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!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

That's a WRAP! The First Arts Wrap Up Goes BLOGGER!


Student Kudos:

  • It is with great excitement that I inform you that BMC Durfee Student, Angela Reed has been chosen as the recipient of the Southeastern Massachusetts Schools Bandmasters Association Band College Scholarship.  This $1000.00 award will be sent to her teacher, Matthew MacMullen.  He will present the scholarship to Angela at her high school's spring concert.  Congratulations to Angela for all of her dedicated work in her musical ensembles, and for earning this token of local music educators' appreciation for a job well done.
  • Kudos also go out to all of the aspiring musicians who attended the FRPS Annual Solo Festival!   It was so exciting to see our students getting adjudicated- individualized feedback for improvement is essential for musicianship, and these students rocked it!
Collaboration and Growth:
  • Teachers are collaborating this month as they wrap up supply orders for the upcoming school year.  These lists are due to me on May 13th, so please make sure that the packets make their way to my office by then so I can process your needs.  
  • K-5 Music Teachers met on Thursday- they are continuing to work on the map for K-5 music objectives, tasks, vocabulary and assessments.  
  • K-5 Art Teachers will meet Thursday, May 12th.  
  • Middle School Art/Music/Theater Teachers will meet on Thursday, May 19th. 
  • Durfee Fine and Performing Arts Teachers will meet with the faculty on May 10th and then as a Department on May 18th.  

Check this Out:
Eval Nuts and Bolts, Continued:
  • One year plan teachers: please continue to add evidence to your Baseline folders that best supports the claim you are making or the standard you are demonstrating proficiency in.  Summative meetings will be planned for the second and third weeks in May, so make sure that when we mark these meetings in our calendars, we remember that all evidence will need to be uploaded one week prior to the meeting date. 
  •  Two year plan teachers: you are either at the formative or summative point, and should also be uploading evidence.  Please remember to think about the following questions as you prepare for these meetings:
  • SLG: How will I communicate the growth of my students in a way that is comprehensive for my evaluator?
  • What artifacts will support my rationale as to this growth?
  • PPG: How have I demonstrated growth in my Professional Practice, and how has this growth impacted my work, and that of my students?
Arts Around Us:
  • The Narrows: Saxophone DUO- Greg Abate and Richie Cole, Thursday, June 2nd.
  • New Bedford Art Museum: Artist Talk- ANDRE SMITS- Free talk on 5/12 at 6PM!  Go listen!
  • Tiverton Four Corners- Hosting 4th Annual Spring Nestival...  Saturday and Sunday- noon to 5Pm.  
  • Bristol's Stone Church Coffee House- Aoife Clancy and the Meadow's Brothers- May 7th: Doors open at 6:45
  • Ever want to sneak into our old Victorian Dames to take a look at the amazing architecture?  Fall River Preservation Society will run a historic home tour on Saturday, May 14th from noon to 4PM.
  • Missing Prince like I am?  Triple Bill Tribute Concert: Prince, James Brown and Stevie Wonder will all be covered!  May 13th at 7PM at the Eagle Event Center.
​Celebrate Mother's Day​!  
Thank your moms (in Heaven and on Earth)  for bring you into the world!