Posts Tagged ‘vpa’



August 9, 2015

Name Change

On February 28, 2015 the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leaders met and decided that it was time to consider a change – a change in the title of the initiative AND the mission. It was time because MAAI, since its inception has been committed to meeting the needs of visual and performing arts teachers and education.

The participants that day brainstormed ideas and titles and at the summer MAAI institute on August 3 at USM the new title and mission were unveiled. MAAI is now MALI – from the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative.

The Mission:

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 10.23.17 AMMALI is committed to providing opportunities for visual and performing arts educators to build and expand on their knowledge and skills in teaching, learning, and assessment. In addition, MALI will continue to intentionally recognize the potential in teachers as leaders and provide ways for educators to find their voices and spaces at the table.

Thank you to the MAAI/MALI Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team who helped navigate to the new title and mission for this valuable Maine Arts Commission program.


“Stuff” Happens

February 10, 2015

What’s happening

photoSometimes “stuff” happens that I didn’t see coming which cause me to pause. Yesterday that happened when I noticed a man standing on the roof outside of my office window. I wondered about the angle of the roof and his safety. I thought about how much snow had accumulated on the small angled roof as he shoveled while snow continued to land on his head and shoulders. As he went about his work, my work was stopped. I couldn’t help but smile at the snow and also think ahead to the next season(s).

Also, yesterday I was forced to pause and reflect on some of the highlights of the research that the Maine Arts Commission has underway. As many of you know during the last several months the Maine Arts Commission has been surveying Maine citizen groups to create a Maine Arts and Culture plan. One of our surveys was just for visual and performing arts teachers and 284, representing PreK-12 evenly, completed it – THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

This is one of those times that I am pausing to consider the feedback from arts educators who took the time to complete the survey to help determine the direction of Maine Arts Education. I thing the following pieces of information learning from the survey might be of interest.

  • The majority have taught for more than 10 years with 72 teaching 10 years or less
  • Almost everyone has heard of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and over 100 have utilized the resources that MAAI provides
  • Almost 150 have participated in professional development opportunities that MAAI has provided
  • On a scale of 1-7, 117 said that they are somewhat to highly prepared to teach in the proficiency-based education system

The following are quotes from two participant answering the question: How has what you’ve learned from MAAI affected their teaching and/or assessment practices?

It’s made me narrow better what I’m teaching and want my students to learn. I’ve been more collaborative with other teaching professionals. It has also reminded me what my personal professional beliefs are valid in holding students to higher standards and working them towards that common goal.

These experiences have made my teaching even more student -centered, which is a direction all Maine schools should be headed.

As you consider participating in the MAAI please know that we have Mega-regional workshops being offered throughout the state during the next three months. Details, descriptions, and registration can be found by clicking here

tableAt the end of the day, as the light was dimming and I was leaving the office, I pulled out my ipad and took photos of the picnic table near the back door of the Maine Arts Commission. As my colleague said earlier in the day, it looks like a dessert. The State House loomed up in the background and I was reminded of the importance of stopping to reflect about how fortunate I am, even on challenging days!




New England Summit on Arts Education

January 21, 2014


Screen shot 2014-01-21 at 5.26.49 AMPhase 4 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) will include extended professional development. More information will be available at as it becomes available. You’re invited to attend….

New England Summit on Arts Education

July 29, 30, 31, August 1, 2014

USM, Portland

$300 for 3 days, day 4 is optional for those interested in being a teacher leader for additional cost

Cost includes access to arts education learning, continental breakfast, lunch & snacks

Contact hours, CEUs, or Graduate credit available

The New England Summit on Arts Education will provide an outstanding opportunity for educators to dig deep into teaching, learning, and assessment in arts education. Please join educators from Maine and beyond for this fabulous 3-day professional development opportunity.

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) was established in 2011 and has been responding to the needs of arts education ever since. The overall focus of the MAAI has been to create an environment in Maine where assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to improve teaching and learning, and student achievement in the arts.

