Posts Tagged ‘Kaitlin Young’

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Why Teach?

October 29, 2018

Why do you teach?

Below are some of the responses to the question: Why do you teach? asked to participants at the  Pre-MICA Arts Education conference at USM on September 27, 2018. What would your answer be?Kaitlin Young lead the session and challenged participants to dig deep about their role as educators.

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Story Slam

October 25, 2018

Congratulations Kaitlin

The story tellers at Sweet Tree Arts fund raiser at the end of an amazing evening of stories.

Laughter, tears, surprise, wonder – all emotions I felt last Friday night at the Sweet Tree Story Slam. How I got here was the theme provided by Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School in Hope. Each story was amazing and had the 100 or so folks in attendance sitting at the edge of their chairs. Our own Kaitlin Young, music teacher from Sedomocha School in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year was amazing as she shared her story of an amazing year.

The event was held in the barn at Hope Orchards – a cozy spot to spend a Friday night after a long and busy week. The tasting of apples, eating and drinking of apple cider and pie topped off the night. The story slam was a fund raiser for the greenhouse that the school is purchasing. If you’d like to contribute contact Lindsay at sweettreearts@gmail.com.

If you’re considering holding a Story Slam with your students or perhaps for a fund raiser go ahead, don’t hesitate – its a great opportunity for learners of all ages. Not to mention a great way to bring community together around a topic on a cozy Friday night!

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MICA

September 7, 2018

Biennial gathering for the Arts

Portland, ME | September 28, 2018

University of Southern Maine, Abromson Community Education Center

Join the Maine Arts Commission for the third biennial Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA), where we will explore art making, arts education, capacity-building strategies and skills, and more—all specifically for Maine artists, arts educators, and arts organizations.

To learn about the Pre-MICA Arts Education conference, September 27, CLICK HERE.

MICA CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

Registration Pricing & Info

Thursday Pre-Conferences

$50 each, concurrent, select one only: Arts Education or Rural Arts
Thursday night reception and keynote included in conference pricing.

Friday Conference

General Admission…………………………………………………………………………….$125
Maine Arts Awards Luncheon ONLY…………………………………………………….$50
Students (no luncheon)……………………………………………………………………….$25
NEW! Cultural Sector Network Member………………………………………………$75
Join ArtsEngageME’s Cultural Sector Network to use this discounted price.

Friday, September 28 | Maine Arts Awards

ArtsEngageME is pleased to be partnering with the Maine Arts Commission on the inaugural Maine Arts Awards – a brand new program to recognize and celebrate the arts in our communities. Awardees will be recognized for their substantial contributions made in Maine that exemplify a long-term commitment to the arts. Each awardee in seven categories will be given a work of art commissioned especially for the Maine Arts Awards by Molly Neptune Parker, a fourth generation Passamaquoddy basketweaver and National Heritage Fellow.

Friday, September 28 | Conference

Maine Artists Idea Lab: Five speakers using the fast-paced and engaging pecha kucha-style format will knock your socks off with their newest innovations. Speakers include:

Lucas Richman, Music Director, Bangor Symphony Orchestra
Rene Johnson, Executive Director, Theater Ensemble of Color
Erin McGee Ferrell, Visual Artist
Kaitlin Young, 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and Music Educator
Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy basketweaver

20 Professional Development Sessions in 5 Tracks Running Concurrently:

LEVERAGING INVESTMENT. Learn to attract and leverage greater investment through corporate sponsorships, development planning, capitalization and more.

BUILDING CAPACITY. All you need to know on strategies for sustainability and increased impact, from an intensive on strategic planning with Julie Richard to a session on The Role of the Arts in Communities in Crisis.

VISIBILITY OF THE ARTS & CULTURAL SECTOR. Discuss ways to increase awareness of creative opportunities, as well as their value to communities and local economies. Participate in a new, two-part workshop by MICA 2016 superstar Matt Lehrman, Opportunity Everywhere, Parts I & II. Or attend a dynamic session hosted by DataArts/The Cultural Data Project on ways to connect your data to stories about your mission and impact, for more effective communications with key stakeholders.

ARTS EDUCATION & LIFELONG LEARNING. Participate in sessions on fostering PK-12 arts education and lifelong learning programs, including Creative Aging and Traditional Arts.

