Arts Teachers Lead the Way

Arts Teachers

 Did you know that when arts teachers teach students to create, they are bringing out the highest order thinking skills?  Did you know  that the New Bloom’s Taxonomy has CREATE at the very top?  As part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, which was held at the Maine College of Art in Portland, I  just spent a week with 35 fabulous music, drama, dance and visual art teachers from Fort Fairfield to Sanford, who collaborated with each other on improving teaching and learning in their classrooms.  There were sessions on Assessment, Technology, Leadership, Creativity, presentations on how the arts may be impacted by the Common Core and the National Core Arts Standards.  This has been a very inspiring week!

Catherine at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

I just spent 4 days at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, Colorado, where Argy Nestor and I presented at the national Arts Assessment Conference.  What a whirlwind of meeting great people, attending informative presentations, eating wonderful food, and making new connections.  Argy and I presented on the incredible work being done in Maine by its Art, Music, Drama and Dance teachers through the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.  In this picture, I’m headed home to prepare for a four-day Institute for these teacher leaders, which is taking place in Portland at the Maine College of Art (MECA), starting Monday, July 30.

Arts Education is a mission.  Let’s not underestimate how powerful and necessary it is for our kids.   Stay tuned for an update from Portland!

New England Institute Goes to Aroostook County

Two simultaneous courses were offered to an enthusiastic group of teachers hailing from Madawaska to Presque Isle to Dyer Brook and Hodgdon.  Stephen York and Dr. Jenn Page taught Integrating Common Core Standards into the K-12 Classroom and Catherine Ring taught Refining Assessment in the Visual Art Classroom.  Both classes met on the final day together for lunch.  Enjoy the photos and captions!

Exciting Summer Courses Coming Up!


These are teacher-friendly, inquiry-based courses. They are excellent for teachers, specialists, educational technicians, administrators, or parents and adults interested in improving their own education. All of our courses are taught by faculty instructors who are leaders in their fields. We would like to invite you to join us. Please register while there is still room!

Visual Art Educators meet to take assessment in their classrooms to a new level!

Upcoming courses include:

Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (K-12)

Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Educating Students with ADD/ADHD (K-12)

Teaching the Exceptional Child in the Regular Classroom

Managing Classroom Behavior

AND MORE! (See our full course listing.)

We are able to offer you courses at significantly below tuition rates at state universities! All of our courses have been approved by the Maine Department of Education and are granted credit through our partnership with Endicott College.

Please contact us for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Courses coming to Aroostook County!

The New England Institute for Teacher Education is proud to be bringing graduate level courses to Presque Isle this summer, including Assessment Practices in the K-12 Visual Art Classroom and Integrating the Common Core Standards into the Classroom (K-12). It’s not too late to register!! These courses are both being held from Monday, July 9th through Thursday, July 12.

Catherine Ring will be teaching the visual art course. Catherine is on the Leadership Team with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. Stephen York and Dr. Jennifer Page will be teaching the Common Core Standards course.

Are you prepared to integrate the Common Core Standards into your classroom? Are you interested in taking your assessment practices to a deeper level? Working with a cohort of colleagues who share best practices and resources is stimulating and fun.  Deep discussions around how to assess, benchmark, and align to standards are helping to improve learning in the classroom.  Graduate courses made available in other parts of the state have met with great success.  Join Catherine, Stephen, and Jennifer in Presque Isle this month! Please register with the New England Institute to join us.

Education Commissioner Interview

Steve Bowen, Maine Education Commissioner

Join Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring on Wednesday, May 23rd from 3:30-4:30 pm for their final webinar, “Back to the Future: Arts Teachers Lead the Way”. They will be culminating this series of webinars on Arts Assessment, a component of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s Phase I, with an interview with DOE Commissioner Steve Bowen.

