Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly Arts Wrap Up 9/23/16

Students in Mr. Bigelow's Audio Tech class engineering new instruments using Makey Makey boards!

In the ARTS this week:
  • Art and Music Teachers have been busy this week as they dig into those elements and principles of art and music with their scholars.  It is visible in lesson planning that you are building tasks for students that ask them to explore "Ideation."   
  • 2015/16 AP 2D Art students scored an average of 3.2- one of the HIGHEST averages of all AP courses offered at Durfee!  Kudos to Alyssa Viveiros and Mr. Carvalho for her score of 5.  Wow!
  • Yellow School Bus Grant- I have applied for this $200.00 grant for Durfee, and have shared the link with art teachers at K-5 schools so they can apply for a grant for their students.  If you are interested, click here:
  • K-5 Music Teachers- Please let me know if you did not receive the Music K-8 package.  I ordered it for those who requested it.  
  • K-5 Art and Music Teachers completed the new Report Card Comments for students last spring.  If you would like to see the grade level expectations, you can find these here: ​
Collaboration and Growth: 
  • I have shared documents for the evaluation and growth process with the teachers who I evaluate directly.  These can be found in your Gdrive in the "Shared with Me" folders.  Your self assessments and goal drafts are due on October 7th.  Here are thoughts I have around this process:
    •  I want to assure you that we will continue to work together to grow and learn from each other via the evaluation process.  
           I am your primary evaluator.  We will continue to work together in CPT and PD time to ensure that we are learning, talking, sharing best practices and strategies and always being reflective.  
           The self assessments should be where we start the thinking and reflecting- when you are working on the self assessments, you may also be talking about teaming up with colleagues to create a goal that you could share with colleagues, based on your common needs, that would be great.  If in reflecting, you feel you need an individual goal, that is great, too- it should be about what area both you and your students need growth in..  

      I will share a series of docs on the Google Drive with you, and these will be for you to use when you are ready to submit your self assessment and goals.  (the Google Drive will replace Baseline this year)  As of this morning, you still have access to your Baseline info if you need to access it- do it sooner than later if you need to review or print anything from last year!

      In terms of what you would like to focus and reflect on while self assessing and goal setting, consider reviewing your last formative/summative evaluation, and looking at the commendations and recommendations...  What are those things that you consider an area to focus on?  As I looked through the feedback and needs from last year, I am noticing a trend for a potential focus on the following areas in professional development:
      • II A. Instruction Indicator 1. Quality of Effort and Work 2. Student Engagement 3. Meeting Diverse Needs
      • III C. Communication Indicator 1. Two-Way Communication 2. Culturally Proficient Communication
      Let me know if you would like a copy of the Teacher Rubric at a Glance and I will provide you with a paper copy, or simply the link to it: 
  • I would like to quote one of our own art teachers here, because I am so inspired by reflective statements like these: Reflecting on my professional growth last year, I would like to continue to grow in the area of use of technology to engage and assess students in my classes, and while I have implemented new strategies in this area, my goal for this year will be to practice these with consistency. I would like to focus on the measurement of the goal through Google Classroom and Forms, as well as Plickers. In addition, I would like to learn new strategies for lesson planning using Google Drawings to make the Student Learning Goal visually engaging, student friendly, and include all components (question, task, goal..).
  • Kudos also go out to Kate Ventimiglia, Teresa Moniz, Andrea DeLima, and Linda Cabral for an absolutely "Symphonic" CPT at Talbot this week.. We discussed and planned ways to work together in building tasks for kids that stem from rigorous questions and brainstormed examples of how to work together between art and theater.. Our collaborative group work fueled lessons that I am eager to see in action!
  • Monday: CPT Kuss 7:30
  • Tuesday: CPT Morton 7:50
  • Wednesday: CPT Durfee 10:30
  • Thursday: CPT Talbot 1:20, Monthly Department Meeting for K-8 Fine and Performing Arts Teachers- 3:45 at Spencer Borden (K-5) and Kuss (6-8)
  • Friday: CPT Doran 8:00, CPT Band/Orch 12:30
  • Planning Ahead: Release Time Days: 10/6, 12/1, 2/9, 3/2!
Arts Around Us:
  • The Narrows:
  • New Bedford Art Museum: Take a look at the Classes for Adults!  Wow!
  • PPAC: Presents Wicked!  Get there- closes 10/8!
  • Zeiterion: Check out the Creative Classroom opportunities at the Z!
Have a wonderful and ARTSful weekend!  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Arts Wrap Up 9/16/16


