Posts Tagged ‘Lake Region High School’


Visionary Box

February 8, 2017

Sculpturing at LRHS

clay-2Students of Lake Region High School recently partnered with the sculpture department of USM in a collaboration of critiquing student sculptures. LRHS students of Clay I class taught by Ms. Carmel Collins, were assigned to design and construct a ‘Visionary Box.’ The ‘Visionary Box’ was to be a vessel that contained 3 objects which the students felt best represented the values, traditions and beliefs of society at the present time. The outside of the box was to be designed and sculptured in ways that communicated the meaning of the objects held within the box.

Once the boxes were complete they were delivered to Professor Michael Shaughnessy head of the sculpture department USM. Students under the tutorage of Mr. Shaughnessy critiqued and evaluated the student’s work paying particular attention to the craftsmanship, creativity and communicativeness of the overall box.

At a later date Professor Shaughnessy and one of his students Riley Schwartz visited the students of LRHS and shared their critiques. Each student received rich detailed feedback of their work whilst highlighting clay-1their creative journey to the finished product. It was a wonderful opportunity for students of LRHS to step out of the classroom with their art work to reach an authentic audience and engage in a rewarding arts dialogue. We are thankful to Professor Shaughnessy and his students for giving their time freely and willingly in developing what we hope to be a continued arts partnership with the USM.

Professor Shaughnessy in response to the collaboration commented, “USM students very much enjoyed discussing the work of the Intro to Clay Students. It was a rich experience both ways and we look forward to further projects with the students of Lakes Region High School.”


Lake Region High School Dance Residency

June 22, 2015

 John Morris and Carmel Collins collaborate

Da.Res.1Students of Lake Region High School participated in an exciting “Dance Residency” with professional dancer and teaching artist John Morris. When I heard that a professional dancer had moved into our district I knew I had to reach out and connect with him. As it turned out John was a former LRHS graduate who had pursued a career in dance that had taken him to New York City. After his many travels he had returned to Bridgton with his family. Connecting with John was akin to finding a hidden treasure, right in our own backyard. His experiences, expertise, knowledge and skill that he brought to the residency were enlightening and valuable to both students and myself, and truly brought dance education to a new and powerful level.

Da.Res.3John and I immediately connected and I found myself able to talk about dance education on many levels without having to go though lengthy explanations. It was as though we had know each other for ever. We both shared our vision and goals for the residency with ease and the planning seemed to come together very cohesively.

We met a few times prior to John’s initial session with the students and he was able to view the space and what resources were available at these meetings. It was great to have someone else’s input of working with the students on dance and hearing their perspective of the program. The most challenging part was to know when would be a productive time to interject a dance residency and the most opportune time for John to start. The students and I were at the beginning of choreographing our spring show and both John and I thought it would be beneficial to embrace the show in some format with his residency. Once we had decided upon this everything fell into place.

Da.Res.2.I was very excited to share the residency with my students and in turn they were excited at the prospect of a new and different dance teacher coming into the arena. It was great to be able to work with another dance professional and for the students to witness and be part of this partnership. The students so often observe me working in isolation, this was a great experience for them to see me teaming with someone else.

It was fascinating to observe my students working with John. His approach was different and new to the students, because he focused on creative exploration and a contemporary dance approach, but one could see their awkwardness and reservations dispel as he quickly built up trusting and respectful connections with them. Conversations began to flow more freely as the students became more familiar and at ease with the new format. In between John’s sessions conversations continued and the students would build upon each session which enabled the students to share with John what they had accomplished since his last visit.

Da.Res.4There was much evaluating and supportive critiquing during the residency as students spent time reflecting upon what they were creating and the direction they wished to go.

Quite often the students would share with John what they would like to see happen and in return John would ask, “How can we make that happen? What can we do to get from where we are now to where you want to be?” To aid students with this process John collaborated with them to create and explore a list of choreographic tools that the students could easily access in assisting them through their problem solving journey.

Da.Res.5In between each of John’s visits we would communicate and give feedback to one another to ensure we were always on the same page and prepared for the next session, as well as supporting one another on this new journey. Our planning, preparation and communication were integral to the success of the residency and it was great to collaborate with a fellow dance professional. John reported that he was delighted with our collaboration, as well as with the students’ willingness to explore and try new things. The residency was a wonderful learning experience for both myself and my students, the spring show was a success, and we all look forward to the next one.


Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013


I have taken some time today to reflect on 2012 and realize how fortunate I am to work with incredible arts educators in Maine and throughout the United States. Educators who are dedicated, passionate, and fully committed to providing an outstanding arts education for every student!

The year has been filled with many successes, some challenges, and sad losses! I wish I had time to go back through all the blog posts that I wrote in 2012 to help me remember all of the successes, challenges, and losses but instead I will provide the highlights.


The biggest success is the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). The second phase of MAAI officially kicked off in the spring with the identification of 20 teacher leaders. These arts educators joined the 18 teacher leaders from phase one. They participated in a 4-day institute in August at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland where they expanded their knowledge in the areas of assessment, leadership, technology, and creativity. They have created workshops that are being delivered throughout this school year at the regional and mega-regional level. (Registration for the mega-regional workshops is now open – FREE and contact hours are available.) The topics of the sessions are as varied as the individual teacher leaders. I am so grateful for their commitment to the work that is making a difference for arts teachers and in arts classrooms across Maine each day. The impact on students learning is amazing!

And, uniquely the Mega-regional workshops are being co-sponsored with the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). At these workshops their will be at least one session that is integrated with an MLTI integrator to provide a first time opportunity for educators!

The MAAI would not be possible without the commitment of the leadership team who have consistently shepherded the work. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Catherine Ring, Rob Westerberg, Jeff Beaudry, Bronwyn Sale, Pam Kinsey, and Matt Doiron. Their willingness to lead has made a difference! Close to 1000 arts educators have taken advantage of the professional development opportunities during the last year and a half.

The MAAI is aligned with the Maine Department of Education’s Strategic Plan: Education Evolving: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First.

In July Catherine and I flew to Denver for a national conference on arts assessment held at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. I was proud to let others know of the grassroots efforts that Maine arts educators are involved with.

Art educator Chris Milliken, on sabbatical from Wells schools, has been following and doing research on the MAAI during this past year. He will join art teacher Lisa Marin and present a session on their findings at the Mega-regional workshop at Ellsworth High School on March 29, 2013.

Literacy is a statewide focus with the Literacy for ME being launched this fall and arts education has stepped up to become an integral part of the cross content literacy connections. Arts educators Jen Nash, Suzanne Goulet, and Lisa Gilman have been facilitating literacy webinars. Suzanne is also co-facilitating face to face sessions.

We have had 4 wonderful art exhibits at the Maine Department of Education during this past year from Maranacook Community Schools, Bangor Elementary and Middle Schools, Lake Region High School, and Messalonskee High School. Along with the exhibits we had receptions at the Blaine House with music and dance performances from each school/district. Participating and collaborating are First Lady Ann LePage, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Commissioner of Education, Steve Bowen.

First Lady Ann LePage partnered with the Barbara Bush Foundation to create a new baby journal to present to parents at hospitals across Maine when their babies are born. We did a call for K-8 artwork and 867 young artists submitted work. Thirty two pieces were selected to be published in the book which will be completed in June 2014.

The Maine arts education list-serv has grown to 1200 and the meartsed blog is growing as a source of information, not only for arts educators but for all educators. If you are not on the list-serv but would like to be, please email me at On December 5, 2013 the blog set a record high day of 976 visitors. And a record high week happened during that same time of 2508 visitors. Thank you for taking the time to visit and informing others about what is available on the Maine arts education blog.


  • Common Core standards for ELA and Math were released this year and teachers are being asked to incorporate them into their curricula.
  • We are waiting patiently for the next iteration of the national arts standards to be released in March March 2013.
  • Arts education in Maine is underserved. As the economy continues to be a challenge so is providing adequate arts education programs and teachers.
  • Determining how to provide quality arts education to be ready for the “proficiency based graduation requirement” slated for the graduating class of 2018.
  • What will determine “teacher effectiveness” for arts educators (the non-tested content)?


In March music teacher Beth Polletto died in a car accident driving to school. Beth taught at Gray New Gloucester and Georgetown Central School. In May art teacher Jackie McTigue died in a car accident on her way to school. Jackie taught at Glenburn Elementary School. Both teachers were amazing arts educators and have left a huge hole. My friend and colleague 2nd grade teacher and Maine’s 2010 Teacher of the Year Kevin Grover died on Thanksgiving day after returning from a run. He is greatly missed by family, friends, and colleagues.