PROMOTING CULTURAL TOURISM. Gather the information you need to enhance experiences and leverage cultural tourism. Hear from organizations on their successes creating experiences outside of traditional venues, or attend a Rural Community Arts Development session facilitated by Maryo Gard Ewell.

Pop-up performances throughout the day.

ARTS EDUCATION SESSIONS

  • 11:00 – 12:00 How do teaching, learning and assessment work together in a positive, productive standards-based Visual and Performing Arts classroom? Facilitator: Jeff Beaudry. Panel: Jen Etter, Kelly Hrenko, Michelle Kaschub, Holly Leighton, John Morris
  • 2:00 – 3:00 When Teaching Artists and Arts Teachers Connect, Students Win Facilitator: Kate Smith. Panel: Brian Evans-Jones, Kris Bisson, Tim Christensen, Lori Spruce, John Morris, Carmel Collins
  • 3:15 – 4:15 Empowering Your Voice for Arts Education Presenter: Catherine Ring

Thank you to our sponsors

Eaton Peabody
Maine Community Foundation
University of Southern Maine
ArtsEngageME
Boston Brands of Maine
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Pre-MICA Arts Ed Conference

September 6, 2018

Opportunity to learn 

At the HEART of Arts Education

Biennial conference – Thursday, September 27, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

USM, Portland campus, Abromson Center

Arts educators, teaching artists, community arts leaders, youth advocates, and community arts leaders are invited to attend the Arts Education Pre-Conference: At the HEART of Arts Education.

The cost to attend is $50 and includes a full schedule (see below), lunch, performance by The Extension Chords, students from the Midcoast Music Academy, the Maine International Conference on the Arts Opening Reception: A celebration of the arts with Keynote Speaker Maryo Gard EwellRural Community Development in and Through the Arts, and possible 12 contact hours.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

The Arts Education Pre-Conference participants will:

  • learn skills to improve teaching and learning in the arts;
  • make connections among the arts disciplines: dance, media arts, music, theater, visual arts and creative writing;
  • network with other educators and reconnect with old friends;
  • make connections between school and community, including arts organizations, artists, and other arts education supporters.

Description

The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, will provide an engaging keynote and guide participants in creating action steps for educators and their work in schools and/or communities. Attend as an individual or consider bringing a team from your school or organization. The day will start and conclude with creative art and music making.

The conference will be a joyous occasion to learn together and celebrate who we are! We are educating the future, the next generation of artists, arts educators, and appreciators of the arts. To do that we need to:

  • instill purpose/passion;
  • ensure high quality instruction;
  • provide relevant and real-world learning experiences;
  • empower our students to become the teachers of their generation.

Facilitators: Kaitlin Young and Catherine Ring

Morning Session Descriptions (Concurrent)

A. Celebrate Community Through Music

Communities thrive when opportunities are given to connect, communicate, create and celebrate.  The arts are the perfect vehicle for bringing communities together. Come prepared to sing, dance, move or play, there will be something for everyone!

If you choose the Music Making session participants will have the opportunity to learn:

  • Basic African drumming and singing
  • Simplified steps to an African dance

And put it together to make an African processional and use later in the day as part of the MICA processional.

FOLI  – “Foli”is the word used for rhythm by the Malinke tribe in West Africa But Foli is not only found in Malinke music, but in all parts of their daily lives. FOLI: there is no movement without rhythm

Facilitators: Kris Bisson and Kate Smith

B. Lantern Making and Creative Exploration

Come prepared with your creative energy to make lanterns using simple materials and be ready to play with the possibilities.

If you choose the Visual Art – Lantern session participants will have the opportunity to learn:

  • How in some cultures light holds a symbolic meaning and is an integral part of traditions
  • How to create a lantern

And, use it later in the day as part of the MICA professional.

Bon Festival – In Japan this annual festival honors deceased relatives while people spend time with their living family members. At the culmination of the festival families place lanterns on the river to be carried away symbolizing the peaceful return to the afterlife.

Facilitators: Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor

If you attend with a team from your school/district or community please consider splitting up your team during the morning sessions so the learning can be shared between your colleagues.