This week, I wanted to share with you one of the lesson plan components shared with me by AP 2D teacher, Mark Carvalho.  In this image, he has the "ingredients for success" for students.  Everything from the objective with content specific vocabulary to artists who currently work in the industry using these Elements and Principles to communicate visually.  Kudos to Mark, who creates these "snapshots" for learning that are a tool to engage and communicate the objective in a way that is visually pleasing and clear.  He shares these with me on Google Classroom, a great tool that many of you are using!

In the news this week:

  • Durfee, Kuss, Morton, Talbot and Doran: Thank you for CPT'ing with me!  Next week, we will continue where we left off.  Meeting notes should be able to be accessed on the GDrive.  
  • K-5 Music Teachers: I have applied for grant funding from the Fall River Cultural Council for funds to cover the cost of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra's 2017 program, entitled Gravity in Space and Sound, an interdisciplinary unit of study for 3rd graders at Greene, Spencer Borden, HLCS and Letourneau.  I have applied for these grants in the amount that will cover your 3rd grade attending the concert at the Zeiterion on March 6th, 2017, and will keep you posted.
  • You have probably reviewed the evaluation information with your building teams, and please feel free to email me with any questions you might have around this process.  We will discuss goal setting at the next monthly departmental meeting so we can collaborate on team goals for art, music and performance.

Monthly Meetings (your department meetings):

 I am planning to have the K-5 and 6-8 art, music and theater teachers work together again this year during a monthly hour long department meeting.  This would take the place of your "building based" monthly department meetings.  We will be working on curriculum mapping and planning, sharing student work and outcomes and planning for district wide arts events (K-12 Arts Expo, concerts..)
.Here are the meeting days/times:
  • K-5- Last Thursday of each month,(9/29) 3:45 at Spencer Borden (art in art room, music in music room)
  • 6-8- Last Thursday of each month,(9/29) 3:45 at Kuss Middle School (art in art room, music in music room)
  • 9-12- (per Durfee Schedule) Third Wednesday (9/21) of the month at 2:45.

Big News: 

Here is the link to purchase tickets to the Michael Troy Memorial Music Foundation Benefit Concert:

Proceeds from this AMAZING event will go to the Durfee Music Program.  Let's put this one on our calendars, and make an awesome night!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Welcome Back!

Hope the first week back was filled with great things for all of you...  In our schools this week, I saw:

  • New music teacher Steph Tierno in her new music classroom at Fonseca, working in a circle on getting to know each other!
  • Fonseca Veteran art teacher, Deb Cabral with a group of excited first graders!
  • Silvia's Steph Pereira getting her amazing art studio ready for her young artists- if you want to see an environment that engages and is artfully organized, check this one out!
  • Henry Lord's 7th graders, learning expectations through music with Mr. David Monte!
  • Kuss Artists Sondra Arnold and Karen Graca, busy at work, prepping and working with their scholars.
  • Greene artists busy making their personalized name plates with Ms. Arons
  • Letourneau's own Becky Csizmesia closing up music class with a little video-guided step by step dance tutorial to "Happy" by Pharrell!  
  • Talbot art students designing portfolios and completing an identification task of the Elements and Principles!
  • Durfee band students busy practicing, tuning and getting ready for performances!
  • Durfee arts students problem solving through art and design tasks that will no doubt hook them into the learning for the semester!
I am so happy to be back. Working with my team and seeing you work with our kids makes my heart smile.

