Leaning In With the Arts

Whatever your role is in arts education, the challenges of the world and today’s issues are seeping into our work (and even our play), much more than they did even a year ago or five years ago. Each day educators interact with young people facing challenges like food insecurity, immigration, and deportation issues, social or emotional health, fear of school shootings, sexual and gender orientation, just to name a few. In addition, teachers are challenged with standards, assessments, student behaviors, media literacy, school climate, student engagement, and much more. Many of these topics are intertwined. The issues weigh on our minds. I am hopeful that the arts will help us not only get through this difficult period but make us stronger!

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative: Quality Arts Education for All Learners by Focusing on Educators Learning

I am exhausted after last week and thrilled about the accomplishments that happened at the seventh Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute. Almost 70 teaching artists and pre-K through grade 12 visual and performing arts teachers spent three intense days in a collaborative learning environment. I am proud of these educators who challenged themselves on the topics of teaching, learning, and assessment. I am again reminded of the value of bringing arts educators together to form a community and delivering meaningful professional development!

Maine’s Statewide Census in Arts Education

An amazing collaboration in the state of Maine occurred when the Maine Arts Commission enlisted Noel Paul Stookey (the famed singer-songwriter) of Peter, Paul, and Mary to champion the statewide arts education census. The year-long effort achieved a stunning 95% response rate—making it the highest voluntary response rate on record nationally for a survey of this type. Responding principals noted that an important outcome of the census would be to advocate for assessment polices for arts education in order to gather Maine-centric, rather than national, data points that demonstrate the impact of arts education on student performance.

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