MAAI has provided professional development during the last three summers to Maine arts educators who wish to take on a leadership role and create a workshop to present to arts teachers across the state. The initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of arts assessment and finding the balance of formative and summative assessment, so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities.

During the next phase of the MAAI the goals will expand in response to teacher feedback and is offering a 3 or 4-day summit. The summit is designed to meet the needs of teachers and the workshops will be on such important topics as proficiency, standards-based, student-centered, leadership, advocacy, creativity, 21st century skills and much more.

There will be multiple opportunities for networking as we broaden our knowledge in arts education. The Summit is a perfect opportunity for those who want to learn the core principles or advance further into the Arts Assessment field.

Participants will be able to choose one of three strands based on experience.

Strand # 1 – Developing Teacher Leader                                                                             This strand is designed primarily for teachers (teaching artists or arts educators) who have not already been involved in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and would like more of a foundation in arts assessment, and connections with teaching and learning.                            This strand is also for teachers in Maine who would like to become a Teacher Leader for the MAAI. The 4th day is required to become a Teacher Leader.

Strand 1 is open to any participant (from Maine or beyond).

Strand #2 – Arts Assessment Team.                                                                                                 This strand is designed for a team to arrive with ideas that will be developed into an arts education plan to be implemented when returning to school/district. The work accomplished during the summit could be similar to Strand #1 or #3 but will be customized to the team’s needs, individualizing your team plan. Consider possibilities when forming your team. K-12 district VPA teachers, classroom teacher, an administrator, a teaching artist, community cultural organization or institute member, parent, and/or school board member.

Strand 2 is open to any team (from Maine and other states, at least 2 participants per team)

Strand # 3 – Arts Assessment in Practice Strand.                                                            This strand is designed for the individual who is ready to dig deeper into arts assessment, and connections with teaching and learning. Benchmarking, proficiency, fine tuning that perfect lesson or unit, networking with others who are in a similar place.

Strand 3 is open to anyone returning as a Teacher Leader, graduates of arts assessment courses, and anyone who feels they are ready to dig deeper into arts assessment.

Comments from Maine Arts Assessment Summer Institute participants:

  • The relationships I have developed has changed my life forever for the good and the ripple will go on for years to come!  I loved the activity about a collaborative community and glancing upon that poster throughout the time period and I will use that for my own classroom.
  • Thanks for all the hard work that was put into the planning and developing this year’s institute! I love what we do!! I am so pleased to be a part of this!!
  • Thank you for setting up this opportunity for me to really think about how I teach, and how I can expand my practice so my students can have a deeper understanding and appreciation for what they learn in the art program.

Comment about the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative from a Teacher Leader:

  • There are not enough words to describe how appreciate I am of this initiative.  It has made me a better teacher and has made a difference in my students art education.

Calling All Arts Teacher Leaders

May 1, 2013

Professional Development Opportunity

Screen shot 2013-04-30 at 10.45.24 AMAre you interested in leading phase III of the Maine Arts Education Assessment Initiative as a teacher leader?

Regional VPA Assessment Leader Search

Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Department of Education invites YOU to be part of Phase III of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. We are looking for teachers interested in leading and in taking a close look at assessment in the arts. If you are selected, we will provide professional development and ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other educators in your region and beyond.

If interested, please send a completed application to Argy Nestor at no later than Monday, May 13, 2013. Download an application by clicking here:


August 2011 – Phase 1


Create an environment in Maine where assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to improve student achievement in the arts.

The initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of arts assessment so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. The details of the initiative are at


Devise a statewide plan for assessment in arts education, which includes professional development opportunities, regionally and statewide, to expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to improve teaching and learning.

