do something else to reach them. I am content in knowing that I will always be seeking answers. Oh! And keeping a smile. Even on the tough days.

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

 Attitude.  If one does not like a situation: “fix it” or “get over it”.  If one can not, “fix it” or “get over it”, then move on.  Life is too short, and the people in immediate proximity suffer.

Apple or PC?



Always have my Droid Incredible (PC based) close by.

Use what works for you.

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

“You’re such a techie”. Back in middle school, I remember taking my first computer class.  We learned all about floppy disks, Oregon Trail, and typing. At some point, I was hooked on Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.  Occasionally in high school, I would be asked to type out a paper.

In college, I received a very, very old laptop that had the worst screen of any computer at that time. It worked-I could AOL instant message, so all was well.  The Form and Composition class I took, demanded computer lab time in the music building. This is where I learned about Sibelius (a music notation software). Third year of college, thanks to Mom, a wonderful Dell desktop graced my dorm room.

So, I received my first MLTI laptop 5 years ago.  Since then, I have spent hours just trying out new software, playing with spreadsheets, web browsers and etc.  Last summer, I took the UM Summer Technology Institute course where I learned all about Google and it’s endless blessings.

What intrigues me is finding a program that can make my job more organized, and communication easier.  I also love being able to help other people when they feel they just can not handle this whole “machine” thing.  I almost feel like it is part of my job to share all the stuff I have learned. So, yes, it seems as if, being young equals understanding computers.  It mostly has to do with the fact that I want to learn and I have had lots of practice.

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

Love what you do. Find joy in every day. Have peace knowing that most situations work out. Be kind to every student. Faithful to your friendships and family. Self control, even when it is a full moon and the kids are wild.  Compassion and gentleness in approaching all difficult situations.

I think back to all of the leaders that had an impact on my life. They were patient, calm, sincere in their intentions and slow to temper. I really think those people had it figured out.

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

            Take a tropical vacation

            Buy a really nice piano

            Start a string program

            Give to missionaries

            Pay off student loans and mortgage

            Start college fund for niece and nephew

            Refinish the school stage

Links with resources: Etna-Dixmont School Webpage

Jake Sturtevant and Jen Nash Web Resources

Thank you Jen for taking the time to tell your story!

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