Facilitator Bios

Kaitlin Young is the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year. She currently teaches music to students in prekindergarten through fourth grade and choral music to students in fifth through eighth grade in the RSU #68 school district in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Kaitlin graduated from The University of Maine at Orono with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in 2010, and completed her Master’s Degree in Music Education with a concentration in Kodaly Pedagogy at The Hartt School in Hartford, CT in 2017. Kaitlin enjoys spending her free time at her family camp with her husband Bob, cat Zoe, and dog Gabby.

Catherine Ring is Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education and teaches graduate level courses to educators across the state of Maine. She is co-founder of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative and has served on the core leadership team since it was established in 2010. Catherine completed her Education Leadership studies at the University of Vermont and received her Master of Arts from Vermont College of Norwich University. For her thesis, entitled “Education and the Arts, Toward Creative Intelligences,” she researched the role of the arts in learning and has worked closely with classroom teachers, helping them to integrate the arts into their regular curricula. As Principal, Catherine helped to bring to her school district the Kennedy Center’s National Partnership program. She assists school districts throughout Maine with differentiated instruction, arts integration, and gifted and talented programs. Catherine is the 2014 Advocate of the Year by the Maine Art Education Association. Catherine returned to the art classroom in 2016 and is teaching on Isle au Haut.

Kris Bisson is Director of Choruses and a music educator at Marshwood Middle School in Eliot, Maine. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Music degrees in Music Education from the University of Southern Maine and has served as adjudicator and guest conductor for several district choral festivals. She is a teacher leader for the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, and a member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. Her passion for student engagement is reflected in each class she teaches.

Lindsay Pinchbeck has been teaching with and through the arts in a variety of settings for the past 20 years. Lindsay is the director and founder of Sweet Tree Arts a community arts organization in Hope, ME and began Sweetland School a K-6 Arts Integrated elementary program in 2013. Pinchbeck gained her Masters in Education through Lesley University’s Creative Arts and Learning program. Creatively Lindsay works as a printmaker and photographer. Lindsay believes the creative arts should be accessible to all. She encourages us to be active participants and keen observers with the hope of enriching our communities through the arts.

Kate Smith is an energetic music teacher currently teaching music to preK-third grade students in South Berwick, Maine. Kate earned her music education degree from USM and a Master’s degree in Technology in Education from Lesley University. Kate was honored as 2014 York County Teacher of the Year for her passion for innovation and creativity. Kate serves as a teacher leader and design team member for the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, the Parade Coordinator for South Berwick’s annual Lanternfest and a coordinator for Central School’s farm-to-table program. Kate lives in southern Maine with her husband and three children.

Argy Nestor is the Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission. She earned a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Maine, Orono. Much of her career has been spent in a middle school where visual arts was at the heart of all subjects. Argy has been recognized for her accomplishments in teaching, leadership and advocacy including the 1995 Maine Teacher of the Year. She has authored many articles and presented workshops at the local, state, national, and international level. She serves on the education council for the Americans for the Arts. Argy is most proud of the accomplishments of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, MALI, (formerly the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) and the work (and play) that all arts educators do in classrooms across Maine. When she is working to further arts education in Maine Argy can be found on a pond somewhere in Maine or making mosaics.

Questions? Please contact Argy Nestor

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

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Arts Ed Conference and MICA

August 20, 2018

September 27, 28 – USM, Portland

The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, will provide an engaging keynote at the Arts Education Pre-Conference: At the HEART of Arts Education and provide seeds of inspiration to help you create action steps for your work at the school and/or community level. Attend as individuals or consider bringing a team from your school and/or community. The day will start and conclude with creative art and music making.

The Pre-MICA conference At the HEART of Arts Education will take place at the Abromson Center, USM, Portland on Thursday, September 27, 8:00 – 4:00. Registration is $50  and includes lunch and the opening session of the Maine International Conference on the Arts on Thursday evening in Hannaford Hall.

The Pre-MICA Arts Education conference participants will:

  •     learn skills to improve teaching and learning in the arts;
  •     collaborate among the arts disciplines: dance, media arts,  music, theater, visual arts and creative writing;
  •     network with other educators and reconnect with old friends;
  •     make connections between school and community, including arts organizations, artists, and other arts education supporters.