News items I would like to share:
  • We welcome eight new members into our Fine and Performing Arts Family!  We will have them share a little about themselves at our first whole group meeting this fall!  Welcome to the best F&PA Department in the State!  :)
  • Both Heather Pereira and Gary Bigelow have been awarded a total of over $1,500.00 in projects that they requested this summer through Donors Choose.  Kudos to you both!
  • Fonseca Elementary School has a music classroom again!
  • We will be a part of a huge fund raising event this fall, held at The Narrows.  This concert will be a tribute to Fall River native Michael Troy Manuels, singer and songwriter.  Proceeds from the concert will go to the Durfee Music Program.  Stay tuned for details, and mark your calendars!  November 6th from 1-4!
Nuts, Bolts and Calendar Stuff:
  • Durfee Faculty- Don't forget to take attendance in every class!  Also, faculty meeting on the 13th, and department meeting on the 21st!
  • All F&PA Faculty- Please, when sharing/submitting lesson plans, consider sharing with me also!  This gives me a more informed look at what you are planning week to week so I can come by and visit!
  • Itinerants and Durfee Faculty- Please upload your weekly lesson plans to the new folder on the drive that is shared with you by Monday morning.  
  • Middle School Faculty- I have Kuss, Morton and Talbot's CPT times on my calendar.  I will be visiting weekly as I had in the past.  
  • Music K-5 teachers- Please discuss the opportunity that Terry Walkowicz has for us with your building leadership- I would like to let Terry know which schools will be participating with their 3rd Graders.  This year, the task is titled "Gravity in Space and Sound."  Super cool stuff.  Terry will bring the NBSO to your schools and teach your students.  The concert and busesare the only parts of this experience not covered by the Music in the Parks grant.  Deadline is next Friday- let me know!
  • Music K-5 Teachers- Also, you should have received your K-8 Music Subscriptions at your school if you put in the request with me.  Let me know if you do not have it and you requested one.
  • The Big Yellow School Bus Grant- Want one?  Application opens Wednesday the 21st!
May your weekend be filled with art, music and drama (the good kind)...


Saturday, May 28, 2016

This week, I am inspired by Phillip Sossou.

Phillip Sossou of Boston Latin School decided to draw a portrait of all 411 seniors, which now hang in the school’s hallway. It took Sossou four months to draw all of them. Sossou said a few parents and students were very touched when they saw all the portraits hanging up and were moved to tears. He said he did not expect people to be so moved by his artwork. Sossou will study animation at Bunker Hill Community College and UMass Amherst. In an interview with NECN, Sossou said that he wanted to bring everyone together, because he felt that students were becoming very fractured. At one point, he was creating 16 pieces a day, staying at school until 8PM to complete the work.  He stayed the course, and completed the work..  Art CAN bring people together.

Terry Walkowicz, who worked with music teachers this year would also like to stay the course in music..
From Terry (New Bedford Symphony Orchestra):
At the end of each year, I always wish that I could continue the lessons and learning from the year’s curriculum. So many times, I hear students asking if we can return again, or can they hear more about our musicians, our music and even their pets. Well, I have launched a blog called “Musicall” on the NBSO website. Kids can check in and see what’s new, hear about new music or even learn more about our music, art and science connections! Could you please share the link with the third grade teachers and music faculty? My first blog post has a special request from Peter’s pet rock, Dwayne. (The kids are sure to like that!)
Thanks so much,

As we wrap up summative evaluations, I want to thank you for your time and hard work that goes into making this process meaningful.  Is is fascinating for me to see you reflect and grow, each of you thinking and reflecting on your specific student learning goals, as well as the professional practice goals that supported student and personal growth.  As we wrap up these conversations, please capture ideas for a focus for growth that you will be thinking about as you draft your 2016/17 goals!   
Here are some common threads we have discussed in summative conversations:

  • A need for a better two way communicative system with parents and the community
  • A focus on creating art and being able to defend choice making with reason based on Elements and Principals of Design
  • A focus on reading notation with accuracy and improved fluency.  
  • Continued focus on using technological tools for engagement and scaffolding
  • Continuation of collaboration for growth- both individual and program development
These common threads may fuel team wide goals for next year.  As we continue to meet in the fall, we will flesh this work out and identify action steps to achieve them together.  We will stay the course, TOGETHER!

