Posts Tagged ‘MAAI’

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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 21, 2020

You’re invited!

Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Teacher/

Teaching Artist Leader SEARCH: MALI – Phase 20-21

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, JUNE 1Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative invites YOU, with other selected Maine teachers and teaching artists, to be part of a year-long exploration in leading your school communities and the profession in effective teaching and learning in the arts.  If you are selected, you will be expected to attend the 2020 Summer Institute, taking place virtually June 15, July 24, and in-person August 5, pending state policy.   

This year’s Institute will explore Leading with Resilience; Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in our Teaching, Ourselves, and Our Communities; and Arts Advocacy.  

If you are selected, there is no cost to attend the Institute; however the expectation is that you integrate your learnings in your classroom, your school community, and share with other educators in your region of Maine and beyond.  Full participants will receive documentation of up to 35 contact hours.   

If interested, please complete the online application form, linked here and below, by June 1.

Questions? Contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission, Martha.Piscuskas@maine.gov  207-287-2750

Year-long Expectations for Teaching Artist/Teacher leaders (TA/TAL):

  • Attend New Teacher/TA introduction cohort zoom on Monday June 15
  • Complete pre-reading/viewing and participate in online discussion (on google classroom) 
  • Attend and participate in 2 virtual discussion meetings on Wednesdays – June 24 & July 15 – (w/mixed cohorts and breakout rooms)
  • Attend August 5, Wednesday in-person day in Waterville (tbd) if possible
  • Commit to two reflection sessions as a MALI TA/TAL one with cohort, one with “thought partner”
  • Develop a personalized Growth Plan for the coming year, and practice/learn ways to share it with others
  • Engage in Fall “thought partner” one-on-one check in 
  • Attend winter retreat – tentatively February 28, 2021.  Will include update on personal goal and/or action plan 
  • Author a guest blog post on the Maine Arts Ed daily blog

JOIN US!  Become a Teacher Leader and Change Lives 

APPLY TODAY!

Questions on the Application:

Name/contact information

Administrator Name/contact information (if classroom teacher)

Paragraph of Interest — Selected individuals will be expected to be active leaders in helping to develop and support excellence in teaching and learning in Maine. A full commitment to the Institute timeline is expected as seen in the online information sheet.  Please attach a brief overview of your interest and current/past experience (if any) in Leadership. Include your experience collaborating with other arts educators and experiences relevant to the initiative.  (Please no more than ~ 500 words, about 1 page.) 

Resume/CV —  If you are a Teaching Artist, please also include websites or documentation of your teaching work.  

Letter of Reference – CLASSROOM TEACHERS: This should be from your administrator.  TEACHING ARTISTS: This should be from a school or community  organization with whom you have worked.   Please attach a Letter of Recommendation in which the person includes comments and/or examples reflecting your leadership potential and your ability to work collaboratively.  Selected individuals will be responsible for sharing their newly developed expertise and related classroom experiences with other arts educators.

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative 

Background Information

MALI MISSION

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES 

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts 
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators 
  • Founded in 2011
  • 108 teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders have attended summer institutes on assessment, leadership, technology, creativity, proficiency-based standards-based and student-centered teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders have presented workshops at three statewide arts education conferences, with over 600 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated regional workshops across Maine and 15 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Maine Arts Ed Blog — 78 teachers profiled in Another Arts Teacher’s Story series 
  • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for
    Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom located on Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website
  • Partners have included MDOE, USM, MAEA, MMEA, University of Maine Performing Arts, and New England Institute for Teacher Education, Bates College

For More Information

APPLY TODAY TO BECOME A MALI TEACHER LEADER

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MALI Update

February 4, 2020

Good news from the Maine Arts Commission

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) members and Martha Piscuskas the new director of arts education at the Maine Arts Commission have been working since last summer on the valuable work of MALI.

For those veteran readers of this blog, you are probably well aware of MALI and its importance to the field of Maine Arts Education. For any newcomers, and those needing a refresher, MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. MALI is a network of Maine Arts Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders dedicated to supporting each others’ leadership, growth as educators, and promotion of authentic arts experiences in all genres for all Maine students. It grew out of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, a grassroots effort by some Maine Arts Teachers to educate themselves and create some guidelines and practices for arts assessment. Almost every year since 2011,  MALI has held a summer institute for visual and performing arts teachers to deepen their mastery of teaching the arts. A yearlong cohort continues to work together, working towards specific individual goals and culminating in public presentations.

