Posts Tagged ‘teacher leaders’

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Tuneful Talk Tuesdays

March 29, 2020

Opportunity for PK-6 elementary music teachers

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders Danielle Collins, Catherine Newell, Cynthia Keating, Will Stecher, Dorie Trip, and Kaitlin Young are collaborating to offer a round table for PK-6 elementary classroom music educators. These 6 elementary music educators are aware that teachers are in different places in this transition due to the pandemic of the Coronavirus. They are hopeful that by combining their powers that they can work to problem solve some of the challenges everyone is facing and celebrate the successes that are happening each day!
You’re invited to join them for Tuneful Talk Tuesday’s at Two! March 31, 2:00, Zoom – CLICK THIS LINK. If you have questions please contact Kaitlin Young at kyoung@sedomocha.org.
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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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Lifelong Learning

November 13, 2019

Professional Development

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders at the music education conference in September 2019 with Denise Gagne. Front, LtoR Catherine Newell, Dorie Tripp, Back LtoR Kate Smith, Linda McVety, Pamela Kinsey, Denise, Will Stecher

Often educators get so caught up in the day to day challenges of teaching that they forget to take time to reflect on what is actually happening. Taking time for professional development, getting off your island, and seeking colleagues for collaborations is critical to feed your soul and positively impact the art of teaching!

TEACHERS NEED TEACHERS! Reaching out and connecting with someone can make all the difference for you personally and professionally. I believe if you don’t take care of yourself (personally AND professionally) it becomes more difficult to take care of your students.

Now that we’re about 6 weeks into the school year, take a minute and ponder these questions:

  1. How often have you searched for professional development opportunities that really challenged your thinking about teaching? There are opportunities if you search – some in state, some regional and national and there are opportunities on the international level.
  2. When was the last time you asked a colleague to give you feedback on a lesson or unit? It doesn’t matter if you’re new to teaching or if you’re a veteran, asking someone you trust to step into your classroom and give you feedback can provide a totally different perspective to your teaching. I know this is may be difficult for a variety of reasons but if you want to be successful and look back on many years of teaching with a smile please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone that you trust and respect. If you have no other teachers of the same discipline in your school or district, reach out to someone in a nearby district, the professional organization leadership or perhaps a college/university. (By the way, I’d be glad to help out).
  3. Have you ever seen yourself teach? Set up a video camera in your classroom so you can view it later on? Perhaps having someone visit is to much of a stretch at the moment. No problem, borrow a video camera, if you don’t have one, set it up on a tripod and take some footage of yourself that you can view later on in the comfort of your own home.
  4. What research or book on education have you read lately? Who are you following on social media? There are so many outstanding books and writers on education topics. If you need a recommendation on where to get started check out the blog post from June 2019 called Summer Reading. for suggestions. Or go to a professional organizations website and read what they’re suggesting. There are also amazing resources on the web including blogs, podcasts, and audio recordings of information that you can visit over and over. Follow someone on Twitter, Instagram or one of the other social media tools available.
  5. Do you have a curriculum that you’re actively using? Many educators are required to write a curriculum and it gets put on a shelf and not revisited until it’s time to write a new one. Is that you? I’m not suggesting for a moment that you use your curriculum for every lesson/unit but what I do suggest is asking yourself this – can you map your daily lessons to a curriculum? Is it aligned with standards? Do you have assessments in place that support what you’re teaching or your students learning? Can you answer these two questions – What am I teaching? and Why am I teaching it? If you can’t answer, I suggest that you take time and ask yourself: what do I want my students to know at the end of the school year or perhaps in 5 years or when they are adults? Good teaching and learning should drive your work!
  6. What are you doing to take care of yourself? Are you mindful of your mind, body, and spirit? This is probably the most important one and it is the one that has taken me years to integrate into my daily living practices. We are fortunate to teach the arts because many of us went into teaching for two reasons – one is we want to teach and the other is we want to be an artist. So, what is your discipline and what are you doing to focus on that personally? I have made a practice of painting every day I can for a few minutes. If there is time that few minutes turns into an hour. I get lost in my art making. When I have more time I am making mosaics. Talk about getting lost in art making. I have no idea how the day disappears. If you’re a parent I realize taking time to make art on top of being a teacher and a parent there is no time left for art making or you. Please know it took me many years of parenting and teaching to get to this point. My suggestion? Start small – 5 minutes of meditation, yoga, writing and/or reading poetry, playing an instrument, moving in a mindful way or whatever way works for you. PLEASE take care of yourself!

it’s all about being a life-long learning! What are you doing to expand and build on your thinking? And, what you doing to take care of yourself? Please share your ideas at the bottom of this blog post.

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What Does Standards Based Education Look Like?

November 11, 2019

Frequently asked question

Jen Etter

I am often asked: What does standards based education or proficiency based education look like in the visual or performing arts classroom? A handful of years ago the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) took on that question and answered it by creating a series of videos of arts teachers in their classrooms teaching. Over a two year period Debi Lynn Baker and I visited these schools to gather footage that Debi than created into short videos to provide resources

Brian McPherson

Brian McPherson

for the field.

I am grateful to the following MALI leaders who let us in to their classrooms and school world and shared the work they were doing everyday. Lisa Ingraham, Brian McPherson, Andrea Wollstadt, Jane Snider, Jen Etter, Charlie Johnson, and Rob Westerberg. I hope you’ll find them inspirational and thought provoking. All videos are located on the Maine Arts Assessment website.

Andrea Wollstadt

Even though practices change these life-long learners will provide you something to use for food for thought and perhaps inspire you to consider the teaching and learning practices in your classrooms.

Elementary School Visual Art – Lisa Ingraham, Madison Elementary School

Elementary School Visual Art – Brian McPherson, Woodside Elementary School, Topsham

Jane Snider

Jane Snider

Elementary School Music – Andrea Wollstadt, John F. Kennedy Memorial School, Biddeford

Middle School Visual Art – Jane Snider, Hancock Grammar School

Middle School Music – Jen Etter, York Middle School

Andrea Wollstadt

High School Visual Art – Charlie Johnson, Mount Desert Island High School

High School Music – Rob Westerberg, York High School

 

 

Charlie Johnson

Rob Westerberg

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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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