Looking forward

photoBeing forever optimistic, I know that 2013 will be filled with many more successes and that the challenges will be small mountains for us to climb. I invite you to collaborate with your colleagues to face the challenges and enjoy the successes. I hope you will continue to use the meartsed blog for resources and to access information. Many of you have heard me say “none of us is as smart as all of us”. Please continue to share information that I can pass on to others through the blog. I appreciate it!

I am confident that 2013 will be filled with opportunities for arts education to move forward. For example part of phase 2 of the MAAI is videotaping arts classrooms to respond to your request “what does a standards based arts education classroom look like?” So, Debi Lynne Baker (newly retired art teacher) will be visiting arts classrooms in the next few months and creating 4 short videos with examples. This is just one example of resources being developed for arts teachers.

I enjoy the challenges that my work at the Maine Department of Education provides for me. I especially love the opportunity to interact with you, the readers of the meartsed blog. So please take a moment when possible and drop me an email at or make a comment at the bottom of a blog post. You can subscribe to the blog by clicking on “Sign me up!” located on the right side of the front page of the blog.

I hope your year is filled with love and laughter and that you continue to provide outstanding opportunities for your students in arts education! Best Wishes for a wonderful 2013 and THANKS so much for all the good that you do in education!

Only one photo and one quote included in today’s post. Hopefully the photo will put a smile on your face and the quote will provide you with some “food for thought” as we dive into 2013!

The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society. – Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts


Veterans Day Celebration Through the Arts

November 23, 2012

Veterans Day at Lake Region High School

What a wonderful array of music, dance and voice that filled Lake Region High School in honor of our veterans on Veterans Day. Amongst our honored veterans and special guests were  Maine’s First Lady, Ms. Ann LePage, and Ms. Elizabeth Watson, Chair of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Parents, the entire student body and faculty cheered and applauded as music, voice and dance performances were presented. The high school choir under direction of Mr. Eugene Long, and the school band under direction of Mr. Paul Greenstone, played and sang a medley of patriotic songs to honor our veterans. Their voices and notes filled the gym with pride and energy amongst deep appreciation from the audience. The dancers, under the direction of Ms. Carmel Collins, dressed in army uniforms, took the veterans back to the 1940’s with a rendition of the popular Andrew’s Sisters song ‘Boogie, Woogie, Bugle Boy.’ This was followed by a lyrical dance to the song ‘The River Flows in You,’ by Yiruma. The dance was symbolic of how love, pride, and prayers flow like a river through each member of the U.S. armed forces wherever they are. The final dance  was performed to Toby Keith’s ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.‘ As dancers took to the floor dressed in sequined shirts sporting the initials USA, cheers filtered through the crowd. It was a wonderful day of celebration rolling in on the waves of the arts.

Thank you to Carmel Collins for providing the blog post information and the photographs.


Lake Region Celebrates Dance and Music

September 20, 2012

Yesterday at the Blaine House

LRHS students perform a jazz number

The Celebration of Arts Education was held yesterday at the Blaine House and Department of Education recognizing the outstanding arts education programs at Lake Region School District. The art exhibit presently at the Maine Department of Education is a photography show. The photographs depict the dance program at Lake Region High School (LRHS), many of the photographs are taken by LRHS students.

At Blaine House yesterday we were honored to have two student musical groups and one dance performance. The students engagement was obvious throughout the ceremony. One of the songs was written by a 6th grader on the topic of about bullying. The student now in 7th grade was performed by three students.

Dance educator Carmel Collins introduces the dancers and dance number

Mr. James Banks, former chair of the Maine State Board helped to present the students with certificates and art buttons. Afterwards students and their families enjoyed cookies and punch in the dining room of the Blaine House. Afterwards students and their families walked across the street to view the photographs on the 5th floor of the Department. It was a great afternoon of celebration.

You can view all of the photographs which will remain until September 30th and can be viewed during regular business hours.  All of the photographs are online on the meartsed blog. The link is located on the front page under “Info” along with the other past student exhibits from the Department of Education.

Family and friends of Hayley Allen gather by her photograph for a picture

Thank you to Janet Gallagher for taking photographs at the Blaine House.

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