Posts Tagged ‘Terra Cotta Butternut Squash Pasta’


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Rob Westerberg

March 20, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the first in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read their stories and to learn from others. The first one is featuring Rob Westerberg who is one of the recipients of the first presented Carol Trimble Award for outstanding contributions to arts education. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact Rob at and/or put your comments at the bottom of the post. Please let me know if this series “Another Arts teachers’ story” will be helpful to you by emailing me at

All-State conference, UMaine, 2010

All-State conference, UMaine, 2010

Rob Westerberg is a High School Choral & General Music teacher who has taught for 24 years, the last 12 at York High School. He averages between 175 and 250 students per year covering several choirs, Vocal Auditions Class, Music History & Music Theory I and II. He is well respected by colleagues in New England for his enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in arts education! He has been a member of the Leadership Team for the Maine Arts Assesment Initiative and a member of the three person team who created the plan for the initiative.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Waking up every day and being excited about going to work. Really!

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

1) getting the school and community to “unlearn the irrelevant” about the arts, 2) establishing the arts as “essential” ACADEMIC instruction, 3) building connections with other arts educators outside of your district to invigorate and reinforce your work.

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

They show the concrete parallels to assessment in other academic areas (reinforcing and demonstrating our academic status), they focus and enhance student achievement, and they help me to continuously evaluate and revise my curriculum and instructional practices.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

I have grown more in the last two years as a professional than the previous ten combined. Every interaction I’ve had with others as a component of the Initiative has driven me to want to be better at what I do, and has provided a foundation on which to build my assessment practices in ways I always wanted to but could never fully wrap my arms around.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Establishing a graduation requirement specifically for music (performing arts) and specifically for art (visual arts) at two of the three schools I have taught at. 100% of our graduates display genuine proficiency in the fundamental MLR standards of both subject areas through rigorous coursework, truly fulfilling a global vision of arts education for all.

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

“Getting SO wrapped up in working through, over or under the various brick walls that always seem to be standing in front of me (in front of ALL of us!!!) that I easily forget how much I love teaching to begin with… and not drawing from that reservoir of passion and excitement more often.”

Apple or PC?


What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

The music resources that we have access to at YHS can often be perceived as being due to being in a “wealthy” community. 75% of those resources (which does not include a functional auditorium) were not around 12 years ago and had to be fought for tooth and nail. We can empathize with anyone’s battle of having to fight for more resources in the arts.

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

Connect with other arts educators CONSTANTLY… in your 1st year or 41st year, all the best ideas for building and developing your program are already out there, and it’s your colleagues who have those ideas ready to share with you! Go get them!!!!

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

I’d pay off my mortgage and then live off of the rest so I could just spend every single day of every single school year visiting arts educators across northern New England and working with them on curriculum and assessment development for their own programs I’d also buy an awful lot of Terra Cotta Butternut Squash Pasta

York High School music programs webpage:

%d bloggers like this: