Posts Tagged ‘LD1422’


LD 1422 Webinar

May 12, 2014

MAAI webinar, May 7

The third of a series of four webinars for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Wednesday, May 7, entitled “LD 1422: digging deeper into the new Proficiency expectations for Maine’s schools and Arts classrooms”. In coming up with this particular webinar, facilitators Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg were reacting to what they both believed has been a lot of misunderstanding and a great lack of clarity around the new law which states that all High Schools will be issuing diplomas, “based on student demonstration of proficiency”. The hour with nearly 20 attendees, including the Maine Department of Education new Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Mr. Kevin Facer, allowed the opportunity to de-mystify it, and to discuss its ramifications as it pertains to Visual and Performing Arts.

The first part gave an overview of LD 1422, with links to valuable resources at the Maine Department of Education. Catherine and Rob went through the important details pertaining to how it relates to VPA, the Maine Guiding Principles which all students will be required to meet, and a few thoughts around the concept of “multiple pathways” to demonstrate proficiency. An extended conversation was had around proficiency in the arts and what that actually can mean in practice. Information very specific about what that looks like in the classroom, and articulation of the next steps for everyone to get there, regardless of where you are presently.

Finally, there was a give and take conversation around relevant questions and observations from the MAAI Teacher leaders last Summer. Some of these included, “Once established, this will inform curricular and instructional decisions?”, “How do we establish proficiencies while leaving room for creativity?”, “You cannot define proficiency until the “vagueness” is taken out of the standards… is this a road we want to go down?” and “How do we find time to do everything and teach at the same time?” Along the way, webinar attendees asked some very pointed questions as well and shared some great insights.

In debunking myths or misinterpretations, and showing how the Arts can proactively move toward proficiency, the hope is that attendees and those utilizing the archive and meeting plans can get a leg up, perhaps even on the other content areas in our own buildings, and truly be leaders as we move toward this next chapter in Maine education. In this vein, it is strongly encouraged that arts teachers spend some time viewing the archive: the live links alone will make this worth your while, while the conversations will add clarity for what is expected of arts teachers in the months and years to come.

On Wednesday, June 4, we will be holding a related webinar, featuring the ongoing work MAAI has undertaken creating a rich Resource Bank for the Visual and Performing Arts. Please plan on joining Catherine and Rob from 3:30 to 4:30 on that first Wednesday of June. In the meantime, you can access the archive of the May 7 webinar at You can access the professional development meeting plans that accompany the webinar at (available tomorrow). You may utilize with this with your building and district VPA colleagues.


Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Webinar

May 6, 2014

Providing you a special professional development opportunity just for teacher appreciation week


Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring will be hosting their third 2014 webinar in a series of four as part of the  Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI).  The webinar entitled “LD 1422: Proficiency And The Arts” will take place on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 from 3:30 – 4:30.  Primary discussions will be based around:

  • What is LD 1422 & what does it mean?
  • What is “proficiency”?
  • What does proficiency in the Arts look like?
  • Next steps

The overarching goals of this webinar will be to help arts educators move forward proactively as our schools and our state moves toward a proficiency based diploma. While LD 1422 is spelled out specifically for high Schools, the domino effect has critical ramifications for all PK-12 music, art, dance and drama teachers.

For best chances of success please join the webinar 10 minutes early and do the following:

  1. Join the meeting by clicking:  Enter as a guest.

  2. Use a hard-wire connection, not wireless.
  3. Test your sound by going up to the top left, click on Meeting and Audio Setup Wizard and follow the directions.

At the conclusion of the webinar there will be a link for you to complete a short feedback survey. You will receive one contact hour for completing the feedback form (issued at the end of May).

Please be sure to join for what promises to be an engaging, insightful hour on the topic that will continue to impact every one of us as arts educators in the state of Maine! One contact hour is available for participating. If you miss the session live it will be archived afterwards for your viewing. Please watch the Maine Arts Education blog for the link to it.

If you have any questions please email me at


Standards-Based Education

August 22, 2013

Yes, again!

For years we’ve been talking about Standards-Based Education and now due to LD1422 the conversation is taking a giant leap forward. But what does standards-based mean? And, how about proficiency-based, student-centered learning and, standards-referenced? In April of 2012 I wrote a post on this topic but recently the question came up again asking for clarity so this post is provided for that reason.

I feel like educators are continuously trying to get a better understanding of these terms and of course, the bottom line is how does this impact teaching and learning? I remember during many years of my 30 years of teaching sifting through articles, research, and communicating about what I was reading with colleagues to try and make sense of education topics. That hasn’t changed for me working at the Maine Department of Education. The only difference is that much more information “comes across my desk”.

Yesterday I was honored to be part of the interviews for the finalist for the 2014 Maine Teacher of the Year. The process for selection is almost a year long so the three finalists were thrilled to be there and the conversation about teaching and learning was wonderful. I was reminded of the passion teachers have for the important work they do. The next teacher of the year will be announced at a surprise assembly at the teachers school in September. Congratulations to all three finalists! They are grade 4 teacher Mary Graziano from Hartland Consolidated School, grades 6 and 7 ELA teacher Karen MacDonald, from King MIddle School, and kindergarten teacher Suzen Polk-Hoffses from Milbridge Elementary School.

There was a question about standards-based education and I liked the answer the teacher gave which included “It’s not about the grade, it’s about the learning.” Earlier this year I listened to Cole Castorina, a student at York High School say: ” I know that I know it and I have confidence that I understand the concept. I didn’t just learn it for the assessment.” Cole and 2 other students were interviewed for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s video series. You can access the York High School video with music teachers Rob Westerberg and Dan Sovetsky and principal Bob Stevens at this link. It is one thing to look at the chart below and another to hear students, teachers, and administrators articulate what it’s all about!