TWO IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER

  • Winter Retreat – Saturday, Feb 29
  • Summer Institute NOTE NEW MONTH: — Thursday and Friday, June 25 & 26

With a leadership transition, MALI is taking this year to re-evaluate its purpose, clarify its structure and strengthen its role. Two leadership teams are tackling these tasks, and will be seeking feedback from all MALI members.

VISION TEAM

Vision Team members Dana Legawiec, Jen Driscoll, Lynda Leonas, Jake Sturtevant, and Sue Barre. Skyping in: Shawna Barnes, Jen Acosta

The Vision Team is a think-tank tasked with establishing a system and structure for MALI to grow and thrive into the future. It is comprised of 7 MALI Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders, including Jake Sturtevant (Phase 1), Jen Acosta (Phase 1), Shawna Barnes (Phase 8), Sue Barre (Phase 3), Jennie Driscoll (Phase 1), Dana Legawiec (Phase 7), Lynda Leonas (Phase 5) and Martha Piscuskas (MAC). The team members have had a variety of powerful MALI experiences, and agree that the organization has had a lasting impact on Maine Arts Education.

The Vision Team has reviewed the MALI vision and mission statements, as well as the current structure of MALI. It is their goal to ensure that MALI will continue to foster a community of passionate Arts Educators and Teaching Artists. The community will allow for professional growth that will directly impact students. It is their intent to help maintain, and sustain, the positive aspects of MALI, while strengthening the organizational mission that MALI represents.

In order to focus discussion they have been investigating answers to these questions:

  1. What does it mean to be a MALI Teacher Leader/Teaching Artist Leader?
  2. How can MALI gain fiscal stability?
  3. How can the MALI community bring in more passionate Arts Educators and Teaching Artists?
  4. How can MALI develop an institutional governance structure that allows for flexibility and growth, and maintains a grassroots approach for developing a community of Arts Educators?

They will continue discussions, and would welcome thoughts and ideas from anyone who has been touched by the MALI community. They will develop a future MALI Vision at the Winter Retreat on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

PROGRAM TEAM

Program Team members Kate Smith, Dorie Tripp, and Kaitlin Young deep in thought. Other side of table include Melanie Crowe, Bronwyn Sale, Iva Damon, and Brigid Rankowski

The Program Team was tasked with maintaining MALI’s current offerings such as the Winter Retreat, a call for new members, the Summer Institute and Critical Friends’ Day. The Program Team members are Kate Smith (phase 4), Bronwyn Sale (higher ed rep), Iva Damon (phase 5), Melanie Crowe (Phase 3), Kaitlin Young (phase 7), Dorie Tripp (Phase 7), Emma Campbell (phase 4), Brigid Rankowski (Phase 6)  and Martha Piscuskas (MAC). The team has met several times via zoom conference and in person on January 26th. They have chosen the themes “teacher leadership” and “self-care” for the MALI Winter Retreat on February 29th and look forward to seeing all MALI members past and present.

MALI Teams thank all Maine arts educators for all you do and continue to do, and look forward to hearing from you. To share feedback or for more information, or to MALI folks for sign-up information, please connect with a Team member, or Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission: martha.piscuskas@maine.gov 207-287-2750.

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Kids in Charge

November 5, 2019

What does it mean and look like?

One of the questions that comes up over and over is what does student centered learning look like and how do I manage it? Last week flying into my email was a video created by Edutopia. For those of you blog readers who may not know about Edutopia it is the George Lucas Foundation whose mission is dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives. George Lucas the 1991 founder of Edutopia is an innovative and award-winning filmmaker. Edutopia is all about taking a strategic approach to improving K-12 education through two distinct areas of focus: Edutopia and Lucas Education Research.

The video included in the email is called How to Create Student-Centered Lessons and Put Students in Charge of Their Learning. Some of you may be thinking that the task is easier in the non-arts classrooms but I think this video provides enough information that you can gain insight and develop ideas.

In addition to the Edutopia video a handful of years ago the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI – then MAAI – Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) started creating videos to answer: What does this student-centered thing look like in a visual or performing arts education classroom? All of these videos are available on the Maine ARTSEducation youtube channel and I’ve embedded them below to make it easier for you to access them.

Co-founder MAAI, Music educator at York High School, Rob Westerberg, with a very different haircut.

Jane Snider, Hancock School visual art educator, MALI Teacher Leader.