  • Develop and implement standards-based assessment statewide for Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)
  • Continuation of building a team representing all regions of Maine
  • Maine conference to roll out/educate arts teachers on use and development of local assessments and the National Core Arts Standards
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities

October 2011-Statewide conference


  • Phase I
    • Summer 2011: Eighteen teacher leaders attended summer institute on assessment, leadership, and technology
  • 2011-12 School Year
    • October: Teacher leaders presented workshops at statewide arts education conference, USM
    • Arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived
    • Teacher leaders facilitated workshops in regions across Maine
    • February: Reflected on phase I of work and planned phase II
    • Another Arts Teacher’s Story series (19) on Maine Arts Ed blog
    • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for Teacher Education

    October 2012-Northport

  • Phase II
    • Summer 2012: Summer institute with 35 teacher leaders on assessment, leadership, technology, and creativity
  • 2012-13 School Year
    • October: Teacher leaders presented workshops for each other
    • Teacher leaders facilitated workshops in regions across Maine
    • Teacher leaders facilitated 4 workshops at mega-regional workshops at UMF, USM, Easton Schools, Ellsworth High School
    • February: Reflected on phase II of work and planned phase III
    • April: 25 arts educators participated in professional development on Understanding and Implementing Quality Arts Assessment
    • Another Arts Teacher’s Story series on Maine Arts Ed blog
    • Video stories of 4 teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards based arts education classroom
    • Depository work launched providing resources for arts educators
    • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for Teacher Education

    February 2012-Bangor

  • Phase III
    •  June 25, 26, 27: Summer institute
    • August 13: Teacher Leaders present workshops for each other
    • October 24: Teacher leaders present workshops at statewide arts education conference Arts Education: Leading the Way, Collins Center for the Arts, UMaine
    • Regional and Mega-regional workshops throughout Maine
    • Another Arts Teacher’s Story series on Maine Arts Ed blog
    • Video stories of standards based arts education classroom
    • Continuing Depository work aligning with National Core Arts Standards
    • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for Teacher Education

    April 2013-Augusta

Phase I Teacher Leaders who have done a fabulous job starting Maine off with the assessment initiative:

  • DANCE EDUCATOR –  MaryEllen Schaper
    • ALLYSA ANDERSON – Camden Rockport Middle School, grades 5-8
    • WILLIAM BUZZA – Leavitt Area High School, grades 9-12
    • JEN NASH – Etna-Dixmont, grades PK-8
    • MATTHEW DOIRON, Sanford High School, Sanford, grades 9-12
    • DEB LARGE, Hall-Dale High School, grades 6-12
    • JAKE STURTEVANT, Bonny Eagle High School, grades 9-12
    • ALICE SULLIVAN, Woodland/Princeton, grades K-12
    • SHARI TARLETON, Brunswick Junior High School, grades 6-8


    • SHANNON CAMPBELL, Vinalhaven School, grades K-12
    • LAURA DEVIN, Woolwich Central School, grades K-8
    • JENNIE DRISCOLL, Brunswick High School, grades 9-12
    • AUDREY GRUMBLING, Mildred L. Day School, grades K-8
    • CHARLIE JOHNSON, Mount Desert Island High School, grades 9-12
    • LISA MARIN, Jonesport-Beals High School, grades 9-12
    • LEAH OLSON, Hampden Academy, grades 9-12
    • JEFFREY ORTH, Richmond Middle/High School, grades 6-12
    • SHALIMAR POULIN, Gardiner High School, grades 9-12


    • REBECCA WRIGHT, Ellsworth High School, grades 9-12

Phase II Teacher Leaders who continued the fabulous work along with most of the teacher leaders from the first phase who continued:


  • CARMEL COLLINS, Lake Region High School


  • ANDREA WOLLSTADT – Biddeford Intermediate School, grades 4 and 5, John F. Kennedy School, grade K
  • ANDRIA CHASE – Corinth Schools, grades 4-12
  • ASHLEY SMITH – Brunswick High School, grades 9-12
  • BONNIE ATKINSON – Machias School District, grades K-5
  • DREW ALBERT – Maranacook School District, grades 5-12
  • JANE KIRTON – Sanford High School, grades 9-12
  • JARIKA OLBERG – Waynflete School, grades 4-12
  • MARI-JO HEDMAN – Ft. Fairfield Schools, grades K-12
  • SARAH WILLIAMS – Glenburn School, grades 2-8


