- Griffin Vulture, Anna Labbe, Grade 10, Freeport High School
- Abstract Ocean Life, Elizabeth Young, Grade 9, Freeport High School
- Duck at Dawn, Bennett Hight, Grade 12, Freeport High School
- Fallen Leaves, Zoe Fox, Grade 12, Freeport High School
- Lights of the City, Griffin Agnese, Grade 11, Freeport High School
- House Barn, Julian Lindholm Fiske, Grade 12, George Stevens Academy
- Beneath the Surface, Corinne Ahearn, Grade 9, Greely High School
- Eel Life, Maddie Hall, Grade 8, Greely Middle School
- Knot a View, Alexis Merchant, Grade 10, Jonesport-Beals High School
- Seeing Through, Emily Segal, Grade 7, Lincoln Middle School
- Dandelion, Ana Rogers, Grade 9, Mount Desert Island HS
- Scraffito, Erin Corcoran, Grade 8, Oceanside Middle School
- Dream, Zabina Zimmerman, Grade 1, Pond Cove Elementary School
- Bikes, Megan Gordon, Grade 11, Camden Hills Regional High School
- Children’s Space, Corilie Green, Grade 10, Freeport High School
- Wolf, Grace Neal, Grade 11, George Stevens Academy
- Hummingbird, Toni MacDonald, Grade 12, Houlton Middle/High School
- Moose, Blair Tweed, Grade 11, Wells High School
- Lost and Forgotten, Samuel Livingston, Grade 12, Wells High School
- Umbrella, Lauren Dow, Grade 10, Wells High School
An important opportunity exists right now for us to have a major impact on arts education in Maine schools. The Maine Department of Education is calling for public comment, via email, on the state plan required under the new ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) legislation. Unlike its predecessor, NCLB (No Child Left Behind), ESSA requires states to choose at least one measure of school quality or success besides math and English language proficiency, graduation rates, and English language learning. Measures or indicators of school quality are extremely important as they are the basis for school accountability systems, which drive district priorities around funding, program choices and course offerings.
There are at least three states (CT, KY and NJ), that Maine can look to who have already chosen to include access to, or participation in arts education as one of their accountability measures. It is crucial that during the public comment period, which ends on March 30th, we advocate that an additional measure of school quality in arts education be added to Maine’s plan!
The strength of our advocacy during the public comment period will make a difference. We need as many of you as possible to send emails by March 30th to ESSA.firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails can be sent by everyone – educators, parents, students and members of the community. You don’t have to be directly involved in arts education in order to advocate for it. Advocacy from those outside the field who nevertheless believe that arts education is important for good education is just as persuasive!
Here is a template to guide you in composing your emails. The more you can personalize this the better, but the main thing is to send in an email (and if you copy and paste, make sure you delete the instructions in the template!)
Dear Members of the Department of Education,
I am …………………(describe who you are and where you live/work/attend school.) I strongly suggest that access to or participation in arts education as a measure of school quality be added to the accountability system in Maine’s ESSA state plan. Arts education is vital to good education. (Give your reasons… these can include your own experiences with arts education, and/or arguments shown by research such as arts education’s positive impact on the following):
* Problem solving and critical thinking,
* Development of skills in non-arts academic content areas
* Development of sustained attention, motivation, independent work habits and persistence
* Engaging all students – including those with special needs, low-socio-economic backgrounds, and English language learners
* Improving school climate and culture
We know that school districts have to make priority decisions around limited funding, and often order these priorities based on what they are held accountable for. I urge you to add access to or participation in arts education to Maine’s accountability plan, so that more Maine schools can take advantage of the many benefits that arts education offers.
Please help to spread the word by forwarding this email to as many people as you can. This is an opportunity to make a big difference and we can do this!
Arts Education Advocacy Day 2017 was a special day… when arts educators brought enthusiastic arts students from every county in the state to set up shop at the exhibit tables in the Hall of Flags and advocate one-on-one with their legislators.
And that was just the beginning! From SAD #33 in northern Aroostook County Charles Michaud’s music students came to provide music, and Theresa Cerceo’s Student Leadership Arts Movement (SLAM!) group demonstrated their strategies for keeping the arts front and center.
A “table-hopping” game of mutual interviews gave the students an excuse to meet each other, and the hall’s grand staircase once again provided the site for a group photo behind the ARRT banner. It also provided the audience space for our new-this-year Open Mic, organized by Maranacook HS art student (and stand-up comic!) Gavin Diou Cass.
Each of those performances was special… students reading their poems, singing and accompanying themselves to songs they had written… and who can forget Mikayla Smith’s impassioned speech about arts education!
At the formal noontime program Acting Commissioner Robert G. Hasson welcomed everyone on behalf of the Department of Education, advocate Mary Hermon urged the students to stay with their arts – and to stay in Maine!… and Argy Nestor read a speech from Julie Richard, director of the Maine Arts Commission. And there were more performances: Emma Campbell’s dance students from Thornton Academy performed (beautifully) a piece with some difficult and lyrical partnering; and we were all so moved by the group of formerly incarcerated youth from Maine Inside Out, whose original theater performance and heartfelt words afterward showed how much power the arts have to transform young lives.
This is an important time for arts education advocacy in Maine. Not only will we soon be learning the results of the Census of arts education in Maine schools, conducted by the Maine Arts Commission; but the ESSA federal regulations requiring a state plan this year and district plans next year are offering arts education advocates important opportunities to make their voices heard. Susan Potters urged everyone gathered at the Statehouse to stay tuned to be part of that advocacy, and encouraged all to visit MAAE’s website, www.maineartsed.org and click on “stay in the loop” in order to receive announcements about it.
MAAE is inviting arts educators and community arts program organizers to help us recruit enthusiastic arts students from each state legislative district to come to Advocacy Day 2017 at the Statehouse in Augusta on Wednesday, March 8th. The students (limit two per legislative district) will be matched with their state legislator, and will have an opportunity to talk with them one-on-one about why the arts mean so much to them. The students can be any age. Arts teachers, community arts program organizers and parents transporting the students are welcome as well. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be over by 1 pm. Lunch will be provided.
To find out more, contact Susan Potters MAAE director at email@example.com. For a report and photos of this past year’s advocacy day, scroll down (past “BCTA Program Comes to Augusta”).
A big Thanks! to Deb Bickford, president of the MAEA, her Westbrook HS colleague Matt Johnson and their National Art Honor Society students Abby St. Clair, Jenessa Corbett and President Trina Sayed. All five have been hard at work designing and creating the 16 county signs that will be up on 8-foot posts behind each table at the Hall of Flags on March 24th.
Trina Sayed, 2016 Westbrook High School NAHS President
The beautiful signs show each county’s distinctive shape enlarged against a handpainted background, and also its place within the shape of the state.
The county by county organization of the tables at this year’s Advocacy Day is only one part of MAAE’s focus on arts education for students in the whole state. The length and breadth of the state will also be represented by student lobbyists coming to speak one-on-one with their legislators from every county, and in some cases from every house and senate district in that county. If you haven’t yet registered, join us, and if you’re an arts teacher let us know about a student who might want to attend! The form for registering your interest is http://eepurl.com/bLE54n
The student lobbying begins at 9:30 am. Our program of speakers and student performances in the Hall of Flags will take place between noon and 1 pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
For more information contact Susan Potters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for MAAE Arts Education Advocacy Day, Thursday, March 24th, is now open! And attending yourself is only one of the ways you can register your interest and support.
In this year of increased statewide attention to arts education generated by the Arts Commission’s Census of arts ed in all Maine schools, MAAE’s Advocacy Day will be sending a message to all of the state’s legislators that every Maine student deserves access to quality arts education at school. Our lobbying at the Statehouse in Augusta this year will be a full court press! We’re inviting our best advocates… young people… to come to Augusta from every senate and house district in the state…..first to tell their legislators how the arts have been important to them in one-on-one lobbying outside the senate and house chambers between 9:30 and 11 a.m. then to invite their legislators to come downstairs to the Hall of Flags to meet more of their constituents at the tables, which will be organized this year by counties and hosted by delegations from the whole community. All are invited to be at their county’s table to talk to their legislators when they come downstairs.
Register at http://eepurl.com/bLE54n if you plan to attend on March 24th yourself, if you can help us to identify a student who can attend, or if you just want to be kept in the loop about all the excitement!
And feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Thanks for your support!
Our most persuasive arts lobbyists are the students. So this year we are inviting our alliance of adults around the state – that is educators, parents, artists, and leaders of arts organizations – to help us identify those students who would be able and willing to come to Augusta to meet and talk about what the arts have meant to them with their legislators outside the chambers in the morning of March 24th, and to invite the legislators to meet with them and more of their constituents at noon at the tables in the Hall of Flags. The tables will be set up this year by counties, not organizations, so that the Hall itself will reflect the state geographically, with large signs above each table displaying the county names.
As the day gets closer we will be asking you to register, so that we can keep track of which legislative districts our lobbyists represent, and which remain to be covered. In the meantime, we hope that you can set the day aside to come to Augusta and also find some student advocates to join you! If you can’t take the day off, perhaps you can find a parent or other adult to bring the students.
If you have questions feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 207 439-3169
We look forward to seeing you on the 24th!
The Every Student Succeeds Act, which has amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, gives states and local education agencies greater autonomy in setting curricula and standards. The National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has pointed out the positives for the arts in the new legislation, including its encouragement to integrate the arts into STEM programs. But in eliminating the eight Core Academic Subjects, one of which was the arts, the new law has eliminated an important basis for requiring the arts to be included in school during the school day… not as extra-curricular.The legislation, which eliminates all “Core Academic Subjects,” in their place creates a definition for a “well-rounded education” as “courses, activities, and programming in subjects such as English, reading or language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject, as determined by the State or local educational agency, with the purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.” (bolding mine).
As included in the subjects listed in a well-rounded education the arts are eligible for Title I funds, which are the largest pool of federal resources dedicated to ensuring equitable access to a complete education for all students. However, the states can now choose among those allowable subjects.
Our advocacy for arts education is more important than ever. We hope you can join us in Augusta for Arts Education Advocacy Day on March 24th.
Stay tuned for more details.