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MAMLE

October 22, 2019

Arts teachers shine

Kris Bisson,Kaitlin Young, Argy Nestor,Catherine Ring

Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Maine Association for Middle Level (MAMLE) Conference at Point Lookout. I have fond memories of returning to the site in Northport – so many amazing learning opportunities for arts educators have taken place there for many years. The MAMLE conference has always been a place where middle level arts educators are welcomed and the conference goers are appreciative of what is offered. This years theme was Filling Our Cups: Teaching in Challenging Times.

Kris Bisson

Kris Bisson, Music Educator at Marshwood Middle School in Berwick and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader presented a session called Integrating your community in the classroom: service learning project models. Kris is the perfect person to present on the topic since she’s had her students engaged in multiple projects in her students community. Her well known Bridging Adolescence: A River Flows Through Us project that she collaborated with teaching artist Brian Evans-Jones on, made a huge impact on her students and community members. I was thrilled when her students shared this project at the State House December 2018 at an arts education celebration.

Kaitlin Young

Kaitlin Young, 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year, Music Educator at Sedomocha Elementary and Middle Schools, and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader provided a key note that had participants engaged. The title was What We Can Do When We Are Brave Together. Kaitlin’s presentation was inspirational and very realistic. It provided thought provoking ideas which participants could take with them and put immediately in place. Thank you Kaitlin for filling up all of our cups!

If you’re a middle level educator consider participating in the conference next year which will be held in Portland. Check the MAMLE site for information.

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Argy’s Journey Continues

June 4, 2019

Walking down memory lane

What a joy it has been during the last few weeks to reflect at the 43 years of my educational pathway. I am fortunate to have selected a career that has provided learning experiences that have expanded my thinking and understanding of how individual learners learn and how we are part of a world of learning connections. I have met and worked (and played) with amazing educators from Maine and around the world.

NEXT STEPS

So, where am I headed next? I have many ideas of what I want to do but I’m going to start by building on the natural next steps.

  • I am working towards creating a fund for Maine arts educators and teaching artists to travel and learn. I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel and every one of them has influenced my creative thinking and doing. I want to support educators who have dreams to travel and learn. I know that when a person returns from traveling that it impacts the learning environment which has the potential to plant seeds and open doors for students. I’m working on the idea with big thinkers and funders. Once I work out the details I will ask you to contribute to the fund. If everyone gives a little we can build the fund more quickly.
  • I will be serving as the director of the middle school at Sweetland School, an arts integrated school in Hope. Lindsay Pinchbeck started the Reggio Emilia inspired school five years ago at the Sweet Tree Arts Center. I have served as an advisor to the school and am excited about the possibilities for the students entering middle school. I will support the teaching team and do some arts integrated teaching as well.
  • In 2016 Lindsay and I traveled to Mpamila Village in Malawi to provide teacher workshops on arts integration. Of course, I gained more than I offered and for the last 3 years continued to support the teachers with 8 other educators providing workshops. My work will go on with Go! Malawi, an organization in Maine that was started by a former student. In July 2020 we will guide the Mpamila teachers to create their own workshops to facilitate at a country wide conference.
  • Malawi led to the innovative work of HundrED and I will continue to share innovative work of the organization. I plan to return to Helsinki this fall for the summit and am especially excited about their Youth Ambassador program.

I will continue to blog through the summer on this blog and communicate with the Maine arts education list-serv about the progress of my work. Please communicate with me at meartsed@gmail.com or through the Maine Arts Education blog below.

WHERE I’VE BEEN 

Like anyone in education we know the paychecks aren’t huge but my life has been rich with opportunities. From the ‘ah-ha’ moments of an individual student’s accomplishment to the excitement of a teacher connecting with other educators and everything in between. When I was teaching every day one thing became clear – hanging out in a middle school art classroom was a continuous learning opportunity and I loved it. My students and colleagues taught me and helped grow my skills and passions as a human being. I received so much than I gave. Being part of an interdisciplinary teaching team where visual art was valued by others as much as I valued it was amazing! When I was recognized in 1995 as the Maine Teacher of the Year I realized how fortunate I was to be honored for such humbling work.