  • BARB WEED – Gray-New Gloucester Middle School, grades 6-8
  • DANETTE KERRIGAN – Sacoppee Valley Middle School, grades 6-8
  • GLORIA HEWETT – Mount View Middle School, grades 6-8
  • LEONE DONOVAN – Messalonskee High School, grades 9-12
  • PAM OUELLETTE – Lisbon High School, grades 9-12
  • SAMANTHA DAVIS – Sumner Memorial High School, grades 9-12
  • SUSAN BEAULIER – Ashland Schools, grades K-12
  • SUZANNE SOUTHWORTH – Camden Hills Regional High School, grades 9-12

Arts Assessment Webinar: What We’ve Learned

April 2, 2012

Sharing the lessons learned over the last year and a half…

April 4, 2012

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was launched in the Summer of 2010 as a first-in-the-nation state effort to bring best practices in arts education to the forefront by developing and refining assessment strategies at the grass roots level. The stories of the journey are numerous, and lessons learned along the way are many. These have deep ramifications not only for the Initiative as it moves forward, but for anyone associated with arts education in Maine: parents, students, teachers and administrators. Join Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg on their webinar on Wednesday, April 4 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm as they unpack these lessons learned.

Drawing from recent data; feedback from over two hundred professionals in the field, feedback from the Fall Conference, Regional Workshops and prior MAAI webinars, Catherine and Rob have organized this presentation into an informing set of common themes. With guest presenter Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine DOE, they will attempt to make sense of it all in a way that can help focus and direct future work for all of Arts education in Maine and beyond. Participants will be instructed to provide live, real time feedback as the webinar unfolds, and everyone’s voice is encouraged to be heard! Active MAAI educator or first time participant,  single listener or in a group, as an educator, parent, administrator or student, this is THE webinar that you will want to be sure to put on your calendar and attend!

To join the meeting:

Go online to

Type your name in the field labeled “Enter as Guest”

Dial in access: 1-866-910-4857 – Passcode 140893


Sooooooo Many Celebrations!!

March 16, 2012

I LOVE March!

I know many people dread March but I’ve ALWAYS LOVED it. I know it is because, as an arts educator, there is so much to celebrate this month. With Music In Our Schools Month, Youth Art Month, and Theatre In Our Schools Month, anyone who is an arts teacher can find the silver lining in March – the month that is not really winter, nor spring, just in between.

It is a wonderful month to celebrate and during the last week I have attended a variety of celebrations. Starting on Saturday with the state Youth Art Month opening at the Portland Museum of Art, on Monday in Presque Isle at the mall for the Aroostook County art exhibit, yesterday at the Blaine House for the Celebration of Arts Education, and tonight in RSU#40, my home district, for their once every four years Arts Celebration.

From the actors on the stage, to the musicians in the band, the classes of singers, the art work covering the walls; students, parents, grandparents, and educators had much to smile about. It’s an event that brings the community together.

The event was dedicated to former colleague Anne Kofler, elementary art teacher, who retired almost two years ago after teaching in Friendship, Washington, and Union for 21 years. We collaborated often bringing together her elementary students with my middle school students in Union. We worked with our students to transform the elementary and middle schools (located upstairs and downstairs). Everyone’s artwork was important and played an integral and necessary part of the collaborative outcome. And we had FUN!

Anne and I giving Christo and Jean-Claude a book of our student collaboration.

Anne and I giving Christo and Jean-Claude a book of our student collaboration.

As I walked through the exhibit tonight and saw former students who were there with their own children I thought of how fortunate we are to be arts educators.

When students have the opportunity to exhibit and perform, Visual and Performing Arts Educators:

  • bring people together
  • celebrate students
  • bring out the best in students
  • provide the stage and the wall space to show accomplishments
  • push students to the edge
  • challenge creativity and imagination
  • create the forum to show accomplishments
  • use curriculum, instruction, and assessment seamlessly
  • provide a public space to show the standards are being met

During this month, I hope you are getting many YAHOOOOOOOOOs for the work you do providing the above and much more to all students! And, if you are not celebrating your students and colleagues accomplishments, well, we’re only half way through the month, there is still time! Take the time to SHOUT about arts education!

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