If you are trying to understand the difference between standards-based and standards-referenced researcher Robert Marzano has a diagram that provides clarity that you might find helpful.

Screen shot 2013-08-22 at 8.03.27 AM



August 19, 2012

Getting ready

During this time in August throughout my 30 years as a middle school art teacher I began the transition of “back to school”. Even though I spent many days and sometimes weeks during the summer involved in some type of professional development, the last two weeks of August were about the official change from summertime to school. I’d have the “school dreams” and find myself drawn to the classroom. It was exciting to open the boxes of new supplies and remember what I had ordered several months before, almost like Christmas. I had a chance to re-connect with colleagues and learn about their summer adventures when they popped in to say hello.

Inevitably there were changes that came my way during this time which often involved last minute decisions and  “new” students. The secretary or other school personnel would take a “new” student and his or her parent(s) for a tour of the building. I can still see the nervousness, fear, and anxiousness in the students eyes while trying to remain cool, calm, and collected (as a middle schooler is capable of). The change they were about to experience during the young adolescent period was enormous. Most often a week or two into the school year the student had acclimated to their new school.

We all know that change is not easy, sometimes change is out of our control, and sometimes when weighing the options a decision comes as a surprise to us. I believe that “when one door closes, another opens” as does a colleague art teacher and potter Shanna Wheelock. You can read about Shanna’s sudden changes and all the interesting goings on in her life at the Easternmost Potter in the United States blog post this week. Best Wishes to Shanna as her journey takes a turn.

There are changes in education that have and will continue to impact teachers in classrooms, how they teach, and how students learn. Two documents that will impact teaching and learning in Maine that became law during the last legislative session are included below. Only a segment of each law is provided, you can read the entire law at the links provided at the bottom.

  1. Legislative document (LD) 1422 called An Act to Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy. This law includes graduation requirements be based on a proficiency-based diploma of the standards. Beginning January 1, 2017, a diploma indicating graduation from a secondary school must be based on student demonstration of proficiency.
  2. Legislative document (LD) 1858 called An Act to Insure Effective Teaching and School Leadership. This law
    • Requires school administrative units to develop and implement a performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals.
    • Sets forth standards that must be met by these systems, including a requirement that multiple measures of effectiveness must be used in evaluations, including student learning measures, that evaluators must be properly trained and that a system must include a process for using information from the evaluation process to inform professional development.

    To read the entire law (LD 1422) Public Law Chapter 669 please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the ENACTED law dated May 16, 2012.

    To read the entire law (LD 1858) Public Law Chapter 635 please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the ENACTED law dated April 5, 2012.

    During the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative summer institute the teacher leaders had the chance to discuss the laws and what is happening in reference to these laws. They discussed what they’d like to see and what impact they might have on their teaching. As you transition back to school you might want to have a similar discussion so teachers are aware of the movement in Maine. Making and taking the time to discuss changes will mostly result in a better understanding and consequently success!


News Release

May 18, 2012

Bowen statement of passage of ed bills

Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen issued the following statement Thursday following legislative approval on Wednesday of several key education bills, including: LD 1422, which requires that the state’s public schools transition to a proficiency-based diploma; LD 1779, which moves Maine career and technical education programs toward the full adoption of national industry standards; and LD 1865, which makes it easier for students to access career and technical education courses.

“Our vision for education in Maine is a system in which everything is built around the student. How do we engage students and make school relevant and challenging? How can we give students and families choices in finding the right learning environment and developing an education plan that works for them?

“With the passage of these bills, the Legislature has given students more options and access to career and technical education courses, and have endorsed the concept that students should graduate when they’ve mastered the skills they need to be successful after high school. We have more work to do, especially in the area of giving students and families more options, but this is a great start.”

All Maine Department of Education news releases can be found online at:


Competency Based, Student Centered, Standards Based Education

April 29, 2012


Standards have been around for a long time but during the last (about a) year the conversation has become more serious about what that means. As I’ve said before, the ground is shifting beneath us, and the transition of education to meeting the needs of all students is more focused.

The term standards-based, competency based, and student centered are terms that we are hearing more and more. The terms are not just for high school students but include elementary, middle, AND high schools. So, what is the different now from 1997 when the state originally adopted the standards document, Maine Learning Results? I see three differences:

  1. The Maine legislature has put in place LD 1422 which states that the graduating class will leave high school having successfully shown that they have achieved the standards. It will no longer be determined by completing each year, K-12, of schooling. Not based on seat time, but showing proficiency of meeting the standards.
  2. The Maine Department of Education recently released the strategic plan called Education Evolving: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First which “sets out objectives and action steps for building an education system in Maine that meets the needs of all learners, from early childhood into adulthood, and prepares them for college, careers, and civic life.”
  3. Educators who have been around a long time participating in many conversations are more than ready to take action. The Maine Coalition for Customized Learning which started as a handful of school districts working with the Reinventing Schools Coalition work is now up to 20 Maine school districts. They are working collaboratively to share and create resources to continue to move in the standards based direction. The first cohort started in July 2009.

Not to long ago I read in the news two articles that provide information on what is happening across the country with education in this standards based/proficiency based/ competency based environment. I hope you will have the time to read about our neighboring state, New Hampshire, to learn about their work in an article called N.H. Schools Embrace Competency-Based Learning written by Catherine Gewertz and published online February 7, 2012 (Education Week). And, the second article called ‘Competency’ Approach Challenges Colo. District written by Christine A. Samuels and published online March 26, 2012 (Education Week) provides a look at Adams 50 who has been working on a standards based system for several years.

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