In the spotlight this week:

This Week, Kuss Middle School performed in their Annual Spring Concert, which was a huge success.  Kudos go out to the HUNDREDS of students who performed, and the teachers who prepared them for AWESOMENESS!  Ms. Russo, Ms. Laprise and Mr. Monte have worked hard all year to make this event a success and it worked!  Kuss students also received a SUPERIOR rating at the Trills and Thrills Music Festival at Lake Compounce in Wallingford, Connecticut.  Simply amazing..

We are growing!  Both Band and Orchestra numbers are increasing at Durfee!  In looking at the incoming student course requests, we are seeing growth of approximately 15%, which means more students are interested and staying the course..  This is great news.  Also, for the first time, we will be offering Dance as an arts course at Durfee!  We had a huge demand for this course and will be running it in the next school year.

Stay the course.  Budget uncertainty is a trying time.  Please do not let this uncertainty take the wind from your sails..  We will persevere- continue to show your students and community the importance of your program, and stay positive.  As we move through this process, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.  

Have a restful weekend, filled with fun, sun, family and friends..

Take care,


Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up- Part II! Celebrate our Accomplishments!

Check out the Talbot Band!  They wowed their judges this weekend!  Click on the picture in the link to below see the video of our kids!

Talbot- Karen Souza's Website

Also, Check out these pictures from the Durfee Art trip to Boston!

Friday, May 20, 2016

          Our Durfee Students are SOOOOOOOOO excited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Field trip on 5/20/16)!

Happy Friday, Fine and Performing Arts Family!
   This week, we have been bustling in the fine and performing arts classrooms, preparing for end of year events such as concerts and/or art shows...  Senior students at Durfee High School are preparing for their last week of school with final exams ahead, and 8th graders at Morton, Kuss, Doran and Talbot are heading into their last month with you!  Elementary students are preparing for end of year festivities and the excitement is difficult to hide!  
   The Durfee Fine and Performing Arts Staff met on Wednesday at the Fall River Historical Society for a change of scenery and a little inspiration..  It's always nice at this time of year to take time to take in new ideas, new environments and meet new future prospective professional friends!  We met with one of the guides who showed us a sample of what is available for view- paintings, artifacts and other objects of historical significance.  Teachers, please continue to consider tapping into this historically rich resource as you begin thinking about next year's curriculum mapping!
   Finally, congratulations go out to Ms. Heather Periera at the John J. Doran Community School, as she is one of 64 educators across the country who have been awarded the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grants.  $270.00 has been awarded to her for her creative project, and I commend her for her hard work and insight in preparing this grant proposal!  Yay Heather!

Evaluation Nuts and Bolts:

  • Many of you will be meeting with me next week for your summative evaluation.  I thank you for uploading evidence one week prior to these meetings, and choosing evidence that are the best sources to support your standards and goals.  These artifacts will serve as springboards in our conversations as we discuss your progress in achieving Student Learning Goals and Professional Practice Goals.  
  • The summative meeting window was from 5/16 to 5/27 and the formative (for two year plans) is from 6/1 to 6/10.  I have scheduled meetings with the Durfee, Itinerant and Kuss Fine and Performing Arts teachers.  Please let me know if you have any questions prior to heading into these meeting times.
  • I truly enjoy sitting with you and listening to you discuss your practice- both your challenges and your accomplishments, as these details are what will help me form my professional development for next year.  As you conclude the year and reflect on what you would like to learn more about, implement or focus on for next year, I am taking note so that my planning can be more informed.