When I left my art room after 30 years it wasn’t easy, teaching was what I knew and loved. But the challenge helped me see more clearly that my mission as an educator was taking a turn. My own son said to me: “Mom, your classroom is just going to get a little larger.” And he was ‘spot on’ (as Rob Westerberg says) about that. Once I fully committed to the work at the state I realized that my “teacher lens” was to guide me. I knew what I needed and wanted as a teacher so I honored that and moved forward collaborating with others to make that happen. Visiting hundreds of arts classrooms in schools across the state was an incredible learning opportunity. The visits led to the 1200 member list-serv and daily communication on this blog.

I AM GRATEFUL

Along the way others continued to collaborate and provide support. I am soooo grateful for the many connections, some of which I mention below.

Carol Trimble

Carol Trimble who was the executive director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) was supportive from day one when I arrived at DOE. Together we brought back the state wide arts education conference and I helped with the first state wide arts education census and other MAAE projects. Carol was and continues to be an incredible mentor with a clear mind who can articulate ideas like no one I know.

Many of you remember David Patterson who sadly passed away from cancer in July 2014 at the age of 50. His wisdom and encouragement taught me to believe in the power of communication to form the community. He pushed, questioned, taught and encouraged me every step of the way. This blog wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for him.

Anne Kofler was the elementary art teacher who taught ‘downstairs’ while I taught middle school ‘upstairs’. She inspired me to go the extra mile and made me a better person in so many ways. She continued to support me, after I left the classroom, to take on the ‘big challenges’ and ‘lean in’. All the while herself, taking on cancer, which eventually took her away in May 2016. Her love for using her travels to inspire her students continues to impact me.

Catherine, myself, Rob

Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg took a chance when I invited them to travel to NH in the summer of 2010 for the New England Institute on Assessment. I am so grateful that they did – I continue to learn from both of them! Together we created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) by listening to the needs of the field, reviewing the research, brainstorming and planning. The first MAAI leadership team represented PreK-higher education and helped launch the idea without funding in place. There were tears in my eyes when I heard Jeff Beaudry say “we can sleep on the floor and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if we have to, there’s no turning back now.” And, launch we did with 18 amazing teacher leaders at Maine College of Art for the 4-day summer institute. At the end of the institute the teacher leaders made it clear that we weren’t moving into Phase 2 without a place for them.

Phase I Teacher Leaders

Since that first summer, the initiative has grown into a strong leadership program, influencing and inspiring, and the shift in assessment practices around the state took hold. When we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead summit in August 2015 MAAI shifted to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Teachers with high expectations for themselves and a passion for learning – teaching other teachers has been the foundation of the success. Educators willing to share their ideas, use research, build on their knowledge, and support the network has worked well for Maine. Title II funds helped to support the summer institutes, critical friend days, mega conferences, winter retreats, stipends for participants, and statewide conferences over the next several years. The partnerships and associations with the Maine visual and performing arts organizations and institutions has been an enormous part – too many to name all of them. Thank you all!

In 2013 i moved to the Maine Arts Commission and the work (and play) of MALI expanded to include teaching artists and community arts organizations. They have provided a broader view of arts education. We’ve all been enriched by their participation in MALI. Linking arms with the greater community of arts and arts education is another way to support learners of all ages in their educational paths. I am especially grateful to the 108 teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders who continue to do amazing work in arts education and as artists!

There are so many more individuals and organizations to thank but this blog post could go on for pages. The people I mentioned are ‘giants’ and every day I stand on their shoulders and fortunately continue to learn from them!

BEYOND MAINE

Throughout the 13 years at the state I’ve had many opportunities to connect with and learn from others outside of Maine. Presentations and workshops at regional and national conferences about MALI, serving in leadership roles with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the State Arts Agency Arts Education Directors, and serving on the educational council of the Americans for the Arts have provided me ongoing chances to learn from others.

Mpamila teachers in Malawi

My work in Malawi has been amazing. I originally emailed a former student about her work with Go! Malawi and asked if she could use my skill set. From there the idea developed into creating arts integration workshops. I am forever grateful to Lindsay Pinchbeck who agreed to travel to Malawi in 2016. The collaboration that we’ve formed has influenced all parts of my life. She has definitely made me a better teacher, artist, and person. Spending 10 days providing arts integration workshops for the teachers in Mpamila Village opened my eyes to so much about the world. For the last 3 years we continue to support the teacher workshops and have had 8 educators use their expertise in Malawi. In addition we’ve sewn hundreds of dresses and pants for the children in Mpamila School. This work has taken place with friends, family, and colleagues from all over Maine and in other states across the country. I am so grateful to the many who continue to contribute by sewing and contributing to purchase the materials needed.