The conference will be a joyous occasion to learn together and celebrate who we are! We are educating the future, the next generation of artists, arts educators, and appreciators of the arts. To do that we need to:

  • Instill purpose/passion
  • Ensure High Quality Instruction
  • Provide relevant and real-world learning experiences
  • Empower our students to become the teachers of their generation.

THURSDAY AGENDA

OPENING – Welcome

Story of the South Berwick Lantern Festival

Carol Trimble Award Presentation

MORNING SESSIONS  

ART, MUSIC, and DANCE MAKING Attendees will select between Music/Dance session and Lantern making session.

If you choose the Music Making/Dance session participants will have the opportunity to learn:

  • Basic African drumming and singing

  • Simplified steps to an African dance

FOLI – The word used for rhythm by the Malinke tribe in West Africa. Foli is not only found in Malinke music, but in all parts of their daily lives.      FOLI: there is no movement without rhythm

If you choose the Visual Art – Lantern session participants will have the opportunity to learn:

  • How in some cultures light holds a symbolic meaning and is an integral part of traditions
  • Using your imagination and creativity to create a unique lantern.
  • Opportunities to learn from each other how to bring these experiences back to your  classroom and or community.

Bon Festival – In Japan this annual festival honors deceased relatives while people spend time with their living family members. At the culmination of the festival families place lanterns on the river to be carried away symbolizing the peaceful return to the afterlife.

Both sessions will culminate in a cross cultural experience and open MICA 2018 with a celebratory processional.

KEYNOTE – The 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year is Kaitlin Young who teaches music at SeDoMoCha School in Dover Foxcroft

LUNCH – Midcoast Music Academy performance

View 15 version of the Ashley Bryan film

AFTERNOON SESSION

Choose Your Own Adventure – participants will be guided through creating a plan to use when they return to their schools and communities. There will an opportunity to share so participants can learn from each other and go back to their individual schools and communities with new ideas.

CLOSING

Participants will lead MICA processional using music/dance and lanterns made earlier in the day to the opening of the Maine International Conference on the Arts reception in Hannford Hall. The opening keynote will follow.

The $50 registration includes the arts ed conference, the opening reception, keynote and performances.

MICA CONFERENCE – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 8:00 – 5:15

Opening

Maine Artists Idea Lab: Five speakers using the fast-paced and engaging pecha kucha-style format will knock your socks off with their newest innovations. Speakers include:

Lucas Richman, Music Director, Bangor Symphony Orchestra
Rene Johnson, Executive Director, Theater Ensemble of Color
Erin McGee Ferrell, Visual Artist
Kaitlin Young, 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year
Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy basketweaver

20 Professional Development Sessions in 5 Tracks Running Concurrently:

LEVERAGING INVESTMENT. Learn to attract and leverage greater investment through corporate sponsorships, development planning, capitalization and more.

BUILDING CAPACITY. All you need to know on strategies for sustainability and increased impact, from an intensive on strategic planning with Julie Richard to a session on The Role of the Arts in Communities in Crisis.

VISIBILITY OF THE ARTS & CULTURAL SECTOR. Discuss ways to increase awareness of creative opportunities, as well as their value to communities and local economies. Participate in a new, two-part workshop by MICA 2016 superstar Matt Lehrman, Opportunity Everywhere, Parts I & II. Or attend a dynamic session hosted by DataArts/The Cultural Data Project on ways to connect your data to stories about your mission and impact, for more effective communications with key stakeholders.

ARTS EDUCATION & LIFELONG LEARNING. Participate in sessions on fostering PK-12 arts education and lifelong learning programs, including Creative Aging and Traditional Arts.

PROMOTING CULTURAL TOURISM. Gather the information you need to enhance experiences and leverage cultural tourism. Hear from organizations on their successes creating experiences outside of traditional venues, or attend a Rural Community Arts Development session facilitated by Maryo Gard Ewell.

Pop-up performances throughout the day.

ARTS EDUCATION SESSIONS

How do teaching, learning and assessment work together in a positive, productive standards-based Visual and Performing Arts classroom?

The use of “standards” and “assessments” in visual and performing arts (VPA) education have been discussed, planned for, and developed over many years. A panel of educators will share the work they have underway. Participants are invited to join the conversation – bring your thoughts, questions, and curiosity on why standards and assessments are used in the arts.