The BMC Durfee Band, Orchestra and Chorus participated in the 2016 High Note Festival, an adjudicated festival where they performed with hundreds of other students from districts across New England, and guess what?!  They received a SUPERIOR RATING.  This is the highest rating one can achieve in this adjudicated festival.  

June Monthly Meetings: 

  • 6/2/16- Elementary Music- 3:45 at Durfee
  • 6/9/16- Elementary Art- 3:45 at Durfee
  • 6/16/16- Middle School Art, Music and Theater- 3:45 at Tequila Lime 
  • Due to evaluation deadlines and meetings, I will not be able to attend the Talbot and Kuss CPT for the week.  I will be back on schedule the following week.  
  • Monday: School Committee Meeting
  • Tuesday: Senior Awards Night at Durfee- 6PM
  • Wednesday: Kuss Concert- 7PM
  • Thursday: Durfee PLC- not meeting formally this week (eval week)
  • Friday: Itinerant meeting- 12:30
Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Happy Saturday, Fine and Performing Arts Family!

   I would like to share some photos and thoughts with you from the 2016 Durfee Festival of the Arts.  What an amazing night it was- parents and family members visited the exhibit to view their student's work and chat with teachers.  The student work displayed a combination of the depth of thought an artist must endure to produce work that is expressive- a narrative of their thoughts and feelings, as well as the more whimsical and playful side of art.  The work was driven by lessons that asked students to think, problem solve, create from an idea and make their thoughts visual through sculpture, drawing, painting, photography and other mixed media.  Kudos to all who were involved in this event- a true success!
   In observing the artifacts, and the work behind the creation, I would like to plan for next year's festival of the arts the following additions:

  1. All students in any art class will have at least one piece in the show- this comes right from the standard for preparation and exhibition of work.  
  2. Senior students in advanced classes will have their own "gallery" where they will exhibit their body of work from the class/es with a personalized name plate with their college listed (art or non/art college).
  3. This student work will be adjudicated by outside judges against a criteria for exemplary rating (rubric designed by DHS teachers).
  4. The top three students will be awarded scholarships (we will fund raise) in the amounts of: 1st place- 250$, 2nd place- 100$, 3rd place- 50$.
On Thursday, the DHS Spring Concert was a huge success!  Hundreds of family and community members were in attendance to see the Band, Chorus and Orchestra perform the pieces that they have been working diligently on.  What an amazing array of success and talent these students have..  These students showed us what the output of hard work and constant growth under the tutelage of the DHS Music Staff sounds like, and all of them deserve a standing ovation.  Ms. Betty Yokell, former Director of Fine and Performing Arts was in attendance and commended our students for not only sounding magnificent, but complimented the teachers and students for attempting a repertoire of such difficulty.  Amazing work!

On the Calendar:
  • Monday: 8:30 Talbot CPT, 1:15- Mary Zema/Greene
  • Tuesday: 8:30 Meeting to Plan for Pre-K art/music
  • Wednesday: Department Meeting- DHS, 2:45 at the Fall River Historical Society, 6:30 DHS Band Banquet
  • Thursday: Middle School Department Meeting- 10:30: DHS PLC, 3:45 at the Pink Bean
  • Friday: 6 Flags Trip- DHS and Talbot, Mary Zema- 8:00 AM Summative Meeting, Heather Pereira 10:00 Summative Meeting
Supplies, Supplies, Supplies!
  • Thank you to all who submitted the supplies lists by the deadline!  I have submitted these to Russell Lewis for you and you will receive your supplies prior to the start of school.
  • Any other supply requests (Non-FRPS List Supplies) must be submitted by June 20th, and in the following way: Stay within the budget given to you (at Department meeting).  Using a catalog that we do business with (accepts PO), call or email to request a quote for the items you need.  Have them email you the quote.  Send this quote as well as the typed requisition to me via email by the deadline.
Have a wonderful weekend!