Malawi led to HundrED when our Malawi project was selected and Lindsay and I were named Ambassadors for the program. We traveled to Helsinki, Finland last November for the HundrED summit and met people from all over the world doing AMAZING work. The network is expanding and I encourage all of you to check out their site and consider applying to be an Innovator, deadline June 30.

CONTINUE – STAY IN TOUCH

I hope that our paths will continue to cross since my work in arts education will continue. Please feel free to reach out using my gmail address at meartsed@gmail.com. I will be blogging throughout the summer and perhaps beyond. Your work in arts education is critical to continue to make the world a better place. Thank you!

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Teach to Lead

April 6, 2019

Great opportunity to develop ideas with your team

Many of the Maine Arts Education blog readers remember that the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) started as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) back in 2010. In 2014 a team made up of MAAI teacher leaders and leadership team

Maine MALI team, bottom left

members were invited to attend a Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, D.C. It was an AMAZING OPPORTUNITY!! The team realized that the name of the initiative wasn’t reflecting the future work of MAAI. A focus on LEADERSHIP was clear so the members of MAAI decided to change the name to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. Like everything we’ve done in the 8 years that the initiative has been in place it was a careful decision. It proved to be the best thing for MALI. We know that in many school districts across Maine and across the country that arts educators are leaders. They are looked to for their many skills – collaboration, problem-solving, curriculum integration, student-center learning and so much more that takes place in arts education classrooms everyday. Why wouldn’t visual and performing arts educators be asked to contribute their expertise to help move schools and school districts forward?!!

You have a chance to lead your colleagues and community to a Teach to Lead Summit. Do you have an idea that takes some intense planning and time with your colleagues? Do you want to take action around something that is needed in your school? If so, I urge you to consider taking a trip west to the next Teach to Lead Summit taking place on September 19-21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, UT. The information is below – take a look – see if you’re a good match. If you have any questions please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Whole Child, Whole Teacher Summit

September 19-21, 2019

Salt Lake City, UT

Calling all educators! Submit an idea for our next Teacher Leadership Summit!

Teach to Lead supports teachers as valued experts in instruction and students’ needs. Teach to Lead summits provide teams with time to collaborate, skills development, and professional consultation to incubate innovative ideas that can make a positive impact for students in their schools, communities, districts and states.

This topical summit will bring teacher leaders and other stakeholders together to address the needs of the Whole Child and Whole Teacher in an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children, as well as the well-being of all teachers.

Each idea should reflect a need that addresses students’ and/or teachers’ health, safety, learning, support in and out of school, and access to engaging and challenging opportunities. Examples of project topic ideas might include:

  • Healthy: homelessness, hunger, student and teacher well-being and mental health
  • Safe: school safety, bullying and harassment
  • Engaged: cultural diversity, student identity, school culture and climate, professional networking
  • Supported: supports for a diverse teacher workforce, coaching and peer mentoring, adult-student relationships, community partnerships, language services and supports
  • Challenged: access to challenging coursework or professional development, access to extracurricular opportunities, etc.

How do participants benefit from the Summit?

  • Develop a local idea for change into a complete plan
  • Obtain the support of a dedicated “critical friend” from a supporting organization to advance your work
  • Build relationships with ASCD, Teach Plus, the United States Department of Education, and national supporting organizations
  • Be provided with free registration and hotel accommodations for two nights or parking ( hotel will be provided free of charge for teams traveling more than 50 miles; parking will be provided for teams traveling 50 miles or fewer to the summit).

Who may submit an idea application?

  • Any teacher leader with an actionable idea is encouraged to apply here (or cut and paste into your browser) https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TTLSLC19 by 11:59 pm ET on May 17, 2019 . Accepted ideas will be notified the week of June 10th.
  • Teams must have 3-5 members and must be led by one current teacher. Other key stakeholders (e.g. parent, student, community members, school and government officials) are encouraged.

All submitted ideas must: 

  • Encourage teachers to lead from the classroom.
  • Promote collaborative work among multiple stakeholders.
  • Identify an area in need of innovation or a specific problem with an eye towards actionable solutions.
  • Be viable in the local context and sustainable over time.

All submitted ideas may:

  • Be functioning at any stage of development – an emerging idea requiring input and buy-in to something that has been implemented which is ripe for improvement or expansion.
  • Focus on any level of change – school, district, or state.

Please contact info@teachtolead.org for additional information or questions.