Facilitator – Jeff Beaudry – Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, USM – Overview of Summative and Formative Assessment and Moderator

  • Jen Etter – Music, York Middle School
  • Kelly Hrenko – Visual Art, USM
  • Michele Kaschub – Music, USM
  • Holly Leighton – Visual Art, K-12, RSU 67
  • John Morris – Dance, Teaching Artist   

Brian Evans-Jones and Kris Bisson

When Teaching Artists and Arts Teachers Connect, Students Win

During the past 4 years, teaching artists and arts educators in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative have collaborated to provide meaningful, purposeful and authentic learning opportunities for students. Educator collaborations provide opportunities for learners that can surpass what a teacher, working alone, can offer. Hear the stories from these collaborators, bring your questions, share your experiences and imagine the possibilities in more Maine schools and communities.

Facilitator: Kate Smith, Central School, South Berwick Music Educator

  • Brian Evans-Jones, Writer Teaching Artist and Kris Bisson, Marshwood Middle School Music Educator 
  • Tim Christensen, Ceramic Teaching Artist and Lori Spruce, Brewer High School Visual Art Educator
  • John Morris, Dancer Teaching Artist and Carmel Collins, Lake Region High School Dance Educator  

Empowering Your Voice for Arts Education 

We often underestimate the power of our passion and voice for arts education.  Yet, we’ve seen students, educators, artists, arts organizations and community members find their voice, build their stories and messages, back them up with research and evidence, and become leaders and advocates for arts education in powerful ways. In this session, we will explore ways to empower our voices, use helpful resources that are just clicks away, and be on our way to making an impact with our hopes and dreams for the arts in education!

Presenter: Catherine Ring, Visual Art Educator, Arts Education Consultant, Co-Founder of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, Maine Art Education Association 2014 Maine Arts Advocate of the Year.

If you have any questions please email Argy Nestor, director of arts education, argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Maine Calling

June 7, 2018

Today at 1:00

Today’s Maine Calling topic on Maine public radio at 1:00 will be Arts Education. You can listen live at THIS LINK. Guests will be Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, MAAE Executive Director Susan Potter, and Maine Arts Commission Director of Arts Education  Argy Nestor. I understand we may have a student join us as well. Jennifer Rooks will be hosting today’s show. Always informative, interesting, and thought provoking, hopefully you can listen in and consider calling in to the show.

May 31, 2018 Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission, Julie Richard and Argy were on WERU Maine Arts Alive with Michael Donahue. You can access the ARCHIVE if you’d like to listen.

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kaitlin Young

June 5, 2018

Music Educator

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 Kaitlin for sharing your story!

Kaitlin Young has taught music within the RSU 68 school district in Dover-Foxcroft, Me. for the last eight years. Currently she teaches music to students in prekindergarten through fourth grade at SeDoMoCha Elementary School. She is also the choral director of the SeDoMoCha Singers at SeDoMoCha Middle School. Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Music is pretty cool. I love that I have the unique pleasure of providing experiences for my students that are at times indescribable through words. I love to watch their faces when they hear something they have never heard before, or even better hear something they know and love in a new way. Moments when they laugh uncontrollably at a silly song, tear up as they connect to a piece of classical music, or beam with pride when they have created something uniquely their own.

I love that I get to share in these experiences that elicit strong emotional connections through music with my students. I love that I get to bring joy through song and movement, and that in my classroom kids get to be kids. Wonder and awe are essential to the human experience.

I love that music education provides students an outlet to express themselves as well as a way to connect to their community both locally and globally. I love that as an educator, regardless of content, what we do is about fostering relationships. I love that I get to build these relationships over several years and experience all of these moments of joy with my students.  We are engaged in this journey together.

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

First, always keep an open mind.

No matter what role we hold within a Visual and Performing Arts program, (student, teacher, administrator, community member, etc.) it is essential that we continue to be open to possibilities. Whether it be growth and learning, actively sharing and listening to others ideas, thinking creatively about solving a problem, or simply being willing to try something new. Our ability to capitalize on those unexpected teachable moments will help us continue to engage others within our programs and help them to reflect our communities.

