Maine Arts Assessment Institute – A Great Success!

What a Team!

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative has been launched!  Eighteen teacher leaders from around the State of Maine gathered at the Maine College of Art for four intensive days of professional development in arts assessment.  Workshops on Assessment, Leadership and Technology filled the days, along with building a team, rich conversations, and planning and strategizing our next steps.  These teachers will be presenting workshops (in visual art, drama, music and dance at the elementary, middle school and high school levels) at our October 7th Conference on the Arts at USM. Stay tuned for more details!  These same teachers will also be presenting workshops in regions all over the state.  What a team we have!  Rob Westerberg (Music Teacher at York High School) and I will be conducting webinars in the next few months on various topics on arts assessment.  Argy Nestor and I are joining a small team, headed out to Aroostook County on October 11  to meet with the region’s arts teachers.  This is so exciting, because it really will impact teaching and learning in the arts in our state!    —   Catherine

We’re Here!

Last August, Argy Nestor, Rob Westerberg and I attended the New England Arts Assessment Institute in NH and outlined our vision for Maine. A year of planning later, we launch the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative tomorrow with 18 teacher leaders and 4 days of professional development in Portland. We’ve got the support of our new Commissioner and the Dept of Ed… a massive milestone for us this week!!! Tomorrow, we begin~~~~

Arts: The Heart of Education

I just spent a wonderful day at the 2011 Positive Youth Development Institute where I presented  a workshop to educators, social directors, arts council directors and others, along with Argy Nestor, the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist from the Maine Department of Education.  The keynote speaker at this event was Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap.  Tony spoke eloquently about the seven survival skills the business world is saying they need from our students in the future:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination

This was the perfect introduction to our workshop on the Arts at the Heart of Education because these are exactly the skills that the arts inherently teach!  Research shows, without a doubt, that the arts have a positive effect on academic scores, on school climate and on student engagement.  Argy and I created a wiki for our presentation with lots of information, and research to back up these claims.  Did you know that the No Child Left Behind Act includes the arts as core academic subjects – on an equal level to mathematics, language arts, social studies and science?  It is, indeed, true.  Now it is up to us to ensure that the arts get their full recognition in classrooms across the country so that students get the best we have to offer in a rich, quality education.