The quote in the title comes from the poetic and inspiring presentation by dancer and MALI Teaching Artist, John Morris. It refers to the power of nurturing, in our students, creativity and collaborative creative problem solving.
This past Friday, I attended the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative’s (MALI) Biennial conference, The Measure of Success. The conference was attended by over 150 Visual and Performing Arts Educators from around the state. I was there as a MALI Teacher Leader, Leadership Team member and presenter. The conference was held in Northport, Maine at Point Look Out. The view was amazing!
The day started with all the attendees together for various presentations. The Camden Hills Regional High School Jazz Ensembles set the tone for the day.
Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education for The Maine Arts Commission and Beth Lambert, the new VPA Specialist at the Department of Education facilitated. The agenda included a celebration of various educators in attendance, the presentation of the Carol Trimble Award for Exemplary Service to Arts Education to Visual Arts Educator and MALI Teacher Leader, Charlie Johnson (Mount Desert Island High School) and a presentation by yours truly on SLAM! This presentation included a video of our students talking about why the arts are essential in education. (Unfortunately, I could not load that video here but photos of the presentation are included below) . It was wonderful to see the excitement generated by the sound of students’ voices!
I was quite surprised when, following this presentation, I was the next educator to be celebrated. My surprise went to shock when I saw they had asked a former student to come and speak about me.
Dorothy Rossignol, class of 2015, did a stellar job. Speaking in front of the entire conference, she was poised and graceful. Her words not only honored me but pointed to why the arts are essential in education. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude.
In the afternoon, fellow Visual Arts Teacher, Jane Snider (Hancock Grammar School) and myself co-presented on The Studio Habits of Mind. This presentation allowed us to share how we each use the Studio Habits of Mind in our classrooms in order to nurture growth in the arts. These domains, effect us in the art room and throughout our lives. They connect to the 21st Century Skills, the Maine Guiding Principles and include such concepts as, engage & persist, reflect, etc.
This professional development opportunity allowed me to not only celebrate the work my students and I are doing, it gave me an opportunity to learn from my fellow educators. I left (even more) proud to be an educator in Maine, and proud of the work Visual and Performing Arts educators are doing every day to ensure high quality education for our students. My day was full of wisdom and passion from all the educators I listened to, either during presentations or while engaged in conversation. I am truly grateful for the position I hold and proud to be part of such an amazing group of educators.
Thank you Joshua Bosse, Music Educator and MALI Teacher Leader for the photos!
For more details on the conference (or to keep up with what is happening with Arts Education in Maine) please visit Argy Nestor’s fabulous blog, MEARTSED!