Curriculum

The curriculum emphasizes depth of understanding and application of knowledge through: inquiry and problem-solving, higher order thinking, disciplinary learning, authentic learning opportunities both in and out of school, informed and ethical use of technology:

* we addressed this creating a play around the dramatic events leading to the destruction of Noyes Academy and have students play the roles effectively galvanizes them with the depth and detail of the historic conflict

* exploring with math all the volume, surface area, geometric details of a stained glass dodecahedron and be able to accurately calculate the number of components needed to complete the sculpture is a vivid memory to students who created the beautiful stained glass sculpture.

Indicator 5: Effective curricular coordination and vertical articulation exist between and among all academic areas within the school as well as with sending schools in the district:

* from the vertical participation with the Northern Forest Woods Museum, Synergy Brass Quintet and the Jazz Dance residency, we have a good start exploring vertical programming.

Indicator 7: The district provides the school's professional staff with sufficient personnel, time, and financial resources for ongoing and collaborative development, evaluation, and revision of the curriculum using assessment results and current research:

* the SAU and the participating Principals have been encouraging and accommodating in allowing the growth of this program over the past five years. Presenting it as a topic for this District wide meeting, kicking off this school year, also demonstrates the support of the program.

Instruction

Indicator 2: Teachers' instructional practices support the achievement of the school's 21st century learning expectations by: personalizing instruction, engaging students in cross-disciplinary learning, engaging students as active and self-directed learners, emphasizing inquiry, problem-solving, and higher order thinking, applying knowledge and skills to authentic tasks, engaging students in self-assessment and reflection, integrating technology:

* see the pride in the faces of the Voc Lab participants creating jewelry with individualized instruction by League of NH Craftsmen jeweler, Joseph DeRobertis!

Indicator 4: Teachers, individually and collaboratively, improve their instructional practices by: using student achievement data from a variety of formative and summative assessments, examining student work, using feedback from a variety of sources, including students, other teachers, supervisors, and parents, examining current research, engaging in professional discourse focused on instructional practice:

* practicing and then performing for a festival is examination of achievement - at first formative as the work is developed - and then summative in its final performance - feedback is shared from peers, teachers, guest artists and by the community at the performance.

Indicator 5: Teachers, as adult learners and reflective practitioners, maintain expertise in their content area and in content-specific instructional practices:

* AP Biology teacher Mary Wenig worked with UNH's Sara Silverburg to create the pilot program of a Carbon Curriculum which would be used in many other schools.

Assessment Of and For Student Learning

Indicator 3: Professional staff collects, disaggregates, and analyzes data to identify and respond to inequities in student achievement:

* teachers choose hands on projects with curriculum connections emphasizing the content area on which they wish to concentrate.
Indicator 7: Teachers collaborate regularly in formal ways on the creation, analysis, and revision of formative and summative assessments, including common assessments:

* the presentation of final projects, performances, displays and demonstrations at the festival demonstrates this collaboration. The hands on week is designed to encourage collaborative curriculum development.

School Culture and Leadership

Indicator 1: The school community consciously and continuously builds a safe, positive, respectful, and supportive culture that fosters student responsibility for learning and results in shared ownership, pride, and high expectations for all: * the Student Showcase Festival is designed to be an environment that reflects all these goals and has positively represented the participating schools. By putting student achievement first, students take ownership of their learning.

In 2009 the Student Showcase Festival became a district wide program. Several things helped to enable this growth. The Woods Museum allowed students of all ages to participate. Experiencing the Arts sponsored several District wide events which helped inspire participation. Synergy Brass Quintet performed assembly programs at all four Mascoma District schools in January of 2008 and we sponsored a District wide residency in December of 2008. The success of having all 211 band students of all ages participate in this residency and perform for a capacity crowd at Mascoma High School helped build momentum with the District. In addition, each month, I was given a full 12" X18" page in color in the Connecticut Valley Spectator to celebrate student achievement. I decided to represent all the schools in the district. The success of these student achievement showcase pages (helped build support for the move to having the Student Showcase Festival as a District wide event. Finally, In July of 2008, Experiencing the Arts was commended by the NEASC, "the success of the Experiencing the Arts Program in integrating the arts into many classrooms across the various curricular areas and expanding the school's and the communities art experiences." I met with the four area Principles and the Superintendent and they decided to allow their schools to participate in the 2009 Student Showcase Festival. Student work of all Mascoma District schools (Canaan Elementary School (CES), Enfield Village School (EVS), Indian River School (IRS), and Mascoma Valley Regional High School (MVRHS)), was represented first in the 2009 "District Wide Student Showcase Festival." Sixteen teachers participated directly however, dozens of others were included in the activities and Festival and all the high school teachers attended the assembly.

In the Spring of 2010, twenty-seven teachers participated in the "Innovative Inspirations" week or had their students' work represented at the festival. In addition, many other faculty enjoyed the events and we were able to solicit a record number of requests for programs for this year. There were four hundred sixty-five individual works of art at the festival. In addition, thirty-six students performed. We were again successful developing vertical programming for all Mascoma District students with a two-week residency of Jennifer Sargent's Jazz Dance program.

Teachers across the disciplines see a greater need for Arts activities to stimulate learning in their classes. They are excited to stimulate learning by bringing the arts into their curriculum. Teachers do not work in a vacuum and learning does not just take place in the formal classroom. In order to continue to raise the bar and meet No Child Left Behind goals, teachers need the continued investment of their students. They must be excited about learning. With Experiencing the Arts we have seen firsthand that student learning is energized by enrichment experiences. Students find the classroom work more meaningful and useful when skills have been brought to life, so to speak, by arts experiences.

I hope that more teachers find ways to explore innovative and collaborative curriculum development and join us in showcasing student achievement at the Student Showcase Festivals. Thank you!

Christopher Hill Morse
Director, Experiencing the Arts.





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