Since LD 1422 (which will impact Maine’s high school graduation requirements) is about to become law, and Maine has adopted a Strategic Plan “Evolving Education: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First” to improve teaching and learning across the state, Rob and Catherine will ask the Commissioner to talk about the key components of the Plan, and about the impact it will have on arts educators in particular. Argy Nestor will also be joining the discussion.

“We think you will find that many of the components of Maine’s Strategic Plan are already underway with arts educators across the State,” said Catherine. “In fact, the goals the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative has established dovetail beautifully with the State’s plan, and the Initiative’s goals are designed by arts educators themselves.”

Come and find out what the Strategic Plan is all about, and you’ll be able to connect the dots to the many accomplishments in the past year by the teacher leaders in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.  This model is being looked at carefully, and replicated by other content area efforts. You will also learn what’s in store for Phase II of the Initiative, as plans have begun, in earnest.  Arts teachers are, indeed, leading the way.

To join the meeting:


Summer Course Listings!



Please check out our new Summer Course Listings. You will find new courses, new locations and new faculty, along with some of your favorites.  And, you may be seeing our new Ad in various publications.  Here’s a sneak preview.






Thanks to educator Jean Gorman and faculty instructor, Rob Westerberg for use of their photos!

New Course on The Common Core

Stephen York, Academic Dean

Dr. Jennifer Page



The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are coming to Maine and into your classroom but do you feel prepared to actually implement them?  Even though the CCSS are intended to be a progression of learning for our students, teachers are largely left to bridge the gap between our current standards and the CCSS on their own.

The goal of this class is to help you understand how the Common Core compares to our current State standards and help you integrate the Common Core into your existing lessons.  We will explore the “why”, “what”, and “how” of the CCSS to see what it can really look like in a classroom setting.  We will help you examine how your current assessments and curriculum/instructional materials align with the expectations from the CCSS. The course will be project based and emphasis will be placed on helping you adapt your current materials to fit the CCSS guidelines so you can effectively implement the Common Core in your classroom.

Dr. Jennifer Page and Stephen York, Academic Dean, will be team-teaching this course in Aroostook County in July and the course will be offered in other places around Maine.  For information on the course, or to register, click here.

Encountering Children’s Literature through the Arts

Mandy Rogers presenting her 3rd Graders' Biography Project

Do You have a Quality Library in your Classroom?


Megan Skilling Presents Readers' Theater in the First Grade!

Elementary teachers, librarians and music teacher create art to teach literacy!

In Their Own Words: Teachers Describe our Recent Class

Teachers Learn about Assessment Practices in the Visual Arts

Visual Art Teachers: Christine Del Rossi, Brian McPherson, and Kathleen Hartley


Visual Art Teachers from Medomak Middle School, Mt. Ararat Middle School, Bangor High, Sumner Memorial High, Woodside Elementary, and Falmouth High School convened for an intensive weekend course on Assessment last weekend.  We had rich discussions about why high quality assessment practices improve teaching and learning.  Looking at student art work, sharing resources, and eating together were all important parts of the course.  Did I say “eating” together?  Yes – we had a communal dinner on Friday night and lunch on Saturday.  What do you think this eclectic group of educators did during their time to relax?  They talked.  Non-stop.  About Art, Education, Kids and the best ways to teach them.  Oh.  And we ate great food, too!

Samantha Davis, Libbie Winslow and Nancy Durst

You might think this is an unusual bunch of passionate teachers.  And they are definitely passionate!  But unusual?  Not really.  We’ve found that most educators who take our courses are passionate about what they do, and that carries over into their extended lives.  Hence, the collaboration that ensues in between course sessions (there are only two weekends that we meet in person) happens on a regular basis.  Technology can be wonderful for helping teachers in geographically distant places in Maine connect with each other.  Interactive wikis make it easy to communicate and to share resources with each other!  Sharing best practices, strategies, ideas and resources is easier than ever, and teachers are very generous in doing so, and in encouraging each other.  Now those ingredients make a great recipe for superb teaching and learning.  So how do you assess that?  You don’t.  It’s priceless.