Second, build trusting relationships.

Relationships are the foundation of a strong education, and are essential to the human experience. We learn the most from people we trust and respect. The arts innately foster empathy, connections, and community. As a valued colleague once told me, “the arts bring people together.”

Third, be willing to persist and advocate for what you love!

We must set goals with our students and colleagues and actively pursue them even when the going gets tough. Advocacy is sharing what we love on behalf of those we love. And one of the best ways to advocate is empowering our students to find their voices and advocate for their future.

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

Assessments are a tool to help us to know where we are, where we are going, and clarify how we might need to get there. Once I grasped the concept that assessments could be informative and diagnostic (which felt much different from when I was in school!) it changed the way I viewed learning the learning process. I love being able to use consistent language to identify the skills necessary to help my students develop and grow into strong musicians. Assessment provides the opportunity to improve feedback and promote positive conversation surrounding learning goals and growth for both students and teachers!

Utilizing assessments to share what students need to know and be able to do to demonstrate their learning has allowed students to take control. Assessment has also helped us to advocate within our school community as we challenge the belief that music education is just for the talented few.

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

Working with such an inspiring and passionate group of educators brings out the best in everyone! Whether it is the facilitated discussions within professional development sessions, informal conversation surrounding our craft at lunch, or follow up phone calls/zoom meetings with friends I always leave feeling uplifted, supported, and encouraged to challenge myself to grow as a professional.

My growth throughout my teaching career has been supported through various opportunities provided by the work of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (formerly Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) and I continue to look forward to the connections that I will be able to make and the doors that may open through this continued experience.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My kids. It might sound cliche, but my husband and I do not have biological kids (yet…growth mindset!) and I love that I get to share in many special moments with all of them each and every day and over the course of many years!

I take pride in all of the small moments where they accomplish something they didn’t think was possible or when they make a fantastic connection that gives greater purpose and meaning to what they are learning. Over the last year it has brought me great joy to share their thoughts and ideas with others as I have presented at conferences as I advocate on behalf of our profession. I continue to be inspired by their words and I am proud that I get to share their ideas!

Kaitlin at the Hall of Flags in Augusta with the arts teachers honored as the 2018 county teachers of the year. (l to r) Kaitlin, Sagadahoc: Christine Del Rossi, Mt. Ararat High School, Knox: Anthony Lufkin, Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary, and Waldo: David Coffey, Belfast Area High School and Troy Howard Middle School

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

Paperwork, pressure, and misperceptions oh my! While I am a strong advocate for assessment and high quality education I do agree that often times I can get caught up in the administrative aspects of my job. In a time of “evaluation and accountability” there can be intense pressure to justify your worth, or the worth of your program, based on the misperception of what music education is or “should be,” not upon what we know, as professionals, to be best for our students. Music education, and what music classes might look like, continue to evolve. We have, hopefully, moved further away from some of the sit and get or “mouth the words” experiences that others have had. It can be hard to alter or influence the expectations of those who may have had a poor music experience, do not understand, or simply do not value what it is that we do. That can lead to logistical challenges including itinerant or unrealistic schedules, a less than ideal physical work environment (like being on a cart!), or unsupportive administrators and/or communities. However the need to understand and explain (often way more than we would like) the importance of what we are teaching and why we are teaching it sets us up to be some of the most reflective and effective advocates for our students!

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

Take the advice that you give to your students each and every day in your classrooms.  Actively listen. Be reflective and patient. Play nice with others. Dream big, think different, work hard, and be kind.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. representing Maine as the 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin takes the opportunity to have a conversation with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

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

I would love to start a scholarship for my students to have the opportunity to travel to explore musical opportunities/experiences beyond our local and state community on a consistent basis. I would also like to take my husband on a road trip across our country, specifically to see all of the National Parks. His affinity and admiration for the beauty that simply exists through nature always inspires me to pause and appreciate the small moments.

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

I wish I would have been more diligent about writing down the small special moments from the classroom during the beginning of my career. Mostly because my memory is not what it used to be, but also because in education it is the small moments that fill up our buckets. That’s what I will look back upon and smile about the most!

Thank you Kaitlin for representing Maine educators as our 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year. 

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