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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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MALI Map

October 7, 2015

Where are those MALI Teacher Leaders?

MALI_V1_Color_100ppiOver the summer one of the Maine Arts Commission interns created a giant map that hangs in the conference room at the Commission that shows where the 73 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) teachers teach. It is very impressive and it reminds me of the impact that leaders in arts education are making across the state. We are fortunate! You can check out the map google map below which illustrates the information as well. Click on the marks to see who the Teacher Leader is and where they teach.

I hope you will consider being a MALI Teacher Leader in the next phase. You can read more about the initiative and learn more about the structure of the team and access great resources at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/.

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Dear Administrator,

September 17, 2015

Support professional development

photoI know that the professional learning opportunity on October 9 is going to be so valuable that I’ve written a “Dear Administrator” letter that you can use to support your request to attend.  The Biennial Statewide Arts Ed conference, The Measure of Success, is being held at Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport. The letter goes like this… (see below) and can be accessed by clicking here http://mainearts.maine.gov/CMSContent/arts_in_education/Biennial_Statewide/MALI_Letter_of_Support.pdf. (you can download it from there easily). Please note: I realize that the formatting might be a total mess below but I promise that when you download it from the link above that it will be fine!

All the details and conference registration are located at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION COST OF $90. Tomorrow the cost goes to $100 and the day of the conference, the walk-in cost is $110. I hope that you can join us!

June 2015
Dear Administrator:
The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI – formerly known as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) is pleased to announce the 2015 Biennial Statewide Arts Education conference “Maine Arts Education: The Measure of Success” will be held on Friday, October 9, Point Lookout Conference Center, Northport. On behalf of your visual and performing arts education teaching staff, I encourage you to support their participation in the conference. We are fortunate in Maine to have a vibrant community of arts professionals who will attend the conference with the common goal of advancing arts education for the benefit of all students in schools across Maine.
MALI (MAAI) was established in 2011 by the Maine Department of Education and is presently a
program of the Maine Arts Commission. The conference program is grounded in the mission:
MALI is committed to the development of Teacher leaders to ensure deep understanding and
meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts.”
Conference opportunities include engaging workshops on Assessment, Teacher Effectiveness, Arts
Integration, Proficiency-Based Education, Movement/Dance and the Creative Process, Brain
Development, Studio Habits of Mind, Benchmarking in Music, and Assessment in Visual Arts. These
workshops will showcase the latest in research and practice, provide interactive learning through
hands-on experiences, and challenge teachers thinking. The content of the conference can be applied
immediately to teaching and learning in your school–helping to advance your goals.
The MALI shares your vision for ensuring that Maine students receive the best possible education and
that your teachers possess a deep knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning. The
professional learning opportunities made available through the MALI are unparalleled in the field of
visual and performing arts education in Maine. MALI offers a comprehensive opportunity for educators who are engaged with the arts in learning to experience exemplary practices, methodologies, and research.
I appreciate your commitment to visual and performing arts education and in supporting your arts
educators with release time and in whatever way you can, so they may attend. In closing please accept
my gratitude for your leadership that ensures a quality, comprehensive education for all students across Maine.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions by email argy.nestor@maine.gov or by phone
207-287-2713.
Yours in Arts Education,
Ms. Argy Nestor
Director of Arts Education
Maine Arts Commission
The conference is brought to you by the Maine Arts Learning Initiative (MALI), a program of the Maine Arts Commission.
Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.
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Measure of Success Conference

September 15, 2015

Workshop Videos – October 9

The biennial Statewide Arts Education conference, The Measure of Success, is being held at the Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport on Friday, October 9. The early-bird registration of $90 runs until Thursday, September 17. After that the cost goes to $100 and at the door is $110.

This years conference is unique for many reasons. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI, formerly MAAI) has gone all out this year to provide you with outstanding workshops in two formats along with a day filled with celebrating arts educators and recognizing the excellent work that takes place every school day and beyond! You can read about the workshop format in a post from last week at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/a-word-about-the-conference-presentations/.

In addition, each of the workshop leaders have provided a short video that provides an overview of the workshop content. THE VIDEOS ARE ALL BELOW! If you take a look at the videos and read the workshop descriptions at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide-Workshop-Descriptions# you will get a clear picture of what the conference and these amazing educators have to offer!

TO GO DIRECTLY TO REGISTRATION:  https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1726177 and please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov if you have any questions. I hope to see you on October 9!

  • 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

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

 

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